samedi, octobre 07, 2006

Pennsylvania Dutch Country Lessons

If you live in Northern Chester County, Pennsylvania, then the Amish are your neighbors. On our way to Lancaster, we drive around their horses and buggies, or watch them doing outdoor chores on their farms as we speed down country roads way faster then we need to. Even those of us who don't stare at a person in a wheelchair, or teach our children to treat all of their classmates as equal, seem to make an exception, a condescending one, for the Amish. After all, their black and white garb, their centuries-old ways of living, make them different from us. But as Scott Simon reminded us on his Saturday radio show, its simply wrong to make the Amish into simply another tourist attraction. They are, as we have learned this week, a remarkably strong people-capable of practicing a disciplined Christianity and faith in the mercy of God which sustains them. For centuries, they have asked only to have the freedom to live out the vision of Christian community that guided them through persecutions in their home countries and led them to America. The best thing we can do, now , is to a. send money to support the families that have lost children and those that have to pay hospital bills. b. pray for them c. leave them alone and d. meditate on what it is we can learn about real Christianity from the example of a people who take the words of a Nazarene carpenter as seriously as they deserve.

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