Thursday, May 10, 2007

The Amish as a Light

Here is an interesting discussion that is taking place in one of my class' discussions. It is about the witness of the Amish/Mennonite community really has. If you have a moment, I would like to know what ways you have been touched by this community of believers. Blessings, Stephen

Clark (a classmate) said:

The one thing that I have never agreed with [the Amish] was the fact that they do not associate with any one except ones in their colonies. They have no form of out reach or witness.

My Response:

I think I must humbly disagree with you on this. I grew up in various states around the country (and even spent a year in Japan), and speant the majority of my growing up years in Southern Cali and Central OK. So, I have had little to no personal interaction with the Amish people, yet their way of life has been an inspiration to me since I was little.

How? Because my mother (herself an admirer of the simple, devout way these people live) bought books from Amish/Mennonite publishers. So I grew up hearing, and then reading, moral stories with Amish/Mennonite settings and characters. These books were supplemented with picture books by secular publishers about these people. From these, I have gone on to read Christian novels set in Lancaster (and other Amish communities), as well as read non-fiction books about these wonderful people of God.

These brothers and sisters in the faith encourage me and teach me about the importance of living in the world but not of the world. Honestly, I would not be adverse to taking a place in a Mennonite community, if it were not for some distinct differences in doctrine. Perhaps this is a bit extreme, but I highly doubt that I am the only Western believer to have been inspired by the Amish/Mennonite way of life through the reading material published by this community.

My point is, they do have a very great form of outreach and witness. I have concentrated on their writings in this post, but it is their presence that is so great a witness. Sometimes I think we of the Evangelist tradition forget that simply following God's way of life is a witness in and of itself. The Holy Spirit desires a holder for the candle of truth that Christ's love lights in our hearts. The Amish and Mennonite people are a loving, kind community who stand as a "city on a hill" for the rest of America and the Western Hemisphere.


Rubies&Sapphires said...

Hey y'all,

That classmate Millie had this to say about my post on the Amish:

"I do not know if I agree or disagree with the fact that they set themselves
but living in a community where they are common I believe they do have an
influence. They are active in business and in the community. What you note
is their quiet witness of what they believe, they don't have to shout it
from the mountaintops. No one questions their sincereity to what they believe
it is obvious. If you question them they will answer sincerely and with respect
and not put down your faith because you do not agree with theirs. In a way
they do reach their community, because they make people realize there is
something beyond the hectic lifestyle they live and that it is possible to
live a life based on Christ in today's world."

I thought she was right on!

Jacqueline said...

I wholeheartedly agree with your post.
We live half an hour away from a very big Amish Community in Pennsylvania, and have become friends with a few of them. Not only do we get raw milk, fresh eggs, Flour, cottage cheese, and lots of other farm fresh food from them, but they are the sweetest and most humble people I've ever met!
We really enjoy talking to them when we do our weekly "grocery shopping" and they have been such a blessing to all of us.

~blessings to you and your family.