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Quaker Ranters and QuakerQuaker

When I first extended my exploration of Quakerism from attending Meeting to looking around online, I started with discussion sites - BeliefNet and the QuakerInfo.com forums. They were good sources of information and community, but the format itself - usually questions with a lot of answers - felt great for some topics and not as good for others.

I found Quaker blogs mostly through Google - I'd be looking for a particular topic, stumble on a blog, sit there mesmerized for a while, and move on. Eventually I set up my own blog - I have lots of blogs, it seems - but much of the power of blogging is reading what other people have created, and connecting with those conversations.

One of those blogs was Martin Kelley's Quaker Ranter, which is a good place to challenge myself. The more I've learned about Ranter beliefs, the less I agree with him that We're all Ranters now, but I don't expect he'll change the name of his site to QuakerSeeker anytime soon. (That would sound kind of like a personals forum for Quakers, too, so maybe it's better not to.)

Apart from the great stuff he's written himself, though, Martin assembled a site that deserves celebration: QuakerQuaker. I still frequently visit the simple aggregators, like Planet Quaker and Quaker Blogs, but those operate on a site-by-site selection, while QuakerQuaker highlights individual posts.

QuakerQuaker's approach of multiple contributing reviewers highlighting individual pieces is, so far as I've seen, unique in this space. Those reviewers often have very different perspectives to start with, and they do an excellent job of finding pieces that provoke deep reflection. It works on a couple of different levels for me, both offering highlights of Quaker writings and knitting together a community. Visiting a more varied array of sites brings me to think about things I might not have considered otherwise, and even to join in the conversation.

In a strange way, it even lets me feel more comfortable publishing the kinds of things I do here. By giving people a central but diverse point where they can find all kinds of writings, QuakerQuaker both inspires us to write and lets us know that not everyone writes in the same kind of way.

So thanks - to Martin for building and contributing to QuakerQuaker, and to the contributors who find new and interesting pieces nearly every day!