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.

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Thanks Rick, I think thee has pierced into the heart of the matter. Even so, temporal attachments are part of our growth, even as we grow toward letting attachments to things that are props go.  And as is obvious, attachment to nonattachment is still attachment! In this sphere and in this life,  many things are needed for emotional and physical comfort and sustenance, and we ought not to deny them to ourselves or others, even if what others need for  emotional comfort at a certain point is different than what we need. Who we are created to be is most likely not static, I hope in fact not, but we are complex and growing beings, and also quite diverse beings in our expressions from the Seed within us.                       

Good point Laura.

"not static"  I hope not as well.

Wow, Judge not lest ye be judged? Maybe?


Thanks, Anne, that is how some have taken it, and some have pointed out that it is an unfair slam on a good man of yesteryear. I just meant how easy it is to get carried away with outward matters and forget essence.  I am kind of hoping this topic fades away as I am wanting to focus on the here and now mentioned in my current postings, such as are we called to intervene in the case of these stranded families in the Southwest?
anne stansell said:

Wow, Judge not lest ye be judged? Maybe?


Thanks, Joan.  My post is not meant to diminish the importance of Plain Dress or the testimony as I myself have walked that path, but for reasons too complex and personal to explore publicly I do not do so currently,  I also have a cherished collection of vintage Civil War era Quaker bonnets,  and other sorts of headcoverings from  other Christian traditions, as the testimony means much to me.  I do not think observant dress is superficial, and it is a matter I have spent many years given much thought to, as well as studied in academic settings, so I don't need the primer thee kindly suggests. I post anecdotes of Quakerlore from the book as a seasoning for our collective memory, not to create dissent and dispute.  The book in question tells little stories that encompass all the Friends branches, sparing none of them, concerning not always a little spat, sometimes just a little slapstick or other human comedy.  I treasure the stories because I treasure our tradition, feel it deeply and sometimes long for previous times.  I sometimes long for previous times because even in the stories about little spats, I sense a deeper sense of unity and of Quaker identity, of belonging than I accept will ever exist again.  I accept I am a 21st Century Quaker, and carry in my DNA the story of my first generation Quaker ancestors, what they sacrificed, the miracle of their survival in Penn's fleet, the dreams of "what love can do" in The Holy Experiment.   Being a ragged remnant of that dream,  I suppose I try to live "The Holy Experiment" with a few ragged bonnets on a shelf,  and the use of the Internet to call out to the remnant, not a Great People Gathered, but Scattered.
Joan Wilson said:

God has called people to make all sorts of points.  Certainly, many plain folks, especially Quakers today rather than Anabaptists, know these things about historical dress, but are more interested in the primitive principles behind not just the dress, but behind the faith and way of life.  You might enjoy a book called Why Do They Dress That Way by Stephen Scott.  It explains what plain dress means to the different sorts of plain people.  



Joan Wilson said:

I decided not to post my comment, but it will not let me cancel, so I wrote this out instead. 

Hi Joan, I am sorry thee decided not to post the comment, as it is welcome. I understand if thee still decides to remove it.  Usually, comments can be deleted.

Oh Joan, don't beat thyself up, we women are soooo good at that. I think my intention was to show in a historical manner different ways to look at a situation. It has been a controversial post when it was meant to be a Friendly reminder.  I am astounded by how many views and how much discussion my attempt at adding a blast from the past has generated.  Any spiritual or religious thing that we do, even if we imagine it to be well-intentioned can have side effects. Becoming attached to worldly dress can make us servants of fashion, and conformity to rigid standards can make the standards more important than the inner heart. I said, I wouldn't share too much,  I had good intentions in Plain Dress, but as soon as I got positive attention for it, I got a little proud, even if I didn't want to! Now maybe if I had a dozen other Plain Dressing women around me,  so it didn't make me the center of attention, I could have gotten over that glitch. We're here, we're Quaker, Get used to it, or something.   It was most difficult to return to wearing pants, because I could still manage to wear some kind of scarf to work if it wasn't too distinctive, and it would be though to just be an accessory. Pants felt really, really weird. but I had a good reason, as I worked with children with problems, I needed to be able to sit on the floor and then get up quick and jump and move and maybe even run and I didn't think getting tangled up in long skirts was a good idea.  I decided the children were more important than my attachment to my skirts.  But I could go on and on with my backs and forths on this and how I sometimes feel one way and sometimes another and so on,  and I have no judgment on what others choose for the reasons that they know to be right for them and what THEY are spozed to be doing!  So, I hope that makes sense!  Thanks for commenting! 
Joan Wilson said:

Hi Laura,

When I goof I goof good.  I have so little time to do anything right so I probably ought to stop trying to jump into conversations.  I had not been to QQ for a while and was checking out the comments here and the commenter I responded to was pages back and not you at all.  I didn't realize how long this thread was and was on the first page!!!  I later realized what I had done which is why I tried to remove it.  Sorry!!!  I need to read all of the comments here before I even think I might have something to add.  I appreciate your patient reply very much.  I was responding to someone who did not have an understanding of plain dress.

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