Advices and Queries

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Advices and Queries     

Friends do not have a creed but we do have Advices, based on the spiritual wisdom gleaned over the years.  We also have a set of spiritual Queries which help us individually and as communities to consider our spiritual condition.  The following are the draft General Advices and Queries from our new book of Faith and Practice in New England, which is currently being created. 

ADVICES for individuals and meeting communities

 Our most compelling message is that God is active among us, available to transform,

guide, comfort, and minister to each one of us directly.

 

Make a quiet place in your daily life for communion with God. Pray for those who are

near to you as well as those who are distant. Worship as often as you can.

 

Read the Bible, the writings of Friends, and all writings which reveal the ways of God.

 

Appreciate that doubt and questioning can also lead to spiritual growth and to a greater

awareness of the Light that is available to us all.

 

Ground your spiritual life in your own experience of the Divine, refraining from

professing what you do not possess.

 

Let your faith free you from crippling fears so that you may live adventurously, in holy

obedience.

 

Let your life speak.

 

Remember that the Inner Light does not lead us to do that which is right in our own

eyes, but that which is right in God’s eyes.

 

Be aware of the Spirit at work in the ordinary activities and experience of your daily

life. There is inspiration to be found all around us, in the natural world, in the sciences

and arts, in our work and friendships, in our sorrows as well as in our joys.

 

Be open to and alert for how the Spirit may be speaking to you in fresh ways, leading

you in new directions. Discern whether your service is inspired and led by the Spirit.

Do not take on tasks beyond your strength or capabilities or ones that properly belong

to someone else.

 

Test your leadings with your faith community. Look for the truth that comes from the

gathered meeting.

 

Be alert to how “way opens.” It may be revealed through a door closing.

 

 

Seek to know those Friends whose theology and practice of Quakerism are different

from your own.

 

Learn about others’ experiences of the Light. Take opportunities to enter into prayer

and work with the wider community of faith. No one human being or group has the full

measure of the Light.

 

Find ways to articulate your faith so that it may be shared with others.

 

Let your life be so joyful and Spirit-led that other people will seek to know more about

your source of spiritual strength. In a world filled with fear, violence, poverty, and pain,

the testimonies and practices of Friends may be both a balm for those harmed by the

ways of the world, and a model for seeking right relationship with one another and all

of creation.

 

Let us be grateful for all that we have, neither reveling in our own gifts nor coveting those of others. Your time, talents, energy, money, material goods and other resources are not ends in themselves. They are God’s gifts to be used and shared according to the Light you are given. Share them with others; use them with humility, courtesy, and affection.

 

Guard against contentiousness and love of power.

 

 

Take heed, dear Friends, to the promptings of love and truth in your hearts. Seek to live

in affection as true Friends in your meetings, in your families, in all your dealing with

others, and in your relationship with outward society. The power of God is not used to

compel us to Truth; therefore, let us renounce for ourselves the power of any person

over any other and, compelling no one, seek to lead others to Truth through love. Let us

teach by being ourselves teachable.

 

Remember that love is a gift of the Divine Spirit, not simply a human emotion. As

imperfect human beings it is not always possible to feel loving toward one another, but

by opening to the Light Within, we can receive and give love beyond our human

abilities.

 

Attend to what love requires of you.

 

QUERIES for individuals and meeting communities

 

 What is your understanding of the Divine and how it works in you?

 

 How does it feel to “live from the Center”?

 

 What does it mean to listen to God?

 

 With what emotion do you yield to God’s guidance?

 

To whom or to what do you feel accountable?

 

What happens when you feel unfaithful?

 

What canst thou say?

 

 Are you aware of “that of God” in you and in all others?

 

 Do you seek to understand where a person’s words come from when those words are strange or disturbing to you? Do you listen patiently and seek the truth that other people’s thoughts may contain for you? As you learn from others, are you willing to share with them what you in turn have learned?

 

Do you make a practice of turning to the Inner Light for guidance, remembering that living in the Spirit is a process of discernment?

 

Which parts of your life is God’s Truth seeking to illuminate?

 

Do you limit God in the ways you listen and the places you seek?

 

Are you teachable?

 

How do you interpret your faith in light of the Religious Society of Friends’ Christian heritage?

 

 Does Jesus’ relationship with God challenge and inspire you?

 

Do you look for opportunities to deepen your understanding of the history and testimonies of the Religious Society of Friends? Do you inform yourself about the diversity of Friends’ theology and practice? Do you recognize that although the space within Quakerism is graciously large, it also has legitimate boundaries?

 

 What is your understanding of our purpose as a Religious Society?

 

Do you seek “that of God” in Friends whose theology and practice of Quakerism is different fromyour own?

 

What is the relationship of your personal understanding of truth to the corporate truth of your faith community?

 

 How do prevailing cultural values affect your life?

 

Do your actions reflect your beliefs? What is your life saying to others?

 

When pressure is brought upon you to lower your standard of integrity, how do you resist it?

 

Does your sense of faithfulness include keeping your commitments to yourself and to other people?

 

What are the tasks that seem important to your sense of who you are and who God is calling you to be? Have you been embracing or avoiding them?

 

Do you regard your time, talents, energy, money, material possessions, and other resources as gifts from God, to be held in trust and shared according to the Light you are given? How do you witness to this conviction in your life?

 

How do you distinguish between the leadings of the Divine and the pressures of the needy?

 

Have you learned to distinguish inspiration from impulse, insight from temptation, patience from laziness?

 

Are you ready to hear any concern God may lay on you, large or small? Are you ready to rest if God asks it of you?

 

Do you maintain an appropriate balance among work, service, worship, family, and recreation?

 

What does love require of you?

 

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