Forgiveness and charity
#1


They may not have their theology quite right but they sure do know what it means to live as a Christian, I am overwhelmed with admiration for these people.

 
Is there any place on earth that more bespeaks peace, restfulness and sanctuary from the demons of modern life than a one-room Amish schoolhouse? That fact is no doubt why so many of us felt so defiled – there is no more precise word – by news of the mass murders that took place there this week. If you're not safe in an Amish schoolhouse ... And yet, as unspeakable as those killings were, they were not the most shocking news to come out of Lancaster County this week.
No, that would be the revelation that the Amish community, which buried five of its little girls this week, is collecting money to help the widow and children of Charles Carl Roberts IV, the man who executed their own children before taking his own life. A serene Amish midwife told NBC News on Tuesday that this is normal for them. It's what Jesus would have them do.
"This is imitation of Christ at its most naked," journalist Tom Shachtman, who has chronicled Amish life, told The New York Times . "If anybody is going to turn the other cheek in our society, it's going to be the Amish. I don't want to denigrate anybody else who says they're imitating Christ, but the Amish walk the walk as much as they talk the talk."
I don't know about you, but that kind of faith is beyond comprehension. I'm the kind of guy who will curse under my breath at the jerk who cuts me off in traffic on the way home from church. And look at those humble farmers, putting Christians like me to shame.
It is not that the Amish are Anabaptist hobbits, living a pure pastoral life uncorrupted by the evils of modernity. So much of the coverage of the massacre has dwelled on the "innocence lost" aspect, but I doubt that the Amish would agree. They have their own sins and tragedies. Nobody who lives in a small town can live under the illusion that it is a haven from evil. To paraphrase gulag survivor Alexander Solzhenitsyn, the line between good and evil does not run along the boundaries of Lancaster County, but through every human heart.
What sets hearts apart is how they deal with sins and tragedies. In his suicide note, Mr. Roberts said one reason he did what he did was out of anger at God for the death of his infant daughter in 1997. Wouldn't any parent wonder why God allowed that to happen? Mr. Roberts held onto his hatred, purifying it under pressure until it exploded in an act of infamy. That's one way to deal with anger.
Another is the Amish way. If Mr. Roberts' rage at God over the death of his baby girl was in some sense understandable, how much more comprehensible would be the rage of those Amish mothers and fathers whose children perished by his hand? Had my child suffered and died that way, I cannot imagine what would have become of me, for all my pretenses of piety. And yet, the Amish do not rage. They do not return evil for evil. In fact, they embody peace and love beyond all human understanding.
In our time, religion makes the front pages usually in the ghastliest ways. In the name of God, the faithful fly planes into buildings, blow themselves up to murder the innocent, burn down rival houses of worship, insult and condemn and cry out to heaven for vengeance. The wicked Rev. Fred Phelps and his crazy brood of fundamentalist vipers even planned to protest at the Amish children's funeral, until Dallas-based radio talker Mike Gallagher, bless him, gave them an hour of his program if they would only let those poor people bury their dead in peace.
But sometimes, faith helps ordinary men and women do the humanly impossible: to forgive, to love, to heal and to redeem. It makes no sense. It is the most sensible thing in the world. The Amish have turned this occasion of spectacular evil into a bright witness to hope. Despite everything, a light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not overcome it.
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#2

Quote:No, that would be the revelation that the Amish community, which buried five of its little girls this week, is collecting money to help the widow and children of Charles Carl Roberts IV, the man who executed their own children before taking his own life. A serene Amish midwife told NBC News on Tuesday that this is normal for them. It's what Jesus would have them do.
"This is imitation of Christ at its most naked," journalist Tom Shachtman, who has chronicled Amish life, told The New York Times . "If anybody is going to turn the other cheek in our society, it's going to be the Amish. I don't want to denigrate anybody else who says they're imitating Christ, but the Amish walk the walk as much as they talk the talk."

This is Catholic virtue in its most fundamental ethos. What I have read about the Amish is that it is a Mennonite offshoot, which in turn Mennonism became a sect of the Anabaptists (or Rebaptizers as they were called). The Mennonites was founded by Menno Simons, a Catholic priest. Nothing unusual it seems since almost all of the Protestant denominations were founded by ex-RC priests: Luther, Calvin, Huss, et al. I suppose that Simons (who renounced his Catholic faith) brought much of his training to his new religion and took the Bible and interpreted it almost literally. The Amish Confession (profession of faith) is almost Catholic -- the belief in the Trinity, Last Judgment, Resurrection of the body, etc. [N.B. It is ironic that the sola scriptura people interpret literally only passages that support their theology and belief. It is strange that one of the most literal verses in the Bible -- St. John Chapter 6 on the Eucharist: those who do not eat the Flesh and drink the Blood of the Son of Man will not have life and will not be raised in the last day -- i.e., will be denied Heaven -- is skirted and bypassed: it is never mentioned or exegetically treated. It is in this teaching of Jesus where most of His disciples dropped away and followed Him no more because they could not believe that Jesus would actually give His Body and Blood as food. That's a hard teaching that even most Catholics today deny.]

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#3
Vincentius Wrote:
Quote: No, that would be the revelation that the Amish community, which buried five of its little girls this week, is collecting money to help the widow and children of Charles Carl Roberts IV, the man who executed their own children before taking his own life. A serene Amish midwife told NBC News on Tuesday that this is normal for them. It's what Jesus would have them do.
"This is imitation of Christ at its most naked," journalist Tom Shachtman, who has chronicled Amish life, told The New York Times . "If anybody is going to turn the other cheek in our society, it's going to be the Amish. I don't want to denigrate anybody else who says they're imitating Christ, but the Amish walk the walk as much as they talk the talk."

This is Catholic virtue in its most fundamental ethos. What I have read about the Amish is that it is a Mennonite offshoot, which in turn Mennonism became a sect of the Anabaptists (or Rebaptizers as they were called). The Mennonites was founded by Menno Simons, a Catholic priest. Nothing unusual it seems since almost all of the Protestant denominations were founded by ex-RC priests: Luther, Calvin, Huss, et al. I suppose that Simons (who renounced his Catholic faith) brought much of his training to his new religion and took the Bible and interpreted it almost literally. The Amish Confession (profession of faith) is almost Catholic -- the belief in the Trinity, Last Judgment, Resurrection of the body, etc. [N.B. It is ironic that the sola scriptura people interpret literally only passages that support their theology and belief. It is strange that one of the most literal verses in the Bible -- St. John Chapter 6 on the Eucharist: those who do not eat the Flesh and drink the Blood of the Son of Man will not have life and will not be raised in the last day -- i.e., will be denied Heaven -- is skirted and bypassed: it is never mentioned or exegetically treated. It is in this teaching of Jesus where most of His disciples dropped away and followed Him no more because they could not believe that Jesus would actually give His Body and Blood as food. That's a hard teaching that even most Catholics today deny.]

 
What it makes me do is look at my own heart. Here I am blessed to be in bosom of the fullness of the Christian faith, I can partake of all the conduits of grace that the Church is given and I wonder if I could do this. Did you know the Amish invited the wife of the killer to the funerals? They never invite outsiders into their world, but they invited her.
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#4
I wonder how the Amish could be evangelized though. Hmm...
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#5
Quote:Did you know the Amish invited the wife of the killer to the funerals? They never invite outsiders into their world, but they invited her.

Yes, and also that they took a collection to give to the killer's wife because they were aware that she will now be deprived of support.  A true act of mercy.   Yet, it is sad that they are in error, as for example, their denial of infant baptism.  I don't know how many of those killed were still in the age of innocence and thus be deprived of the Beatific Vision.  And the other two or three who were 12 or 13 years old.  Only God knows their state of being.  Though we would pray and in charity ask for God's mercy on their souls.
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#6
What a beautiful sentiment. It is a shame that they have such erroneous beliefs...they seem to be such peaceful and loving people.
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#7
I think the Amish's gesture is a charitable and honorable one, but I don't see why they are deserving of such praise for this as everyone is giving them.  One doesn't have to be too far-sighted to see that the wife had nothing to do with this.
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