'Quaker Faith and Practice" - or to give it its full title 'Quaker Faith and Practice - the book of Christian discipline of the Yearly Meeting of the Religious Society of Friends (Quakers) in Britain' - is an anthology of writings from the Quakers' early days to the present. Despite the formidable name and the word 'discipline', it is not a creed nor list of rules. 'Discipline' refers more to discipleship; and the book itself is the relation of personal experience by Quakers over the ages.
'Faith and Practice' is not a holy book. It is a book of inspiration and charts spiritual journeys, however such is its importance in many Quakers' lives that it is often found on the table in the middle of the room at Meeting. It covers topics such as approaches to God, faithful living, social responsibility, life structure, business conduct, peace testimony and the unity of creation. It also contains the traditional Quaker Advices and Queries.
As the Quaker understanding and quest for truth is not static, 'Quaker Faith and Practice' is revised by each generation, or as necessary. The current version was published in 1995. This means the contributions reflect the changing times, and are often contradictory - such is the nature of personal experience! An example of this is the recollection by one woman of her abortion, and how it was the only option for her in her situation. Another contribution is from a nurse who refused to perform abortions because it troubled her conscience. The common theme throughout the book however is the duty of obedience to the inner light of God that is within us: obedience to truth and love, not to church authorities. It illustrates that we are all different and that the only thing that is black and white in life is a housecat!