Quaker Faith & Practice is a book widely used by Quaker Meetings. It contains writings by Quakers chosen to help us on our spiritual journeys. Here are some extracts from Quaker Faith and Practice to give you a flavour of the book. The full text can be found here.
‘Advices and queries’ no 17 – Do you respect that of God in everyone, though it may be expressed in unfamiliar ways or be difficult to discern? Each of us has a particular experience of God and each must find the way to be true to it. When words are strange or disturbing to you, try to sense where they come from, and what has nourished the lives of others. Listen patiently and seek the truth which other people’s opinions may contain for you. Avoid hurtful criticism and provocative language. Do not allow the strength of your convictions to betray you into making statements or allegations that are unfair or untrue. Think it possible that you may be mistaken.
‘Peace’ 19.46 – We are a people that follow after those things that make for peace, love and unity; it is our desire that other’s feet may walk in the same, and do deny and bear our testimony against all strife and wars, and contentions that that come from the lusts that war in the members, that war in the soul, which we wait for, and watch for in all people, and love and desire the good of all… Treason, treachery, and false dealing we do utterly deny: false dealing, surmising or plotting against any creature upon the face of the earth, and speak the truth in plainess and singleness of heart. Margaret Fell 1660 to Charles II
‘Sexuality’ 22.16 – We affirm the love of God for all people, whatever their sexual orientation, and our conviction that sexuality is an important part of human beings as created by God, so that to reject people on the ground of their sexual orientation is a denial of God’s creation… We realise that our sexual nature can be a cause of great pain as well as great joy. It is up to each one of us to recognise this pain…to reach out to others as best we can, and to reflect on our own shortcomings in loving others… We need to overcome our fear of what is strange and different, because we are all vulnerable: we all need love. Wandsworth Preparative Meeting 1989
‘Perceptions of Truth’ 26.37 – Religion is living with God. there is no other kind of religion. Living with a Book, living with or by a Rule, being awfully high-principled are not in themselves religion, although many people think they are, and that is all there is to it. Religion has got a bad name through being identified with an outward orderliness. But an outward orderliness can be be death, dullness and masochism. Doing your duty may be admirable stoicism, it isn’t religion. To find religion you must look inside people and inside yourself. And there, if you find even the tiniest grain of true love, you may be on the right scent. Millions of people have it and don’t know what it is they have God is their guest, but they haven’t the faintest idea he is in the house. So you mustn’t only look where God is confessed and acknowledged. you must look everywhere to find the real religion. Nor must you look, in others or yourself for great spooky visions and revelations. Such visions and revelations come to many, a great deal oftener than we think: and to those to whom they come they are sun, moon and stars. But in most people who know God, and in all such people most of the time, living with God is not an apparition but a wordless and endless sureness. Like the silence of two friends together. Like the silence of lovers. God is waiting to live like that in every single person in the world. Bernard Canter 1962
‘Friends and other Faiths’ 27.01 – The humble, the meek, merciful, just, pious and devout souls are everywhere of one religion: and when death has taken off the mask they will know one another, though the divers liveries they wear here make them strangers. William Penn 1693