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Definitely Different

I was discussing my gothicky Plainness with a good friend last night. He’s sympathetic  and supportive, with his own sense of Plain. He also has a flare for dramatic dress that could easily take him into living performance art, without too much of a detour.

The conversation centered on why I am so…different. The rest of my family is pretty staid and mainstream. You wouldn’t look up and notice them in a crowd.  I blend in only in places where there are a lot of Anabaptists, and then they notice the differences.

But why? I said this: Ever since I was a child, I was surprised if someone remembered me or said they had thought about me when I wasn’t there.

His analysis was that I never took to the status quo, that I can’t see anything in it.

Of course my reaction was that this CAN’T be normal. And maybe it isn’t. But that doesn’t mean it is wrong. Or that it needs to be cured or fixed or therapized.

I’m not here to live out life as performance art, either, as many goths do. Art for art’s sake, a living daily performance of street theatre, quotidian dance.

Except, perhaps, in the way that Elijah, Jeremiah and John the Baptist did. Not that I am much of a prophet. I am just a minor figure in the 500 year old Plain movement, adapting it to modern times. I can’t help but incorporate some of that strangeness I have acquired – or worn from birth – into that Plain. It is my own quotidian dance, but it is Shaker dance rather than a dark version of Stravinsky’s wild Firebird. I don’t intend to burn to ashes.

Instead, I am called to carry the Light. As are all Christians.


About Julie

Bishop of the church and religious order ICCO in The YOKE, based in Iowa City. Former Anglican parish priest, shepherd for ten years, artist, and writer.

6 responses to “Definitely Different

  1. e ⋅

    I’m interested to learn more of what this change is for you religiously – it’s no surprise to see your Plainness going into Quakerism, but your high view of the sacramental church could not be more different from Quakers!

    • magdalenaperks ⋅

      I will say that the sacramentality has to happen outside Meeting. But Meeting has its own sacredness.

  2. Brenda ⋅

    Hi I liked this for some reason wouldn’t let me use the like button.

  3. Sarah Elliott ⋅


    I’m glad you are blogging again, and that you’re now in Iowa. May our heavenly Father continue to guide you upon His path. I can relate so very much to your observations in this post, as one who (in the eyes of the world, and much of the Church) has always danced to the beat of a different drum, ears open to he that calls the shots from Cross, Empty tomb and heavenly Realm.



  4. Penny


    I was happy to see your comment on Amish America and know you are alright. Your dedication to following the Lord’s call is very brave. I enjoyed your last blog (being an Anglican, in Canada) and at age 66 still trying to be a good christian, looking for answers and trying to do the best I can.

    Your new mission sounds wonderful and again I am very glad to find you again and that you are alright.


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