Wednesday, April 27, 2016

"Can you be a Quaker and a misanthrope?"

I agree with Albert Einstein’s great belief in the power of asking good questions! Questions that are thought-provoking, spark curiosity or start great conversations. 

The Society of Friends has had a long history of making use of queries. A query is a question or series of questions used for reflection.  Queries are can be read aloud at the start of a meeting for silent worship (we do that once or twice a month) and sometimes during business meetings. They were at the heart of a worship sharing session we recently held. 

Here are some of the ways our Meeting has asked questions.

A display on our board poses a set of questions for a Quakerism 101 discussion:  
Can I wear polish on my toenails?  
Do you have to be a pacifist to be a Quaker?
What is a “popcorn meeting”?

During Meeting for Worship, my friend Suzy shared a question that she received in the mail recently:
You are a Quaker.  Can you tell me what that means in 60 seconds or less?

We've also had a worship sharing recently, where we shared three questions:
Do you consider yourself a newer or seasoned attender at Meeting, or somewhere in between?
What excites you about being at Meeting today?
How has Meeting changed your outlook or world view -- and/or how do you hope it will?

The person who breaks Meeting for Worship offers to be available in the meeting room for a while if anyone wants to bring them a question.  That's how I got that question:
Can I be a Quaker and a misanthrope?

How would you answer?  I can tell you, it sparked an interesting conversation about our planet and the effects of human greed on it.