I’ve thought long and hard before writing this post, as I know there are two camps on the issue of former Amish going on television airing their dirty laundry on an extendable 20 foot Amish clothesline. Some think it’s setting the Amish “free”, while other see them as perfectly peaceful people in an almost fantasy world, and are appalled. I’ve come to the conclusion I might be in a camp all by myself.
From what I’ve seen of former Amish on television, it’s very high drama. I mean, the people complaining about their heritage have quite the chip on their shoulder. I don’t think that’s healthy for anyone. And there is no culture that doesn’t have its down side.To help explain what I mean, I was raised Catholic by a wonderfully devoted mom. She was First Generation Italian, so I told her she was "doubly Catholic". When growing up, I was told we were to hear the Bible from the priest. When I was fifteen, The Good News For Modern Man…aka…Living Bible came out. I asked my mom if I could read it, and she agreed. It wasn’t called "The Bible".
I took it everywhere, but especially babysitting. As the kids slept, I found such peace in this book. So, I wanted to go to a church where I could join a Bible Study, but wasn’t allowed until I left home for college. So, I attended the Catholic church, got involved in starting a folk music “contemporary” service. When I went to college, I went to a Baptist church, but felt torn. A Catholic priest told me I needed as an adult to make a decision, so I became a Baptist. Now I’m non-denominational.
Do I feel “shunned” by other Catholics? Well, no, only when I meet someone who really has their dander up. Like the priest who came to see my mom in the hospital only 4 years ago. He was giving her communion, and assumed I would partake. When I told him I left the Catholic church, his eyes shot fire at me. I mean, this priest was not too nice. My mom, although ailing, tried to defend me…”She’s a good Christian woman,” she said. He started arguing with my mom….These are the “horror” stories I hear from Ex-Amish. “The bishop told me I was going to hell if I left…” Who hasn’t heard that from some outspoken, self-righteous pastor in a Christian denomination? Let’s be honest here. As for all the media slam about Catholic priests being sexually abusive, only a tiny fraction, maybe .001 percent of priests are cruel or unkind. Most are to be admired. My Amish friends always say, "You'll find a bad apple in every bushel." Well said.
I thank God for my Catholic upbringing. It set the moral bar high and I could clearly see what it was. There’s comfort in structure. I can remember days when I’d just sit in a Catholic church and pray. I couldn’t even imagine going on television and telling some of the ugly things that I’ve seen, because I can barely remember them. My Bible says, “Love doesn’t keep a record of wrongs…” Just as I wrote that I remember the priest who balled my mom out for not going to confession for three years. I mean, she was sobbing and I wanted to deck the guy. So I do keep a mental record of sorts, being human.There are problems in the Amish community and in every church in the world. Because where you have people, you have problems. From what I’ve seen of the Amish in W. PA and W. NY, I can honestly say they seem happy and peaceful. I don’t see women and children with black eyes. I wouldn’t be this fascinated with their culture if it was abusive.
It took me going to Italy and visiting relatives, going through the Vatican to see the beauty and the light the Catholic church is. I hope angry Ex-Amish will someday see this about their culture….
|A picture perfect church in rural Pennsylvania. I've gone to small country churches, |
and some should be a warning sign...enter at your own risk. So I understand that not all that's whitewashed
and clapboard doesn't mean peaceful and simple.
|This is my favorite picture I took of an Amish farm in Smicksburg, PA.|
It's peaceful, as are the people who live there...but they do have problems...since they're human...