Quaker Studies

Convergent Friends: the Emergence of Postmodern Quakerism

Quaker Studies (2010), 14, (2), 236–250.

Abstract

Postmodernism is ushering in radical change for the Church. Some theologians argue that this change, especially given the discontinuities between modernism and postmodernism, affords new opportunities. Because of these changes there is a decline in many Christian traditions in the West, but there is also a renaissance of ‘emerging churches’. The same can be said for Quakers who are experiencing a renaissance of their own. ‘Convergent Friends’ are a decentralized, international, body of Quakers seeking to renew their tradition through a growing awareness of the need to interact with culture missionally. Their origins and interactions are unique to Convergence Culture, which opens up new possibilities for community among diverse people. Thus, renewal for these Friends begins with participation and production. From the writing of blog posts about Quaker faith in today’s society, to initiating gatherings, and forming friendships over a variety of mediums, the convergent community bypasses older top-down institutional boundaries and renews from the bottom up. The end result is a hybrid Quakerism that incorporates both mission and tradition in at least six ways that may help the larger Quaker body navigate cultural change.

Convergent Friends: the Emergence of Postmodern Quakerism

Abstract

Postmodernism is ushering in radical change for the Church. Some theologians argue that this change, especially given the discontinuities between modernism and postmodernism, affords new opportunities. Because of these changes there is a decline in many Christian traditions in the West, but there is also a renaissance of ‘emerging churches’. The same can be said for Quakers who are experiencing a renaissance of their own. ‘Convergent Friends’ are a decentralized, international, body of Quakers seeking to renew their tradition through a growing awareness of the need to interact with culture missionally. Their origins and interactions are unique to Convergence Culture, which opens up new possibilities for community among diverse people. Thus, renewal for these Friends begins with participation and production. From the writing of blog posts about Quaker faith in today’s society, to initiating gatherings, and forming friendships over a variety of mediums, the convergent community bypasses older top-down institutional boundaries and renews from the bottom up. The end result is a hybrid Quakerism that incorporates both mission and tradition in at least six ways that may help the larger Quaker body navigate cultural change.


Details

Author details

Daniels, C. Wess