Introducing the Weekly Query

In my branch of the Quaker tradition, there are no set statements of belief, no precepts. In their place, Friends over the years have worked out queries. The queries are sharp, probing questions, not intended to be easily answered, and never intended to be answered in a rote fashion. They are intended to provoke thought. Nor are there any “right” answers, since the questions are often deeply personal–and the answers for any individual or group may change over time. They are often asked in groups, organized thematically. Answering them can be a spiritual discipline, and in theory the introspection leads to action.

Consider the following queries, out of many, on equality:

Do we avoid being drawn into violent reactions against those who are destructive of human dignity? Do we reach out to the violator as well as the violated with courage and love?

In short, the queries are tough.

I’m embarking on a new series for the Generous Grasp: the Weekly Query. While I may occasionally draw on classic Quaker queries, mostly they’ll be hard questions I’ve thought of or had to face myself. You can respond to the queries, but bear in mind that if you have an instant answer, you may wish to think again.

Moreover this series will always give you (and me) a reason to come to the blog on a regular basis, something which I feel I’ve lacked in my haphazard postings.

As the queries reflect long-running problems and processes in our lives, I may repost ones from time to time. The terms “you,” “we,” “yours,” and “our” may be used indiscriminately throughout. Interpret them as you choose.

Let us therefore begin.

Are we aware that we speak through inaction as well as action?

(Taken from the North Pacific Yearly Meeting Book of Faith and Practice)

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4 thoughts on “Introducing the Weekly Query

  1. May you get some thought-provoking responses.

    I’m afraid I can’t really answer your first querey, though. I try to be aware, but when I’m not I’m pretty sure I’m unaware of my unawareness.

    I swear, I’m not being flippant or sarcastic. I say the same about my prejudices, which have been on my mind a lot lately: when I think about my prejudices, I feel I can be pretty non-prejudiced. But I’m not really aware of it when I slip away from that, until I’ve thought or said or written something stupid.

    I strive to be aware that inaction is extremely powerful, especially to a teacher. Any teacher knows what I mean. Knowing what to ignore and what to address will shape your classroom faster than any other single force.

    You also can’t have action without inaction occuring in another direction/way. Every action we take, every decision we make, eliminates some other possible decision for that moment. So to make the most of our actions, we must be aware of the consequences of both them and our chosen inactions.

  2. Pingback: The Weekly Query #3 « The Generous Grasp

  3. Pingback: The Weekly Query #4 « The Generous Grasp

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