I have been both reading about and thinking about Quakerism and outreach. Some of the terminology has been about "revitalizing" Quakerism. Among the writings that I've seen has been talk about looking within our meetings for articulations of our beliefs. For me, however, when I hear about "revitalization", I think it would be helpful for us to also consider what inspires us and excites us about how the world could be that flows from our passions for our beliefs. This means that we not stop at the Meeting community level, but go deep within our own individual selves and reflect on our own passions, beliefs, and vision for the world. In the process, how can we also cleanse our minds and hearts of all the clutter of our biases and judgments about others so we can truly be loving presences for all people.
As an effort to nurture this within the workings of William Penn House, we have started to present to groups the following:
Consider the following reflection questions. Do any catch your attention? As we do our programs together, we invite participants to choose one or two as the ones to bring their attention to as we do our service work.
1. How do we recognize our unique talents and abilities? How can we use them to benefit the greater good and serve others?
2. What role do materialism and consumption play in our daily lives? Particularly when compared to themes of generosity, simplicity or sacrificial living is this division in lifestyle choice something that can be bridged?
3. To think and act on a deeper level, what steps can/should be taken to learn more about a local, national or global area of need?
4. How do you relate with your neighbors— if static, are there tangible ways to reach out to those living near you?
5. Is there a group or individual you find challenging to love or embrace in this world or in your community? What is the importance of reaching out to these people and loving them anyway?
6. What is your impression of “caring for the least of these” and how can we stretch ourselves to do so habitually?
7. How diverse is your network – culturally, religiously, politically, economically and racially? Are there things you can do to expand this?
8. How can we reach out to others— that is to say, are there specific activities we can pursue together or individually to achieve this goal?
9. In which context and how might we express our creativity and exercise our purpose to “make a mark” (either broadly or on a smaller scale) in this world?
10. With whom can you share your aspirations and thoughts in order to live out your goals with “missional momentum”?
(These were adapted from Helen Lee, author of “The Missional Mom”; see more at www.themissionalmom.com)