Sunday, October 08, 2006

Guest Blog: Personal reflections on the Amish and the so-called Christian Right

I was deeply disturbed by the killing of the Amish schoolchildren in nearby Lancaster County, Pennsylvania. Children bring out the best part of my personality and the warmest emotions in my heart. From personal experience, I am completely convinced that the Amish live the closest to God of any group of people in America.

In my teens, I worked for awhile picking up cans of milk from Amish farms in Lancaster County and taking them to the dairy for processing. Later in my late twenties, I lunched several days a week at auctions and flea markets with a teenage Amish girl from Lancaster County named Ruth Ann Fisher. We talked mostly about family and faith.

Those talks stirred my spirit so much that I struggled to learn to read the Bible in German and seriously considered joining the Brethren. Eventually, I realized that my experiences were so different that I would never successfully fit in with the Amish lifestyle. I would have been a miserable failure as a farmer and did not know how to really think like one of the Plain Folk. I lived in a world of electric power, higher education and ambition. My German was pathetic.

What I gained from those talks, nearly half of a lifetime ago, is still with me. My faith as a Christian was deeply influenced. There are many pathways to God but few as pure as the Amish. I cannot imagine anyone hating the Amish much less the Amish children.

In many ways, the Amish are like the Anti-Christian Right of the Christian faith although I doubt they had every considered the situation. The Amish are basically non-political. They are oriented toward peace, living plainly, living communally in many ways and care nothing for material wealth or power. They are into forgiveness instead of vengeance. Aggression and violence are alien concepts. Hard work is regarded as a virtue in itself instead of as an avenue to wealth and power.

The so-called Christian Right should look closely at the Amish lifestyle for lessons in what is wrong with their approach to faith and politics. The Amish are focused on becoming more Godly in their person and among their community. They do not seek to impose their values on others by law or force. They do not judge others but instead try to set examples in the way they live their lives.

Hate has no power or legitimacy in the Amish community or Church. They follow the example of Jesus Christ by forgiving and loving the worst of sinners. Only by understanding this fact can the non-Amish understand their reaction to the schoolhouse killings.

Personally, I find far more religious power in the Amish approach than in the approach of the so-called Christian Right. We can all learn from the Plain Folk. I hope our nation will be influenced a little more by the Amish even if we cannot fully follow in the footsteps of these Godly people.


Written by Stephen Crockett (co-host of Democratic Talk Radio http://www.DemocraticTalkRadio.com ). Mail: P.O. Box 283, Earleville, Maryland 21919. Email: midsouthcm@aol.com . Phone: 443-907-2367.

4 Comments:

Anonymous Trey said...

In my life , I struggle an enormous amount over how things such as this could happen in a world in which there is a loving God. I have a daughter who just started school, and when this happened, could only imagine the moments of terror those children faced as they were tied up and then killed.
I am a follower of Christ, and try to remain unafraid to fact the tougher questions to my faith. As I thought about all of this, I saw and read about the reactions of the Amish to the man who murdered those children. I cannot see God in that classroom. He may have been there, and my faith tells me that he was, but I cannot fathom it. I can however see God in the reaction of the Amish members of that community. It gave me pause because I have begun writing extensively about my questions of faith, and to have such a clear example of where God surely exists was heartening. I thank you for your blog on this, and agree that in world where Christianity is interpreted in so many ways, by such disparate groups of people, it is easy to see where he can clearly be found. I too am very much too cosmopolitan to even think of becoming Amish. It just is a leap of faith and sacrifice I do not have at this moment, however; I do see the face of God in them, and am glad to have received guidance through their actions.

09 October, 2006 08:42  
Blogger Julie said...

Trey,

Thanks so much for your commments. I, too, am much too much into technology to suddenly become Amish, but I wish I could have just one ounce of their faith in God. The ability of these families to look for only the good and to follow in Christ's footsteps to forgive is astounding for me.

Also, I can't take credit for this blog entry, as it was a Guest Blog written by Stephen Crockett. I only posted it.

God Bless

09 October, 2006 11:44  
Anonymous Michael said...

With all of this said, now think of the wisdom of our forefathers, who in no small measure founded this country on "Freedom of Religion".
I once read that we would be far better off finding the good in all religions rather than looking for the fault in a single religion.
I know this to be true! My better/higher self does not mislead.
God Bless, no matter what your calling.

23 October, 2010 07:48  
Anonymous raj bill santellices said...

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01 February, 2012 11:47  

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