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Faith and Practice

Pacific Yearly Meeting

of the

Religious Society of Friends

a guide to quaker discipline in the experience of pacific yearly meeting of the religious society of friends.
published 2001

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ii: quaker faith and spiritual practice

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Concerns and Leadings

pym in context
quaker faith & spiritual practice
testimony & experience of friends
organization of the society
activities & organization of the YM
sources of quotations
index of sources
subject index

We gratefully acknowledge the generosity of Friends who have permitted us to use material for this Faith and Practice.


Laboring with Concerns

toward a testimony of harmony with nature

 Several early Quakers wrote of their mystical understanding of our harmony with all creation, and many Friends have held themselves to be stewards of nature, taking little and using it wisely.

 We now find ourselves called toward a new testimony. We must witness to the planetary crisis of our times and to our own role in it. We can no longer turn away from the harm done to fragile biological systems.

 We know that our power as human beings to alter nature for good and ill makes us responsible in a way that is different from other creatures. Our way of living needs to change in a profound ways, and we who are affluent must curb our demands.

 At the same time, we cannot turn away from the modern world. However simply we may each try to live as individuals, we are almost wholly dependent upon the society that causes the destruction we abhor.We cannot simply abandon all of its benefits. Friends seek that which urges not our dominance over nature but our care for and unity with it. This calls for a deeper understanding of ourselves as continuous with nature. Friends do not seek to dominate nature but rather to live in harmony with it. This calls for a deeper understanding of the fundamental patterns of organization and interaction that govern life on Earth. Our task is to turn toward the Light for guidance about the meaning of these patterns for human beings, and to discern the values and behaviors that will lead us to be in harmony with them.

 Cultivating a deeper awareness of our connections with all of Creation enables us to live more Spirit-filled lives. Every person, animal, and every other entity has its own wondrous reality, its own authenticity. Such awareness brings us great joy, it reminds us of the sacred in all of nature, leads to greater clarity and acceptance of ourselves as creatures of the Source of life, and helps us avoid the traps of busyness and striving after material things. As we seek to live in the awareness of connectedness, we become more sensitive to the consequences of our words, deeds, and attitudes, and we enter a deeper, more joyous relationship with the Divine. We call upon Friends, individually and corporately, to live in a more loving relationship with the Earth and all its inhabitants.We may be led to transform our understanding, our hearts, and our lives.