Friday, October 06, 2006

Amish Thoughts

Had the Amish believed in a formal education I could very well be among the group driving their buggies to bury the innocents killed in Pennsylvania. I am sure that some distant cousins of mine are there. My maternal Grandfather, a minister, left the community for an education. He was descended from the earliest Swiss Mennonites migrating here buying their land from William Penn. One of my ancestors was the first Amish Mennonite bishop in this country.

It is because of that background and growing up in my Grandparents home enjoying my Grandmothers Pennsylvania Dutch cooking and their gentle God fearing ways that I am what I am. I was brought to Christ and the goodness of Gods amazing grace at an early age. For that I am eternally thankful. I have been walking with Jesus all my life. What a blessing.

The attention that has been brought to the ways of the "plain folk" by this tragedy may be a blessing in disguise. The one thing that seems to surprise those of us living in "the world" is the capacity of the Amish to forgive. It is a lesson we would do well to remember. It is a lesson taught by Christ...forgive your enemies, pray for them that harm you, love your neighbor as yourself. In the context of whats happening in the world today it's good advice.

Forgiveness really does nothing for the forgiven but it does do wonders for the forgiver. It releases them from the anguish and pernicious hate they must otherwise bear. This was really brought home to me the day I forgave my ex-wife. Now I know it's difficult to forgive those who fly airplanes into large buildings. And it's difficult to forgive those who do unspeakable crimes against innocent children. The saying goes, to err is human, to forgive Divine and we are all too human. It's a difficult thing, this forgiveness. But then if we remember, vengeance is mine, saith the Lord, it becomes easier because, whether you believe or not, the Lord does have his retribution.

My Grandfather once wrote, this world is no friend to grace and he was absolutely correct. I readily understand why the Amish chose to shut themselves away from the corruption we have become so jaded to in our everyday world. Until something like what recently happened occurs we go about our lives scarcely noticing the evil swirling around us. The forces of evil have become so ingrained in our culture we hardly recognize them but do not doubt for a moment that in our county Satan, our spiritual enemy, is having his way.

From a practical standpoint it can be argued that any nation without a transcendent moral foundation will not be long in this world. And it can be also argued that with out the individual having the same moral authority the nation will lack that foundation. Now certainly I don't expect that non-believers will suddenly discover the joy a walk with Christ brings although that would be a wonderful blessing to them. What I do expect is that we all take a look at our moral foundation. When you get right down to it all great "religions" teach the same positive values.

The Amish have asked only that we pray for them and for the family of the now forgiven murder. They have set up a separate fund for the killers family. They have said that the donations that have flooded in are not necessary but that they are accepted because they are a blessing to the givers. These are principles that should be examined and taken to heart by us all.


Blogger Bonita said...

Greetings, McBean....This is a wonderful post to grace my morning. I knew the Amish would respond well to this unfortunate event, and that they would have a positive impact on many hearts. We know goodness when we see it, it makes the heart warm and aspiring. But, when religion is miss-used for evil purposes, or missinterpreted for self-gain and aggrandizement, it creates pathologies that result in destruction. We see both forces in the world today, and it comes down to how the tool of religion is used. I greatly admire the spiritual integrity of the Amish.

9:06 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

We were very sorry that we missed to visit the Amish people when we were over to the U.S :-(

They sounds so incredible, from the little I know about them.

The big question we have to ask us is what good hate do us? There is only one answer to that and yet mankind keep up the hatred. It's really unbelievable!

And I say that we need more understanding then forgiveness, because if we truly try to understand we also is capable to forgive.

11:57 AM  
Blogger Alexander said...

I fully understand why the Amish have shut themselves away from the maelstrom. As I don't subscribe to several ideas the Amish have, I don't see the modern world as "evil" per se, but a world where there are simply so many 'distractions' and competition...that humanity, compassion, and rememberance of how special life can be, is so easily lost in the materialistic brainwashing and sheer neon flashing booming bass "now now now,no time to stop and breath" chaos of it all.

Modern western society is increasingly a shallow malestrom of ideological confusion,ego battles,impersonality,resentment,frustration, and dissapointment. I am not one to reject it totally, nor do I embrace it totally. I participate when I feel it will benefit me, and I stay well out of the chaos when I know it isn't doing me any good.

Small Amish communities appear to be a way of avoiding slipping into the corruption of Religion which occurs when it gets into the hands of people who actually seek expansionist political power. When I was very young,I always felt many Religious attitudes could only 'truly' be effective in small communities. Since then,I've experienced many Religions and Spiritual philsophies around the world, and have come full circle to this feeling.

2:05 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Very beautifully written, thank you!

6:37 PM  
Blogger benning said...

Beautifully written, Mac. I've linked to your post because you have something important to say on this. As you usually do!

GOD Bless!

6:02 AM  

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