Thoughts about Quaker relevant questions, items, themes

Living Simply

Simplicity has always been a central issue for Quakers – one of the five Testimonies which reflect Friends’ deepest concerns.  As our book “Quaker Faith and Practice” puts it “The heart of Quaker ethics is summed up in the word ‘simplicity’”.

In today’s world, a concern for, and commitment to, simplicity is more important than it has ever been.  It becomes ever clearer that the restless pursuit of economic growth and ever expanding consumption has created a pattern of life which is unsustainable.   As economist Diane Coyle puts it “Our failure to say enough is enough means our children and grandchildren will pay a high price to repair the damage inflicted by the current generation”.

So what is a socially responsible life style today?  What is it OK to have and to do – and what should we be rejecting and not doing?  For all concerned people this is a troubling problem but most of us are far from sure what we should and could be doing.

In this situation there is one obvious way forward – to talk to other people, to share ideas on possibilities and practicalities, to find inspiration and reassurance from talking to those with similar concerns.  On our own it is very easy to despair.  If we share our concerns and hopes with others we can get new ideas and have the comfort of knowing that we are not on our own on the journey.

 This situation has led Bakewell Friends to organise this event to begin to explore some of the key questions.  What can and should we do as individuals to live more simply?  What should we be saying about this to friends and neighbours and the local community?  What should we be doing as faith communities to encourage others to live more simply and more sustainably?  What should we be saying as faith communities to our political leaders?