In the Society of Friends, or Quakers, testimony and witness are synonyms. It’s what one does in one’s life, not what one says about the nature of faith or social stances. Here are some ways we practice this:
- Open, Spirit-led worship. Traditionally, sitting together in silence, but many Friends today do have pastors and hymns within a loosely structured worship program.
- Peace. It includes pacifism and non-violence, extending to speech.
- Honesty. No oaths, which can lead to a double-standard of truthfulness.
- Integrity. This means doing what we say.
- No creeds or dogma. We speak from our own hearts and experience. We do, however, recognize doctrine (meaning sound teaching) as useful.
- Queries. Use of questions and deep listening to guide actions and faith, rather than barking orders.
- Equality and social justice. (You don’t have to be a protester, though, to be a member.)
- No gambling. And no getting something for nothing, especially at another’s expense.
- No voting to arrive at decisions. (Voting in public elections, however, is strongly encouraged.)
- Simplicity. It’s more complicated than you’d think.
What would your faith tradition put on its list?