Holy Experiments

Last year, I published a series of blogs on multiage inclusion. A surprising number of Friends read that series, and I realized that many of us are ready–or past ready–to engage with the questions of how our cultures and our institutional structures often undermine the very call of Spirit without our realizing it—not just in terms of age inclusion, though that’s significant, but in many other ways as well.

It’s worth noting that some Friends have been engaging in this work for quite some time. From that point of view, I’m late for the party. But what gives me hope is the critical mass that I see—Friends all over the world who are poised to say yes, God is calling us to grow and change—and moreover, the fact that in 2018, we have everything we need technologically to bring together those Friends-all-over-the-world and to do this work as a people.

And so, on April 2nd, 2018, the day after Easter, I’m launching a new ministry. It’s called Holy Experiments.

Holy Experiments is designed to support Friends with an aim toward following Spirit adventurously and building culturally inclusive communities of faith. This will happen in a variety of ways. One piece will be skill-building—looking at culture and structure methodically, with a lens to understanding and learning to perceive unintended effects. The second piece will be what I’m calling “along the way”—affirming the spiritual conditions necessary in a faith community that’s doing hard things. A third element will be weekly queries, and a fourth will be concrete, specific experiments—things that Friends are encouraged to try, to see what happens, and then to keep or release, as led.

Friends are welcome to engage as able. You can step in, drop out, participate fully, be an observer…and that level of participation can change over time, day to day, week to week, whatever you can do. You can receive weekly emails (through Flocknote), and if you live in the United States, you can receive a weekly query by text message. (If you’re in a country other than the United States, you’ll still get the query, but it’ll come in your email.) Sign up for emails and/or texts by clicking here or by texting HOLYEXPERIMENTS (all one word) to 84576.

There’s also a Facebook group for regular interaction with other Friends.

I come from an education background, and I know that not everyone enters the world through text. So sometimes we’ll be reading together, but sometimes we’ll be using photographs or paintings or videos or music or comic strips. A little bit of everything.

Backpack and I will be looking for opportunities to travel. I want to come and speak with Friends in your area about this work; please invite me. I haven’t quite managed it yet, but I’m working on obtaining grant support so that I won’t have to create a financial barrier by asking churches or meetings for the cost of my travel.

Eventually, I hope there will be other resources to engage more Friends—Bible studies, small groups online, religious education curricula, ready-to-publish newsletter articles, and so forth. I’ll be checking in with participating Friends to see which of these things might be the most helpful.

Holy Experiments is a four-year project. It will end on March 28th, 2022. Just about anything could happen in any of our lives between now and then, so as I’ve said—drop in, drop out, participate fully, be an observer, whatever you need to do.

This ministry is under the tender care of my support committee, which is itself under the care of my local meeting, which is Fifteenth Street Monthly Meeting in New York City. It is non-institutional ministry, meaning that my costs will come mostly out of pocket. If so led, you can offer financial support here. I’m equally grateful for prayerful support and for social support—by social, I mean spreading the word so that others may join in.

Looking forward to April 2nd

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