Thursday, January 20, 2011


This was written 30 years ago, but remains essentially my response. However, as I have stated before, the way in which I might describe this has probably been modified over the last "half" of my life. This seems so long ago in many respects and yet my mind often seems to say that I am still 35 years old while my body says, "Not."

"I consider Christ the one true guide but recognize the need for other guides to assist as we live our lives on a daily basis. For this reason I appreciate the genius of the Query form. The Queries do imply a correct answer or authority but indicate the answers are within the person as Christ is with us in a creative freedom. The questions and helpful guides come from outside while the answers and one true guide are “within.” It is of no small importance to me that the record of just how the Queries were originally formulated is not readily available. The most thorough discussion of this that I am aware of is in a few pages of The Later Periods of Quakerism in which Rufus Jones states that Friends “slowly accumulated … a body of advices and Queries.” It seems that the earliest Queries were those which asked about the difficulties and growth being experienced within the Society.

“As fresh moral issues arose, and as the ‘testimonies’ of the Society grew defined

in relation to the practices of the world, the list of Queries enlarged. They grew

in number and importance until they embodied almost all the essential aspects

of the Quaker moral ideal, and they furnished a kind of silent confessional for each

individual member, as well as a moral measuring rule to guide the Overseers in

their work of looking after the flock.”

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