In the Quaker world I inhabit, we talk a lot about Advices and Queries. These short statements and questions focus our attention on topics like Equality, Community, Death and Old Age, Integrity, and Diversity. Quakers in different places use different language and emphasize different points. Some Quakers refer to God and Jesus, while others talk about the Divine or leave off God talk all together.
I have been enjoying the Quaker Advices and Queries iPhone app as I click on it first thing every morning when I wake up (instead of immediately checking my emails which is such an awful jolt to my delicate system and often hurls me into a dreadful mood or gets me working in my head prematurely.)
How Quakers talk about the Environment gets covered by the app, and in spending the past two weeks sitting with these, I appreciate how different Quakers in different parts of the world raise a diversity of considerations. Below are some of these Environmental Queries and the regional/national Quaker groups that published them. Which resonate with you?
Do we endeavor to live in harmony with nature? Are we careful in our stewardship of the world’s irreplaceable resources? -Great Plains Yearly Meeting, Advices and Queries, Stewardship
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
Do we support measures to avoid pollution of air and water? Do we support measures to establish the conservation and right use of natural resources? -New York Yearly Meeting, query number 10
Are we concerned that humanity’s increasing power over nature should not be used irresponsibly, but with the reverence for life and with a sense of the splendor of God’s continuing creation? -Great Plains Yearly Meeting, Advices and Queries, Stewardship
All life is interrelated. Each individual plant and animal has its own needs, and is important to others. Many species in Australia and worldwide are now extinct and many more are endangered. Do you treat all life with respect, recognizing a particular obligation to those animals we breed and maintain for our own use and enjoyment? In order to secure the survival of all, including ourselves, are you prepared to change your ideas about who you are in relation to your environment and every living thing in it? -Australia Yearly Meeting, Advices and Queries, number 44
In what ways do I express gratitude for the wondrous expressions of life on Earth? Do I consider the damage I might do to the Earth’s vulnerable systems in choices I make of what I do, what I buy, and how I spend my time? -Pacific Yearly Meeting, Advices and Queries, Harmony with Creation, Queries for Individuals
We do not own the world, and its riches are not ours to dispose of at will. Show a loving consideration for all creatures, and seek to maintain the beauty and variety of the world. Work to ensure that our increasing power over nature is used responsibly, with reverence for life. Rejoice in the splendour of God’s continuing creation. -Great Plains Yearly Meeting, Advices and Queries, Stewardship
We need to respect, revere and cooperate with other life systems on our planet. The earth’s diverse riches are not ours to exploit. Seek reverence for life and a sense of wonder at God’s continuing presence in all of creation. Do you work to conserve the earth’s beauty and resources, both now and in the future, for the many people who depend on this planet and the many other species that share it? -Aotearoa/New Zealand Yearly Meeting, Advices and Queries, E14
Be aware of the influence humans have on the health and viability of life on earth. Call attention to what fosters or harms Earth’s exquisite beauty, balances and interdependencies. Guided by Spirit, work to translate this understanding into ways of living that reflect our responsibility to one another, to the greater community of life, and to future generations. -Pacific Yearly Meeting, Advices and Queries, Harmony with Creation, Advices
As a Christian steward, do you treat the earth with respect and with a sense of God’s splendor in creation, guarding it against abuse by greed, misapplied technology, or your own carelessness? -Northwest Yearly Meeting, Query 19