The Amish and Faith


A reader is impressed by the dignified way in which the Amish community has dealt with the terrible toll of recent days:

The thing that has struck me about the Amish, is how truly Christian they are ... they will not be photographed or interviewed because is it too vain.  We won't see any Amish on CNN, Oprah or the like because they believe in humility and privacy.  They have thanked the police and firefighters who helped their community.  They have expressed forgiveness to the murderer and have also expressed sympathy towards his wife and children.  They have noted how difficult it will be for their and the murderer's children to go back to school. This tragedy has deeply affected me.  But, I have come away with a sense that the Amish have shown us all an example of how Christ would behave ... with dignity, forgiveness and love. They are a real Christian community.    

From what I've seen, I couldn't agree more. And what a contrast with some of the preening charlatans and scolds among the power-obsessed Christianists who now dominate the GOP. Here is the power of the Jesus I believe in:

A grieving grandfather told young relatives not to hate the gunman who killed five girls in an Amish schoolhouse massacre, a pastor said on Wednesday. "As we were standing next to the body of this 13-year-old girl, the grandfather was tutoring the young boys, he was making a point, just saying to the family, 'We must not think evil of this man,'" the Rev. Robert Schenck told CNN. "It was one of the most touching things I have seen in 25 years of Christian ministry."

Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us. How easy to say. How hard to practise. When people actually practise what Jesus preached, it still shocks, doesn't it? And Jesus' teaching is nothing if not shocking.