Posts Tagged ‘faith’

Visited Pennsylvania Dutch Country this past summer. This is where a population of Amish people live in the United States. Only place with more Amish is Ohio. There are more than 40, 000 Amish in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania.

Canada is also home to Amish communities.

It was just so beautiful and peaceful. Rolling green hills and gorgeous farms.

I’ve always been fascinated by the Amish people. And not just because maybe one of my daughters might have said I dressed like one.

But because I find it quite interesting that they live in a community that shuns a lot of the modern world. Have their own language and customs. Live and dress simply. It’s all about faith, family and farm. They help each other. They are pacifists.

Yes, some do business with folks outside their community. And probably do quite well based on the hefty price tags I’ve seen attached to homemade quilts and hand carved furniture.

For the most part, though, they stick to their own. Travel around in horse drawn buggies. Members of the Old Order avoid modern technology.

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My cousin and I had a lovely visit. Bought some fresh yarn (lol) and visited a farm for fresh peaches and zucchini bread. Checked out the animals. We even did some Lancaster County wine tasting although that had nothing to do with the Amish.

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The first time I visited was about twenty five years ago. I remember telling my mother about the trip. I was enthralled with the simplicity of their lives. My mom said, “Well, not being allowed to attend school after the eighth grade really doesn’t sound like a great thing.”

But my argument then (and still) is this: In this context it actually is a good thing. For them. I’m not talking about you and me.

Why would they need to be educated beyond the eighth grade?

The children are groomed in the ways of Amish. They do learn English in school. And maybe a smattering of geography or history. They need to learn the skills necessary to live in their community. Not ours. They won’t ever be a part of our community.

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They will need to learn about agriculture. Or how to measure planks of wood for building homes and furniture. Quilting. Gardening. Preserves. Biblical text and verses.

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They have no desire or need to learn more.

I think I’ll always find it fascinating that these communities still exist in North America. Not because they are the “other” but because maybe, just maybe, their lifestyle is sort of refreshing.

Simply stuck in time.

 

 

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I don’t think it is easy to put God first. To really put Him first. It’s easy to say. Believing in God can be difficult for some people. And putting Him first can be difficult for others.

I am always interested in people that hear His voice. Whether it is an out and out roar or a mere whisper.

As you know, Fr. Fred is leaving the parish in July. The scripture was about the sacrifice a father was to make by killing his son. We all know that old story. And so that was what Fred’s sermon was about last week.

He first heard the calling when he was very young. Growing up in Orange County, California with a Catholic mother and a Methodist father. So he became a priest.

This past Fall he said he knew something was going to happen. He said he started to hear the whispers. And the whispers said, “Time is precious. Time is precious.”

So he totally thought he was going to die of a heart attack! That man can make me laugh out loud.

Yeah, Fred carries a couple of extra pounds and has a penchant for junk food. Fine food but also fast food. He said he kept hoping that he wouldn’t die in the shower or in the car while shoving food in his mouth from the local Wienerschnitzel. He was hoping for something more dignified.

Anyway, luckily for him, it is a move and not an early death that prompted those whispers.

He said it is really hard. To leave. Said it hurts like hell. But he said he would not be “walking his talk” if he did not accept it and put God first. If he didn’t love God more than us. Said if all the sermons he shared about putting God first in our lives only applied to us and not him then he would be nothing more than a big old hypocrite. He said that he would have just been the world’s best salesman. But he said his job is not and never has been a salesman. It is a sheperd who tries his best to guide.

It’s not easy to put Him first. It’s difficult and sometimes it hurts like hell. But it sure does help if you have the right sheperd.

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