• Sharing: Hush – Songs for Christmas by Seth Patrick Martin

    A favorite drawing of mine from Nan Young Lee, Seth Martin’s wife. This is called, We were flowers and trees (Miryang). 2013

    If you’ve been around the site, or me much, you know I love the music – and friendship of Seth Patrick Martin. He’s just shared a new Christmas album with us that I wanted to link to here. He produced it with his friend, Joe Kim in Seoul. 

    The album is called: Hush: Songs for Christmas. It is free to stream on Bandcamp and can also be purchased for download. 

    I’ve already been able to get through the album once today (and more times as the day goes on!). It is beautiful, haunting, and represents so much of what I love about Seth’s music: the song choices, Seth’s incredible musicianship without being showy, the minimalism of instruments and voice (only as much as you need), blended beautifully together, the overlapping vocals and harmonizing, and the overall atmosphere that pulls you in to the story. Well done, Seth!

    Here is Seth in his own words about the album:

    These are not exactly easy listening, feel-good jingles. But neither is the Christmas story. It is a wonderful but also scary, awe-inspiring tale–a story that “comforts the afflicted and afflicts the comfortable”–and that is one reason it continues to change the world.

    This EP attempts to honor the darker, heavier, and deeper substance of Christmas: the somber but liberating message the carols hold of the God of Love incarnate, born as a poor boy to refugee parents under brutal colonization; ignored or sought out for destruction by the powers that were; hailed, embraced, adored, and comforted by Angel troops, lowly shepherds, barnyard animals and wise “foreigners”-not to mention Nature herself.

    Joy to the World!

    Thanks to all mothers!

    And thank you, deeply. Please share widely, if you like what you hear. Listening is free, but making albums isn’t, and neither is living, as we all know. Your support is precious to me, friends. I don’t take it lightly. Thanks and merry Christmas!.

    Listen on Bandcamp to Hush: Songs for Christmas.

  • Are We In A Post-Social Media World?


    I was lucky enough to get to talk with Georgia Sparling of Thee Quaker Podcast a little while back about social media and some of the things I’ve wrestled with as a Quaker theologian, educator, parent, and person who has been actively online for 20+ years.

    That episode published today and I wanted to share it here for those of you who might be interested. In the interview, I talk about some of my own journey around social media and getting off of Facebook. I also talked some about what is going on now with the network formerly known as X, and some of the things we’re discussing in my class called, “The Practice of Silence.”

    Since the interview, I’ve deleted Instagram from my phone (I still have an account but it’s amazing how little I even think of IG with it not being on my phone) as another step. I have found that the advertising algorithim of IG to be extremely agreesive to the point that I could scroll for 10 minutes and never see any of my friends on the timeline. I got tired of the ads and IG thinking it knew what best I wanted to see from my timeline so I took it off my phone. We’ll see where that goes.

    More and more I am convinced that Social Media, as we knew it in the Web 2.0 days, is over. And in this post-Social Media world we now have Interactive Advertising Platforms. All of these big company networks are advertising platforms where we tell them what we like and don’t like and then it spits out things for us to consume. Capturing and holding our attention, because our attention is the root of this new economy, is the only concern these algorithms, and the people and companies who design them, now have. I think we need renewed, and different, conversations around what it means to be so active on these habit-forming platforms today. Saying this starts to make me feel like I’m getting a little grumpy, but I’m seeing the effects of these networks and apps in my children and in my students and it concerns me.

    You can listen here:

  • We’re Building a Scenius

    This is a message I shared on Guilford’s campus during our Community meeting worship time on 2023-12-05.

    Revelation 7:9   After this I looked, and behold, ba great multitude that no one could number, from every nation, from all tribes and peoples and languages, standing before the throne and before the Lamb…

    Hebrews 12:1 – “we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses”

    Moment of Silence


    When Meagan – our chaplain for students and multifaith coordinator – first asked me to come and share a message for the last community worship of the year, it was in the context of my upcoming Sabbatical that starts here in just a couple weeks.

    I think the intention was to provide space for a bit of a farewell, maybe a bit of talking about what I’ll be doing on my sabbatical.

    What has been on my mind is to share with you a bit of what my vision is and has been for my (and our) work on campus, and why my being gone might mean for all of you.

    So I want to start with a weird question:

    There’s this myth that’s been going around a long time that artists, genius, leaders, even theologians are supposed to be these lone geniuses, fueled by ego.

    You know the ones I’m talking about.

    They squirrel away out of site in their ivory tower, or an undisclosed location off the coast of France and after a few years they emerge victorious – manuscript or painting in hand.

    “A revelation!” The people say. Everyone marvels at their brilliance, ready to make a statue in their honor.

    And while we all clap, inside we feel a little deflated.

    “I could never be someone like that.”

    Or “I could never create something like that.”

    We might think: “They will never build a statue in my honor.”

    Parents of young children say to themselves, “I wish I could get 10 minutes by myself just to go to the bathroom, let alone be a lone genius with no worldly responsibilities!”

    The singular figure. The superhero. The sage on the stage. The person on a pedastool are all ways of imaging what I’m talking about – this image of the lone genius.

  • Review of Quaker World by Stephen Angell

    Stephen Angell, Leatherock professor of Quaker studies at Earlham College, wrote a very positive review of our book, The Quaker World, for Quaker Studies Research Association. Here are two excerpts:

    “This lively, refreshing and innovative volume comes along in a very timely fashion to make a huge mark in Quaker Studies. The editors express their hope that it ‘lifts up voices and perspectives both historical and present that are not always heard in these volumes and that it mirrors a renewed, global Quaker faith that will continue on well into the future’ (p. xiv). Accordingly, they ‘have welcomed authors currently outside academia’ as well as academicians themselves, whether established or early-career. They are intensely interested in finding ways for Quaker scholars to determine ‘how to move forward in truth and justice’, keenly recognising that Quakers have ‘more work to do’ in this area (pp. 1–2).”

    “…A review like this can only begin to gesture at the riches one can find within this encyclopaedic volume. I highly recommend this work. There is much that any scholar and any Quaker can learn from it. With the book’s 61 entries encompassing a variety of methodologies, the editors hope that the volume will stimulate further research. They are surely correct about this. While the book is not inexpensive, it would be a great investment for any library – whether in a college or university, a Quaker school or a Quaker meeting.”

    Read more here: https://arc.net/l/quote/dqwyemuh

    Find the Quaker World on the publishers page or on Amazon (there is a Kindle edition).

  • Sharing: What Pro-Democracy Activists Can Learn From Their Adversaries

    I commend this article from Rev. Dr. Liz Theoharis and Rahna Epting to you on how Pro-Democracy activists, and the religious communities supporting this movement, need to adjust our approach:

    “During climate emergencies, far-right parachurch organizations and paramilitary groups are often first on the scene with food and shelter. During stabler times, vast evangelical networks in thousands of communities offer services such as child care and assistance for the elderly, as well as spiritual guidance.”

    “In other words, the movement has occupied ground that progressives have largely ceded. The anti-democratic challenges posed by this movement are colossal and require an equally enormous response by pro-democracy forces. That response should include a generational commitment to organize in rural, Southern, and red state areas that progressives too often ignore. And it should embrace the reality that religion and morality are critical to effective organizing.”

    “Pro-democracy advocates must claim the moral high ground, connect with people who may be turned off by politics but tuned into a deep sense of right and wrong, and build long-term power by meeting people’s material, social, and emotional needs.”

    What Pro-Democracy Activists Can Learn From Their Adversaries


Resisting Empire: The Book of Revelation as Resistance (2019)

Resisting Empire: The Book of Revelation as Resistance looks at Revelation from the perspective that Revelation is not about predicting the end times but is instead a handbook for early Christian resistance and survival against empire.

Resisting Empire: The Book of Revelation on Bookshop.

A Convergent Model of Renewal: Remixing the Quaker Tradition in a Participatory Culture (2015)

A convergent Model of Renewal lays out a model for working with congregations and communities alike, interested in maintaining their tradition while also becoming more connected to their context and needs of their community.

A Convergent Model on Bookshop

Image of the cover of the book The Quaker World
The Quaker World Co-Edited With Rhiannon Grant – 2022

The Quaker World is a book with over 50 authors around the world covering sections such as global Quaker history, to spirituality, and embodiment and emphasizes global Quaker diversity and biographies of Quakers.

The Quaker World on Bookshop.

More books and publications by Wess