"Am I mindful of how my lifestyle and my investments can contribute to the improvement of the human condition, or to the exploitation of others?"- From Philidelphia Yearly Meeting Faith and Practice of the religious Society of Friends
"Do we observe simplicity in our manner of living, sincerity in speech, and modesty in apparel? Do we guard against involving ourselves in temporal affairs to the hindrance of spiritual growth? Are we just in our dealings and careful to fulfill our promises? Do we seek to make our Christian faith a part of our daily work?"- from The Book of Discipline of Ohio yearly Meeting of the Religious Society of friends
Above are examples of an old Quaker Practice known as queries .Queries are just simple questions that an individual or group can look over to ponder the deeper meaning in their lives usually within our books of discipline they are accompanied with advices which are just words from friends to keep in mind some Quakers (including myself) make daily use of Quakers pondering one a day .The tradition of using queries started in 1682 as a means for early Friends to find out what needs each meeting had and what persecution they were facing the originally there were only three simple queries sent out as follows :
What Friends in the ministry, in their respective counties, departed this life since the last yearly meeting?
What Friends imprisoned for their testimony have died in prison since the last yearly meeting?
How the Truth has prospered amongst them since the last yearly meeting, and how Friends are in peace and unity?
Each of these questions provoked a response and united Friends even more as a Society no longer was the faith something just local but wider in it's influence it enabled them to hear about the life of Thomas Elmwood memoralized in this epistle :
He was an early comer to meetings, seldom hindered by weather (though he lived three miles distant) when bodily weakness did not hinder. The monthly meeting was held at his house about forty years, and he always looked very kind and courteous on Friends, when they came there, and took care and notice of the meanest, who came in sincerity."-Upperside Women’s Monthly Meeting, 1714
Queries were powerful than for friends then and they are powerful now not only do I think they are good just for Quakers it is good for all humanity to ask questions and to continue to ask ourselves questions .When I
find a Query such as this one :
Be honest with yourself. What unpalatable truths might you be evading?-from Britain Yearly meeting Faith and Practice
it causes me to seriously think on my life and causes me to ask myself another question :am I lying to myself in some way ? Questions have a great eternal worth we must ourselves witness to this I think we can learn much from a child in the way they ask us a million questions personally I pray to have not only the queries as daily questions for myself but others also .There is also something we should be aware of though the Questions we should be asking in our society in order to make it a better place I think of this question posed by Sojourner Truth in 1851 in regards to women's rights :
"That man over there says that women need to be helped into carriages, and lifted over ditches, and to have the best place everywhere. Nobody ever helps me into carriages, or over mud-puddles, or gives me any best place! And ain't I a woman? Look at me! Look at my arm! I have ploughed and planted, and gathered into barns, and no man could head me! And ain't I a woman? I could work as much and eat as much as a man - when I could get it - and bear the lash as well! And ain't I a woman? I have borne thirteen children, and seen most all sold off to slavery, and when I cried out with my mother's grief, none but Jesus heard me! And ain't I a woman?"
In a world that wanted to box women into one form she asked a question that proved being a woman was a lot more along with sharing some of the bittersweet times of her own life .We should continue to ask questions and be asked questions .In keeping with this Quaker Tradition I will start implementing them into Blog posts for my readers to ponder the message in these reflections .I hope all are able to dig deep into themselves with the Questions posed .
Queries to Ponder :
What Questions do you find are important to ask in life ?
What questions are you not asking yourself that could be vital for your life ?
Do you have a daily question or two you try to ask yourself daily ?
“Learn from yesterday, live for today, hope for tomorrow. The important thing is to not stop questioning.”-Albert Einstein