I’ve been thinking and writing about Quaker queries for some time now. I’ve written about ways we use them, and how I as an individual use them as an important part of my spiritual practice. I am grateful some have suggested we may need to revise or rewrite some of our queries, which has given me an opportunity to think more about different questions we might be asking. The queries Bear Creek will be working on this month are about civic responsibility. I shared my written response to those queries. Then I came up with some possible new queries related to civic responsibility.
Today I thought I’d answer one of those new queries, “how do we obey what God is leading us to do?” Thus, the title of this blog post. For many years I’ve be led to write about my spiritual experiences, so I struggle to express them as well as I can. In the past I used to overburden people by sending out too many email messages of these writings. Using this blog is a better approach.
After doing this for quite a while, I came to realize that each morning I was asking God “what do we do today?” Or more specifically, “what do you want me to write about today?” Often this would be something I’ve been thinking about for the past several days. Commonly things percolate during the night.
When I began these writings, I would sometimes wonder if I was promoting myself. Sometimes people would suggest that possibility. I didn’t think that was the case. It was helpful to read the following that (Quaker) Noah Baker Merrill wrote in Prophets, Midwives, and Thieves (highly recommended):
“We need to be careful when we talk about humility. The kind of humility this work brings isn’t the kind that would have us reject or repress our gifts. This kind of false humility leads us to oppress each other in the name of preventing pridefulness. This happens far too often.
Real, life-giving humility means living up to the light that we have been given without judgment of how bright or dim that light is. False humility is hiding this light under a bushel for fear of jealousy or judgment. The challenge is to be faithful right where we are—no more, no less. This takes courage.”
So one answer to “how do we obey what God is leading us to do?” for me is to write what I am led to write. Of course I’m led to do much more than just write, such as living without a car, attending and organizing community building events and vigils, studying, photography, etc.
The important precursor of “how do we obey what God is leading us to do?” is to develop the discipline of always being mindful of the Spirit so we are aware of what we are being led to do at any given time. Even after a lifetime of practice, I still loose track of the spirit at times throughout the day.
As I was reading Noah Merrill’s article, I was reminded of some of the other things he wrote.
“In a world experiencing unprecedented climatic, ecological, and societal change, many in the Religious Society of Friends are coming to know our own need for newness. We thirst to find and share a clearer sense of the relevance of our beloved tradition to the challenges we face. We yearn to come more fully alive together, to speak and serve today in the Life and Power that generations of our spiritual ancestors knew. Across North America and beyond, Friends are recognizing a shared calling to rediscover and reclaim traditional understandings of who we are and how we are as Friends that will help us continue to travel this Way of Love.”
My leading to write is related to that, finding and sharing a clearer sense of our traditions today.