Simplicity is one of the traditional Quaker Testimonies.  Quakers recognize that “a simple lifestyle is [a] freely chosen . . . source of strength.”[i]  The assertion of freedom to choose is central in Quaker perspectives. For example, Quakers are encouraged to “not be persuaded into buying what you cannot afford” and to “keep informed” as important choices are required of us each day.[ii]

Quakers also ask themselves to be “sensitive to issues of equality, autonomy and power.”[iii] It is a choice to live this way just as it is a choice to not live this way.  Quakers are led to analyze the social structures we live in. The Australian Yearly Meeting, for instance, has developed their own queries and advices to ensure that “thousands of years . . . of aboriginal peoples” living on the land are never forgotten when reflecting upon contemporary issues.[iv]

The Quaker testimony to simplicity is linked to the ways in which Quakers work to protect and preserve the environment.  As our world becomes increasingly threatened, responsible choices become more important.  If Quakers are to “work to ensure that our increasing power over nature is used responsibly”[v] then attention to care and wisdom in choice making is the first step.

The next several blog entries will offer a variety of thoughts on how we ought to respond when faced with choices in our lives.

[i] Britain Yearly Meeting of the Religious Society of Friends, 41st Query and Advice

[ii] Ibid.

[iii] North Pacific Yearly Meeting of the Religious Society of Friends, Advice and Queries on Equality

[iv] Australia Yearly Meeting Queries and Advices #2

[v] Britain Yearly Meeting of the Religious Society of Friends, 42nd Query and Advice

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