“Queries“ (open-ended questions) are the traditional method used by Quakers to stimulate reflection. Quakers feel that before we consider the ideas and opinions of others, it is important to reflect upon one’s own experiences, motivations, and inward wisdom. “Quakers and the Interfaith Movement” begins with queries that, we hope, will encourage us to look within and seek authentic answers. As we ponder these queries, it may be helpful to keep in mind what Rilke said about such deep and searching questions: “Be patient toward all that is unsolved in your heart and try to love the questions themselves, like locked rooms and like books that are now written in a very foreign tongue. Do not now seek the answers, which cannot be given you because you would not be able to live them. And the point is, to live everything. Live the questions now. Perhaps you will then gradually, without noticing it, live along some distant day into the answer.” —Anthony Manousos
Are you open to Truth wherever it can be found?
Do you look for “that of God” in other religions as well as in other people?
When you engage in dialogue with those of other faiths, do you avoid making assumptions and instead listen with an open mind as well as an open heart? Do you ask open-ended questions, seeking to know and appreciate differences as well as similarities among faiths?
Do you practice the art of listening, even beyond words?
Are you open to what Douglas Steere called “mutual irradiation“— the sharing of inward spiritual truth and experiences?
Are you willing to work cooperatively with those of other faith traditions to promote peace and justice, and to help the poor, marginalized, and disadvantaged?
For meetings and churches to consider:
Do you have a representative in your local interfaith or ecumenical council?
Do you play an active role in interfaith events and activities in your local community, witnessing to our Quaker convictions and practices?
Do you stand up for religious pluralism and oppose religious bigotry and prejudice?