Witness

as Plain as can be

The Witness of Plain life is not for everyone. It is a rocky road to walk, and it is a narrow way. The Holy Spirit has called a few of us out of our old lives into this New Life, and though it is a path trod by others, we are not a throng.

I think some people – women particularly – are in love with this expression of faith because they have encountered it in romantic situations. They read novels set among the Amish, they have visited Old Order communities, or they have admired a much younger Harrison Ford in the movie “Witness.” While this is an introduction to the Plain Life, it is not the whole of it.

Plain Life has its roots in Anabaptism, a separatist movement at the time of the Reformation. (You can look up the history on-line; I’m not going to go over old ground here.) The core doctrines of Anabaptism are believers’ baptism (hence adult baptism or rebaptism), pacifism and nonresistance to violence, and the two kingdoms (God’s Kingdom of the faithful and Satan’s kingdom of this world.) The physical sacraments of baptism and communion (the Lord’s Supper) were retained from the old church.

So it’s not just a matter of costume. The early Quakers adopted much of Anabaptist practice, and moved away from the physical sacraments to a spiritual understanding of sacramentality. The simple form of dress was a bit of cross-pollination, it seems. While Quakers learned much from Menno Simons, the Amish and Mennonites who emigrated to North America adopted Quaker standards and styles of Plain dress.

What is common to Plain people from these traditions is pacifism and nonresistance. This goes beyond refusing to answer an assault with like kind, but spreads out into a life of peace, including exemption from military service or the punishment for refusing to serve. Quakers and Anabaptists have often suffered because of their pacifism. For the Anabaptists, martyrdom is always preferable to violence.

One cannot be Anabaptist or Quaker and a patriot. They are mutually exclusive. Traditional Quakers will not support an established military; Anabaptists believe that established government is of this world, not God’s kingdom, and the two are by necessity separate.  Their political philosophy is one of self-governance and mutal support within the community, a benign anarchy under Christ. (We are the body; He is the head and sole leader. Bishops, ministers and deacons serve in prayer and humility, not in power and control. That’s the ideal, at least.)

This is one of the reasons that Plain Life is difficult. It represents more than five hundred years of living a way that the world doesn’t understand and that Satan doesn’t want the world to understand. It is a heavy legacy to carry.

I find myself struggling with it daily. I have to ask myself often if I am following the Way of Christ, or if am I following my own notions. I am convicted that Plain Life is the Way to which we are called, my husband and myself, but I also have to ask if decisions I make are based on the Way or on legalism, on following Jesus our Saviour or on compromise with the world. Unceasing prayer is the only solution to the inner conflict, a constant sense of the leading of the Spirit.

We want to be separate from the ways of the world, but we also want to be a Witness, for as John Donne wrote several centuries ago, “No man is an island.” We are interdependent with Christians who are not Plain, as well as with nonbelievers. Keeping in the middle of the road isn’t easy when there are so many distractions around us, and they are so beguiling. But what good is our witness if we will compromise and abandon the principles of our faith on mere whims?

It’s always a balancing act between faithful living and moving through the world.

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28 thoughts on “Witness

  1. Well spoken, as usual…and I appreciate seeing the photo of your attire.

    I really like the white covering and wish I had such a pattern.

  2. I love this post, Magdalena. It is something I long to be able to talk about, but have few people I feel comfortable discussing it with. Part of the battle does have to do with the reactions of society and the church, but they, too, are varied. For the most part, though, there seems to be little understanding of why we do this – even by the Quakers I know. You have to wonder, then, why am I doing this if noone gets it? But then, part of the reason I have done it was deep conviction about being counter cultural, even within the church, maybe especially in the church. After visiting so many churches over a long period of time we saw the world had not just infilterated the church, but that many members were inviting it in and holding hands with it.
    For me, another aspect of difficulty in my being plain is the influence of Anabaptism on my thinking. I like much about it, but there are some important differences. At the beginning of my plain journey, some 10 yrs ago ( I was covering longer than that, but my transition to plain dress only took a few years.) we felt we needed to be around other plain people and we felt that, whatever the differences, the plain Anabaptists took their faith very seriously and something good could come of this. And there has been good – I love the ones we have spent a lot of time with in the past 7 yrs now. But, it totally confused my thinking by bringing to my attention the down side of being a part of a group that gives so much emphasis to the group relationship. It has been all but impossible to think like a Quaker. Add to this mess, the big problem deep down was that we felt called to a much simpler and plainer life than the car driving Brethren plain group we have been around. More like an Amish type of life, and we do have some Amish friends – not super deep, but they all know who we are and accept us. We had thought of moving there someday and living among them. But we know that we would be bothered by the same Anabaptist principles we grumble about now X 100. Then, our son’s condition has required me to keep this computer, which I do not want to rely on or even have. I must be grateful for the way the Lord has helped my son by leading me in research. My own constitution is not strong. I was never under any romantic idea about plain people and I hated anything that resembled remotely, pioneerish clothing or life. My husband had been a farmer, but I had been a “fluffball” from a big city and being in this rural town was more rural than I could take for a long time. The thought of a farm made me cringe, but I did want my husband to have it. But he has accepted that he can never farm and is ok with that. We can barely handle our chickens right now due to our son’s intense needs – just cleaning the house and doing daily food and chores takes every minute. I feel like a joke. So, I guess I am saying I am questioning my old convictions. We are trying to reexamine them. Trying to hear His small voice in our heads. Sorry to ramble, but I appreciate this subject very much and what you had to say.
    Joanie

    • It does take a while to get the “group” identity in your head; we are raised to be such individuals, with our rights to this and that! It is much like leaving the world for a monastery – the group identity is much more important (the collective Christian witness and faithfulness) than any personal expression. There is a self-forgetting that takes years of prayer and obedience to develop. I’m not sure those of us raised in the modern world ever get there. It is more than humility. As for farming or living a life off-grid. I would prefer it, too, but right now the Lord has put us into this place at this time, and we must make the best of it. The day will come when I will relegate the computer to the office away from home, and have no moe than a cell phone for emergencies and connection. We would, on our own, live without television and other entertainments although we take advantage of it right now. (Nicholas just doesn’t have enough to do.) And our farming will have to be what I can do plus the things he can help with – feeding animals, some homecare. Bu the heavy stuff is no longer feasible. I regret that, but I wouldn’t trade away the time we have left for a more “Amish’ way of life. The Lord has given you a particular ministry with your son; let that be your witness and don’t worry about the rest!

      • When I get a place of my own (a proper place of my own, not just a place that I share with others) there will be an answering machine but I don’t like how the phone controls me.It should be the other way round.Everytime the phone rings at my parents it is either grandmother (one that phones to moan and the other who phones at 8am to find out “how are day is” & to interrogate the family on what productive tasks we have done), someone looking for my dad to inquire about his business (they phone day and night, on Sundays and bank holidays) or several old biddies, friends of one grnadmother who is in hospital at the mo).I do not appreciate the way one grandmother uses the phone to hassale my family.She will phone and phone and phone until someone answers.At my last place I was often at the house alone and if the phone was ringing and when I didn’t wish to gallop down the stairs to answer I just ignored it, and if it was a friend or the landord they would then phone my mobile. Otherwise I didn’t see it important to answer the phone.However at my parents I can’t ignore the phone because it could be a grandmother ill or something.

  3. I think that must be true about how long it takes to develop that self forgetting. The fact that we have had to live so far away from them and not been able to be a real part, but just a sort of part, has not helped. We are not members, could not be due to the fact we are remarrieds ( 28 yrs now), and we wouldn’t want it anyhow. A part of us kind of does, though and it is made even worse when people treat us as kindly as they have and invited us to every single thing practically that they do. But on the group identity – do you ever see it as having dangers in itself? Have you ever felt it can diminish the seeking the Holy Spirit among these people? We have. That is how it has been with Anabaptism with us – we see and feel a good side of things out of a concept that creates some serious problems as well. And it confuses me and, I confess, at times made me want to burn my plain outfit if that is what it stands for. It stands for a wide variety of beliefs, though, doesn’t it? Not just Anabaptist. But most people here just think your Amish or Mennonite or Brethren, never have I been asked if I was a Quaker. Which is why I had some more Quakery things made. Not wearing them yet, sigh. The point is that the public knows a limited number of facts about plain people and to them I don’t react as I do to the varieties of plain people out there who cause me to react to what it is they believe for their own group and about others. I feel this need to somehow mesh what I am to what they are and that just isn’t possible, i guess. This reactionary behavior comes, I think, from wanting to belong but can’t quite do so.

    An example. We have met with this fellowship that we call our church for about 6 to 7 yrs. It was started within the old conference OGBB church because there were some there desiring to talk scripture and share their experiences in Christ, something they could not do in church. This meeting took off and GB’s often brought non GB or non plain friends, because they felt that they had been too exclusive and fearful of being tainted by other doctrines. The meeting has evolved into one where GB’s are a minority, but they are very conservative. Still, it is odd with all the different denominations present. We meet twice a month with a large dinner and 2 or 3 hour fellowship with singing, study, a lot of ministry to individuals in need. We pray for the Holy Spirit to lead. Last time we met someone brought up the fact 65 Amish in Northern Indiana had split off and they had met an older couple who were from this split and they were talking about wearing the plain dress still, though mainly in respect of their families and in hopes their families would communicate with them. I found myself perplexed about this, but kept quiet. There were quite a few who expressed the idea the dress is nothing, that they are doing wrong. I just wanted to crawl out of there – no fight in me left. So many in these groups are not wearing it because of conviction, but just for group identity. There ARE those who do wear it out of conviction, but not the majority. Our meeting is not a place where we can even talk about our convictions – we would never be understood. By a good many plain people even!! I heard at the same meeting how another group in Ohio had gone so far unplain that they were wearing shorts to church now – free from bondage!!! One couple from there comes to our meetings and I overheard them – it seems they feel a conviction to free other plain people from their chains of plain living. I guess we need to find something else, but there doesn’t seem to be anything else around and we are very close to a few there. We committed ourselves to them, but on the other hand we are being so confused. We had to miss a few lately due to Patrick having a bad evening and I can’t believe how less stressed I feel.

    I also so understand your comment about Nicholas not having enough to do and so the tv helps a bit. We don’t have regular tv, haven’t in about 12 yrs. But we have a tiny little computer screen we can play old movies on or cartoons. Patrick has no brothers or sisters his age, his brother is not able to cope with his seizures and is aloof. It is just us and sometimes we all need a bit of space and something to divert the monotony. We play games, lots. When he is able he is helped to do chores to make him feel a part of things. But mostly he has been down most of his life or forced to be in a safe chair or wheelchair and has to have something to do after he has done artwork for hours on end. So, while I have definitely seen the evils of even movie watching – we notice stuff most people wouldn’t about apparently innocent shows – we have allowed some things. I am one who would have pitched every screen out the doors, but we have been put into this position I think to realize God is in no box and why am I wanting to get into one? I think my German side is a problem with me, wanting order, order, order and my life is anything but ordered and I have learned, am learning, how to stay sane regardless.
    Thanks for putting up with me! I will wind down.
    Joanie

    • I feel that thee needs to explore thy Quakerly leadings more! Worry less about thy German Brethren; thee is led elsewhere. (More later.)

    • “Last time we met someone brought up the fact 65 Amish in Northern Indiana had split off and they had met an older couple who were from this split and they were talking about wearing the plain dress still, though mainly in respect of their families and in hopes their families would communicate with them. I found myself perplexed about this, but kept quiet. There were quite a few who expressed the idea the dress is nothing, that they are doing wrong. I just wanted to crawl out of there – no fight in me left. So many in these groups are not wearing it because of conviction, but just for group identity. There ARE those who do wear it out of conviction, but not the majority….. I heard at the same meeting how another group in Ohio had gone so far unplain that they were wearing shorts to church now – free from bondage!!! One couple from there comes to our meetings and I overheard them – it seems they feel a conviction to free other plain people from their chains of plain living.”

      Joanie I am certain that you mistake plain dress and the reasons for it.

      Plain dress concerns both biblical modesty AND group identity/unity (the bible speaks of Christians being equal, and the Christians in Acts shared everything equally amongst them).A church is a group of people (not strangers who meet up once a week, not a building) who are united in the same beliefs.For Anabaptists those beliefs are one’s identity.

      We are after all a pecular people not conformed to the world- and this must show not only in our actions and words but also our dress (the NT talks about the need for modest dress with makeup or jewelry- surely that is plain dress?).Therefore our dress marks us as different, it’s a sign that we are not going to mix with the world.When I moved from modest dressing to plain dressing the difference was huge; people no longer hassale me with leaflets or want to me to sign petitions because they know they are wasting their time by just glancing at my dress.At the same time people now approach me to request prayers, to ask for directions and to hold their child’s hand on the escaltor.In a long denim skirt and long top with my hair up in a bun never got these response, wear trousers and a dog collar (the punk kind) for a brief period in my teens did not achieve such a response nor in my private school uniform. Dress is not “nothing”, dress is everything.

      To dismiss the dress of an Anabaptist, Quaker or nun on the grounds of identity is invalid, because we all dress to show our identity, intentionally or otherwise – the man in the expensive business suit shows himself as a man of the world with money and interested in making more money, the teenager decked out in black with piercings and dyed hair is identifying herself as someone who is anti-fashion & a rebel interested in going against the flow, the boy in his private school uniform is identified as middle/upper class &c..

      Plain dress should be worn out of conviction but it also should be worn as a means of identity.Identity with like minded believers in a world that does not understand the Anabaptist ways is essential.Dressing the same holds the group together and strengthens group bonds in a world that dresses very different.

      Another reason group identity is everything, because for Anabaptists the church is the community and the community the church.Dress, horses, interior design, buggies, houses & barns must be the same to keep everyone equal, otherwise the differences between the richer & poorer people would be more obvious & thus divide people, therefore dividing the church group.That is not bondage but liberation!I look forward to the day when I can have my phone outside and when I can bake my own food.This is freedom!

      It is a shame to hear for people discarding their plain dress to the point they turn up in God’s house half naked.Shorts are not modest and in God’s eyes are not proper clothing.When Adam & Eve dressed themselves in similar attire God told them they were immodest and made them clothes that covered more.

      Here is a good link to read on the reasons behind the need for group identity:

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ordnung

      • When I said:

        “(the NT talks about the need for modest dress with makeup or jewelry- surely that is plain dress?)”

        I meant to say:

        “(the NT talks about the need for modest dress withOUT makeup or jewelry- surely that is plain dress?)”

  4. It’s very difficult for me to reconcile being “plain” with dressing in such a fashion as to attract a great deal of attention, and then taking many pictures of it and making them public. Was the Quaker uniform of the day deliberately anachronistic? I must be missing something in this.

    Were you in seminary in Montreal? I remember someone like you.

    • I was in an American seminary, and wasn’t Plain then. Quakers were not anachronistic int heir own time, just plain. I see Plain dress as more like a nun’s habit, or my clerical collar back when I wore one. I wear it to be identified as Christian.

  5. This is a great blog, I have read it twice but could not come up with what to answer.

    My dress, which is not plain although I do not wear brand names or follow fashion, is modern. I do wear a scarf on my head or my cap and dresses and skirts. Sometimes I wear pants but then I wear a short dress or a tunic on top so you do not see more of my body than in a dress. Modesty is important to me and being a witness of my faith in dress and in actions. Do I always succeed? No, but I hope I do OK and I know that god has saved me and I am under his protection. I hope by being more close to modern dress that I can inspire people who have never even thought of plain dress to be more modest. I also want to look 2010 not 1810 or any other date but I do not want to be a part of fashion and the mentality of today that all that matters is beauty. I want to show that there is a way which is not fashion and a way that is not a nun’s habit or an Amish cape dress. I wear modern fabrics and even clothes from regular stores but I combine them so that they cover and that they suit me. By choosing to not leave most of my body bare I do away with a lot of items but I think that a maxidress from a regular store can be more approachable than a homemade oldfashioned dress(not all plain dresses are frumpy, but they can be).

    If people see that modest dress is not necessary boring and frumpy and you can use stuff from a normal store I think it will be more appealing. Look at the muslim community. There you see women in nikab and all black, women with their face bare but coverings that do not just cover their hair but also their whole upper body and a lot of women in veils and modern covering clothes. Not all muslim women wear headscarfs but they are much more common than among Christians and I think that the possibility of combining the clothes of ‘everyone else’ with a modest and religious life style is a big part why.

    The risk is of course that of serving two masters, but as I have said, I do not advocate following fashion at all, just that at least I think that there should be a level between plain and totally in to every detail of fashion.

  6. Consider it counter culture, Stealth. There is all kinds of attention out there – not that we are trying to get attention per se. There is a difference between acting on a conviction from God and trying to get attention. It boggles my mind that anyone could be concerned about the mostly slight attention we get when SO many in the church are grossly immodest out there, with kinds of crazy colors of hair, face tackle, tatoos all over. I cannot tell you how many times I have heard christians make allowances for that and even act like it is no big deal. Another point to bring up is the extreme agitation and out right anger that so many christians express towards their plain brothers or sisters. Sometimes God uses us to highlight His principles. Take George Mueller, for example. He was a great example of living on faith regarding the use of money and income in an extreme way most of us have not had the opportunity to do or would feel convicted to do. But we look at what he did and we find we can be more faithful than we were with what we have. The clothes represent a set of beliefs in general that most plain people can share to a great extent. Lots of details from group to group, but there is a lot they can share.
    Joanie

  7. Over time, the appearance of those called to be plain comes at a greater contrast to the world. At one time, it was customary that everyone was dressed with most of their body covered, with there being a very distinct difference in clothing between men and women, wearing clothes that were handmade or locally made – and in those days the greatest difference of people called to be plain was probably the absence of ornamentation on the clothing or that of hair, jewelry, etc. Today, in many places, simply to be dressed in a longer skirt or to have arms covered during the summer is enough to draw attention to oneself.

    Today, the clothing of the mainstream people is manufactured under conditions which can be found objectionable, while the handmade clothing of plain people is generally of very easy simple patterns and made by oneself or someone within the religious community. Some people “do” plain with simple handmade dresses and store bought cardigans, while others like to continue the more historical elements of kapps and bonnets, shawls and capes (obviously I am just writing from and for a female perspective here 🙂 and what is wrong with that? To continue traditions of one’s ancestors or forerunners in the faith is nothing immodest, indecent or improper. And again, people of every faith today can find great information and support via the internet.

    For every person repulsed by plain Christians (or anyone who looks notably different – Hasidic Jews, or Muslims, or what have you), there is at least another who is drawn in and blessed. God knows our differences and beyond basic principles, it is senseless and small to criticise those who are living their faith to God differently.

    • Quaker Jane has written on the development of early Quaker dress. Plain dress is based on the peasant clothes of the seventeeth and eighteenth centuries. No woman of any decency would have left her own doorstep without a cap or kerchief; people owned very little clothing so cover-alls such as aprons were necessary to protect the main garment. These styles of dressing are very practical today, as well as making a statement about faith and religious identity.

  8. I have known of people where the Plain mainly stops at their wardrobes. Their houses are quite fancy and richly equipped and decorated, by traditional types of standards, even if they have eliminated the television, for example. In these cases, their Plain is just another expression of fashion – but God can deepen and grow it from there, into the whole-life fullness of devotion and blessing that can come in this way of life.

    • I know what you mean. And I don’t mean to judge them for it, because many of them live at levels of consumer consumption far below their neighbours. Either their own group has moved along into adaptation to their surrounding community, or prosperity has allowed them to buy what they couldn’t before, or they don’t have a strong conviction of simplicity. I’m reminded of the old Orthodox adage for the monastery about fasting – keep your eyes on your own plate! First, looking to see how well someone else is keeping the fast may lead you to spiritual pride, and seeing someone who is keeping it better may make you envious! And if they still have food on the plate, you may become gluttonous and crave it!

  9. Very interesting post. I have seen some enamored with the ‘plain’ life and join a plain church dreaming of living the lifestyle of Laura Ingalls in a glorious church setting. Imagine their distress when they discover that the others in the church have weaknesses and faults. It is a rocky road and only those who are convicted to perservere, and do so, will reach the destination.

    • Is it an American phenomenon? I rarely meet that here in Canada, but all the time from Americans! The pioneer-lifestyle, rosy view of the past is one thing that draws people to a plain life, but it often doesn’t last for them, because it isn’t all that rosy. (I can think of events that would have deterred me and sent me back to the suburbs but for a strong faith!) And those of us who are called and have persevered find we can live Plain anywhere the Lord puts us. Generally, those who are falling in love don’t see the beloved’s faults until later, when the glow is gone and the bills have to be paid. This is true of many a faith journey.

  10. Hi Lucy,
    I have been involved with plain Anabaptists for years. I do understand their beliefs, their history, and so forth. But have not considered myself an Anabaptist, but a Quaker. The issues I am dealing with come from trying to blend the two, which is nearly impossible to avoid when you worship with a group that is not totally who you are. Anabaptism and Quakerism don’t blend real well in certain areas, while they do ok in others. I surely do understand that we are the church and that it is not a building. For me, and others I know, being ecumenical in the plain world is not as easy as it may seem. I consider these Anabaptists my brothers and sisters in the church of Christ, as I do many other christians out there of different non plain denomination. But choosing a group to worship with is a whole other complicated subject.
    I don’t know what type of “church”, meeting, or fellowship you attend or are a member of ( not everyone believes in “official ” membership), but it seems from what you wrote you feel the Bible tells us to be plain in this particular way. It is “a” way to be modest etc and non conformed to the world. Before I was plain I wore denim dresses and my hair long and down with a covering and people talked to me about God, were careful about their language ( not always, some don’t care no matter what we wear, but in general), and I was trusted in some situations where I am sure I would not have been had I been dressed “non religiously”. My Amish dress has gotten me some criticism, because in my neck of the woods, the Amish are considered unsaved and heretical by many christians. But that is neither here nor there, because the reason I have worn plain dress for so many years is because I was convinced I was convinced – that it was a conviction from God.

    So, to wind this up when I began to “identify” with Anabaptists( and Quakers, but the plain ones are not around here and I was only going to be recognized as an Anabaptist by the public and other Anabaptists)I knew facts about them, but I had not spent time WITH them. I had thought I could maintain Quaker thinking while with them, but found that much more challenging to do than I had thought it would be. Some of the problems I have witnessed in the Anabaptist church caused me to question my witness. I hope I made better sense this time.
    Joanie

    • I`ve been through what Joanie is talking about- for those of us who live amongst the Anabaptist groups it may be a continual balancing act. I consider myself more Quaker than Anabaptist, understanding that the groups have informed each other for centuries, but I remain in the Anglican church, the mother of the Quakers. Go figure. I don`t quite understand it and neither does my bishop, apparently.

  11. I just wanted to add something here – smiling as I do it. Not in a critical spirit. I notice a LOT of people who are conservative, but anti plain ( not saying everyone who is non plain is opposed to it, but there are some popular women writers out there who will not support the plain witness) or simply not plain, tend to refer to the plain dress as “frumpy”. I find that kind of odd because most plain outfits have aprons and are tied or pinned at the waist and the outfits show the figure very clearly. Unless it is a huge outfit or something. I would say that the jumper is more frumpy. I feel like I am a big party pooper here, but in this area it is rather a joke ( shouldn’t be) about the women starving themselves to look good in these dresses noone heavy looks good in. Vanity can find its way in everywhere, huh?
    Joanie

    • I`ve noticed this, too. Sometimes they can be quite hurtful. I`m at an age where `frumpy`no longer has much meaning! I can understand younger women wanting to be a little more attractive but I am now a more than middle-aged matuschka! I don`t mind if the colour flatters me a bit, though, to be honest, but my sturdy peasant genes are asserting themselves.

      If some sisters want to paint and primp, then that is their lookout. I gave it up as a waste of time and money.

  12. Regarding what the comments about plain folks living not so plain other than clothes – there is a lot of money in the group we fellowship with. Many inherited large farms, but could not farm to the extent their parents and grandparents did and sold off some when values were better. Many, like Amish, make fine furniture and cabinets and that income has been extremely good ( recession hurt them, of course.), as they do a lot of work for the wealthy. We saw very expensive vehicles – not the majority, but some – but as long as they were black…. . Now it is more common to see stunning homes and they are set up much alike – for big gatherings. Most have similar kitchen/dining designs opening to a great room with a table to sit at least 20. And they use it. They have a lot, but are very generous. It is not uncommon to have RV’s, for them to fly all over the world, and yet at the youth gatherings simple games and simple fun like wienie roasts and so forth go on. It is a strange mix.
    One of my Amish friends whose husband is the bishop reminded me once that Amish have problems in spending money,too, sometimes and said she and her husband had learned lessons in that regard. They live in a log cabin chalet, by the way. Simply beautiful and very different from the usual Amish house. He is a cabinet maker and carpenter, so I don’t know if perhaps this was done for business purposes. It is still very used and sensible, just lots of beautiful wood. Most of my other friends there have linoleum floors in every room, beautiful cabinets, and one I know has a collection of kitchen stuff with grapes on it. All in all, I find the ones who do have lovely things people who share what they have. It is so common to hear that people in need are living with some of those with bigger homes or that travellers are put up cheerfully. I know some of them have worried about the effect of money on them, though. I can understand.
    Joanie

    • I noticed some of that amongst Mennonites I knew back East. Their generosity is unparalleled in other Christian churches, even if they have, for some reason, decided to be more worldly than their parents were. I don`t know if it will continue, with the changes in the economy. All churches go through seasons. Some will wither back a bit, then grow, others will die down to the very root, and some will thrive. It`s hard to know which will do which, as the Spirit blows where it will!

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