The first S of the Quaker principles “SPICERS”* is Simplicity. Which I used to interpret as anti-stuff, i.e. “Live simply that others may live.” But at a recent retreat, a wise soul pointed out that simplicity can also mean looking at ALL the tugs and pulls for our time, our love, our energy, and making careful, thoughtful choices. “What am I asked to do?” (May I suggest adding strategically to that all-important question?)

So I am presently experimenting with this inward simplification. Was bummed not to be one of those 40, 000 climate change activists in DC Sunday. But that day, I could be present when a member of our Prison Fellowship Committee downloaded.

“We can do no great things; only small things with great love.” Mother Teresa.


[* Simplicity, Peace, Integrity, Community, Equality, Respect, Stewardship)

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  1. It’s enormously confusing, isn’t it! This moment by moment discernment. Woke up this morning wondering if “Give us this day our daily bread” wasn’t a reminder to keep it simple. And something about time management. (But maybe, like lots of biblical interpreters, I am simply—get it—taking a passage and making it fit what I want to believe!)

  2. So Simplicity is keeping our eyes on the prize? Looking at everything we do and think in terms of all the other testimonies, which notably omit buying stuff and going to every possible peace rally. But does Stewardship encompass having a good retirement plan?

  3. Oy. I’m finding that first S challenging enough without having to contemplate that last one! Although if I want to be a principled person I should be contemplating them all, right?

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