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Friday, 25 October 2013


I have just finished the book by Beverly Lewis, called ''The Shunning''.
It was a quick read, some predictable parts, and rather left on the edge, making me want to read the next in the trilogy.
However, it was thought provoking, in that it was about Amish life, and a girl who was unknowingly adopted into that. I hadn't realised until about a year ago how ensconced the Amish are in their man made rules system. I find it horrifying that they would shun friends, and family just because they do not follow the rules of the Amish order.
It made me think of our tendencies to legalism. Somehow, we can feel comforted by a rule system, and an order. Are we adding on our own rules though, or are we getting our standards from the Bible? We will all have disagreements about certain aspects of our life. Modesty, for example can be a shady area. What is clear, as that we are to attend church in a manner akin to decency, and order. We obviously don't walk around in public wearing certain clothes either. There are no clear cut modesty rules in the bible, so that is where common sense, and personal conviction comes into it. If our church starts dictating what we MUST wear, then it is starting to add rules.
One of the main things which surprised me was the idea of using a guitar, or even humming a tune not in the Amish hymn book was enough to get yourself into discipline, which in itself could lead to excomminication meaning a complete shunning from the community. We should be accountable to God only. If there is serious sin, like adultery, fornication that is a matter to be addressed by the pastor. However, we will all disagree with different aspects of music, and that is a minor matter, unless of course listening to demonic music which is openly sinful. I am not sure how many rules the Amish have, as there are different orders. I have heard of hundreds of rules, though, and some of them seem ridiculous.
It made me appreciate the freedom we have in Christ. We are not saved by attending church, keeping lots of rules, and even by the 10 commandments. In fact, only God's grace can save us. It is our faith in Jesus who was crucified for our sin, and who rose again, and was an atonement for our sin, that saves us. Repentance, being truly for our sin, and accepting that Jesus has already done the work on the cross, redeemed us. NOT BY WORKS lest man should boast. Amazing, as if I thought I had to save myself by my works, I should become very discouraged. That is what is amazing about grace.


  1. I find the Amish way of life fascinating, I suspect it could only be maintained as it is today in a country like the States - which is so vast it seems able to have all kinds of sects and religious groups hidden away. Not to mention the vast army of 'Preppers' and militia groups. It seems to me that many outsiders probably find Amish groups and that style of living attractive precisely because it is based on rules and regulations - we humans seem to like that sort of thing. The same thing does, I think, make Islam attractive to westerners. Whilst, like you, I rejoice in the freedom of Christ and the free gift that is salvation, I also think that many people just don't 'get it' - because it seems too good to be true. We seem to be hard wired to need to *do* something to please God and unable to accept the reality that our righteousnesses are like filthy rags. I assume that need is the result of the fall. I dont think you have a TV, but, sometime ago there was a programme which sent teens from here to Amish families and then brought the Amish teens here. It was really fascinating and, in many ways, very telling. Certainly the Amish seemed to know what it means to be saved, and what it was that made the difference in their lives. For the English teens I was interested to see that the girls yearned to be able to think of themselves as becoming wives and mothers, homemakers, but felt they couldn't because of the 'need' for a career. They expressed envy of the Amish girls who embraced that role. Similarly the English boys thrived with the hard working and manly Amish men. Sorry, rambled on a bit here. x