I’ve been reading the book, “118 Days,” published by Christian Peace Teams, about the kidnapping of four CPTers in Baghdad in November 2005. One of the four, Quaker (and my friend) Tom Fox, was murdered in early March of 2006; the other three were rescued on March 23, 2006 by British commandos.
Julian Brelsford is a Philadelphia YAF who is planning to attend the Wichita YAF conference. He’s been cited here before, in a roundup post with several pieces of feedback to earlier posts here about the conference, its dress code, other rules, and general framework.
There’s been more discussion of the Wichita YAF Conference and its framework/dress code issues than you might think, if you looked to the self-styled “convergent Quaker” website, from which critical messages have been banned. That reaction is a telling one; and in the age of the internet, a largely futile one as well.
[Note: Part I of this review is here.]
Two pieces in “Spirit Rising deal with the phenomenon known as “Convergent Friends,” a loose network of people, mostly younger than fifty, talking across various traditional divisional lines: “Convergent Friends as New Jazz Traditionalists,” by Chad Stephenson of San Francisco Meeting; and “Convergent Friendship and Playing with the Quaker ‘Other’” by C. Wess Daniels, pastor of Camas Friends Church in Northwest Yearly Meeting.
So I’m out and about Thursday, trying to be a Christian (Matthew 25:36 variety), by visiting a friend who’s got some issues.
And when I arrive at the door to his place, there’s this notice on the door. Seems they’ve got a dress code:
A woman Friend who, like me, is not age-eligible to attend the Wichita YAF Conference, has sent on the best rationale I have yet seen for the planners’ no-sex-even-for-married-couples policy for the event. She deemed the policy, “quite lovely.” So Let’s hear why, and then consider it:
Very interesting – the conversation about the “Expectations” and the framework for the Wichita YAF conference gets more interesting by the day. Two recent communications are especially intriguing and revealing.
First, yesterday a member of the Wichita Planning Committee contacted me, and asked if I really thought they and their rules were really unwelcoming.
Well, one of the messages mentioned in the previous post about age-related putdowns has already disappeared from the web. Gone, perhaps, but not forgotten. Here’s the text, mercifully brief but to the point, about: >> 1. An almost 70yo man decrying moral choices of youth–ironic. >> “Almost 70yo” BTW, is Tweet-speak for nearly 70 years old. And on that point, I am so busted. I’m still looking for the irony, tho; maybe it got mislaid in transmission. Some more choice tidbits have turned up, which we may get to presently.
Micah Bales, one of the planners and main promoters of the Wichita YAF conference, recently replied to an inquiry about the long list of “Thou Shalt Nots” set for the event. He referred the inquirer to a blog post by his wife, Faith Kelley, another of the planners. It’s on the William Penn House blog, entitled, “What Should I Eat? Community & the Individual”
This blog post is very illuminating about the “frame” being put onto the conference, and deserves some careful unpacking. So this commentary will run on a bit; please bear with me.