Friends General Conference

Together we nurture the spiritual vitality of Friends

(FULL) Life Lessons From a Bad Quaker: For Those Bad at Being Good

"Walking Cheerfully" by Sally Wern Comport
Summary
Workshop Number: 
20
Leaders: 
J. Brent Bill
Who may register?: 
Open to All
Worship/Worship-Sharing: 
10%
Lecture: 
20%
Discussion: 
35%
Experiential Activities: 
35%
half gathering attenders welcome
First half (Monday-Wednesday)
Second half (Wednesday/Thursday-Friday)

A light-hearted, but serious, workshop for anyone who is bad at being good.

In this workshop, attendees will participate in a joyful, interactive exploration of the testimonies. With whimsy, humor, and wisdom, we’ll explore how to live a life that is simple yet satisfying, peaceful yet strong. 

Workshop Description

A light-hearted, but serious, workshop for anyone who is bad at being good.

 On quick observation, Quaker faith and practice emphasizes peace, solitude, and simplicity—qualities that are attractive and compelling to all Friends. Yet living a life of Friendly faith is not as simple as it may look. In fact, it’s often characterized more by the stumbles than the grace.

 “When someone asks me what kind of Quaker I am,” says J. Brent Bill, “I say I’m a bad one. I’ve got the belief part down pretty well, I think. It’s in the practice of my belief in everyday life where I often miss the mark.” In our Life Lessons from a Bad Quaker workshop, based on his book by the same title, a self-professed non-expert on faith invites attendees to participate in a joyful, interactive exploration of the testimonies —perfection not required. With whimsy, humor, and wisdom, we’ll explore how to put faith into practice to achieve a life that is soulfully still yet active, simple yet satisfying, peaceful yet strong. 

Topics we'll plan to cover include:

“Born to be Mild: Confessions of a Bad Quaker”

“Just Be Quiet: Stillness in a Noisy World”

“The World at War: Forget the MidEast. How Do I Get Along with My Family, Coworkers, Annoying Neighbors, and People Who Voted For the Wrong Candidate?”

“To Buy or Not to Buy: Living Simply When I’d Really Like a New Mercedes. Or Prius, Even!”

“Red and Yellow Black and White, They are Precious in His Sight: Ummm, Perhaps my Vision Needs Checked”

“Truth be Told: Integrity in an often Duplicitous World”

“God’s Green Earth: The Call to Care for Creation”

“Walking Cheerfully: A Little Levity Never Hurt Anybody. Well, Except for that one Guy…”

 For anyone who is bad at being good, this is an invitation to a pilgrimage toward a more meaningful and satisfying life . . . one step—or stumble—at a time.

Each topic will begin feature a story by me, Quaker quotations, "Stumbles in Bad Quaker History," queries, small group interactions, worship sharing, discussion, and so on.

Leader Experience

Brent Bill is a life-long Quaker, recorded minister, retreat leader, and author of "Life Lessons from a Bad Quaker" (and numerous other books). He has been leading workshops for more than forty years -- at Quaker retreat centers (Woolman Hill, Powell House, Pendle Hill, and Quaker Center, for example), in local meetings, at yearly meetings, at non-Quaker events, at conferences, etc.

Of this particular workshop, Cincinnati Friends Meeting said, “He shared his own experiences of being a bad Quaker as he led us in small groups that were filled with laughter, but with time for serious contemplation as well. It gave us time to not only get to know each other better by answering the queries he presented us, but it allowed us to be more open and willing to not take ourselves too seriously.”