The Weekly Query 4/16/2012

In honor of the day:

Is it right to pay taxes? Is it worth paying them?
What is your tax money used for? Do you know? If you don’t, what do you imagine it’s used for?
Would you rather pay higher taxes than you do now and get better government services, or pay no taxes at all but have no government services?

The Weekly Query #15

After an accidental hiatus, the tough questions return!

Do we respect children?
Do we listen to them? Should we? All the time?
Do we teach children about practical limits, or do we create those limits by teaching them?
Do we let our children grow up?

The Weekly Query #14

Everyone’s heard about the “death tax” and “death panels.” More people believe in “climate change” than in “global warming.” And it seems like half the debates in this country involve someone saying, “I’m the real victim here.” Framing and labeling thus have enormous power.

Are there labels that cause a knee-jerk emotional reaction for you? How true are those labels?

What words are guaranteed to make you angry? To make you scared? How might those words be used against you?

Labels and framing can provide us with mental shortcuts. What labels would you prefer to stop using, if you could?

There are many big issues and questions swirling in the world today. Who asks those questions? Who decides what those issues will be? What’s in it for them? What’s in it for us?

The Weekly Query #12: Return of the Query

In the Quaker tradition, a query is a tough question or questions that are intended to provoke hard thinking. If it’s a good query, there are no easy answers. Be forewarned that as these queries can touch on difficult subjects, you and others may encounter painful topics. Be aware of this for your own sake and the sake of others. The terms “you,” “we,” “yours,” and “our” may be used indiscriminately throughout. Interpret them as you choose. If you feel moved to respond, go ahead and put your answers (or your beginnings of an answer) in the comments.

What’s your first reaction when you hear the word “Christian”?
What’s your first reaction when you hear “Muslim” or “Islam”?
What’s your first reaction when you hear “Buddhist”?
What does this tell you?

(Prior Weekly Queries can be found by clicking on the relevant tag below this post.)

Weekly Query and Cross-Posting

Friends, I’ve written an article on the state of young Quakers over at Western Friend, the West Coast-region magazine for the Religious Society. It would warm the editor’s heart if more traffic came through, so I’d encourage you to check it out.

Should you be arriving here because you read my article there, welcome! There’s a recap that I hope can serve as an introduction, a few posts down.

And it’s been a while, so here’s a Weekly Query.

“Do I not destroy my enemies if I make them my friends?” — Abraham Lincoln

How do we reach out to those who oppose us, fight us, hate us, and fear us? Can we make them and their ideas welcome in our lives?

What about those people who simply annoy or irritate us? Can we also make them welcome?