Church History in Four Minutes & Quaker Dance Party

It isn’t perfect, but it’s fun: This church produced the video below; the story is told here and here. HT: Liturgy NZ

And I discovered video below via Martin Kelley‘s Convergent Friends Ning network (Ning networks are awesome!); Jon Watts is a spoken word artist and multipreneur; his music reminds me of Eminem or maybe Aesop Rock, except that he’s a Quaker rapping about the Inner Light illuminating the world’s darkness. He’s also created a wicked-cool George Fox Friend Speaks My Mind t-shirt that could totally go head-to-head with the John Calvin Is My Homeboy shirt – if only he’d make it in sizes that men with more girth could wear. Anyway, this video is fun; many Christians will balk at its chorus line, but I think it’s great for continuing discussion about the tension Dallas Willard names in The Divine Conspiracy between traditional and progressive Christians, the former of whom worship Jesus for what he does, the latter of whom follow him for the example he sets. Taken as a koan, imagine this song as singing one half of this ‘battle rap’ and live into the tension.🙂

23 Responses to “Church History in Four Minutes & Quaker Dance Party”


  1. 1 Elizabeth Chapin November 25, 2009 at 5:45 pm

    Thanks! These videos were a great way for me to start my day as a seminary student at George Fox studying Christian History. I wish I was that creative…

    • 2 Robin Mohr November 25, 2009 at 6:29 pm

      Jon Watts’ video was really controversial within Quaker circles, and I can only imagine it will offend more in the wider world. I recommend reading his blog posts that explain a little more about his perspective. The main thing is that the chorus represents one point on Jon’s spiritual journey, from not knowing or caring about Jesus at all to glimpsing what Jesus could mean to others and to him. It does not speak for all Quakers, or even where Jon is now or will be in the future as his spiritual journey continues.

      I personally like the video. One of the things that makes it funny is to see people responding to the Holy Spirit by dancing in meeting for worship, which is so out of the ordinary that it approaches the absurd. And some of the other lines in the song are just inside jokes that probably only Quakers will get. But the tune is catchy. Amd it is a great opener for discussion. Thanks for passing it along, Mike.

  2. 3 zoecarnate November 25, 2009 at 6:35 pm

    Hi Robin,

    I’ve worshiped periodically with Friends for nearly 10 years now; I’m well aware of the wonderful diversity of your movement, and would not ‘tar’ (or ‘credit’) other Friends with Jon’s insights and/or baggage (again, depending on your point of view!).

    Where’s Jon’s blog, particularly his post(s) discussing the song? I’d love to read.

    And Jon, if you’re reading this, MAKE ME AN XXL ‘FRIEND SPEAKS MY MIND’ T-SHIRT!🙂

  3. 4 Martin Kelley November 25, 2009 at 7:42 pm

    Hi Mike: Jon has a few URLs. His blog is called Quakerpoet and the best starting point is probably his post Dance Party Reflections: Two Months Later.

    Jon grew up in the hothouse of East Coast Liberal Quakers. Youth culture is long on bonding rituals and short on theology. “Quakerism” is taught as its own religion and “I’m a Quaker not a Christian” is pretty much the religious ed line. Jon lucked out by going to one of the few historically-Quaker colleges that still has a significant Quaker identity. I went to a lecture by the head of the Quaker program there a few weeks and wrote about it on my Quakerranter.org blog. That might give your readers a little sense about where this video is coming from. I’ve found that many of the twenty-something Friends are hungrier for more and a lot less Christo-phobic than their parents.

  4. 5 Dan November 27, 2009 at 7:52 pm

    Mike,
    Just want to say that your blog here at zoecarnate is always a joy to read! I love the stuff you share here….THANKS !!!

  5. 6 Vicki January 29, 2010 at 5:16 pm

    Okay, first off, I’m 54, loved the music and video over all. Part of me laughed and thought “hysterical!”🙂 But when I hear “I’m not a Christian, I’m a Quaker” or “Christ is not my Savior”…how am I supposed to feel,respond? Is this part of the inside joke? Is this typical of the way Quakers identify themselves? Cause I don’t know. And that’s the part I don’t get. Personally, I’m not sure we all have an inner light, but I *am* sure we need Christ. And if the lyrics happen to indicate an awareness of the Quaker’s need of Christ as Savior, then what’s the hesitation?

    I’m just saying….🙂

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  1. 1 aldenswan.com » Blog Archive » Church History in 4 minutes Trackback on November 25, 2009 at 9:23 pm
  2. 2 We Didn’t Start the Fire « Walk with me… Trackback on November 26, 2009 at 7:14 pm
  3. 3 Jon Watts – Quaker Poet and Producer » Blog Archive » Mike Morrell Trackback on November 30, 2009 at 7:59 am
  4. 4 Jon Watts – Quaker Spoken Word Poet » Blog Archive » Comments on “Dance Party Erupts” from one of the top Religion/Spirituality Blogs Trackback on December 14, 2009 at 5:37 pm
  5. 5 Jon Watts – Quaker Spoken Word Poet » Blog Archive » Press Trackback on December 24, 2009 at 7:06 am
  6. 6 I think it’s great for continuing discussion about the tension Dallas Willard names in The Divine Conspiracy between traditional and progressive Christians, the former of whom worship Jesus for what… - The Quaker Ranter – The Quaker Ranter Trackback on October 12, 2011 at 11:18 am

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