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Queries and Advices

Queries

The purpose of the Queries is to direct attention to the true source of spiritual strength, to promise and encourage individual faithfulness to Christ, to keep the (Church) Meeting in a healthy condition, and to cause the individual and Meeting to be actively employed in a ministry acceptable to God.

Queries for Monthly Meetings
These Queries are to be read three times each year.

1. Do you strive for the constant realization of God's presence in your life? Are you sensitive and obedient to the leading of the Holy Spirit? Do you endeavor to advance your spiritual growth by the prayerful study of the Bible and other devotional literature?

2. Are all meetings for worship and for business duly held, and are you regular and punctual in attending them? Do you come with heart and mind prepared for communion with God and fellowship with one another? Do you individually assume your rightful share in the responsibility of the work and worship of the Meeting?

3. Do you love one another as becomes the followers of Christ? Are you careful of the reputation of others? When differences arise, do you make earnest effort to end them speedily?

4. Do you practice the daily reading of the Scriptures in your families, giving time for reverent meditation? Do you make your home a place of hospitality, friendliness, peace, and Christian fellowship? Do you promote the moral and spiritual life of your children through careful supervision of their education, recreation, and friendships?

5. Do you seek the conversion and spiritual development of your young people? Do you endeavor to instruct them in the principles and practices of Friends? Do you strive to create a community of life that will promote their spiritual, mental, and physical well-being?

6. Do you observe simplicity and moderation in you manner of living? Do you give proper attention to the rules of health? Are you careful to avoid all places of amusement that are inconsistent with Christian character? Do you practice total abstinence from tobacco, narcotics, and alcoholic beverages?

7. Do you avoid such undue expansion of your business as to endanger your personal integrity? Are you truthful and honest in your business transactions, punctual in fulfilling your promises, and prompt in payment of your debts?

8. Do you make diligent effort to acquaint yourselves and those under your care with the spiritual needs of the world? Do you support by prayer and systematic giving those who are laboring to extend Christ's kingdom? Do you use your spiritual gifts in serving humanity as God grants you light to see such service?

9. Do you consistently practice the Christian principles of love and goodwill toward all people? Do you work actively for peace and for the removal of the causes of war? Do you endeavor to make it clear to all whom you can influence that war is inconsistent with the spirit and teaching of Jesus?

10. Does your attitude toward people of other races indicate your belief in the rights of other races? Do you believe in the spiritual capacity of people of all races, and do you recognize their equality in the sight of God? Are you aware of your responsibility as a Christian to help in the elimination of racial discrimination and prejudice?

Advices

1. Sanctity of the Home

Marriage, when rightly conceived and faithfully maintained, is regarded by Friends to be the most sacred of all social arrangements. Christ used the family to illustrate the nature of the Kingdom of Heaven. He honored and blessed marriage as the truest example of divine-human cooperation in perfecting a social structure for the help and continuance of the human family and for the mutual assistance and comfort of both sexes that they may be helpmates to each other in things temporal and spiritual. Marriage, therefore, should be entered upon discreetly, soberly, and in the fear of the Lord. It can never be truly accomplished by church formalities, legal sanctions, or ministerial pronouncements, but should be consummated as an inward, voluntary, spiritual union of hearts, in the free initiative of mutual choice and outwardly expressed by the contracting parties. Sanction of church and state are the social acknowledgements of the true marriage into which those enter "whom God has joined together" but are, however, to be held in high regard and to be observed with strict fidelity.

Failure to practice mutual consideration and to search for divine guidance in all the interests and problems of family life often destroys the cohesive power of love, causes the disruption of the home, and, in many instances, leads to divorce against which Friends have maintained a strong testimony. The faithful fulfillment of the marriage covenant is essential to the welfare of the family, the proper nurture of children, and the strength of the social structure. Every effort should be made in the spirit of mutual forbearance and forgiveness to reconcile all differences arising in family life. Even in extreme situations, the preservation of family unity is the better part of Christian integrity and practice. Homes should be testimonials to the grace of God in human relationships and, if established under the care of the church and continued in warm Christian fellowship, have great assurance of permanence and success.

Based upon Friends belief in the authenticity of Scripture, the practice of homosexual acts falls short of the truest example (1 Corinthians 6:9-10). Although we do not condone the practice of homosexual acts because it is incompatible with Christian teaching as understood by Iowa Yearly Meeting of Friends, we view all people, regardless of sexual preference, as persons of sacred worth. The church must work redemptively will all. Friends believe the very purpose of the church is to glorify God through worship and to be an agent of change to bring persons into the Kingdom of God. In so doing, the church humbly reaches out to heal those who are broken, for whatever reason, and to preserve the sanctity of the home.

2. Recreation and Amusement

Recreation is necessary to every normal person in the maintenance of physical, mental, and spiritual health. The type of activity pursued must be selected in light of accepted Christian principles and standards. Some basic questions that should be considered are: Does the activity violate any principle of Scripture? Does it give the appearance of evil (I Thessalonians 5:22)? Will engaging in this activity be a stumbling block to anyone? Will this activity help or hinder one's spiritual experience and growth? The Scripture "Whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God" must be given careful thought. Activities that seem questionable, after due consideration, should be avoided.

The community and the church, as part of the community, have a responsibility to provide wholesome and constructive recreation which provides for social and mental as well as physical needs. Friends should be active among those who insist upon high standards of quality and moral influence in all forms of entertainment. The natural desires of youth for activity and social fellowship must be recognized with wisdom and understanding, and sympathetically guided into wholesome Christian living.

3. Alcohol and Narcotics

The testimony of Friends regarding the use of alcohol is based on the belief that the human body is the temple of God and that to harm it in this way is to dishonor Him. Any pleasurable or exhilarating effects produced by intoxicants are but temporary and tend to react injuriously on both mind and body. Friends advocate total abstinence because any use of intoxicants is harmful and because occasional indulgence frequently leads to excess which results in loss of self-control and enslavement to appetite. Scientific research and experimentation show that alcoholic beverages tend to dull the ethical senses, impair the judgment, affect the eyesight, and slow up muscular control and coordination. Furthermore, intemperance has long been known to be a major cause of marital and family problems, immorality, and crime. Friends for many years have been opposed to the entire liquor traffic as detrimental to human welfare.

A desire for social approval often leads to participation in so-called "social drinking." The Christian should avoid recourse to such false supports of social standing and should recognize the responsibility for others, as expressed by Paul, "If what I eat is going to make another Christian sin, I will never eat meat again as long as I live--for I don't want to make another Christian stumble." (1 Corinthians 8:13 NLT).

Friends have consistently borne testimony against the use of tobacco as a self-indulgence which tends generally to make the constant user indifferent to the discomfort they thrust upon others. Scientific research has shown that smoking is the cause of lung cancer and is harmful to the body in other ways as well. This testimony appropriately applies to the cultivation, manufacture, and sale of tobacco, as well as users of it.

4. Gambling and Lotteries

Friends are strongly urged to abstain completely from seeking pecuniary gain or personal pleasure or entertainment through any form of gambling methods or devices. To receive value when no value is given results in wrong attitudes towards property and is destructive in character. The precarious gains of the winner are at the cost of many losers, a procedure in no wise compatible with the admonition to provide for "things honorable, not only in the sight of the Lord, but also in the sight of men." (II Corinthians 8:22).

5. Judicial Oaths

Persons who are conscientiously opposed to oaths for judicial and other legal purposes are generally exempt by law from such procedure. Requests for the affirmation will be respected by all officers acquainted with the law, and those who are ignorant of it should be informed of its provisions. The words of Jesus, "Swear not at all," emphasize the importance of honesty in speech. Friends position in regard to taking of the judicial oath is not merely a negation of a procedure which they believe to be wrong, but it is a positive evidence of an ideal by which they endeavor to regulate their lives. They base their attitude upon the principle that the truth is to be spoken at all times and that "a man's word is as good as his bond." Taking the affirmation is not only a protest against an objectionable practice, but it is a witness to the construction influence of integrity and veracity.

6. Secret Organizations

The rights of individuals to freedom of action within proper bounds must be maintained, but it is the duty of the church to warn its members against whatever may interfere with the development of Christian character. Although secret organizations may have benevolent and useful provision for their members, Friends are cautioned against membership in any organization which will directly or indirectly diminish sympathy with any portion of mankind or tend to take the place of Jesus Christ as the center of their interest and activity.

7. Abortion

Iowa Yearly Meeting of Friends believes abortion to be contrary to the will of God. Friends are urged to work to develop compassionate alternatives to abortion such as adoption, moral education and counseling, and supportive social structures for parents.


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