Wednesday, January 07, 2009

Advices & Queries

An elementary school teacher once told me that I'm a great starter. That was her nice way of saying that I'm not always great at finishing things. Case in point: My attempt to blog through the Beatitudes, which lost steam at about the halfway point (although I reserve the right to pick up where I left off at any time).

Having issued the above (dis)qualifier, I announce my intention to blog through the Advices & Queries of the Yearly Meeting of the Religious Society of Friends (Quakers) in Britain.

The Advices & Queries date back to 1682 when a request went out from the Quaker Yearly Meeting in London. It had only been a few years since Quaker meetings had been organized into Monthly, Quarterly and Yearly. The request was sent to the various Quaker meetings in hopes of gathering a sort of census on who had died, who was in prison (for their faith), what the meetings had been hearing from God and how everyone was getting along. Over the years these queries were expanded and became more specific. They became less about gathering information and more about asking questions to prompt introspection within a meeting or individual. As Quakerism grew into various branches, each Yearly Meeting produced it's own Advices & Queries.

I like the Advices & Queries of the Britain Yearly Meeting and carry them with me in a little booklet that I bought for $2.00. I've found it handy, if I'm stuck in an airport or eating alone at a restaurant, to pull out my little booklet for a moment of reading and reflection. Somewhere along the line, the thought occurred to me that it might be interesting to blog through them.

As of 1994, which I believe is the most recent edition, there are 42 Queries. We'll see how far I get...


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