Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Open Space with the Quakers

I've been at Stony Point Center for the past several days with a group of 50 or so folks called together to talk about beginning an intentional, dispersed, Christian community focused on nonviolence and justice interrelated with the community at Stony Point.
Lots of powerful moving of the spirit in our midst and some interesting things being born, and I'm sure to be reflecting on this for weeks and months to come.
But right now I'm still pondering the process we used: a mix of open-space technology and Quaker discernment.
It was a fascinating experience -- sometimes tortuous, never linear, occasionally ponderous. It was interesting to see the process get bogged down in the same ways and places that Presbyterian parliamentary procedures tend to: community wordsmithing, for example. But closing the discussion was done with so much more gentleness that "calling for the question" -- no less finality, just more grace.
As we Presbyterians seek more spirit-led ways to make decisions, we can learn from our Quaker friends and from the people who create open space as well.

3 comments:

quakerdave said...

ound your blog, and I wanted to say I enjoy it very much. Keep up the great work.

quakerdave said...

Oops! That should have said "I just found your blog"... etc.

Anonymous said...

Willamae says "Quakers are so cool" Her mama says they get bogged down in community wordsmithing, too (sigh. Why I skip a lot of Yearly Meeting business sessions). Waiting for the sense of the meeting to become clear can be very powerful, however. God's spirit made manifest through the very cracked vessels that we all are. xx Yo (quaka) sistah