‘Dance Party’ Reflections – Two Months Later

Three months ago I traveled to the Sierra Friends Center in California to take a break from the spotlight… I had been traveling in the ministry and performing all over Philadelphia Yearly Meeting for two months.  It was my intention to get some rest and do some discernment about my next steps, including some experimentation with internet outreach.

While on tour in PYM the previous April, I had arranged for a short filming session for what was to be my first music video, set to my most blatantly Quakerism-oriented song, “Friend Speaks My Mind”.  Now, four and a half months after that afternoon filming session, filmmaker Ben Schilling sent the final edit.  Great… we released it on youtube, hoping it would get a bit more attention than the videos already posted, all wavering around 100 views.

I returned from camping with my brother and his family the next day to find the video had 1,500 views overnight.  In a week it would have 8,000.  I had an inbox full of emails from all over the United States and England – from all sorts of folks… Friends missing Pendle Hill and joyful to see it depicted, other artists wanting to introduce themselves, old f/Friends who I hadn’t connected with in years.  One email was from a Pee Wee Herman-esque talk show host in Italy…

Read On


7 Responses to “‘Dance Party’ Reflections – Two Months Later”

  1. Jon, as one who found you, your poetry & music through the viral experience, I’m pleased you have made peace with the varied reactions from your video.
    I’ve never felt the draw of organized religion and focus myself upon the Golden Rule, believing in Tolerance and the many paths up the Mountain. I believe and act with Good Works. In my life and through my ranch I work respectfully hand in hand with Mother Nature, whom I see as a living higher power, not personal per se, but my guide and Light. I see my responsibility and duty very clearly.
    You so inspired me to look for those that might welcome me that I searched for a FGC Meeting, but alas, I live in far too a remote area. Yes, I was searching for universalists but there just aren’t any Quakers seemingly near me. So I’m slowly working through the words and video you have offered up through the internet and I am inspired.
    Keep up the good work, my friend. As always, with alacrity, Titus

    • Jon Watts Says:


      A beautiful reply, thank you. It is indeed very helpful for making peace that there are those who are pleased when I do. :)

      For your seeking of universalist Quakers, I am not very familiar with Intermountain Yearly Meeting, but I know that they serve your region: http://www.imym.org/

      And Friends General Conference is in Ohio this year and Iowa the next! http://www.fgcquaker.org

      And, as you have found, Quakers are moving onto the internet rapidly (for Quakers), the central resource currently being http://www.quakerquaker.org

      peace and joy!

  2. Dear Jon:
    More than one young person that I’ve sent your video to has responded something to the effect of “I found out that I am a Quaker in my heart.”
    As someone who spent years seeking and finally finding that I was a Friend, I was excited to receive that response. What it says to me is that your observations that Quakers will need to respond to this new era of internet and technology is absolutely correct, and if we are poised to meet people there, technology could be a useful tool in our attempts at advancement and outreach. Your video is one such tool.
    The video also prompted me to explore more of your music. Thanks so much for your contribution!
    Linda Wilk

  3. Jon,

    You have an important ministry in you, and I love you for all your effort to bring it out.

    I wonder who is helping you? Who is supporting you? Who is holding you accountable and helping you make decisions around how you share this ministry? Do you have that support committee that you mention in this post? If not, what are the obstacles to its formation?

    I know it is hard to gather those people sometimes (I’ve been trying for years), and I am curious what you think the Quaker community could do to better support people, such as yourself, who have a powerful witness. Beyond what you have learned (and articulated beautifully here), I think Quaker communities have a lot to learn from the response to your video. How can our communities better serve to provide the proper container? What does that container look like to you?

    Faithfully yours,

  4. Heather W Says:

    Saw the vid… And I would say there is nothing perplexing to me at all in the line, “I’m not a christian but I’m a Quaker.” People can make of that line what they will, but for me it was entirely wholesome.

    The line that gave me a jolt was about Jesus not being your savior. It’s honest, and I would not ask you to blunt the honesty of that. However, I would invite you to meditate on this: Is Jesus asking you to let Him be your Savior? Do you need a Savior? If you do, is Jesus not the right guy for the job?

    However, whatever you choose to do on this journey regarding Jesus’s role as Saviour or non-Saviour in your life, you can keep the antichristian part…I rather like it. :)

  5. James Friel Says:

    Hello Jon,
    Yesterday at meeting (Wilmington DE friends) I learned that you will be coming to our Concord Quartely meeting held at Wilmington in January. I am very excited about this and look forward to your performance.

  6. Jon Watts Says:

    Comments closed here, but still open on THE ORIGINAL POST.

Comments are closed.

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