Welcome to QIF’s new website and this week’s Clerk’s Post—hopefully the first of many.
In my role as Clerk of Quaker Institute for the Future I have the regular pleasure of taking part in dialogues as well as receiving news and articles that might be of wider interest to folks. So I have decided to start a Clerk’s Post on a regular basis to share these. I will also take the liberty of sharing personal reflections that I hope will be of interest and will inspire some comments and further dialogue.
As for news about QIF activities, one key thing to note is that we are looking forward to another weeklong Summer Research Seminar that will run online from August 16th through the 20th. Last year’s SRS online was a remarkably successful experience in “meeting for worship for the conduct of research,” and we are looking forward to continuing our experiment with this format.
For Young Friends, we are offering a limited number of $300 stipends to support work on spirit-led research they would like to present at this year’s SRS. For information about the stipends and for registering for the event, contact Geoff Garver at firstname.lastname@example.org.
As for reflections . . . in light of the shift to so much online activity this last year, I would like to share some thoughts on starting what we might call a “Slow Zoom” movement.
The piling up of online interactions can be overwhelming, especially for people who value the personal and treasure experiences of shared Presence that can nurture the spirit and provide leadings for guiding our lives in the Light of Love. And yet, the opportunity for sharing and learning with people from all around the world that have opened up in this last year is something we do not want to lose.
In teaching classes and leading workshops online, many of us have been seeking to consciously frame Zoom and other online sessions with silence, with song, with poetry, with queries, with testimonies, with jokes, with chat about our personal lives, and, above all, with the intention to be Present with each other. What we need, in a phrase, is, a “Slow Zoom” movement.
Slow Zoom may sound like a contradiction in terms. But think of it like the Slow Food movement that came out of Italy and has spread around the world. Slow Food involves becoming mindful when we eat; eating in communion with others; preparing our food and growing it collaboratively; advancing peace and justice and sustainability. By analogy, Slow Zoom invites us to become more mindful of the ways in which we speed news and views and images to each other through media that are zooming at us and through us in ever faster and less digestible ways.
Slow Zoom invites us to breathe deeply and consciously, as Thich Nhat Hanh would advise. We can Zoom along in communion with each other, not at the pace of an imaginary missile or an electric missive, but at the pace of the Presence that is with us, always by our side, ever near and close as our own breath, inspiring us with the very air of Life and the warmth of Love.
At a number of spirit-led meetings on line in the last year, I have been led to share a little song that expresses this idea. You can give the song a listen here:
Here are the lyrics:
I’m gonna slow right down, so I can get there sooner.
I’m gonna slow right down, so I can get there, today.
I’m gonna slow right down, maybe even come to a full stop.
Maybe if I come to a full stop, I’m gonna get there, right away!
I hope whether you are online or offline during the coming weeks that you have a life full of slow zooming that let’s you get where you are going with as little ado as necessary. And I hope where you are going is full of Light.
Yours in common stewardship,