After having lived "plain" for over a year---alone,---- with only minute help from on line Friends, and that very  poor---- I have decided that plainess is for the birds.
    It's like, who cares?  Who has the energy?  And most of all, Why?  I started with lofty intentions and a seeking heart. Now I see, as I have known for my 40 years among Friends--Friends could care less.
   All all and all Friends are a selfish, boring, lot who are in actuality the furthest thing from the implied name of the loosely structured, hateful, society.
    Why get all "dressed up plain" to honor God when the Meeting is so
utterly devoid of anything resembling God?
   Friends? Ha! What a joke. Maybe 'den, not now.
                                           simon

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Simon--

I am sad to hear thee is in such pain. I confess from my heart to being boring and selfish and entirely undeserving of the name Friend.

I don't dress plain to honor God, and I am under no illusions that it will cure me of being boring and selfish and entirely undeserving of the name Friend. I do it because God asked me to, as an obedience. It was the first blessing I received and recognized after a life of not feeling much blessed at all.

If plain dress does not feel a blessing to thee, it would be much better for thee to set it aside.

God bless thee and keep thee and all of thine,
Isabel
I also feel thy pain, Simon, and like Isabel, I too will confess to being, on occasion, boring and selfish. One thing I have learnt about being plain, and I've been plain, of a sort, for nearly 15 years, is that it can't change what we are inside, or make us feel better about ourselves or others feel better about us. To b e plain is to take up The Cross, and it should feel a cross to our fleshy part and be a cross to the world. It is definitely not easy, nor should it be.

If we feel led to witness in this way, it is important we reflect on why we feel led, and seek discernment that the leading is truly of the Lord. If it is not, then plainess will be burdensome to us, and it is better to put it aside than to try to carry on in our own strength.

I'd advise thee to lay thy plainess aside for a while, and if the leading comes back stronger than before, then go back to it. The important thing is put following Christ as first place in our lives.

"My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me..." John 10:27
Thy Friend, Allistair Lomax
Allistair--

Truly, all thee says here is so True, and somehow, paradoxically, taking up The Cross we have actually been called to take up is a blessing (as opposed to those things we think we should take up but are not actually our Cross to bear).

When I first took up plain dress (ten years ago in Second Month) I thought it would be all about suffering, but it wasn't all about that. I have suffered for this witness in many ways, that is true, and yet never felt more blessed in my life than these last ten years.

Thanks, Allistair, for thy clarifying witness here.
I suspect the "plainness" discussion is only the outward manifestation of a much deeper concern among "Friends."

Outward appearance "signifies nothing." Outward expression can be very deceiving if all we do is "talk the talk." It is extremely difficult to share from "deep to deep" as ML King put it.

Inward pain can be extremely debilitating in a way that often is beyond the reach of others.

What Friends claim for their own often seems to have little to do with what the Spirit would have us do.
I confess, Tom, that this phrase "What Friends claim for their own often seems to have little to do with what the Spirit would have us do." is mysterious and opaque to me. I wonder if thee would feel free to explain it just a bit.

Isabel
Tom, wouldst thou also care to elaborate on what thou thinks is the "much deeper concern" is, here?
I was awarded the "clearly vague or is that vaguely clear" award by students in the school where I taught over 40 years ago and I suspect that was well earned and continues one of my attributes. My intention is to state something concisely but often assume way too much on the part of my "listeners." That is one of the reasons I struggle a great deal with writing much. If I try to explain, in writing, the complexities, contexts, etc. in my thinking the expressions get convoluted, tangential, etc. since that seems to be the way I perceive things.

I will try to explain what I was trying to say.

What individuals or even some groups of Friends claim as their "truth" and understanding of Friends' and Christ's message often seems, at least to my very limited perceptions, to be at odds with my understanding of what the Spirit/Light/Christ's message is. My understanding is based on Old Testament prophets, Jesus' teaching in the New Testament, early Friends writing, discussions within many Friends from "all branches" of Friends, etc. etc. and my own personal experiences.
My sense is that there is a concern with "authority," which seems to have been one of the major issues in the "Gurneyite-Hicksite" split with emphasis on the authority of the "elders" and scripture and the split that led to "Evangelical Friends" with respect to "orthodox Protestant" authority, etc.

It is an issue with respect to under what authority does one "choose" or is led to be "plain."

My response to Simon's original statement

"It's like, who cares? Who has the energy? And most of all, Why? I started with lofty intentions and a seeking heart. Now I see, as I have known for my 40 years among Friends--Friends could care less.
All all and all Friends are a selfish, boring, lot who are in actuality the furthest thing from the implied name of the loosely structured, hateful, society.
Why get all "dressed up plain" to honor God when the Meeting is so
utterly devoid of anything resembling God?"

was that Simon's concerns were much more than dealing with being "plain." It seemed he was "condemning" ALL Friends for their systemic lack of understanding and caring. If that is true then there is a major "concern" as to what some of the underlying issues are.
Finally, a reaction from so called "plain Friends." The dressing part is easy, it's dealing with a whirlwind of self absorbed people that's the "Cross".
As always, the discussion turns back to thee---what thee understands, what thee feels----someone crying
from a pit and thee must form a committee, discuss, and ponder. Please.

simon marc

Thank Thee Friend.  It is good to know that someone with heart is out there. Thee hath shown compassion.  May God Bless thee.

                 AND THE BAND PLAYS ON.

                                                                                           simon

I am genuinely and truly sorry that some of the people who have posted here have had bad experiences from plain people. I must say also that I've seen people who have taken to follow this testimony for the wrong reasons.

On the other hand, I've also been blessed with knowing plain Friends who have seemed to me to be 'walking the walk' with Christ and not just 'talking  the talk'.

I very much agree with what has been said about that the only valid reason for becoming plain is through obediance to Christ. What disturbs me about both your posts, Simon and Joe, is that you appear to suggest that all plain Quakers are plain for the wrong reasons. Perhaps I have misunderstood or perhaps you have just met the wrong people.

My experience is that there are some faithful and good-hearted Friends 'out there' who are plain, and understand the spirtual place where it comes from. I hope you are open-hearted and humble enough to acknowledge this as a possibility.

It is true that Early Friends bore this testim0ny through obedience to Christ. They felt led to tear off the lace collars of their coats and get rid of the other 'folderols' that adorned clothing at that time. I believe our testimony as Friends against the vain fashions of the world is no less important in our time.

  Yes, well,  Friend Lomax.  Tis true,  of course,  all thee hath said.  It wasn't that plain Friends I knew disappointed me. I do not know any. Regular, "secular Friends" whom I have known most of my life did.  They neither cared nor were interested.  As far as plain Friends such as thee and others who replied to my statement---thee had neither written me nor offered support  in any way until I wrote the 'snippet" that obviously, yanked off thy lace collar of prudence  causing thee and others to gaze at thy "plain reflection".

                                                                                   simon

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