Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Looking for a way to live in accordance with my Quaker values

I'm still thinking about some of the things that were on my mind wen I wrote my post "My Quaker Culture."

I live a certain way.  Some of the things that I do are consistent with my values.  Some are not.  We can never live in a way that is absolutely always consistent with our ideal, but we can work toward improving.

There are some things that I just do because that's what everyone does.  Quakers have a history of not following along that way.  Quakers have a history of thinking about their values and their actions, and choosing not to partake of activities that don't fit their values.

Some Quakers have refused to pay taxes, because their consciences won't allow them to put money toward the military.

Some Quakers have left the U.S. and gone to live in Costa Rica, a country with no army.

Quakers don't just refuse to partake of the world.  They try to build something that is consistent with their values.

There are some things that are commonplace in my world, but which I know go against my Quaker values.

Quakers value honesty, integrity, simplicity, and compassion.

Politicians these days seem to be all about fundraising and sound bites.  Politicians these days are more concerned with image than with truth.  Politicians these days love to seize on things that will make their opponents look bad.

And it's not just politicians.  It's every day people.  Liberals are so quick to seize on stories that make conservatives look bad.  Conservatives are so quick to seize on stories that make liberals look bad.

This is not Quakerly.  Quakerly would be everyone working together to try to find ways to make society better.  Quakerly would be everyone working together in search of truth, the truth to be found in knowledge and wisdom.

Businesses these days are all about trying to squeeze more money out of you.  They have sales and coupons to try to lure you into buying.  They try to sell you more than you need.

This is not Quakerly.  Quakerly businesspeople would make quality products, sell them at a fair price, and not try to sell you something you did not want.

How can I try to live in accordance with my values? I can ignore the politicians and boycott big corporations driven by profit.    That's what I can step out of.  But I need to not only step away from politicians and corporations, but also to try to build the alternative.  I need to foster positive dialogue, to work with others to build a positive community.  I need to support my local farmers and craftspeople who do put care into the products they sell.

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