Today I am hanging out with Quakers at the annual New England Yearly Meeting way up in Vermont. After I became a Quaker Hartford, CT in 2001, I discovered the wonderful and at times quirky world of Quaker Advices and Queries. All over the world wherever Quakers have put together books of Faith and Practice (and Books of Discipline in some traditions) these short statements and questions help focus Friends (aka Quakers) on the topics most meaningful to us.
One of my favorite queries comes out of New Zealand and raises a useful and direct question about the practice of speaking during the worship service. As Quakers, we are welcome to stand up and share a message, but we don’t want this sharing to be a free for all. Reading the following query, I wonder if the writers of it had a particularly person in mind or they were addressing an epidemic of blabbers during the Quaker worship time. From Aotearoa/New Zealand Yearly Meeting, Advices and Queries, B9:
Do you sometimes speak too often, too predictably, or too soon after someone else has spoken?
Recently I discovered an awesome app for my iPhone: Quaker Advices and Queries created by Simon Gray. The description promises that the app provides:
A selection of Advices and Queries from around the Quaker world in one handy place, categorised according to themes. Looking for some inspiring wisdom about children and family? Poke the children and family button! Something to say about diversity, the environment, worship, prayer, or Quaker business? Likewise!
I love that the app includes multiple meetings from around the world: The Advices from the Elders at Balby (1656), Aotearoa/New Zealand, Australia, Baltimore, Britain, Evangelical Friends Church Southwest, Friends of Truth, Great Plains, Ireland, North Carolina (Conservative), New York, Northwest, Ohio (Conservative), Ohio Valley, Pacific, and Rocky Mountain.
I don’t know about you, but when I wake up in the morning, all too often I reach for my phone, check the time, then check email, Facebook, and Twitter. Before my feet touch the ground I am already caught up in a whirlwind of work, social media drama, and news–good, bad, and banal. For the next two weeks though my plan is to turn to the Advices and Queries app instead and clicking on the Environment button. I’ll be sure to share what a find here on the blog.
This is the one I read today:
In our witness for the global environment, are we careful to consider justice and the well-being of the world’s poorest people? Does our way of life threaten the viability of life on Earth?
– Pacific Yearly Meeting, Advices and Queries, Harmony with Creation, Queries for the Meeting
Artwork by Deborah Klein