Part II. The Queries
The Queries are a device used within the Society of Friends for prompting both corporate and individual self-examination. They have varied through time and from Yearly Meeting to Yearly Meeting, reflecting current regional insights as to the best way for Meetings and individual Friends to live their spiritual and temporal lives. It is the practice in most Monthly Meetings to read and consider a query at each meeting for business. We urge consideration of these queries by all Friends.
Following each Query, one or more references relevant to that Query are given. Friends may wish to use selections from these passages, or others, to read as Advices with the Queries.
B. Queries with References for Advices
1. Meetings for Worship
Are meetings for worship held in expectant waiting for Divine guidance? Are Friends encouraged to share spiritual insights? Are special gifts of ministry recognized and encouraged?
Do you come to meeting with heart and mind prepared? Are you careful not to disturb the spirit of the meeting by late arrival or in other ways?
(See: Meeting for Worship; Vocal Ministry)
2. Meetings for Business
Are meetings for business held in a spirit of worship, understanding and forbearance? When direction seems lacking, is this seen as a challenge to a more prayerful search for truth? Do we humbly set aside our own preconceived notions as to proper action, seeking instead Divine guidance as to the right course? Is the Meeting aware that it speaks not only through its actions but also through its failure to act?
Do you participate regularly in meetings for business, discharge faithfully your committee responsibilities, and assume your share of financial support of the Meeting?
(See: Principles of Organization and Conduct of Business; Decision Making in Friends Meetings)
3. The Meeting Community
Are love and harmony within the Meeting community fostered by a spirit of open sharing? Do you endeavor to widen your circle of friendships within the Meeting, seeking to know persons of all ages and at all stages of the spiritual journey? Does the Meeting provide for the spiritual refreshment of all members and attenders? Do Friends provide spiritual and practical care for the elderly, the lonely, and others with special needs?
(See: Statement on Spiritual Unity, 1964; The Meeting as Caring Community; Fellowship and Community)
4. Personal Spiritual Life
Do you make time for meditation, prayer and worship? Do you read the Bible, the writings of Friends, and other inspirational works, seeking new light? Do you regularly seek God's guidance? Are you open to guidance and support and do you give thanks for them? Do you share your spiritual insights with others and willingly receive from them in turn?
(See: Cultivation of the Life of the Spirit; Prayer and Meditation; The Scriptures)
5. Personal Way of Life
Do you live in accordance with your spiritual convictions? Do you seek employment consistent with your beliefs and in service to society? Do you practice simplicity in speech, dress and manner of living, avoiding wasteful consumption? Are you watchful that your possessions do not rule you? Do you strive to be truthful at all times, avoiding judicial oaths?
Do you strive to develop your physical, emotional and mental capacities toward reaching your Divinely given potential? Do you cultivate healthful and moderate habits, avoiding the hazards of drugs, intoxicants, and over-indulgence generally? Do you try to direct such emotions as anger and fear in creative ways?
(See: Early Quaker Testimonies; The Practice of the Life of the Spirit Personal Life)
6. Home and Family
Do you make your home a place of affection where God's presence is felt? Do you practice family prayer? Do you share your deepest beliefs and interests with all in the family? Do you grow together through sharing prosperity and adversity? Can you keep a sense of humor and avoid taking yourself too seriously? Do you establish family standards including the mutual obligations of children and adults?
Are you as children learning to be accountable for your own actions? Do you as parents help your children to grow in independence and responsibility? Do you consider the needs of grandparents and older members of the family circle?
(See: Home Life)
7. Caring for Others
Do you respect that of God in every person? Do you search yourself for and strive to eliminate prejudices such as those related to race, religion, gender, age, sexual orientation and economic condition? In what ways do you accept and appreciate differences among your friends and associates? Do you avoid exploiting or manipulating others to accomplish ends, however worthy?
(See: Prejudice and Discrimination; Those Requiring Special Care)
Do you, as the way opens, share Friends' principles with non-Friends? Do you witness to your Quaker faith by letting your life speak? Do you make non-Friends welcome in your meetings for worship? Do you find ways to encourage their continued attendance?
(See: Fellowship and Community)
9. The Social Order
Do you promote social justice and make your life a testimony to fair dealing? Do you seek to understand and appreciate differing cultures and social values? Do you support fair treatment of all regardless of race, gender, age and other differences? Are you concerned for those in our society who are disadvantaged? Do you take your full share of civic responsibility by voting and giving service? Do you oppose the use of land, labor, technology and capital for human exploitation or in ways destructive to other living things?
(See: Civic Responsibility; Vocational and Financial Decisions; Social Responsibility)
10. The Peace Testimony
Do you endeavor to live "in virtue of that life and power which takes away the occasion of all wars"? Do you work to make your peace testimony a reality in your life and in your world? Do you weigh your day-to-day activities for their effect on peace-keeping, conflict resolution and the elimination of violence? Are you working toward eliminating aggression at all levels, from the personal to the international?
(See: Peace and Non-violence)
Do you provide religious education, including study of the Bible and of Friends' history and practices, in your Meeting? Do you ensure that schools under the care of Friends exemplify Friends' principles? Do you support and strive to improve the public schools?
(See: Education; Science and Religion; The Arts and Religion)
12. The Environment
Are you concerned for responsible use of natural resources and their nurture for future generations? Do you try to avoid wasteful consumption and pollution? Do you seek to preserve the beauty and balance of God's world?