Primitive Christianity Revived, Again
William Evans was with Jeremiah Hacker in North Carolina on a missionary visit. Beside him in the gallery sat a Friend in a bright blue coat with brass buttons. After meeting, William Evans said, "I have been troubled as we sat together by the style and color of thy coat. Is it right for one who sits at the head of the meeting to wear such a coat?"
The man replied, "Since thee has spoken so, it opens the way for me to tell thee that I have been much troubled by thy clothes. They are plain to be sure, but of very expensive broadcloth. I am a poor man, too poor to buy a coat, and this one was given to me."
Charles, Helen White. (ed.) Quaker Chuckles. 1961. The Cullen Printing Company. Ohio. pp 116-117.
Thank thee Friend, but what about my theology?
And besides I am a divorced woman!
And if thee must know a HIPPIE!
The OGBS probably won't say anything about theological matters in a casual encounter. If you become a regular in their fellowship, how they approach theological differences will depend a lot on your attitude.
As is true among Friends, visits by "non-standard people" are not unusual among German Baptists, especially out West! The kind of rapport you develop with them is very important. Don't violate their norms concerning decorum by wearing pants to meeting, etc.
I see! Well, I hadn't known there were OGBS up there in Ronan, there is a lot of spiritual activity in the Ronan area, especially with peace movement from several traditions. I had looked at land up there as I was wanting to start a community, land so cheap. . . Obviously from our discussions I have gleaned from thee that hierarchy, enforcement of external church standards on individual behavior that I would consider personal and so on and such are things that thee has accepted, and what with the Friends ousting thee, I don't blame thee for embracing other paths! I am not concerned that my attitude pleases anyone at all! I don't answer to humans anymore! I think this conversation has clarified what I all ready know, that I am quite pleased in my solitude. I have to say that I know I am being silly but the name "Baptist" scares me, the name "old" scares me and probably even the word "German" (I know, I know. . ) I did a pretty good job of fighting off that Lutheran baptism they tried to force on me when I was a babe (of four)! Don't put water ON ME! And if I could fight off external religious rites then, I am pretty sure I am still up to the task! So, I don't think my attitude would probably be the right one! Now I sit, waiting to be called to task for all that I have hereby confessed by the entire community here on Quakerquaker especially for the German comment. That is just a childhood fear, I am sorry, I don't mean to slur anyone. .
Well, I am afraid they violate my norms. So we will just leave each other be. Right now I have too many purple feathers woven into my hair anyway.
Also William, thee is very kind to try and guide me and I hope thee understands my sense of humor! And the reality of the self I am that I am trying in this limited venue to manifest to thee. So much more than a bright blue coat and brass buttons, but purple feathers in the hair!
Actually, I think you would like the OGB s.
To the outsider unfamiliar with the fine points of plain garb, they would look like Amish people. The German Baptist Church is German in origin, but has some members from many ethnic backgrounds. Only a small minority of them would speak Pennsylvania Dutch. Nowadays, English is the lingua franca of their community.
They are also called "Dunkers", and for good reason! Trine immersion in a flowing stream is their mode of baptism. None of this sprinkling or pouring business; you get very wet!
Thank thee for trying to open my stubborn mind! I am open intellectually, but like any human being, whether they admit it or not, afraid of new or different things. For instance, I am afraid of soldiers in uniform and police officers in uniform, I shake and tremble when seeing them. Even if I tell myself that they are only real human beings like myself, just the cultural association with them both as a hippie and a Quaker (per oppressive history) gets me scared. There are so many religious communities in Montana with distinctive dress, perhaps I have seen German Baptists without knowing it. Obviously we have the Hutterites, easy to pick out by the polka dots. Then quite a variety of different Amish and Mennonite groups. I don't know what the word Trine means? And really, though, does one get so disenchanted with the Quaker way, when errant human Quakers fail us, that one submits to water baptism? How can one do that? I am not saying this to be critical, I really am just curious how one can began to accept outward rituals when one has known the All Sufficiency of the Inward Christ?
Laura: I need to get the sheep in before the "big, bad wolf" (I mean coyote!) gets them, so I can't dialogue much more right now.
Actually, some "seekers" go back and forth between Friends and a variety of Anabaptist groups, without much concern about "secondary" differences in doctrines and ordinances. I will own up to being heretical by admitting that I find great value in various outward ordinances, including baptism, the love feast, footwashing and the Holy Kiss. At one time not so many years ago, half of the ministers in Ohio Yearly Meeting (Conservative) had undergone baptism with water. So I wasn't the only one who saw value in water baptism!
I can also find meaning in the Quaker spiritualization of the ordinances, although I think it has some weaknesses. Symbolization of the New Birth and commitment to Christ needs to happen in some way. Traditionally among Friends, adopting the garb functioned in this way. But now??
Out to get the sheep in!
So much of this life is a quest to "find ourselves" .. to find out "who we are" (or maybe, better said, the me God had in mind when I was created)
We try different clothing, different styles, different friends and our spirit is asking, "is this me now"
We project "A person".. those close to us see " A person".. and then there " IS a person" that is actually "me"... the closer these three are together ( who we project, who they see, and who I am) the closer to God I get. All the while God is calling, "Marco".. I'm responding "Polo"
I believe that is why a child is so close and specially loved by God. With a child, what you see is what you get. With a child it's, " this is me, you know it, I know it, and God knows it"
Many times, the me I thought I was wears out before the clothing I bought for the me. Many times the grand trinket I bought at the WallyWorld for me has lost it charm by the time I get it home ( why did I think me would want this thing)
Buttons, ribbons, and bows... how does this look on me.