Over the years we have noticed several distinct values in our lives. There are the usual ones that have to do with a life of faith: honor God, love your neighbor. But then there are those that pertain to the way that we live: simplicity, integrity, peace, and equality. Maybe some of you recognize those values, maybe you don’t. Lately I have been very aware of the value we put on frugality, and decided to look it up on Wikipedia:
Frugality (also known as thrift or thriftiness), often confused with cheapness or miserliness, is a traditional value, life style, or belief system, in which individuals practice both restraint in the acquiring of and resourceful use of economic goods and services in order to achieve lasting and more fulfilling goals. In a money-based economy, frugality emphasizes economical use of money in meeting long term personal, familial, and communal desires.
That pretty much sums up our perspective on money. But the entry goes on:
Sometimes associated with the concept of frugality is a philosophy in which one does not trust, or is deeply wary of, “expert” knowledge, often from commercial markets or corporate cultures, claiming to know what is in the best economic, material, or spiritual interests of the individual.
There are many different spiritual communities that consider frugality a virtue or a spiritual discipline. The Religious Society of Friends and the Puritans are examples of such groups. The basic philosophy behind this is the idea that people ought to save money so that they have more available for others.
Hmm… That first part is scary-accurate. Religious Society of Friends… maybe I should look that up. I did, and found some very insightful material.
Unlike other groups that emerged within Christianity, the Religious Society of Friends has tended toward little hierarchical structure, and away from creeds.
Intriguing. Tell me more.
Many Quakers feel their faith does not fit within traditional Christian categories of Catholic, Orthodox or Protestant, but is an expression of another way of experiencing God.
To make a long article short, most of the ways that I have come to understand my faith fit very well with the Quaker/Friends perspective, down to the “Testaments”:
- * The Peace Testimony
- * The Testimony of Equality
- * The Testimony of Integrity
- * The Testimony of Simplicity
Yes, I did spend most of my childhood in a Friends church, but it is an Evangelical Friends church, where none of these items were evident to me as a kid. Not that they were not values, but that the church was a normal Evangelical church, with normal services, and the occasional baptism and communion.
To find myself a grown man, holding values and views my fore bearers held before me, without overtly being passed down, is a strange and wonderful thing. There is a genetic trait that predisposes me to think or respond a certain way to God. Something that makes me eschew hierarchy. A sense that the truth must be told. A desire for simplicity in all things. A distaste for violence.
Ok, maybe it is not a genetic trait, but it is definitely *something* being passed down. Something that resists.