Friends General Conference

Together we nurture the spiritual vitality of Friends

Being a Modern Prophet

Workshop Number: 
Gail Thomas
Who may register?: 
Open to All
Experiential Activities: 
only full time attenders (participants should attend all week)

The prophet Micah declares that God requires from us justice, kindness and humility, qualities needed in current times. Listening to Biblical and Quaker prophets, we will help one another discern what God's voice within us is calling us to.

Workshop Description

Prophets in the Bible claim to speak for God, recalling us to life, promising retribution (that is to say natural consequences) for not choosing life in the Spirit.  Now, as then, these “consequences" include war, rebellion, displaced populations, income disparity and destruction of the earth -spent soil, desert expansion, foul air and water.

Jesus expanded God’s call to all the nations. By claiming to be the way, the truth and the life, Jesus tried to show by example how to live in God's Kingdom now and, therefore (for the purposes of this workshop) will be considered a prophet.  

The Biblical prophets like early Quakers who took up the prophetic mantle call us back to life and offer hope.  As George Fox said in an early letter to Friends: “The peacemaker has the kingdom and is in it and has dominion over the peace-breaker, to calm him in the power of God.”  Fox goes on to say – I’ve paraphrased-let waves break over our heads, we can stand fast in the light. To me this means we can speak our truth in the midst of the chaos; we can be God’s voice recalling those “peace breakers" to “calmness”- the still center where they too can see the consequences of their choices and hear that small voice. 

 I see this workshop as an opportunity to find inspiration and strength by listening to prophets both old and new while seeking that same voice within ourselves.  I expect to use the week as follows:

Monday-After worship, intros and a community building exercise, we will consider what a prophet is.  Quotations will be provided and, maybe, some poems, then the 2nd half we will explore that still small voice within us and how we pay attention.  I expect to end each morning session worship sharing with queries to keep this question before us as we look at that voice activating Biblical and Quaker prophets- and us! 

Tuesaday-after the half hour of worship which begins each session- in the 1st half we will consider the Prohphets of the Hebrew Scriptures.  What are they saying? Where is their authority? What resonates with us? What challenges us?  The 2nd half we will consider Jesus as a prophet -this will be a real challenge to me who has offered 5 and 6 day workshops at FGC on Jesus, but I feel he needs including. Suggestion for advanced reading: William Taber, "The Prophetic Stream," PHP 256.

Wednesday we will look at early Friends.  Here Doug Gywn's Gwyn's book The Call to Radical Faithfulness:Covenant in Quaker Experience will help me. 

Thursday we will look at modern Quakers.  I expect to lean on Marcelle Martin's Our Life Is Love:The Quaker Spiritual Journey, as each chapter looks at early Friends then finds current Friends acting in the same Spirit. Revising this on the Martin Luther King weekend, I see King as a modern prophet also.

Friday is always a challenge as I try to allow Spirit to guide me, so things change; but I have recently had a positive experience in a workshop on leadings where the leader put us in small clearness committees. I led a similar workshop at our Southern California Fall Fellowship. I invision each person having time within a clearness group to test what seems to be his or her way forward having spent the week going deep and listening for that prophetic voice within. 


Leader Experience

I am still basking in my evaluation from last year's FGC workshop on the Psalms-it unfolded in miraculous ways.  I feel my years giving workshops have led me to trust Spirit will guide me if I pay attention.