Sunday, October 08, 2006

The Amish

The tragic school shootings in Amish country have sent us a reminder I hope everyone is feeling. No, I’m not talking exactly about the horrific murders of these children, though we all have taken that insecurity and terror to heart. I am talking about the way real Christians act. The Amish have set an example of dignity, humility, and forgiveness that few of us will ever be able to achieve. They have given us a light of Christian love in the swirling, oppressive darkness of contemporary conservative Christian thought and action.

If this had happened in some church academies, we would have been treated to an endless spectacle of sermonizing pastors screaming for the flesh of gays, pedophiles, and Democrats, who, of course, would have been at fault. Fox News would be running on-going stories about how if Republicans had more power in Washington and Pennsylvania none of this would have happened, and various Republicans senators and such would have raised a veritable thunder of righteous rage and called the lightning bolts of moralistic certitude upon those who don’t see it their way.

But that didn’t happen. I have heard no calls for any sort of retribution from any member of the Amish community. Now, they have become more much to all of us than post cards, tourist attractions, and an admired, if misunderstood, minority among the kaleidoscopic and cacophonous din arising from the religious communities around the country.

So once again, we are truly confronted with the Mystery of Faith, believing that God has purposed our lives and that purpose is cloaked in His Mystery, leaving us only with the uncomfortable cliché that God Moves In Mysterious Ways. But here it is, perhaps, not so mysterious, since I suspect that, like me, millions have people have their hearts stirred and their souls uplifted by the simple example of love shining from a beacon of the true meaning of the life of Jesus Christ emanating from the deep sorrows of the friends, neighbors, families and victims of this most despicable crime.

For this, I sincerely thank all of you.


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