Convergent Friends #1

I remembered my blog… šŸ˜‰ And notice the hopeful way I title this post, implying that just maybe, perhaps, this might be the first in a series celebrating Convergent October 2008.

Obviously, I have not made time for the blog for quite a long time. I’ve said it before, but it ought to be said again, that the no-doubt-about-it absolute best part of this blog has been the community with Quakers across the country and across our divides. I consider myself a proud member of the convergent Friends movement, and am grateful to have been a part of the dialogue before it was named by my friend (who I would not have if it weren’t for this blog) Robin Mohr.

So when I saw the announcement for Convergent October 2008, I knew I wanted to be a part of it.

I think what came together for me yesterday in worship at Newberg Friends was this: one of the biggest reasons I was originally drawn to Friends is also the bedrock for convergence. We’ve begun a series on the book of Galatians, and the life-changing power of that letter from Paul is to refuse to let relationship with God devolve into religion. An active life in the Spirit, refusing to be codified, separated, parceled out or ritualized…this is the heart of our faith. A group of people, a community, a body, that refuses to draw boundary lines and separate into “acceptable” and “unacceptable.”

I see this as the heart of Quakerism, and I see this as the wind of the Spirit that is drawing us together from across the divides that have developed. We refuse to let language, history, or associations separate us. Because we want relationship. We want life. We want living, breathing, passionate, “aliveness” in the Spirit.

I remember Liz Opp, years ago, wondering whether being Christ-centered was a requirement for convergence. I can’t presume to answer that question, and I refuse to be one who sets any kind of criteria for entrance on what I consider a journey. I can, however, follow a long line of faithful Quakers and testify, give witness, to my own experience.

I have been found by Christ, and my life is given to him. When I joined Friends, it was because I was making a conscious decision to leave behind a kind of evangelicalism that drew lines and boxed up boundaries. My pursuit of obedience to Christ led through the landscape of Galatians and Luke 7 and all kinds of other places where the radical inclusiveness of Christ’s love for the world explodes with gracious power. To me, this journey of convergence is a beautiful work of the living Christ, and I celebrate it!

So thank you, Friends, for beginning this journey.

I’ll conclude with a link to what I shared in worship yesterday about Galatians. I think it fits dead on with our convergence journey.

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5 thoughts on “Convergent Friends #1

  1. Thanks to you for this.

    This is a surprising post that makes me wonder why I have not seen this point of view in the accumulating literature of convergence.

    I guess I have not been paying attention.

    I’ll look, again.

    Thanks, again.

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  2. Thank you, Timothy. Again, I wouldn’t claim to speak for “convergence”…I was trying to speak from my own perspective and experience what I see as the heart of convergence. Perhaps it’s not in other places because I’m a bit of a freak. šŸ™‚

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  3. Wow, another POWERFUL sermon, Gregg, if we’ll allow it to affect our lives. It’s especially “right on” for me. As you well know, with my strict “fundamentalist-evangelical” upbringing, rules (and behavior) were extremely important. In recent years, my spiritual journey has fortunately headed much more in the “grace” direction. But in this sermon you really “nail” the heart of the issue, and your pointing out that God’s grace is a free gift and we ought to reflect that in our own attitudes, hits the bullseye. Thanks be to God.

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  4. There is a place where lines exist, the place brought forth through the inspiration for this blog, which is obedience. In our obedience, then, we will offer no judgement of human souls, but love consistently. However there does appear a line between the obedient and the disobedient. Our problem is small, then. It is merely to speak the truth for our motives. There are many amongst us that will not obey because they are full of pride and wrath, fighting social fights for the good of few if any, based on isolated experiences of harm not from Christ or God, but men and women that likewise failed in their obedience in some way or other. The way is narrow. It is human to falter, to step wrongly, to stray. So many Friends died in obedience, or the attempt of it, it is unjust to choose any other path as “righteous” in the wake of those martyr’s actions. Instead, without judgment of anyone’s failures, we should live in the highest state of obedience we may attain, for that is the goal, and will naturally lead us to the work of God, better realized than we ourselves may discover by our faulty reasoning.

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