gathering in light


I imagine most people have their favorite Christmas movies selected with a combination of nostalgia, family tradition, the era in which you grew up. I’m no different. Here are my top five favorites:

I’ve even found a way to incorporate my favorite story into a Christmas sermon or two.

For some reason, as much as I loved Twitter, it began to feel like a chore. Probably in part because:

  • I follow way too many people there
  • Of all the ads and sifting you have to do mentally
  • Of how much the algorithm controls what you see and who you interact with
  • It all moves so fast and I always felt like I could never keep up

I’m enjoying the simple delight of this blog and using #Mastadon. Meeting new people. Learning new networks and communities is a joy to me. I don’t feel like I have to be on but I do feel like I want to check things out with no real pressure to perform and get boosts. I also like watching other people be excited to discover these new systems.

This came to light today when I was waiting for an invite to a new app, hoping to get a link to be an alpha tester. Sitting there refreshing the developer’s Mastadon page repeatedly for 10 mins struck me as something I have never done before – at least not for an app. Even though I didn’t get in, the excitement was fun and kind of silly. Then I realized, I’m enjoying the internet again.

#Twitter banned the main Mastadon account yesterday and folks are not exactly sure why. But Mastadon continues to grow and pull users away from Twitter, with more and more users on Twitter sharing their Mastadon handles.

What really surprised me though was the fact that Twitter is blocking links to Mastadon from being posted and treating their links as though they are malicious.

This was the warning I got when linking on another user’s profile link:


Birth Stories, The Magnificat, and the Revolution of Christmas Tags: #sermon #advent

This is the message I gave at Deep River Friends Meeting this past Sunday based on Luke 1: 46-55:

46 And Mary said, “My soul magnifies the Lord, 47 and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior, 48 for he has looked with favor on the lowliness of his servant. Surely, from now on all generations will call me blessed; 49 for the Mighty One has done great things for me, and holy is his name. 50 His mercy is for those who fear him from generation to generation. 51 He has shown strength with his arm; he has scattered the proud in the thoughts of their hearts. 52 He has brought down the powerful from their thrones, and lifted up the lowly; 53 he has filled the hungry with good things, and sent the rich away empty. 54 He has helped his servant Israel, in remembrance of his mercy, 55 according to the promise he made to our ancestors, to Abraham and to his descendants forever.”

Birth Narratives

In our family, the advent season is extra special. M, our middle daughter, was born on Nov 27, 2009. Just a few days before the start of advent on the liturgical calendar.

L, our oldest daughter, was born on December 19, 2007. She was due on Christmas, but thankfully my wife Emily’s prayers were heard and L was born 6 days before. Now she doesn’t have to competing for spotlight with the Son of God.

As you can see advent is special in our house the birthday boy, Jesus, notwithstanding.


Today, I was approached by a member of my workplace about hosting a space for grieving for folks who continue to struggle after painful decisions made in 2019-2020. The desire for this person was to process grief with the hope that we could find a space to do that as a workplace and community.

In the fall of 2020 and Spring of 2021 my office organized I think 4 of these spaces. The first few were well-attended but then attendance dipped. Then another member of the community approach me and wanted me to plan something (after having not attended the first 4 we hosted). I told this person that I would do if if they helped plan something. We did and it was nice but only a couple folks came. I began to wonder who we were doing these for. Finally, another group came together, and this time we came up with an idea for an embodied approach to grieving. We made a life-sized COVID cell and invited folks to fill it with their grievances and we burned the thing down.


Robert Bell, from Guilford College, interviewed me and did a really nice write up about the new book Rhiannon Grant and I co-edited.

The book is unique in its approach to #QuakerStudies for a variety of reasons, including those we invited to write, the chapters covered, and some of the methodology behind the formation of the content. For one, we are proud of the book having a number of biographical offerings throughout the book, following inspiration from McClendon's “Biography as Theology,” acting as case studies for how individuals have lived out their witness in the world.

Read Bell's piece on The Quaker World here.

Get a copy of the book on Amazon or Routledge Books.


January 19, 2019 I quite Facebook. I threatened to do it, mostly just to myself, years before, but then the Cambridge Analytics stuff came out, and there was so much going on with Trump, fake ads, and Facebook profiting off of their own corruption that I was done.

So I deleted my account. I honestly haven't missed it for even a second since then. All those people I said I could leave FB for, I hear from and connect with in other ways. It didn't feel like the place I needed to be and in many ways, it felt like it was having a negative impact on my relationships and attitude. So with one social network down, I had a little more time and headspace to put towards other things.

Now Twitter is coming under fire.



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The Quaker World – Edited by C. Wess Daniels and Rhiannon Grant (2022)

The Quaker World is an outstanding, comprehensive and lively introduction to this complex Christian denomination. Exploring the global reach of the Quaker community, the book begins with a discussion of the living community, as it is now, in all its diversity and complexity.

The book covers well-known areas of Quaker development, such as the formation of Liberal Quakerism in North America, alongside topics which have received much less scholarly attention in the past, such as the history of Quakers in Bolivia and the spread of Quakerism in Western Kenya. It includes over sixty chapters by a distinguished international and interdisciplinary team of contributors and is organised into three clear parts:

  • Global Quakerism
  • Spirituality
  • Embodiment

Within these sections, key themes are examined, including global Quaker activity, significant Quaker movements, biographies of key religious figures, important organisations, pacifism, politics, the abolition of slavery, education, industry, human rights, racism, refugees, gender, disability, sexuality and environmentalism.

The Quaker World provides an authoritative and accessible source of information on all topics important to Quaker Studies. As such, it is essential reading for students studying world religions, Christianity and comparative religion, and it will also be of interest to those in related fields such as sociology, political science, anthropology and ethics.

Learn more at Routledge: Link

Resisting Empire: The Book of Revelation as Resistance (2019)

The Book of Revelation in the New Testament has been often used to predict terror, the end of the world, and wild conspiracy theories. However, Resisting Empire: The Book of Revelation as Resistance argues that Revelation is a first-century handbook for how radicals resisted empire and has nothing to do with predicting the end of the world. It offers a different way into understanding what Revelation is about with the hope of helping support the growing movement for liberation and anti-poverty embodied by movements like the Poor People’s Campaign.

Find out more here:

A Convergent Model of Renewal: Remixing the Quaker Tradition in a Participatory Culture. Eugene: Pickwick (2015).

A Convergent Model of Renewal: Remixing the Quaker Tradition in a Participatory Culture, draws on insights from philosophy, contextual theology and participatory culture (i.e. Fandom) to support the revitalization of faith traditions and movements. The Convergent Model of Renewal seeks to hold together both tradition and innovation in ways that foster decentralized, participatory change. While using examples from the Quaker tradition it is my hope that this model can be used by people of any faith when thinking about how to reformulate their tradition in new cultural contexts.

Find A Convergent Model of Renewal through Indie Bookshops, Wipf and Stock, Amazon and Powell’s Books.

Quaker Studies: An Overview: The Current State of the Field Authors: C. Wess Daniels, Robynne Rogers Healey and Jon R. Kershner

The first is a book co-authored with two other Quaker scholars, Jon Kershner and Robynne Rogers Healey. The three of us are associate editors on a 6 year project through Brill Publishing on Quaker Studies. We are working with editors Stephen Angell and Pink Dandelion on this this series, which is going to be quite amazing with some new and emerging Quaker scholars in the mix. I’m very excited about it. This initial book is an introduction to the series. Robynne, Jon, and I each introduce a pretty comprehensive look at the work within Quaker studies up until now in each of our respective areas: history, theology, and sociology.

Here is a link to the publisher’s page.

Spirit Rising: Young Quaker Voices Co-Editor / Contributor

Spirit Rising: Young Quaker Voices celebrates, critiques, questions, and reflects on the Quaker faith experience. Writing and visual art by teenage and young adult Quakers from around the world and across the theological and cultural spectrum of the Religious Society of Friends give readers a window on the spiritual riches and witness these Friends offer. The contributors in this volume challenge and inspire, as they witness to and celebrate Quakerism as it has been, as it is, and as it could yet be. The voices here come together in a symphony, cacophonous but also deeply resonant. Listen and you will hear that their Spirit – here called by many names – is undeniably rising. (Quaker Press of FGC 2010 356 PP. Paper)

Other Books I have contributed to

We Cry Justice Edited by Rev. Dr. Liz Theoharis

From Genesis to Revelation, the Bible proclaims justice and abundance for the poor. Yet these powerful passages about poverty are frequently overlooked and misinterpreted.Enter the Poor People’s Campaign, a movement against racism, poverty, ecological devastation, militarism, and religious nationalism. In We Cry Justice, Liz Theoharis, co-chair of the campaign, is joined by pastors, community organizers, scholars, low-wage workers, lay leaders, and people in poverty to interpret sacred stories about the poor seeking healing, equity, and freedom. In a world roiled by poverty and injustice, Scripture still speaks.By Liz Theoharis (Editor), William J. Barber II (Foreword by), Aaron Scott (Contributor), Adam Barnes (Contributor), Charon Hribar (Contributor), Ciara Taylor (Contributor), Claire Chadwick (Contributor), Clinton Wright (Contributor), Colleen Wessel-McCoy (Contributor), Dan Jones (Contributor), Erica Williams (Contributor), Tejai Beulah (Contributor), Jessica Chadwick Williams (Contributor), Letiah Frasier (Contributor), Sarah Monroe (Contributor), Savina J. Martin (Contributor), Solita Alexander Riley (Contributor), Tonny Algood (Contributor), Wess Daniels (Contributor), Keith M Bullard II (Contributor), and so many more.

Learn more and order at the Kairos Center or wherever you buy your books.

We Cry Justice: Reading the Bible with the Poor People’s Campaign Fall 2021

Convergent Friends: Renewal, Hybridity and Dialogue in 21st Century Quakerism by C. Wess Daniels and Greg Woods in The Cambridge Companion to Quakerism Edited by Stephen W. Angell & Pink Dandelion

Greg Woods and I co-wrote a chapter on Convergent Friends for this edited volume of the Cambridge Companion to Quakerism. This chapter is, in my opinion, the best most clearly outlined history and contemporary description of convergent Friends. It reaches back to the 1800s and looks at some of the key threads that lead into what we now call “convergent Friends.” And it also offers three case studies on convergent Friends: Freedom Friends church in Salem, Oregon, Convergent Friends Worship Group in the Portland Metropolitan area, and Quaker Voluntary Service. I loved writing and working on this chapter and I loved working on it with Greg Woods, who is a Quaker leader, theologian, and scholar in his own right. Link to Amazon’s page

An Inner Strength: “Holding the Tension in Quaker Leadership“

“The Society of Friends has never had many members, but it is not the number that matters. What counts more is their inner strength and their deeds.” -Gunnar Jahn, chairman of the Nobel Committee in 1947, What is this inner strength? How does it help shape such effective leaders and organizations? This collection of essays from contemporary American Quaker leaders is a wealth of personal reflections on these questions. For study groups and newcomers to Quakerism, each section includes an introduction and queries for deeper exploration of listening, discernment, and action as led by the Spirit. Contributors include: Shan Cretin AFSC, Robin Mohr FWCC, Joe Volk FCNL. Western Friend 2013 145 PP. Paper Edited by Kathy Hyzy

Historical Dictionary of the Friends (Quakers) Contributed Articles: Convergent Friends, Freedom Friends Church

The modern reputation of Friends in the United States and Europe is grounded in the relief work they have conducted in the presence and aftermath of war. Friends (also known as Quakers) have coordinated the feeding and evacuation of children from war zones around the world. They have helped displaced persons without regard to politics. They have engaged in the relief of suffering in places as far-flung as Ireland, France, Germany, Ethiopia, Egypt, China, and India. Their work was acknowledged with the award of the Nobel Peace Prize in 1947 to the American Friends Service Committee (AFSC) and the Friends Service Council of Great Britain. More often, however, Quakers live, worship, and work quietly, without seeking public attention for themselves. Now, the Friends are a truly worldwide body and are recognized by their Christ-centered message of integrity and simplicity, as well as their nonviolent stance and affirmation of the belief that all people—women as well as men—may be called to the ministry.

Writing Cheerfully, “The Boundaries of Convergent Friends”

This book brings to print the online conversation that has been mending our historical schisms and pointing to who we are as the Religious Society of Friends. If you’re ready to have your stereotypes shattered about who the “real” Quakers are, then read what these 32 Friends from across the Quaker branches have discovered for themselves. Topics include “Worship and Ministry,” “That of God,” “Reclaiming and Re-examining our Traditions,” “Convergent Friends,” and “Openings and Personal Story.” “Liz Oppenheimer has compiled some of the best of Quaker blogs in a more traditional publishing format.” – Brent Bill (Elizabeth Oppenheimer 2009 273 PP. Paper)


Email: danielscw[at]guilford[dot]edu Mastodon: Blog: Twitter: @cwdaniels