Finding the Light Online

Quakerism and the internet

Welcome to the Finding the Light Online home page. For more details of what we're doing, please refer to the long description.

Here is a starting point. Visit the JMU page.

What we did on the first day (Monday, June 30, 1997):

We joined for worship on Kissing Rock on JMU campus.

Inspired by noisy machines, we meditated on the positive and negative aspects of technology. We were reminded of William Penn speaking in front of the Meeting House in the noisy crowd, trusting that he would be heard. We trust that our voices here will be heard by the persons whom God intends.

During the activity period, we explored the internet using indexes, such as Yahoo. Claire Simon found an article called Torture with Good Intentions, a story about a Russian Lesbian who was seeking asylum in the US.

What we did on the second day (Tuesday, July 1, 1997)

The day dawned cloudy and grey. We met for worship on Kissing Rock, just after the groundskeepers finished chainsawing a large tree. In class we started using search engines to look for sites on the internet. Someone found the site for Meher Baba, Avatar of the Age. [If you know who found this, let me know] Here are some of topics we searched for:

Tuesday evening we received e-mail from some Friends who could not attend FGC, but wish us well. The first message came from Bryan Seymour (or maybe someone named Patricia). She invited us to join her in an electronic Meeting for Worship. Many of us will join her on Wednesday (7/2/97) and Thursday (7/3/97). The next letter came from Tom & Sandy Farley.

What we did on the third day (Wednesday, July 2, 1997)

The rain from Tuesday left a few puddles on Kissing Rock, but we managed to have our worship without getting too wet. Tom Wolfe shared that he found a site of Engaged Buddhism or CyberSangha.

We decided to attempt Online Worship Sharing in the Hillside computer lab on Wednesday and Thursday evening at 10 PM Eastern Daylight time. Anyone in the world (!) who reads this is welcome to attend. The worship will be held here.

During the active part of the lesson, we learned about meta-search engines like SavvySearch and Ask Jeeves. Then, we tried some USENET newsgroups and found that soc.religion.quaker had an article by Kirk Wattles on our workshop! After the newsgroups, we met for the "active" worship part of the workshop.

We gathered and settled into silence, and were reminded that the theme of this year's Friends General Conference is:

Be Open · Be Transformed · Be Faithful

...and we agreed to hold this thought in our hearts as we searched the internet for web pages and news groups. We heard that some members of the group consider surfing the internet as "fun" and other members reminded us that, while the meta-search engines were nice, the best search engine, the hyper-meta-search engine is the one we have "between our ears."

Toward the end of the class, we went around the room and every member announced what his or her special area of interest would be. This would be the topic that they would be researching for the remaining two days. Most members had distinct ideas for their topic, but a few members have been ranging far and wide, and may choose to submit a list-of-bookmarks in lieu of a single subject thread.

So, by the middle of the third day, our workshop had attracted attention from many other Friends around the country. This illustrates the speed and distribution of our information. Claire Simon cautions: what we say on this page will be read by people all around the world... we should be very careful about what we say here.

What we did on the fourth day (Thursday, July 3, 1997) can be read about by clicking here.

Leader...Paul W. Shaffer