Queries for Activist-Minded Quakers


  1. In contemplation on our inner guidance toward action, do we search the Bible and other sources of spiritual wisdom before—and while—taking action?
  2. Do we diligently study the application of deep and balanced truths to the area of our action? Do we thereby generate Truth afresh, avoiding superficial and hurried action or response by rote?
  3. In avoidance of a rush to judgement throughout proposed action, do we maintain simplicity in our thoughts but not naiveté? Are we free of simplistic views?
  4. Is our group’s concern consistent with our own conduct and our own lives?
  5. Will our actions be peaceful?
  6. Do we maintain care for the reputations of others?
  7. Are we careful to avoid outrunning our Guide? If we do not now attain deep unity, do we allow for doing nothing until the action to take becomes clear?
  8. Are we clear about our group organization? Do we exercise good order in coordinating our various supporting and leading members?
  9. Are we mindful of our own human frailty, and do we avoid being sanctimonious, derogatory, or self-righteous? Do we avoid being part of the problem rather than part of the solution?
  10. Do we listen to our quieter members’ words and attune to their behavior?
  11. Do we, prior to a public meeting, consult with those who may be opposed to us, seeking to enlarge and deepen the outcome?
  12. Have we tried to state the differing parties’ words and feelings to ourselves and to others, and have we reflected on them, making their concerns part and parcel of our own developing concern?
  13. Do we take time to determine where creative justice lies, rather than assuming it resides with the weaker party, or the stronger one, in a conflict?
  14. Do we reliably discern and attune to the source “where words come from,” both in speaking and in listening, as we seek to avoid and resolve conflict? Do we share ideas and feelings at the level of the whispering of the “still, small voice,” rather than merely sharing pronouncements of the ego?
  15. If after taking a position, we amend it or change our minds, do we make a public correction?
  16. Can we be both moral and humorous; both prophetic and joyous? Can we “let go” and become empty, so that creative outcomes can fully emerge?


  1. Undertake loving reflection in humility—so that your ways and means may be, or become, consistent with your true objective.
  2. “Anything, even a spiritual concept, must be laid aside if it hinders love, for God is love.” (Hugh Prather, The Little Book of Letting Go.)
  3. “You don’t have to be surprised into laughter; it can be chosen anytime, by anyone. It is a gift of the Spirit.” (Same source.)
  4. “You have learned that they were told, ‘Eye for eye, tooth for tooth.’ But what I tell you is this: Do not set yourself against the man who wrongs you. If someone slaps you on the right cheek, turn and offer him the left. . . .” (Matt. 5:38-9, NRSV.)

David Trumper

David Trumper, a member of Valley Meeting in Wayne, Pa., is a retired technology equities analyst and technical writer.