As I’ve been writing recently, we will be discussing the queries about civic responsibility at Bear Creek meeting this month. I was also trying to come up with a new version of the queries. But I think my first attempt was too broad, so a new version follows.
“Civic responsibility is the responsibility of citizens in a society to exhibit certain attitudes and actions related to participation in society and democratic governance.” https://www.reference.com/world-view/civic-responsibility-66a4800099c91789
Quakers know that the Spirit of God is present throughout our entire world. We are all members of one human family. Suffering by anyone is felt by us all. Our communities are organized by social, economic and political structures. These are imperfect and sometimes result in injustice and oppression. When that happens, we listen carefully, to hear how God calls us to find ways to restore justice and peace for us all, and for Mother Earth. We must also listen closely to those with differing views, learning the truth in what they say, and finding ways to move along the path of justice together.
Many Friends have worked in various ways for legislation that promotes peace and social and economic justice, and have supported candidates for office with those views. This requires being informed about the social and economic conditions of the society we live in. To do so it is essential that we spend time with people in diverse communities.
Throughout history Quakers have refused to obey laws or participate in social conventions that contradict our beliefs, often being imprisoned as a result. There may be times when we are led to use nonviolent practices to restore peace and justice.
Our civic responsibility is living our lives in the Spirit, letting that be an example to others. And finding ways to share what we know of God’s will with the world.
• Do we study how Quakers throughout history have lived in the Spirit in the world?
• Do we spend time in a diversity of communities, especially those experiencing injustice?
• Do we remain well informed about policies and conditions that impact peace and justice, health, education, and our environment?
• How do we overcome obstacles related to our civic engagement? Do we maintain an awareness of the struggles of others, both in the meeting and the wider community, and support them as they work for peace and justice?
• Are we publishers of the truth, sharing what we know of God’s will with the world?
• Does the meeting discern what it is being called to do as a whole to promote peace and justice? Do we include all members and attenders, of all ages, in this discernment and work?
• How do we obey what God is leading us to do? Do we pay close attention to the Inner Light as we are doing this work, especially in the midst of conflict and confusion?