Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Unity & Uniformity

  • I stay confused on the issue of uniformity.
Among plain Anabaptists, unity is key. The individual church decides the type of dress worn for both men and women. Some churches allow jeans on men, but most have broadfalls. For women, the criteria is about collars or not, length of sleeve (short, long or 3/4), in addition; veils verses kapps, and prints verses solids. All this is decided by church leaders. But if uniformity is essential, why aren't they ALL uniform? Honestly, only the individual church/district is uniform. Not the denomination.

  • My confusion isn't about why uniformity is beneficial.... I understand that dying to ones self and not one brother or sister in Christ being better or above the other is true humility in action. Got it.
    But why is it that there are SO many different church standards?

Why is it that the Hutterites (like the girls in the picture) can have such vivid colors, and louder prints, and function just fine, but Mennonite Churches are big on very muted colors and small prints? The Amish wear no prints? Is this all mostly tradition and culture, or is any of this biblical?

I try to wrap my mind around the need for this. Other than UNITY, I don't see a need for uniformity.

But don't think for one minute that I don't recognize the blessing of Unity amongst the Anabaptists. I do. As someone who is not a member of any plain church, I stay confused. I am sure if I had chose a church and committed my earthly efforts to the individual church, I would no longer be confused, but instead focused on being a part of that unity.

I believe this is just part of not being a member of a specific plain church. It's like being on the outside looking in. The church we were previously members of was not *plain*, although I did adhere to dressing appropriately and modestly, adhered to 1 Corinthians 11 (headcovering) and embraced Non-Resistance to the best of my ability. Additionally, I stopped swearing oaths, even for jury duty. But non of that made me feel anything other than obedient. The uniformity was lacking, but instead we strived for uniformity in spirit, and viewed ourselves as the body of Christ.

Now, where in the Bible does it say to dress uniformly? (Nowhere) But that doesn't make it wrong. It also doesn't make it a mandate. It's just hard for someone who wasn't raised in the faith to grasp, and difficult for anyone converting to a plain church to grasp WHY??? Culture and traditional are the biggest answers, and if you want to join a plain church, don't plan on changing 500 years of history and tradition. When in Rome, ya know???

So what should you do if you are not able to join a plain church but are led to dress plain? Well, understand there will be no uniformity. You will be the odd man out in whatever church you attend. But you will be blessed, if done with a genuinely humble and obedient spirit by God to as you serve him. Unity will have to be in a spiritual sense.

But back to my confusion; It's not the unity or uniformity (per church) that throws me for a loop. It's when RULES are implemented into the church that have nothing to do with anything biblical. Example: Someone joins the church... they are good members and serve well for years. Then one day the church leader decide that the children of the members will not be allowed to play musical instruments in their own homes. Ok., where in the Bible does it say this is a sin??? (Nowhere)
Is this any different than the leaders of Pentecostal churches deciding HOW a woman may style her hair??? (Nope) How can man implement man-made rules that pertain to peoples individual lives with no biblical backing?

I guess your left with 3 options: 1) Stay and roll with it. 2) Leave and either be churchless or go to another denomination, or 3) SPLIT and start another church with more preferable rules.

Where is the sense in this? There probably isn't any really...Not that anyone who wasn't raised within the faith could grasp.
And I am not against any church or denomination. I am not against the plain, quite the contrary.... I am struggling just as hard as they are between tradition, and realistic application of principle.


Friday, April 25, 2008

The Price Of Good Character

If popular favor must be paid for by the surrender of principles or loss of character, then indeed the price is to high.
Laura Ingalls Wilder - Newspaper essay, April 1917
Laura Wilder has been my favorite author since I was eight years old. Admitedly; I was fond of her *Little House* books. I didn't relate to her as an adult author until I reached 40. Then suddenly, her writings for the Missouri Ruralist and other publications became fodder for my imagination. Perhaps it helped that Scott and I drove to Missouri, to Rocky Ridge Farm, and toured her homes.
Feeling the wood frames of the doors Almanzo framed, touching her apron, her bed, her writing desk, and standing in front of the huge stone fireplace made her life and writings come to life for me.
Now, I can relate to the woman, not just the author.

But something I couldn't relate to as a child, teenager, or even young adult was the importence of CHARACTER. Laura knew it's importance from an early age. Even though it was clearly conveyed in the books I so dearly loved, it wasn't implemented until I was older and had suffered the consequences of the poor choices I made from; you guessed it: A lack of character.
I was fortunate to catch myself and learn from my mistakes. I began to work on developing my character intentionally, and while I will always be a work in progress, I try very hard to maintain high morals and good principles. So does my husband. We use to tell the children *DO THE RIGHT THING*... and whenever in doubt, that is the family slogan. It's quite painful to suffer the consequences when we don't.
Additionally, there will always be children and grandchildren watching us.
What an embarrassment it is when they see me fail morally, and what a thrill it is to see them mi mick good habits and behaviors.
Mothers and Fathers, teach your children *young* to lie in the bed they make, to know that every deed has a consequence, and to obey The Lord and His Commandments not simply because they are rules to be followed, but to have JOY in them.
And one good deed begats another. That is something that we, as a society cannot afford to loose.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

My Dad's Bigger Than Your Dad

Children are often full of themselves and like to taunt other children by pointing out something that they think makes them *better* than the other. That's for children and they should be taught otherwise, right???

This is called humility.

Humility keeps my foot out of my mouth, makes me generally approachable, and willing to help others. Humility is putting *SELF ON THE SHELF* and putting others first.

Among Anabaptist circles, most are raised to be humble and this is their trademark. For those who convert, learning genuine humility is a long, drawn out, sometimes painfully embarrassing process where the newby learns their opinions aren't required, and if your a woman, if it needs to be expressed in church, it will most likely come through your husband or privately to the Pastor or an Elder. Depending on your previous background, this can be difficult to process, and even harder to apply to real life. But don't dispair- it's worth the pain.
Even if your just a fan of Beverly Lewis, and find the Anabaptists charming...
You too can learn something valuable here, and I'd hate for you to miss out on the opportunity.

I rarely hear those born-Mennonite boast about anything. They don't obscess about their clothing, or how they decorate thier homes.... they don't have *pop-culture* to associate trends with or compare and contrast every last detail of their life with.

I frequently hear *converts* obscess over *just how plain* they should be... and the tend to do a lot of chastising of anyone who thinks differently. (That's usually how I know they are a convert *wink*) I think that is sort of a carry-over from their life before.

Instead of walking confidently (Never and leading by example, they obcess. They become critical, and like children who compare what they have to what someone else doesn't, they began to loose their joy. Children who have to belittle others to feel good about themselves have what is referred to in my family as: *False Pride*. It's probably an old hillbilly term, but it means being proud of something you have no right to be proud of. You did something to make yourself look good at someone elses expence. Some people are constantly reminding others what the bible says about something..usually trying to make it fit the situation and straining it at that. They are trying to justify their choices. WHY???

Now, I love my convert friends. Many are becoming like family to me. And MOST are quite happy serving God either within their church, home-church, or mainstream church where they are somewhat of an oddity, but usually tolerated well. they don't spend time justifying, and they are very accepting of anyone who is make a general effort towards modesty.

But a few have decided that there are certain restraints that, although not clearly instructed in the Bible, should be adhered to in order to steer very clear of sin. Most of the issues revolve around womens fashion, (prints verses solids, veils verses snoods or caps, dress style, length etc..)

My question to the reader: Do you think that being PLAINER than someone else makes you holier and somehow more endeared to God? Or is being modest enough? What defines modest??
When are you modest enough?

No matter where you serve God, there will always be some other person or group who thinks they are holier than you and your church. Just ask the Amish. To them The Mennonites are walking a pretty thin line with all that electricity, and automobiles.

So where's your line?

Monday, April 21, 2008


I am blessed beyond words. But seeing it in print sure it nice.
My husband Scott is an Audio Engineer. He travels all over the US and beyond, mixing National Leaders, Comedians, Musicians and boring Surgreons who drone on and on about angioplasty, or innovations in hernia relief ***sigh****
But, no matter where he is, he takes the time to remind me of his undying devotion to me. And yes, he has a flair for the dramatic and a pretty good sense of humor.
This picture is of a digital console. Each *channel* is for a different micropone. One goes to the drums, another to the lead vocals, guitars, bass, etc... You get the picture. In order for Scott to know which one he is adjusting, this fancy mixing board lets you spell it out. I know it's hard to see, but it says: I LOVE YOU MRS. HUNT. (We refer to each other as Mr. & Mrs. frequently)

Instead of digitally spelling out *Lead Vocals, Bass, Drums, etc...* He wrote what was on his heart, took a picture of it and sent it to me on my cell phone. I love technology. Even better, I love knowing that he is thinking of me always... even on the road.
Your a good Man Mr. Hunt.
And I am a LUCKY woman. :-)

Thursday, April 17, 2008

The Corrupted Gospel

Everyone I know is reading about the horrible FLDS scandal in San Angelo. This just tears me up. But it just goes to show you that ultimate power corrupts.
The men envolved in this corrupted church are sick.
I genuinely feel compassion for the women and children who are obviously brainwashed into this cult.
What will become of all these children? Will they all re-unite in another underground society/church? Or is there help for them?

Hopefully, the children will be able to return to their mothers and get the help they all need. But I truly wonder if ANY of these people will try to get out of this so-called church? Is there any hope that they could convert to Anabaptism? Is there anyone beside Child Protective Services reaching out to help them?

Any thoughts?

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

What Entitlement???

Cats are the only creatures who are allowed an over-inflated ego, and sense of entitlement. If your not a cat- get over yourself.
I have had conversations recently with my kids about work ethics and earning everything you have. Praise God they got the message!! All my children are hard workers, and earn everything they have.
Sadly, their generation seems to think that society OWES them something? Perhaps pop-culture has overdosed on an ego-laced cocktail of Paris Hilton, American Idol, and one too many episodes of reality TV? Whatever the cause, I dispair for our youth.
There are young women intentionally getting pregnant, intentionally NOT marrying, and intentionally taking the government and the father for a ride through Welfare, & Child Support. They are living off my hard earned taxes, and living fairly well in most non-border states. (Border states are at capacity level accodating the poor and immigrants, so options are not as broad.)
This is just one example. But it sticks in my craw.
Another is society in general. I know of young people who feel like their parents owe them everything. When accomodated, they are kind and loving towards their parents. When denied money, babysitting, or bail-outs, these children become vicious, verbally and sometimes physically attacking the very ones who raised them.
Children are given too much in my opinon. They are not taught to earn their way from a young age. They lack the confidence that earning your way provides. It also provides an essensial element: Humility.
When I was 11, my parents grew tomatoes. All the excess where bagged up, and me and my brother who was 6, took them door-to-door in our neighborhood and sold them for 50 cnets a bag. We were allowed to keep half of what we collected.
Later, I babysat, and cleaned for families in the area. I never had a huge allowance, and that was incentive for me to earn.
I understood EARLY that if I wanted something, I would have to work for it. I wasn't entitled to anything. I never felt deprived, and I never worried too much about how I would get by becasue I was taught to not be afraid of hard work.
We also killed our own hogs, and processed the meat ourselves. Thus we were taught self-sufficiency. Actually, the hog-killing taught be more than that. It was family unity, a sense of accomplishment, and yes, how to survive, and provide.
What are we teaching our children?
Now, I can indulge my cat... because it's nature cannot be changed, and a cats concept of entitlement is, in my opinion, Gods way of showing us he has a sense of humor.
But anyone else? Forget about it- Get a job.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Hair, Hair, Hair, Hair!

A home for fleas, a hive for bees, A nest for birds, there ain't no words for the beauty, the splendor, the wonder of my hair... (from the musical; "Hair")
Ok, this may be a good picture, but it definately puts everything in perspective for me when I see it. I had just whacked my locks off MUCH shorter than ever intended for my daughters wedding last year. Talk about mad...but this isn't new to me. For some reason every person who is allowed to cut my hair, (other than Peggy) cuts it up to my ears. ALWAYS. Praise God it's grown about 8 inches since this photo.
So, I haven't cut it since December and only once before that. But here's the delimma: I look HORRIBLE with long straight hair, and always just despair when it starts looking long, stringy and unkept. My Grandmother never cut her hair, and I loved brushing it out for her. It's one of my favorite memories. I dream of passing that along to my grandchildren.
I am trying to let it be my *glory*, except it doesn't resmble anything glorious when it gets past my shoulders. I struggle with this all the time. I WANT long hair, but I just think I look old, and tired with it all one length.
Then last night, I watched the DVD: The Journey Home :
I was so taken by the selflessness of the Mother in the film. It depicts the family in the 1980s, and as they transformed their lives by moving to the country near an Amish settlement and learning to live off the land.
The wife/mother had let her hair grow, and stopped coloring it, and she was 100 times more beautiful like that, than she had ever been all primped up!
So, is it my perspective??? Is it sheer vanity??? (I hate the thought of that... I genuinely try to not be vain). How do you just *let it go*???
I have friends who have done just that. My friend Carla Raley has done it, and she's beautiful. She tells me to simply STOP cutting it at all. Ok, when I do that, it gets all uneven and shaggy.
And every time I get close, I just freak when my gray streaks show up.

I am covering at night and that seems to have helped with the breakage. It's actually past my shoulders now. I can't believe how much it's grown SINCE this picture! But its going to get to that place where I can't do anything with it. It is THEN that I feel like grabbing the scissors and hacking away.
Should I keep my bangs, and let them grow later??? Let them grow, or keep them?? I just don't know??

I ask myself; What would God want? I believe he would like it long. I know Scott would:-)
I would love to hear any suggestions or encouragement (save the finger-shaking, please).
Any ideas of how to manage it in the in-between stages? How to keep it from breaking? Should I just hide all my scissors and mirrors??? (now THAT'S a

Monday, April 14, 2008

Partners In Crime

Saturday I took Star and Hutch to the vet for their annual check up. You know how some people will do anything for money??? Well, these two will do anything for a treat. They were not the least bit bothered by all the needle-pricking, and orifice poking. Just give them the snack!

Later in the day, I am working on my garden in the backyard. I have eight tomato plants, and I have enough room left for about 10 rows of corn. I roto-till compost in until the earth is soft and grainy. Perfect. Then I rake out the grass and make it level.
I take my hoe, and make perfectly straight rows,... and then take my hoe and punch holes about 10 inches apart all the way down, dropping 2 seeds in each one. When I get to the forth row, I am exhausted! So I lay the package of remaining seeds where I stopped, and I go inside for a drink of water.
I return to find my seed corn GONE, and my dogs with a sheepish grin on their face. Now, I am over 40, so just to be sure I haven't just misplaced the corn, I scour the house, the kitchen, and retrace my steps. This entire time the dogs are making themselves scarce.
At last I go back to the garden, and call the dogs. They won't come which is an admission of guilt in my book.
I approach them like I want to play, and ask for *sugar* (kisses)... they both jump up and lick my face. Their breath smells like FRITOS!! Busted.

I have noone to blame but myself. I left the gate open thinking they would have no interest in anything there.

BUT, it would be easier to deal with if they didn't look so smug about it.

Friday, April 11, 2008

Open Your Mind Without Loosing Your Senses

Now ya'll know I love me some Anabaptists. I am not going to rag on any one group, but one of my pet peeves in ANY denomination is hair-splitting. Lately on some of my on-line groups, (plain and otherwise) this problem has been running rampant.

I have never understood those who want to spend time worrying about peripheral issues verses celebrating what binds us together as children of God? Read on:


About a year ago, there was an article in an Anabaptist Magazine about Western Wear... Cowboy Boots, specifically. It was basically blasting anyone who called themself a Christian and still wear them.
Now, in defense of the publisher, I will say this: He wasn't from Texas.
Had he been, he would have known from the git-go that boots are not just for show. Apparently this well meaning brother has never walked or rode a horse through bull-nettle.
But he didn't stop at cowboy boots,... he took a stab at anything that wasn't what their church prescribes.

I love this specific group and their church, but find this mentality hard to comprehend.

WHY would you spend your time and money publishing a rant against something that doesn't impact your church or community in the first place? If the Amish were being led astray by the likes of Riders In The Sky, then perhaps I could see the point? But they aren't. This isn't an epidemic among the Anabaptists. It was a cheap shot at another culture.

I am all for standing up for what you believe in, especially Godliness. I support what is RIGHT, but never what is PETTY.
Homeless people don't have the option to buy a cape dress or a jumper... people in Africa have little or no clothing. In India, children often are seen with one sandal, and one tennis shoe.

All I want is for people to open their minds, without loosing their senses, or selling out on what they stood up for to begin with.

It isn't your way or the highway. Is it??

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Just A Bit About Me....:-)

Welcome to my blog!

Just a bit about me; I am 40-something, married for 13 years to a wonderful, encouraging, loving, kind, funny, and handsome husband who is an inspiration to me.

We have 5 children and 6 grandchildren all spread out from Texas to Ohio and even sprinkled in Washington. We love them all fiercely!
How did I become Anabaptist you ask?? In a nutshell: 15 years ago I was living in Ohio, and met a Mennonite lady. We became friends. Up to this point in my life, I thought there were only 2 options; Protestant or Catholic. I had almost given up on the whole church experience at this point and was dating the Stage Manager for a touring, headlining large!!
She explained there is a 3rd way, and invited me to her very conservative church.
I grew up with Pentecostal Grandmothers, and thought I had seen the extreme of conservatism. WRONG! But what a lovely group of believers!
The thing that set them apart from most churches I had visited, besides the headcoverings and beards, (ok, suspenders too) was their lack of judgement towards me and my modern dress, and short hair. I have rarely experienced this in a conservative church.
So upon my return to my home State of Texas, and consequent marriage to the Stage Manager, I looked in the phone book and low and behold, I found there were many Mennonite Churches listed! I visited several, and found there were *sub-denominations* within the Anabaptist heading. Some are less conservative. I began studying the Anabaptist's, and that was 15 years ago. I haven't stopped!
My husband and I weren't serving The Lord when we met, and we knew from previous experiences that without God in our lives, a decent marraige was unlikely. We both gave our lives to God.
In Texas we joined Hope Mennonite Church, which was not conservative, but a very kind congregation. Most had originally been raised conservative, and for whatever reason, chose a more progressive lifestyle. We stayed with the church until it went through a split, and dissolved several years later. I am still considered a Member of the Mennonite Church, and have the papers to prove it:-) I have held out a ridiculous amount of hope for a church *plant*, but it is unlikely. I must move forward and bloom where I'm planted.
Over the years I have become convicted to practice headcovering, per 1 Corinthians 11, and modest dress. What a REFORMATION!! I do not wear any specific style of dress, or covering.
I have made so many *plain* friends over the Internet and from my travels, that I have become somewhat of a Goodwill Ambassador between the Plain Anabaptists, and the not-so-plain. I moderate on several Internet groups for like-minded people, and spend as much time as I can in my travels with my Anabaptist and other like-minded Christian friends.
I hope my *transformation* from "wild-child", to; "child of the King" can be an inspiration to someone, somewhere, whatever denomination you are. There will only be one in heaven.