taken from here.
They are a natural curiosity because they are so protective of their privacy. I know them as Anabaptists, as buggy drivers, and by the fact that I don’t know them at all.
Several weeks ago when they sprang into the news because of the schoolhouse tragedy, a few details of the tragedy I found very curious. While the man with the gun, Charlie Roberts was holding them captive, The oldest girl, approximately 13 years old, in the hopes of buying time for her younger classmates, asked to be shot first. The second oldest girl followed suit with this request after the first was shot. Here’s where it came from originally.
The oldest girl, 13-year-old Marian Fisher, appealed to Roberts to shoot her first, in an effort to spare the younger girls, according to her younger sister who survived. The younger sister, Barbie, appealed to him to shoot her next. She was wounded in the hand, leg, and shoulder.
I teach high school. I don’t meet kids capable of this sort of thinking, ever. This simple act on the part of these girls is the heart of what a Christian is to me. That these young girls could exhibit such selflessness and maturity, my only thought was “I want to raise a kid like that”.
So I got curious about the Amish.
Naturally the first thing I run across is Rumspringa, which I am sure is a titillating thing for the world to imagine. It is the time after an Amish is 16 and they are allowed to do whatever they want before they decide to join the church or leave. They have an 85 to 90 percent retention rate.
I got Devil’s Playground on my Netflix, watch it. It profiles several teens the most tragic being a young man named Faron Yoder (father Joseph, a pastor mentioned in this article on the Shipshewana tragedy), who seems to have a heart of gold but gets addicted to methamphetamines and coke while on Rumspringa and can’t seem to extricate himself from the mess he made from his life, ultimately ending up in prison (though the documentary doesn’t show this part) turned in by his parents.
Since we wrapped filming Faron got tired of trying to get by in Florida. The valet job didn’t make enough in the off-season, and by then he was trying to sell $1500 vacuum cleaners door-to-door on commission which – unsurprisingly – didn’t pay. Even Faron, smart as he is, is not equipped to succeed outside the Amish community. He left Emma and moved back to Indiana, succumbing to incessant pressure from his parents and the lure of a lucrative job with his dad. And it wasn’t long before his parents turned him in for possession of a loaded gun and drugs paraphernalia.
It is patently bizarre to see these girls dressed Amish tipping 40 ouncers at a heavy metal show, talking about the fun they had at Ozfest, partying, living in sleazy trailers. I believe the ultimate point of the documentary was to show that Rumspringa might be a bit too much freedom for these kids to be able to handle coming from the background of ultimate sheltering and catechism.
Though most of the kids don’t go to the extremes that a few kids do…most girls don’t leave home, in fact according to the documentarian, most of the rebellion is institutional in nature. Like maybe the girls go buy buttons and eschew the pins that they are supposed to use.
Some old order Amish won’t even use bicycles because they are too much fun (?).
It is interesting to learn more about them. A conversation ensued with J about how different protestants choose different passages of the bible to uphold and ignore. Like the great commission (to go and share the Message) at the end of Matthew and found in almost every one of the gospels doesn’t seem to register for the Amish, but 2 Corintians 6:14 sure does (that the believer should not be unbeliever should not be unequally yoked with the unbeliever).
Still with the Amish affected by the West Nickel mines school forwarding all the money they have received to the wife of the shooter ($700,000 as of October 12), I wonder how many Christian people I know would do that?
I think maybe it would be easier to be a Christian like the Amish are. Where the world is totally removed, the temptations not before ones eyes on a daily basis. Or for Catholic sisters, whose every detail of their lives held accountable by where they live, their clothes, those who surround them. Much more difficult to try to live up to this standard without this “padding” of context.
Michael W. Smith, a Christian singer, held a benefit and said it was never the will of God that our children should perish. Who died and made him God? Bad things happen. Really, really bad things happen. Tragedies. To innocents, too. Who can know the will of God? Who has his Alpha and Omega wisdom?
What do I know, I know that as a Christian we are not in positions of power. We are not pundits or godfather-like power brokers. The Amish in this circumstance, in their forgiveness, their quietness, their example is really the only powerful thing we can have as believers.