Primitive Christianity Revived, Again
As another who has never written to you, nor offered any support, I would offere the excuse that I am not aware of ever having heard of you until a few minutes ago when I started reading this discussion.
I used to wear a plain straw hat to a liberal Friends meeting, but stopped, not because I received no support, but more because it didn't carry any useful witness to the others there. They just thought it was quaint, and welcomed it on an equal basis with other individual interests and concerns, such as Zen Buddhist meditation. What was perhaps a more effective witness, and at least a more honest statement from myself, was when I stopped attending the meeting because I realized I was in the wrong place. There was no way to restore the meeting to the original Christian witness of Friends, because they, collectively, had no interest in following Him. So I started setting aside a time to wait on Him by myself, and now with my family. I still find it difficult to get support from other Friends, unless I ask for it, in which case I usually find it.
I can't tell very clearly from your post what kind of support you are looking for from other Friends, and am confused by some of your comments, such as "And the band plays on". Is there anything we can do that would be more helpful to you?
Thank thee Friend, I perceive an honest heart in thee.
I have left Meeting and returned so many times I can't count. Since I first saw the Light in the early 70's. And this time also. Perhaps I acted too quickly, spoke too hastily.
After all, I was compelled to the plain witness by God, not man. Should it then matter that I have no "support"? The Everlasting Gospel is support enough, my dearest and closest Friend, abiding within, He hath called, I struggle to hear.
Jesus the Christ is His name.
So to thee, and all Friends who were caught in the "Plain Flurry",
WASN'T IT A HOOT!!!
I love the Friends, one and all. Thank thee for listening to me. Caring about me. Bearing with me. Friends thou truly art. To the Society which bears this name, I humbly ask pardon. And gratefully lift my eyes and behold morning, morning, excellent and fair.
My Dear Friend,
Thank thee for thy testimony. And the scripture thou sent forth to me. I apologize for the capitals, I wasn't aware, being the computer dummy I am.
I would never consider a shout. It was meant to be lighthearted-----I did from the onset know what thee said in quoting the scripture. Thank thee.
My Friend thy testimony hath done much to strengthen me in my walk with the Lord and adopting plain witness.
May God Bless thee, Friend Penraeth.
Dear and most Gentle Friends,
With all of this, thy heart doth show, Joseph thou searcheth for God in deep and humble Spirit. But, I. and J. and myself: Perhaps we strain at gnats and swallow camels.?!
Only your own heart knows its own pain on these issues however I can empathize and do have compassion for your experiences.
I am a born again Christian and have accepted God as my father, Jesus as Lord and savior and the Holy Spirit as my teacher and guide. I am of Quaker decent (2 generations removed but many household habits were still in place.) I never knew what the "religion" so to speak of, what a Quaker was.
I was lead on a journey through many denominations, all having a bit of what I believed before I found that I was truly Quaker in my heart. My walk with God is not defined by a particular group but more of lessons and truths revealed to me by the spirit along the way. It has been a very personal development. And hopefully I will continue to be open and grow.
For years the spirit was leading me to simplicity, not only of dress but of lifestyle as well. My natural nature is to be headstrong, oppinionated and independent. When the spirit was leading me to plain dress I think I was thinking "How quaint." I too did not see the WHY of it. But I knew that I knew what I was being led to and all I can say is I spent a lot of years questioning and being very unhappy over the whole issue. (Mind you, I do not attend a Quaker meeting, I have no Quaker friends or influence except for here now)
I knew if I did this I would be completely alone in it living in a large city. Finally one day I came to the realization that I had had enough of the issue and I felt I was not able to move on into other things until it was decided. Since I knew it was what the Lord was asking of me I would just do it out of obiedience. And suddenly, decision made I felt the freedom, a joy. I can only describe it as "I felt suddenly myself". I don't know why, I had never dressed this way before. I just know it is who I am now. Many things are beyond my understanding as far as how the spirit moves, and I just accept that.
To me that is the final analysis in anything we do. It should not be done for others, or to be identified as part of a group, or even out of our own thoughts as being a good idea. I feel it to be a very personal decission for each person. That it is neither right nor wrong and judgments should not be a part of the equation on the part of others. Also, many individuals experience varying affects of plain dress or any other obedience or calling they enter into.
It has brought me both joy and scorn which anyone experiences anyway so who am I to think I shouldn't.
I only share with you some of my small experiences. Only you can follow the spirit as you journey and make the decisions you feel you should be obedient to.
But I wish to encourage you not to be downhearted. The mere fact that you are struggling is proof that you are growing in grace. That you are alive in the spirit!
After all, the baby struggles greatly and causes pain before its born into freedom.
The seed struggles in darkness before it breaks through the earth to face the sun and live in the warmth of it's light.
Please allow grace if I have unknowingly written anything to offend, I certainly don't intend to. And I also am not the one to speak on Quaker ways as I am not very knowledgeable. I can only share my heart.
I pray things come clear to you and you are again filled with peace.
Hello, Simon! If it takes a village to raise a child, it also takes a community to be a plain Christian. As I see it, what you needed was a plain community to support your plain testimony. I don't believe that plainness works well for an isolated Christian. One needs the support of others on the same path.
If you can't find that support among Friends, there are other plain groups you could relate to that would uphold you. By the way, I have worn plain garb for most of my adult life.