• 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

  • For Faculty, Boards, and Trustees of Quaker Schools

    I wrote this list specifically for staff, faculty, and trustees of Quaker schools. I expect that more will be added to it overtime. We have a lot of learning and teaching to do if we are going to bring up a base level knowledge and appreciation of the principles and practices of the Quaker tradition and what they have to do with being Quaker schools (if anything)?

    Given the ongoing changes & challenges our institutions face, I do not believe we can leave the Quaker ethos of our schools to chance, or one “Quaker” person who is responsible to sustain and maintain the Quaker traditions in these organizations. We need their support. Learning about complex religious traditions and translating what that means for the rest of us is done best with those who are knowledgeable, patient, and good at the work of connecting dots for people. But I am advocating more of a systems approach to strengthening the Quaker tradition – one in which we all take some responsibility.

    To maintain the wisdom of the Quaker tradition within schools and organizations we all need to lend a hand. Responsibility belongs to all of us if we want this ethos to continue and to be vibrant. We of course are not required to do this. Like all wisdom traditions, Quakerism does not press itself upon us. It is there if we want it and will eventually fade if we do not. However, the deeper our understanding and participation in the knowledge of this shared tradition, the more internalized it will be. The more, I believe, we will find within it keys that help our institutions thrive.

    But for starters, I want to outline some resources for faculty, staff, and trustees who might be very new to Quakerism.

    (more…)
  • Convergent Friends Conversation Coming Nov. 29

    Photo by ShareGrid on Unsplash

    Hi Friends,

    On Wednesday, November 29th at 7:00 PM, Robin Mohr, General Secretary of Friends World Committee for Consultation Section of the Americas, and I will be hosting a conversation in partnership with Quaker Leadership Center at Earlham School of Religion.

    The conversation is going to be an upbeat time of sharing ideas, theories, and examples of renewal among Friends. We will have plenty of time for conversation and questions with those in attendance as well. It has been awhile since Robin and I had the chance to share publicly in this way both our connection to Convergent Friends and our current work today. I’m really looking forward to it.

    You can register here: Convergent Friends Model of Renewal conversation.

    Hope to see you there,

    Wess

  • Give The Song A Little Space – Jeff Tweedy

    I’ve been reading, and loving, Jeff Tweedy’s book, “How to Write One Song.” Here’s one gem from it:

    “Let me just say this: I believe we stop ourselves sometimes when we’re happy. We create conflict in our relationships sometimes because we’re feeling uncertain and needy. Feeling attached to something can be uncomfortable. Sometimes your stuck because you’re anxious about losing something you love. Maybe you were sailing along working on a song and you kind of fell in love with it. And then you felt vulnerable because “What if its not really good?” Or “What if I can’t realize the full potential of this song?” Isn’t that what someone in the world of psychology would call an “unhealthy attachment?” Maybe you pulled back when you started to fell something. Maybe you recognized yourself in the song and felt a connection that felt like love. And then you worried, “Will it love me back?” Just let a song be itself. Let it be what it wants to be – what it needs to be. A song will always love you back, but sometimes it just needs a little space.” – Jeff Tweedy, (How to Write One Song: 149).

Publications


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