RSWR video study guide

RSWR Video Study Guide

In using the Study Guide, choose those queries which are most relevant your group and which fit into the number of sessions you plan to devote to this topic. Envision “Right Sharing” as an ongoing process of exploring and understanding what economic discipleship means to each of us.

Introduction

The purpose of Right Sharing of World Resources is two-fold:

  1. Actual support of microenterprise projects in developing countries, and
  2. Encouragement of American Friends in the discipline of economic discipleship.

The Right Sharing video addresses the second of these as it compares our way of life with the realities of existence in the Third World. The video addresses the question, “How should I live in order to be faithful to God’s call to love my neighbor as myself?”

View Video (13 minutes) (Note: A “sangam” is a women’s cooperative in India.)

Discussion Questions

  1. Does the video provide information or concepts new to you?
  2. Do you have questions about information or concepts in the video? If so, where could you find answers?
  3. How do the realities presented in the video relate to the Queries used by your meeting?
  4. What are the spiritual challenges of “Right Sharing”?
  5. Friends claim testimonies of equality, integrity, peace, and simplicity. How do each of these relate to our economic lives and Right Sharing?

For Further Discussion

From The Journal and Major Essays of John Woolman

“Do I in all my proceedings keep to that use of things which is agreeable to universal righteousness?” (page 119).

Woolman encourages us to base our actions on deep discernment about equality among people. He suggests that if we are faithful servants of God we must be teachable about all customs no “matter how widely used amongst religious people.” He remarks that when a poor person, who labors from dawn to dusk and remains poor, sees others not working hard and having an overabundance, “. . . we may reasonably judge that he will think himself unkindly used” (page 243).

He continues, “To labour too hard or cause others to do so, that we may live conformable to customs which Christ our Redeemer contradicted by his example in the days of his flesh, and which are contrary to divine order, is to manure a soil for propagating an evil seed in the earth” (page 247).

“ Oh, that we who declare against wars and acknowledge our trust to be in God only, may we walk in the Light and therein examine our foundation and motives in holding great estates! May we look upon our treasures and the furniture of our houses and the garments in which we array ourselves and try whether the seeds of war have any nourishment in these our possessions or not” (Woolman, page 255).

“ Hearken, then Oh ye children who have known the Light, and come forth! Leave everything which our Lord Jesus Christ does not own. Think not his pattern too plain or too coarse for you. Think not a small portion in this life too little, but let us live in his spirit and walk as he walked, and he will preserve us in the greatest troubles.” (page 255).

With Woolman’s comments and the Right Sharing video in mind, consider the following questions:

  1. How does my material condition affect my spiritual life?
  2. What does the word “enough” mean? Can you say you have enough of some things? What blocks us from feeling we have enough?
  3. Might we have too much?
  4. How do these quotations relate to the ideas in the Right Sharing video?
  5. How do they relate to our lives?
  6. What sentiments do the quotations from Woolman bring up?
  7. What sentiments did viewing the video bring up?

Other Practical Advices and Queries

Thomas Carlyle said, “To shape the whole future is not our problem, but only to shape faithfully a small part of it . . .The general issue will, as it has always done, rest well with a Higher Intelligence than ours.” The following suggestions might help us “to shape faithfully a small part” of the future:

  • Spend less at Christmas and other celebrations.
  • How would this change your celebrations?
  • Before you buy anything, ask yourself if you need it or merely want it.
  • Ask yourself these questions:
  • Does owning this nurture my soul and spirit? If so, how?
  • If not, why should I buy it?
  • Buy clothing, cars, etc. that you need and like, not just what is fashionable.
  • What stands in the way of simplifying your possessions like this?
  • Buy used items whenever possible.
  • How would this change your lifestyle?
  • Share “big ticket” items with neighbors (lawn mower, car).
  • What difficulties would have to be overcome?
  • Winnow your possessions. Have a “Simplify Life Garage Sale” and translate the proceeds into opportunity for someone else.
  • How would this lighten and enlighten your life?
  • Give something of yourself to the poor, not just excess money.
  • How would this make you feel?
  • Save up to 10% of daily earnings to share with others.
  • How can we do less?

We welcome suggestions for other discussion questions to be added to the Study Guide and/or comments on the video and the usefulness of this guide.