Some (Borrowed) Quaker Queries on Simplicity

Awhile back I visited a nearby Quaker meeting with Robin and Chris while they were in town. It was my first experience in an unprogrammed meeting and I really appreciated my experience there and it got me thinking more about queries. One thing I have always loved about Quaker practice are the use of queries, which I’ve written about plenty before.

The meeting house we visited is a part of Pacific Yearly Meeting and were in the process of going through the Advices and Queries. They had papers with the queries written on them laying on the pews, so I picked one up and carefully read it over during the time of silence.

Reasons Why I Use Queries

A. It is a form, dare I say, of Quaker liturgy which I find to be beautiful and can be used in various ways to worship God.

B. It is narrative based. When I consider, and pray queries, stories are evoked, pictures appear and examples are promoted in our hearts.

C. It is a wonderful way to bring about discipleship because they point us to a Gospel centered lifestyle exemplified in Jesus Christ.

This last reason is why I am publicizing these queries. That little piece of paper with queries written on it made it’s way into my bag. Why not, the note at the top of the page says, “Please save this to be used again,??? and so I took it for its word and stowed it away. I have been using those queries again and again and have been enriched by them.

I was impacted by these spiritually directed questions this past week when I purchased a new/used bike for my commute (more on that new bike later this week).

As I was trying to customize the bike to fit my needs I continued to battle the desire to really trick it out, add some of the really nice (i.e. expensive) parts to it to make it extra sweet. One query keep running through my head though, prompting me to wait and consider the choices I was about to make.

“Do I recognize when I have enough????

See I’ve reflected on that query a few times in my morning prayer time and it came back to me at the most inopportune time! But I took it seriously and considered it. Because of it I changed my mind about some of the things I was going to do because they were beyond what I really needed.

And that’s it, spiritual formation consists in, stopping, reflecting and considering where our lives in Christ fit into the choices we make on a daily basis. This process takes a lifetime and I need all the help I can get. These queries on simplicity aid in this formation and so I wanted to share those with you today.

These are taken directly from this page, visit this page for a few wonderfully reflective quotes on simplicity as well.

Queries on Simplicity

  • Do I center my life in an awareness of God’s presence so that all things take their rightful place?
  • Do I live simply, and promote the right sharing of the world’s bounty?
  • Do I keep my life uncluttered with things and activities, avoiding commitments beyond my strength and light?
  • How do I maintain simplicity, moderation, and honesty in my speech, my manner of living, and my daily work?
  • Do I recognize when I have enough?
  • Is the life of our Meeting so ordered that it helps us to simplify our lives?

For more queries from PYM visit their web-page and click through.

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