Amish Essay

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John
Religion in America
Professor Japinga
The Forgiving Nature of the Amish Culture:
The typical stereotype of the Amish portrays them as people who reject most aspects of modern society like electricity and electronics. Bearded men, large families, religion, women in the home cooking and cleaning, and horse drawn buggies are also associated with the Amish. When one researches the Amish, however, they may find that these people are much more than their stereotype portrays. By investigating their beliefs, rituals, and culture, in addition to a recent tragic shooting, one may discover a lot about the lifestyle and forgiving nature of the Amish culture.
The Amish started off combined with the Mennonites as one big religion that followed the heritage of the Anabaptists. In 1693, however, the two groups went their separate ways, which is when the Amish officially became the Amish. A reform-minded Anabaptist elder named Jakob Amman instituted a series of reforms when he began to be concerned that the church was becoming to undisciplined and was beginning to have a weak spiritual life. First, he urged for communion to be celebrated twice a year, rather than once. Ammann also “forbade Anabaptist sympathizers from secretly joining in fellowship with the Anabaptists while at the same time holding membership in the state church.” (Kraybill and Holt 8)Finally, he asked that members who erred in their faith be regularly disciplined. Ammann taught his followers to reject the wayward, those that had been excommunicated from the church, in everyday interactions. This social rejection was meant to emphasize the seriousness of sin, as well as persuade the excommunicated to repent of their sins, so as to be reinstated in the church. It was this different understanding of “social avoidance” that forced a gap between Ammann and the older Swiss leaders. Ammann traveled to Switzerland in an attempt to resolve the disagreements between him and the other Swiss leaders, but after...

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