Monday, November 12, 2007

queries

Tonight in our Sunday night worship group we used one of the queries from Northwest Yearly Meeting's "Faith & Practice" to center and listen to God about. Bruce, who led the group tonight, asked about our experiences with the queries, and as we thought about that most of us realized we don't often use the queries for our own meditation or during group worship experiences. Some of us had read our own Yearly Meeting's queries, some of us had experienced using official queries at various Friends gatherings, and some of us have made up our own queries for leading worship experiences, but mostly we haven't used the "official" queries very often.

That's interesting, because the queries are basically our way of expressing our theology: we don't have a creed, but we use the queries to help us think about not just what we believe but whether we are living out our beliefs.

I noticed tonight that the queries were probably the Quaker version of catechism: whereas in Catholic and other churches' catechisms people memorize rote responses to specific doctrinal questions, Quakers ask open-ended questions whose responses should come out of intensely personal experiences of the Divine. I appreciate this approach immensely! It leaves room for so much more dialogue and spiritual growth. It reminded me why I have an aversion to creeds or credal "statements of faith."

It was good to use a query to center us and to share about tonight. We're going to keep doing that at least for a few more weeks with our Sunday night worship group. Anyone in the area is welcome to join us!

2 comments:

Joy said...

I wish I lived closer. I love using the queries as discussion topics. Thanks for sharing - I enjoyed your view.

Tatiana said...

Another way the queries differ from the Catechism is they encourage more personal responsibility for one's own faith. While some Friends forget this part, it's one of my favorite things about Quakerism: that the responsibility for my faith is placed on my shoulders, with my Meeting as support.

This entry reminds me that I should read the queries of my own YM more frequently. Thanks.