Friday, January 10, 2014

Quaker Alphabet Blog 2014 - A for Living Adventurously

Ron Waddams. Living adventurously
'Live adventurously' is a very popular Quaker slogan, one of those phrases which we often repeat without always thinking much about what they mean. The words are usually attributed to George Fox although I have not been able to track down a reference. Perhaps readers of this blog may be able to help me with this?

What is certain is that 'Live adventurously' are the first two words, in fact the first sentence, of paragraph 27 in Britain Yearly Meeting's Advices and Queries as approved in 1994. The whole paragraph reads,
 Live adventurously. When choices arise, do you take the way that offers the fullest opportunity for the use of your gifts in the service of God and the community? Let your life speak. When decisions have to be made, are you ready to join with others in seeking clearness, asking for God's guidance and offering counsel to one another?

Looked at in context we can see that the paragraph is about making choices and taking decisions and the best way to do that as Quakers. We are not necessarily asked to go out and have adventures but to live our daily lives with a sense of adventure, of being willing to go somewhere or do something new if that will help us make the fullest use of our gifts. The advice also stresses the need to live adventurously not just as individuals but in community, seeking clearness together. For me perhaps the  most important part of this advice is its insistence that this adventurous living is part of our response to the guidance of God, as this has been my experience.

Expressing this phrase in art Ron Waddams's 1994 painting Living Adventurously is full of colour, life and people.We do not have to set out on our adventure, whether it be spiritual, mental or physical, alone. We have our Quaker community and we also always have our Inward Teacher and Guide.

2 comments:

Susan Robson said...

Yes, this is indeed a favourite Quaker slogan in the UK. I recall 2 Friends who heard it in meeting for worship in the 80s whose lives went on to be adventurous in very different ways. I have not heard it was from George Fox before and know of no evidence that it is. It appears first in paragraph IV of the Advices in the edition approved in 1964. I can't find it in the edition of 1928, or the Queries. In 1964 paragraph IV begins thus 'Brig the whole of your daily life under the ordering of the spirit of Christ. Live adventurously. In every situation seek to be aware of the presence of God, praying that spiritual energies in yourself and in others may be released for the furtherance of God's kingdom.'

Wendrie Heywood said...

I remember reading the 1964 edition version and liking the imagery of the energies being released to do service.

This is one of my favourite Advices and phrase, a good reminder to strive and follow that inner guide without worrying about your comfort zone.