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  • [Music: "Faster Car" by Loving Caliber & Anders Lystell]

  • [I've been feeling so small]

  • [Watch the clock ticking off the wall]

  • [but tonight]

  • [I'm letting it go]

  • [Spend my coin for show]

  • Today we're going to be talking about values, religion and God. If you've been watching me for a while

  • you probably know that I identify as a Quaker. I am a member of the religious Society of Friends.

  • They are commonly known as Quakers and [american accent] quakers. Quakers, not Quavers.

  • Although that is a pretty common misconception. Also nothing to do with oats,

  • that makes me mad every time.This is a video that I have been thinking of making for a while

  • but I wasn't too sure about. I ran some ideas past my channel members,

  • which is the new name for sponsors that YouTube has...but really, "members of the Kellgren-Fozard Club" is the actual definition

  • and they gave me some ideas for structure to focus on.

  • Remember, if you'd like to become a member and have your say on future video ideas,

  • you can just click the "sponsor" button down below next to the subscribe button, it may have now been changed to say

  • "join", they're changing stuff. In this video

  • I'm going to give you an incredibly brief overview of the history of Quakerism, give you some ideas about what we believe in and

  • our values

  • ..so on, and how that affects my everyday life.

  • I'm also really interested to know if you have a religion or you grew up with one and how you feel

  • it's shaped your life. Equally so, if you are agnostic or a complete atheist.

  • I have identified as a Quaker for

  • as long as I can remember. I remember asking my mother if I could be a member when I was about five and she said

  • no, because you have to be 16, I believe, to actually formally become a member. It has to be a choice.

  • It's a big part of who I am and I do feel like it has shaped me as I've grown up.

  • Also, a religion that allows for fluidity of

  • interpretation, and a lot of different viewpoints. So everything I'm going to be showing in this video is very much from my point of view,

  • it's the things that I believe in,

  • and also what I have been taught. So, other people will have different interpretations of

  • Quakerism, especially in different countries around the world. Quakerism grew out of Christianity in the

  • 1600s in the north of England. The explanation that I use to describe the founding of Quakerism is, I swear,

  • taken from a children's meeting when I was like four, but I think it describes it very well.

  • There was a man called George Fox who

  • was very dissatisfied with the way he saw the Church of England, and how he saw that it was being run.

  • He saw that the men around him would

  • lie and cheat and steal and beat their wives and then on Sundays, they would go to church and it was as if everything

  • was forgiven because they were very good on this one day. But George Fox instead believed that it was possible to have a

  • direct experience of God, and that all people should try to live lives reflecting, faith, piety, and love. Also a big deal:

  • he developed some of the major concepts

  • with a woman called Margaret Fell. Woman! And, Quakers considered women to be vital to religion, vital!

  • It was the 1600s, ok? I am allowed to get excited. Quakerism has a very firm

  • concept of spiritual equality amongst all people.

  • So yay! The religion as a whole however can be very difficult

  • to explain and to define as it doesn't have set

  • religious Creed's and doctrine. Instead of a Quaker Bible, we have Quaker Advice and Queries, which is an ever evolving

  • document that is written by the members themselves.

  • The idea is that it always reflects the times, so that people can read it and have a direct

  • answer almost, or help with the query that they have right now,

  • rather than a query that would have been super helpful to people in the 1700s.

  • Our religion is less about following exact rules

  • and more about the way that we live and the effect that we want to have on the world.

  • We try to help each other work out how to live ethically, following our core principles. These are: equality,

  • justice, truth, peace, simplicity, and sustainability.

  • Equality

  • The basic belief of Quakerism is that there is that of God in everyone.

  • Quakers believe that all people are equal,

  • it's not young and old, or rich and poor, or black and white, gay, straight,

  • whatever. I have always been raised as a Quaker, I could speak to adults on their level.

  • Justice

  • This belief in inequality inspires quaker's to work for change in all systems that cause injustice, whether that's

  • dismantling slavery in the past, campaigning for gay marriage, or in the here and now;

  • campaigning for help for asylum seekers. Obviously, it's not just campaigning, there's a lot of very hands-on help.

  • We also believe that no person is beyond redemption and that no matter what a person has done, they deserve to be treated fairly.

  • Truth

  • Quakers live according to our truth, what we know and believe to be right.

  • Even if this means speaking out against our own interests, or being straight talkers to those in positions of power.

  • Hence, many Quakers got put into prison because they refused to deny that they were Quakers and they refused to stop having meetings.

  • We're not great to helping ourselves

  • We're guided by integrity - for this reason, Quaker businesspeople were known to have

  • incredibly good practices and

  • Quaker companies were generally companies that people really wanted to do business with, so then, some other businesses that were not Quaker businesses

  • took our name and decided to put it on the box of their grain related food product and then did not

  • follow Quaker business practices: point is, you'll never get cheated by a Quaker.

  • We are the ones who get really upset

  • if you give us too much change. On the personal level, I try to be open and honest at all times,

  • even if it might help me personally, because in the long run it might help someone else.

  • Peace

  • Quakers are probably best known for our peace testimony, since we believe that all life is of equal worth and that

  • love is the center of the universe. We can't harm another human being, we don't believe that it's right to do so.

  • Thus, Quakers refuse military service and work towards peace instead.

  • This could be personal, or interpersonal, and ranges from doing hands-on work in conflict zones to considering options for peace and

  • working in places like The Hague. Sidenote, my brother and I never had water guns as a child or any type of toy that

  • was similar to a weapon, or video games where you would injure someone.

  • So I am super versed in the zoombinis.

  • Simplicity and sustainability.

  • I have lumped these two together, because that's kind of how I see them now. In the past,

  • simplicity was a lot to do with Quakers wearing certain forms of

  • dress and living very modest and simple lives. Quakers would wear very plain clothes in very plain colors without any kind of lace edging

  • or anything glittery or fancy. Today, however, it's more of a

  • spiritual life type of thing and

  • goes along with the sustainability aspect. So we work to try and reduce excess and waste in our society.

  • We want to make sure that our use of natural resources is

  • sustainable and that we focus on living a

  • simple life that doesn't take away from others, even if there are others in the far future who will be

  • damaged by global warming. I try to focus my life on the things that really matter. I really try my hardest to always be as

  • sustainable as possible, but obviously with my disability I do have some issues with this, and

  • that is why I get quite upset by certain things like

  • plastic straw drama.

  • But if you really want to know yes, I do use plastic straws. No, I don't just use them

  • once, I run them through the dishwasher.

  • They're fine. I am fortunate enough to have a dishwasher, one pack of straws last me for like two years. Okay, don't..

  • Chill. Anyway today's video is about Quakerism and not about disabilities. Oh, I didn't actually add that, did I?

  • Sorry, able bodied, disabled, we are also equal. Onto the tricky topics though -

  • What do Quakers believe about God? Quakers do have

  • differing beliefs when it comes to God, and they might use that word in different ways. But the one thing that

  • binds us all together is that we believe that there is that of God in everyone,

  • but that God is different for everyone. The greater understanding of God is that it is shaped by personal experience.

  • We all use different words to describe it and it's down to whatever you feel is

  • personally helpful and meaningful - not all Quakers believe in "God" as a

  • separate entity who lives

  • in the sky. I personally believe that the goodness within each of us,

  • which you could call the spirit, if you will, that goodness combined is what God is. In my mind,

  • there is something precious and transcendent about every person, and I take great

  • strength and comfort from that. We're all connected

  • and thus we're never truly alone. I think it's a lot of history and

  • baggage that comes with the word God and it causes a lot of division. One thing

  • I personally really like about Quakerism

  • is that even though it grew out of Christianity, Quakerism very much sees the benefits and the

  • meaning and value and other forms of religion.

  • You could be a Quaker and also be another religion. Quakers are cool with that.

  • There's great history of tolerance and openness, but also

  • independence of mind

  • and thought and spirit when it comes to a Quakerism that I really value.

  • Basically,

  • we all believe that there is something beyond our individual selves and that we can communicate with that directly

  • on a personal level, whether that be through living spiritual lives or through silent reflection,

  • or both. Which brings me to: how to Quakers pray?

  • Now as I mentioned earlier,

  • we believe in complete and total equality.

  • Thus we have no traditional religious structures or a minister, priest, bishop

  • vicar

  • whomever. Instead we share responsibility for what we do, because everyone has a valuable contribution to make. We pray collectively through a thing called

  • "Meeting for Worship"

  • Which can take place at any time,

  • anywhere, but is generally held on a Sunday morning at a Quaker meeting house, because it's handy to know

  • where to go.

  • But you could also just call a meeting right now

  • if you wanted to. You don't have to be a member to come, you could be either a tender,

  • which is what my father was for many many years,

  • which is where you go to Quaker meetings quite regularly and you get involved in the community

  • but you're not actually a registered member of the religious Society of Friends.

  • You could also be a visitor, which is what Claud is when she comes with me. Again,

  • They are completely open to absolutely anyone, and you don't need to know someone who already goes to go,

  • though obviously you are expected to show a level of respect when you attend. Don't be on your phone or something.

  • Children also come to meeting, although they generally don't stay for full length of time, which is

  • often about an hour, and the rest of the time they will be at the children's meeting,

  • which is generally like a room next door to where everyone else is sitting, and they will be doing some kind of

  • game or learning experience.

  • I made my parents many bad paintings at children's meeting. During the meeting,

  • we all sit in silence facing the center of the room. This could be the chairs either

  • in

  • circles or squares sometimes

  • The idea is that there isn't a

  • certain special

  • spot where one person is. Although sometimes there are chairs that are held for elders, but that is just so you know

  • where they are. And what is an elder you ask? Well, within Quakerism,

  • there's a certain number of jobs that need to be held like someone needs to clark the meetings,

  • someone needs to be in charge of the building and setting up, and someone is to write rotors and the elders are basically there as

  • spiritual