Quaker Culture

Here, you’ll find a collection of writings on the culture of Quakerism.  Most of these pieces have to do with our institutions, including our local meetings–the structural, formal ways in which we interact–and how we might approach them differently.  They’ll be most useful, I suspect, for Friends in North America and Europe, since the differences in Quaker culture in other places are significant, and I’m primarily writing about my own context.

The first piece I published on this site was Eight Changes Your Meeting Can Make Right Now, a direct response to the viral article by Thom Rainer entitled Eight Signs Your Church May Be Closing Soon.  I believe in naming the places where we’re falling short, but stopping there is both unhelpful and unfaithful.  We have the ability to change things.

Following up on that, How Do We Articulate the Difference Between the Ideal and Where We Are? is a piece on why we often don’t recognize where we’re falling short and how we might be more able to see this.  Other writings about cultural stumbling blocks include A Conversation About Delay, Addicted to Crisis, and The Madlib Society.

I spend a lot of time talking about spiritual gifts within the Religious Society of Friends.  Are We Open to New Light from Wherever It May Come? talks about engaging with giftedness that we don’t understand.  A deeper dive into one specific gift comes in Reclaiming Leadership as a Spiritual Gift.

Four pieces that connect thematically, though they weren’t intended as a series, include What We’ve Learned, Permission to Experiment, Building for Growth, and On Building Learning Networks, all of which present ways in which Friends might better stretch ourselves, grow together, and learn from our experiences.

Navigating Differences and Transitions are two pieces based on a cultural theory framework published in the Harvard Business Review by Boris Groysberg, Jeremiah Lee, Jesse Price, and J. Yo-Jud Cheng.  I’ve found the authors’ original work (which is summarized within my reflections on it) really helpful as I examine Quaker culture in new ways.

And of course, any time we’re intending to change, we have to start by being prepared to change.  How do we know if we are?