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    Love, Community, and our walk of faith.


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    Love, Community, and our walk of faith. Empty Love, Community, and our walk of faith.

    Post  baggywrinkle on Tue Apr 13, 2010 7:42 pm

    Here I sit at the table of Mark and
    Paulette, my wife at my side.
    Mark on my left balances his son Merlin on his
    knee as he feeds the boy. I lean
    forward and peer down the table and can not
    see the end round the corner. There are
    fourteen children and six adults
    present for lunch. Mark is a house painter by trade.
    I make my portion very
    small as the dishes make their rounds.

    I have not sat at such a table
    since I was a a small child visiting my Grandparents in the
    early sixties in
    Iowa. Deb is lovely in her new spring cape dress. The white mesh prayer caps

    worn by all of the ladies identify this as a Mennonite household. We are
    among the Peculiar People.
    The road that brought us here began in a round
    about way on September 11th 2001. The day freedom
    began to die. Soon after
    that event I began researching and what I found rends my heart to this day.

    But that is another story and has already been addressed.

    The next
    watershed event was the shooting at Nickel Mines Pennsylvania in October of 2006
    that took six young lives.
    Marian and Barbie Fisher demonstrated their
    conviction of faith when they asked the shooter to "Shoot me
    first" and let
    the little ones go. Marian died and Barbie survived. The world was stunned by
    the forgiveness
    exhibited as the community tended not only to it's own but to
    the shooter's family also. The power of faith
    and forgiveness. A pastor who
    had been with the Roberts family - the gunman left behind a wife and three
    children -
    told a Lancaster newspaper of being in the family's home when
    there was a knock on the door. It was an Amish neighbor
    coming on behalf of
    the community. He put his arms around Roberts' father, and said "We will forgive
    you." The pastor concluded: "God met us in that kitchen."

    The most recent event is still as fresh as the graves in the tiny community of Marrowbone
    Kentucky. Eight members of an Amish Mennonite family along with two close
    friends and the truck driver perished in a horrific accident just
    Easter. Along with the grief was a triumph of faith and community as well
    wishers arrived by the busload from
    all over the country and as far away as
    Brazil. Were you aware that over three thousand five hundred people
    attended this funeral? Most were Amish or Mennonite. Some were total
    strangers. Many thousands more listened to the service
    by phone. The circuits were literally overloaded!
    Did you know that such large crowds are not the
    exception but the rule at Amish/Mennonite events? If the headlights
    shining through your windshield how many would attend your departure? I did not
    like my answer to this question,
    so here we are.

    I am talking about intentional community in a faith based congregational format. I am talking about
    something which is quite rare today. The plain people are a repository of
    what used to be common in the population at large. We look at them with
    nostalgia and longing. We look at them with horror at what has been lost in our
    own lives. We look at them with hope for what could be once again.

    If words like faith and congregation upset you, then perhaps you might
    substitute words like love and tribe or cooperation and fellowship. The words
    or motivation do not matter. The extended family created by true
    community DOES matter. In such an environment there is nurturing and there is
    accountability, sharing and responsibility.
    Does your neighborhood or city have bars on it's windows? Can your child walk to the corner market and
    return unmolested? Do you know an old person who died alone? Are your
    daughters growing up too fast listening to the likes
    of Britany whispering "I'm not too young?" Mark's fifteen year old Lynn was sweet and naieve with the
    maturity of about an eight year old. Somehow I doubt Lynn is aware Lady Ga Ga
    walks on the planet. A child who is still a kid. This would
    be bad

    Anna Esh, one of the victims of the accident in Kentucky was thirty
    three years old. As part of her personal ministry she liked to visit widows.
    Among her personal effects rescue workers found a to-do list. On this list was
    the notation,
    "three widows to visit." Lives are brightened and history is
    changed one heart at a time when compassion and accountability
    are present. The fact is, the congregational or tribal model works and has served man kind
    well since the dawn of time. It can work again and will work again. We've
    just forgotten, enthralled by the false promises of modernity. Shake it
    off. Wakey wakey, it is time to wake up. There is work to be done. That is part of my
    personal ministry. To do what I can to nudge you gently awake.

    How is community like a choir?
    What kind of music is your community making?

    Aus Lieb

    Last edited by baggywrinkle on Wed Apr 14, 2010 1:27 pm; edited 2 times in total

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    Love, Community, and our walk of faith. Empty The congregational model

    Post  baggywrinkle on Tue Apr 13, 2010 10:24 pm

    This conservative Mennonite fellowship follows the Amish template closely. Hardly a surprise since they harken from Lancaster Pennsylvania.
    The church is divided into districts. Each district has a bishop, and each congregation has two pastors and a deacon. The leadership is nominated
    but then actually chosen by the casting of lots. None of the leadership is paid anything. The ideal size of a congregation is about 120 individuals
    not counting children. Too much larger than this becomes unwieldy and the congregation will split and form a daughter elsewhere.Congregations
    operate autonomously under the guidance of the bylaws known as Statement of Faith and Discipline which are reviewed by the entire church
    body every 3-4 years. The Discipline is close to the Amish Ordnung and outlines conduct custom and behaviors expected of the members. It may
    range from requirements for membership to the length of a girls skirt or the consequences for being caught with a radio. Legalisms chosen by the
    congregation and enforced by the leadership. When disagreements arise over the Faith and Discipline splits can and have occured. The point
    here is these bylaws are agreed on by the membership. This model is stable and has been successful in many different settings for over five
    hundred years. With these fervently faithful people the church is the center of their universe. They prefer separation from the world and will
    not participate in life insurance or social security. Instead they pay into the Mennonite Mutual Fund which covers all of the many variations of
    congregations - from old order horse and buggy to progressive denominations which allow gays in the pulpit and are mennonite in name only.
    With over three hundred thousand members in North America, it works and works well. There is enough left over to fund the legendary Mennonite
    disaster relief services which projects aid and comfort to those in need globally as well as their mission work in far flung corners of the globe.
    It all begins with the humble little congregation of 120 faithful members.

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    Post  baggywrinkle on Wed Apr 14, 2010 12:48 pm

    As I mentioned, this tiny group of Mennonites have deep roots in Lancaster Pennsylvania.
    Many of them actually come from Lancaster and still have family there. Mark, for example,
    is from Lancaster, but his wife Pauletta is from the Willamette Valley in Oregon where
    there is a strong Mennonite presence. For this reason their customs and way of doing things
    is very close to the Amish who prefer an Agrarian society. The preference is to own land
    and be farmers. To ensure this model they limit education to the 10th grade and are taught
    in their own schools which accept no government subsidies to remain free of government
    intervention. (We are appalled at this educational standard, yet understand why they do it. This
    group is **very** conservative. Less stringent groups encourage higher education)
    As land becomes scarce and increasingly expensive it becomes difficult to maintain this lifestyle.
    I am frankly baffeled why they decided to locate their new church here in Western Washington where
    farm land is very expensive - up to twenty five thousand dollars an acre. Land parcels larger than
    five acres are rare here and their prices are dear. So, you've got a population of tradesmen with
    an average family size of 8-14 members who are unable to effectively raise food to feed their families.
    They would qualify for government assistance but unable to partake because of their belief. They are
    also forbidden from declaring bankruptcy. To me, this is a recipe for disaster and I am concerned for them.
    This concern was driven home with something my wife told me. After lunch she was chatting with two other
    ladies and she mentioned that we kept chickens. One of them asked what we do with the eggs and she
    told them we give most of them away (sigh, I am allergic to them). The two ladies shot each other a look
    which was unmistakable as in AHA! A source of eggs for the children....
    The functional alternative to farming for these tradesmen is a business operated out of the home. Joel,
    the other adult male with us at lunch, builds storage sheds for a living. Obviously some of the members
    do better than others. One of the elders I have chatted with for his ministry coaches people on how to
    get out of debt. For sure, the next time I need a storage shed or a house painted I'll know who to call.

    But this essay is about effective sustainable community in a congregational model. There are other alternatives.
    The Hutterites of Deep Creek near Spokane are also a faith based congregational model with an interesting twist.
    It is a similar congregation of around 120 members, but they own everything in common. They "swarmed" to eastern
    Washington about forty years ago from their parent settlement in Canada. A committee searching for a new home
    had the resources to purchase 1200 acres of prime Washington farm land. The group lives and worship there today
    living in apartment family units but eating in a large communal dining hall with adjoining kitchen. They have
    no problem with using the latest farm technology and can successfully compete with big agribiz on a level playing
    I have read of another Hutterite colony in northern Alberta which runs cattle. Industrious and efficient, they use
    the manure to produce bio-gas methane which they burn for all of their electric needs at the settlement with excess
    sold to the local electric company.
    We looked briefly at the Hutterites but shyed away from the communal nature of their lifestyle. We are too American
    in our outlook. The "house Amish" model of a family on a farm hosting church in their living room appeals to our
    need for community and our need for autonomy. This is the classic American lifestyle overlooking the pitfalls outlined
    above. There is no perfect model, all involve some compromise.
    Reguarding our own ministry, we have discussed the possibility of offering a blended model to this congregation. Sharon,
    one of the ladies at our luncheon, mentioned how difficult it is to find chores for seven children. Chores are an
    important part of their upbringing. If we blend well with this group we might stay in the area instead of moving as
    we'd planned. We could seek to purchase raw land close by their settlement and open it up to them for community gardening
    and farming. We are getting older and they have children who need to do chores. Hmm, there could be a mutually productive
    enterprise there. Managed properly it could provide both food and income with a ready metropolitan population to market
    excess produce to. But isn't that what sustainable community is all about?

    Last edited by baggywrinkle on Sun Apr 18, 2010 12:03 am; edited 2 times in total

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    Post  Carmen on Wed Apr 14, 2010 1:05 pm

    Thanks Baggywrinkle, And great to see you here. Im enjoying your descriptions of your communities. They are beautiful indeed. A friend of mine visited these communities as part of a dairy tour of America a few years back. He certainly enjoyed this community environment.



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    Post  mudra on Wed Apr 14, 2010 5:30 pm

    Lovely to read your testimony here Baggywrinkle .
    Keep us informed . Reading your posts and the community
    spirit they convey is truly delightfull .
    Thank you for sharing .

    Love from me

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    Post  mp3 on Thu Apr 15, 2010 7:20 am

    Hi Baggywrinkle.

    I can't tell you how happy I am to see that you've found your way here. Welcome, indeed.


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    Love, Community, and our walk of faith. Empty The Christian Communalism of the Hutterian Brethren

    Post  baggywrinkle on Sat Apr 17, 2010 11:45 pm

    The Christian Communalism of the Hutterian Brethren
    By Robert Friedmann
    American Society for Reformation Research
    December 29, 1954

    The epistles and confessions of faith and the tracts [of the 16th century] by Jacob Huter, Peter Riedeman, Ulrich Stadler, Peter Walpot, and all the lesser known brethren, the numberless martyrs and witnesses to their faith, clearly disclose three major motives which produced the Christian communalism of the Hutterian Brethren which has endured for almost 500 years.

    Motive one is brotherly love in action, the strong longing of Christians for brotherly sharing and togetherness.

    Motive two is "Gelassenheit," a term derived from the mystics and almost untranslatable. It means yielding absolutely to the will of God with a dedicated heart, forsaking all selfishness and one's own will.

    Motive three, finally, is obedience to the divine commandments, understood as the inevitable consequence of the attitude of Gelassenheit. As one gives up one's own will, one naturally accepts God's command­ments as the basis and guidepost for all further actions.

    Motive one: the idea of love - brotherly togetherness and mutual giving and sharing - was present among the brethren at all times. It was the very center of Jacob Huter's work. He visualized the brother­hood as a great family. Since in such a family all material things are shared as a matter of fact, this should also be the case in a true Gemein­schaft, or community. And so we read throughout our records confessions like this: "Love is the tie of perfection. ... Where she dwelleth she does not work partial but complete communion. It means having everything in common out of sheer love for the neighbor. "Where Christian love of the neighbor does not produce community in things temporal, there the blood of Christ does not cleanse from sin." In short, "Private property is the greatest enemy of Christian love." In love, all men are considered equal and united in the oneness of the Spirit. The references to communal living in the Book of Acts in these early tracts, however, serves not as a moti­vation but rather as an undergirding of this love-motive, as an exempli­fication of how it works, and as an assurance that this way is the right one. It was never to be understood as a strict commandment of God to be followed in obedience without any further questioning.

    The second motive is "Gelassenheit," a term of great richness, meaning self-surrender, yieldedness, the giving of one's self to God's guidance, even unto death. Among the Hutterites it also means the forsaking of all concern for personal property, thus leading almost naturally to a complete community of goods. At the earliest period this idea of Gelassenheit almost dominates the thought of the brethren. "To have all things in common, a free, untrammeled, yielding, willing heart in Christ is needed," writes Ulrich Stadler about 1536. "Whosoever is thus inwardly free and resigned (gelassen) in the Lord is also ready to surrender all temporal possessions." To the rejoinder that such a com­munity of goods is not a commandment of the Lord, the same brother answers as follows: "To serve the saints in this way with all one's pos­session is true and genuine self-surrender (Gelassenheit), and it is also the way of brotherly love. In summa: one brother should serve the other, live and work for him, and no one should do anything for himself." Elsewhere we read, "If you want to become a disciple you must resign to such a Gelassenheit and must renounce all private property."

    The Hutterites, in their strict biblicism, became extremely sensitive and alert to the pitfalls of "mammon" in all its forms. "As the beetle lives in the dung, and the worm in the wood, so avarice (or greed) has its dwelling place in private property". Whosoever refuses communal living, they taught, shows obvious sympathy for avarice (or greed). And then they quote the example of the rich young man in the parable who could not enter the Kingdom of God because he was not willing to sell all that he had and give it to the poor. Avarice, the demon of possession, must therefore be overcome if true Gelassenheit is to be achieved. But once it has been overcome, there follows complete community of goods in brotherly togetherness and sharing. The ready acceptance of such complete community, inciden­tally, became the very touchstone of the regenerate. In particular it was also an indication whether or not a brother was capable and worthy of becoming a leader of the group.

    Taken all in all, the Hutterites represent a most original type of "theocratic society" or "theocratic communism," as it was once aptly called, a venture otherwise rather foreign to the western world. The brethren were aware of this antagonism to world and culture, but affirmed time and again that no other way to salvation was possible. "It is but through Gemeinschaft, that is communal living, that the blood of Christ may cleanse sinful man. Christ cannot help us unless we follow him all the way, without any reservation."

    This concept of "theocratic communism" naturally implies also the third motive, the principle of unconditional obedience by which we "bring into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ" (II Cor 10:5, as quoted now and then in Hutterite tracts). It means what the brethren never tired of repeating, that what really is needed for a true disciple is this: walking the "narrow path," breaking the self-will, and subse­quently submitting to the will of God, whatever He may command.

    It is quite obvious that this principle of obedience involves a certain paradox: on the one hand, it is the most profound and most spiritual principle imaginable where the individual surrenders completely to divine guidance and ask nothing for himself, doing only that which he feels is required of him, even if it should lead to martyrdom. "Not my will be done, but Thine." That means genuine discipleship. It is the spirit of the first generation of Anabaptists, in particular Hutterites, who gave up everything in order to obey God. Suffering was accepted almost gladly as the inescapable consequence of such acts of obedience.

    Although this new life in perfect community of goods did bring a certain external security through mutual help and service, it meant a hard, daily internal struggle with that part of man's nature which insists upon self-will and personal possession. The brethren by no means belittled this desire. In fact, they liked to quote in this connection a jingle which in the Great Article Book of 1577 concludes the third article "Concerning community of goods":

    Communal living would not be hard
    If there were not such self-regard.

    Last edited by baggywrinkle on Sun Apr 18, 2010 12:19 am; edited 1 time in total

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    Love, Community, and our walk of faith. Empty Caneyville Christian Community

    Post  baggywrinkle on Sat Apr 17, 2010 11:50 pm

    For I know my thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not evil, to give you a future and a hope. Jer. 29:11

    Condemned to be free

    Americans are free.
    * Free to reject God.
    * Free to lose their morality.
    * Free to get a divorce.
    * Free to be entertained to death.
    * Free to be promiscuous.
    * Free to sue each other.
    * Free to have an abortion.
    * Free to assert themselves.

    And being free, they do it well. Never before in the history of mankind have people been so free to choose so many things. And today, the average American believes these sorts of freedom are his "rights".

    But this kind of freedom does not liberate. It enslaves us with cruel bonds of emptiness and self-loathing. We may be free, but we do not like ourselves very well. Drugs, insanity, and even suicide finally seem like attractive options to this kind of slavery.

    Jesus said that by their fruits we would know them. What are the fruits of this generation? Selfishness, materialism, obesity, perversion, pollution -- the list could go on, and it is not good.

    Our comfortable and materialistic lifestyles are not sustainable in the long term. We are consuming a vastly disproportionate share of this world's resources.

    What can be done about it? When a culture is so all-pervasive and inter-connected, how could one person or a mere family resist the tide?

    The solution is not to run and hide in a remote valley of South America. But neither is the solution to keep sending our children out of the home and into this environment every day. We must not stand by and watch them slide down the path of moral freedom.
    "Come out from among them and be separate."

    Clearly, if we are going to escape the harmful effects of this generation, we will need to withdraw from some aspects and activities of this American culture. For startes, most families cannot withstand the influence of TV and radio without damage. The same is becoming true of the Internet.

    But it doesn't stop there. We need to feed our families good things and give them good companions and examples to follow. We need a community of support. When we are weak, we need others who will encourage us and help us to not give in to the pressures around us. Thousands of people before us have underestimated the strong current of our culture, which is constantly tuging at us to conform, conform.

    Americans are free. You and I are free. What hinders us from choosing good and refusing evil?

    At Caneyville Christian Community, it is our vision to nurture strong, godly families in a more traditional setting. We don't want to isolate ourselves from the rest of the world, but we are serious about this thing of following Jesus with all our hearts. Our vision is to dwell peacefully in a community of "cottage farmers" and small shops, while looking for opportunities to help other struggling souls and needy families.

    We are not strong, but God is strong. We are not wise, God is wise. We are failures in the eyes of the world, but God is gracious.

    We welcome others to come and walk with us as we withdraw from the modern age and try to live chaste, responsible lives. But even if you are not ready for such a large step in your life, will you at least pray for us that our work might prosper? Your support is appreciated.
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    Caneyville Christian Community

    1142 Choncie Lee Road

    Caneyville, KY, 42721

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    Love, Community, and our walk of faith. Empty Elmendorf Christian Community

    Post  baggywrinkle on Sun Apr 25, 2010 10:04 pm

    The people of Elmendorf speak:
    Harping on Community

    Every so often, the fact that we live in community draws us into dialogue with people that focus entirely on this detail of our life in Christ. With some things they say, we stand in agreement, but the better we get to know them, the more uneasy we feel. Communal groups, it seems, so easily fall into the trap of preaching a lifestyle rather than preaching Christ. All that does is stir up “foolish questions that gender strife” and for that reason we must firmly refuse to get drawn into them.

    Nothing could be less like Christ than to argue why, or why not to, live in community!

    In response to a discussion on communal living, our brother Peter wrote:

    Writing from the church at Elmendorf I must say I read with a growing sense of dismay this discussion on community of goods (although I liked many things some of you shared). Does any one of you live it? Do you speak with any authority, for or against it? If not, I feel I must present some very serious cautions.

    We are really wary of people promoting "community of goods" in what looks to us like a hard-line legalistic way. "Thou shalt. . ." On the other hand, we find it incredible that some should keep on insisting "it doesn't work." The right way, we think, lies somewhere in between.

    One of you wondered about our experience. Elmendorf is a branch of the Upland community (Anabaptist, Hutterite) in South Dakota. That was a branch of Spring Valley, Spring Valley of Platte, and Platte of Bon Homme on the Missouri River. That community was founded in the 1870s by immigrants from Russia with communal roots going back to the 1530s. Rather obviously the fully communal lifestyle has worked for us! It works so wonderfully, in fact, that for many of our Hutterite people (around 40,000 people in full community) it has kept right on going for generations after the Spirit of Christ has departed!

    The truth is, communal living does absolutely nothing to make us more Christ-like. One can be greedy, selfish, proud, vain—anything in the book—while living in community. Actually corporal greed or selfishness can bring about even much greater wickedness than what "private property individualists" would most likely be able to accomplish.

    Community living is just living, like everywhere else. One must still make a thousand personal decisions every day. But all this having been said, it is undeniably a very good life! I grew up in a fairly close-knit Mennonite community, but left it as a teenager. For twenty-five years I lived a "private life" but missed the lifestyle of my childhood with ever increasing intensity. Now we are back and I could not be more grateful! No, we are not in heaven yet (not even in St. Thomas More's Utopia) but I think we have it about as good as it gets on this planet.

    Just this afternoon, working out in our new shop, dining hall, and meeting house building, I was thanking God in my heart for what I was seeing. All around us our men and boys were busy as beavers, some hammering and sawing, some wiring, some working on a vehicle, some bringing in and taking out supplies . . . and the children playing in and among us. Some sang as they worked, others visited, and we knew our wives and daughters were busy in the kitchen and doing the housework together. Truly it is a great joy. No one thinking of gain for his own pocket, everyone giving everything he or she has for the rest. No one dreaming of promotions, or worrying about getting laid off. Just life together, come what may.

    Then, coming home from our delightful evening meal and prayers I meet this intellectual batting back and forth on the web. What a shock! What a contrast! How I wish I could have shared my day with you!

    My urgent feeling for you is not to talk more about community of goods until you just quietly slip in and find your place among brothers and sisters (wherever that may be possible for you). Then you may either "catch the spirit" or you may go away with reasons for what you say.

    To argue from the scriptures, for or against community of goods is a hopeless, circular exercise of the brain, an absolute waste of time. Of course the early Christians did NOT live in Hutterite colonies like we do in Minnesota! The very idea is preposterous.

    And of course they did NOT live in affluence and self-sufficiency like Americans or Europeans today--everyone with his private vehicle, private home, and bank account. The truth is, they lived like the early Christians, the Anabaptists lived like the Anabaptists, and we live like modern Hutterites. So what? We have all been "working on it" in our time and place. That is all we can expect of you, or you of us. And we shall all stand before the judgement seat of Christ.

    Seeking him first, the rest will be added to us.

    Christ gave no law about community, because forced community could be nothing other than horrible. Like a forced marriage. The spirit of community only comes to us when we give all we have to him, and find ourselves in unity with others that have done the same. It is a great gift, a treasure not to be taken lightly, something many have longed for but few have handled successfully for an extended period of time.

    The spirit of community lives not only (or even necessarily) in Hutterite colonies or Twelve Tribe farms. It is not something we can produce or demand. But in Christ, when it comes, it is the spiritual counterpart of familiar love. It is the Kingdom of Heaven on earth.

    Seek and you will find!

    Following is some photos from their community

    Visiting our community

    We would love to have you visit us and look forward to learning more about you. If you have any questions about what to bring (or what you shouldn't bring), just ask. We welcome all that love Jesus and follow him, although we have certain expectations you should keep in mind while among us.

    We expect that our visitors will eat with us, attend our meetings, and work with us wherever they are able. It is the best way to get to know us.

    Even though we may not have come to the same position on everything, we will respect your convictions, and expect you will do the same in return. We cannot welcome anyone that stands in spiritual opposition to the brotherhood here, that seeks to undermine it, or make proselytes from among us.

    We expect you to become acquainted with what we believe before visiting here, or considering our community for your future home. A number of articles on this web site will help you understand us better.

    We expect you to ask questions and will gladly answer what you honestly wish to know. We may also have questions for you, and look forward to learning from you as well.

    At the same time, we have arrived at some working positions as a group and we cannot change our way of doing things to accommodate what every visitor might expect. We hope you understand, and that our time together may be one of peaceful growth in the Spirit of Jesus.

    If it turns out otherwise, we may ask you to leave.

    We expect you to care for your own children, while here. Certainly, we will help where we can, and will gladly incorporate them into our communal activities. But you, as parents, will be responsible for them at all times.

    If we meet one another with honest hearts, in humility, in the Spirit of Jesus, we do not doubt our time together will bring with it rich rewards. Praying, working, and eating together resolves more issues than many words.

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    Love, Community, and our walk of faith. Empty It's a good life in the Mennonite garden.

    Post  baggywrinkle on Sun Apr 25, 2010 10:39 pm

    It's a good life in the Mennonite garden.

    "Yes they really do welcome you as you are.
    I have been attending for five years'

    Then Kitty blushed and said, "Sometimes they
    forget I am not a full member. The Holy Kiss is
    a little hard to get used to if you were not raised with it."

    The holy kiss is a tradition which is practiced among members of the
    same gender.

    Kitty comes from a traditional Southern Baptist backround. She
    encountered the Mennonite ladies at one of their bake sales. These
    people are so sweet and gentle that she could not resist when they
    invited her to come to church with them. She liked what she found there
    and has attended as a visitor ever since. She never joined because her
    husband is a committed Baptist and will never give up his television.

    As we were talking a young boy with down's syndrome of about five years of age
    walked up to us and stuck out his hand. "How are you Victor?" I said as I shook his hand.

    Kitty continued, "Values should be caught and not taught. I wear my prayer cap around
    my three year old grand daughter and we prayed together kneeling at her bedside. Her mother approached
    me to say that the girl was now praying on her own at her bedside before bed."

    About this time the group of marriage age girls moved past us toward the sanctuary in their
    solid colored cape dresses. They are visiting from Lancaster Pennsylvania allegedly to teach,
    but I suspect they are really husband hunting. We must not be late. Service is about to begin

    Notice the genders sit on opposite sides of the aisle
    Love, Community, and our walk of faith. MeetingLove, Community, and our walk of faith. MeetingLove, Community, and our walk of faith. Meeting

    Community...that's what I'm talking about
    Love, Community, and our walk of faith. DinnertableatmartinsLove, Community, and our walk of faith. Dinnertableatmartins

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    Post  baggywrinkle on Mon Apr 26, 2010 12:40 am

    I am not saying you need to be this or do that.

    But if you long for community, or if viewing that lively gathering for lunch tugs at something missing in your own reality, your own neighborhood, your
    own town, your own people....

    If you remember a time that used to be or long for what once was...

    you can create it again.

    You may strike off on your own, buy a piece of land, gather a group of people and start something new if you wish. You can do that.

    But it may not be necessary. You might find it right down the street in a little church or community center. It may be as simple as turning your
    television and computer off and joining your local community garden. Or even just leaning over the fence and chatting with your neighbor like
    folks used to do right there where you are.

    Elmo Stoll was an Amishman. He was also a visionary who was willing to break tradition to bring people together. He turned his back on his
    faith and stepped outside his paradigm to form five Christian based communities that were open to both Amish and English. He did it, and you
    can too. In whatever form you may dream it to be.

    I have been talking about a faith based community model. The faith component provides a common ground for people to come together.
    It makes the process easier when everyone is singing from the same sheet of music.

    What will your song sound like?

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    Love, Community, and our walk of faith. Empty All the news that is fit to print

    Post  baggywrinkle on Mon Apr 26, 2010 10:11 pm

    Amish newspaper focuses on community news, "might mention" murders

    When the Oct. 9 edition of weekly Amish newspaper Die Botschaft arrives in subscribers' mailboxes next week, they will find the kind of news they have come to expect...

    By Ellen Barry

    Los Angeles Times

    MILLERSBURG, Pa. — All week, in Amish communities around Nickel Mines, it was possible to see journalists in a hurry. Television producers strode down country roads, yakking on cellphones; reporters clustered around mourners; photographers with zoom lenses clambered onto cars, hoping to capture an embrace.

    So it was notable that Elam Lapp, editor of the weekly Amish newspaper Die Botschaft, had such an air of calm. When the Oct. 9 edition of Die Botschaft arrives in subscribers' mailboxes next week, they will find the kind of news they have come to expect: news of pitchfork accidents and appendectomies, tame foxes and the corn harvest, newborns and painful fishing experiences.

    Although the next edition on Oct. 16 will reflect the loss of life in Nickel Mines, where a man burst into a one-room schoolhouse Monday and shot 10 Amish girls, killing five, Lapp hopes not to devote too many column inches to it. Newspaper policy prohibits publication of stories about slayings, war, love or religion.

    "We might mention that it happened," said Lapp, 53, an Old Order Amishman who edits the paper from his family farm.

    Die Botschaft, which has a circulation of 11,000 nationwide, is written not by reporters but by 600 unpaid Old Order Amish and Mennonite "scribes" who write down happenings in their communities. Items about crime, dissent, politics, warfare and disaster are absent.

    Lapp is a daily reader of the Harrisburg Patriot-News, so he knows the details of Charles Carl Roberts IV's attack on the schoolhouse, for instance, that he shot each girl at close range, execution-style, with a 9-mm handgun. But Lapp sees no reason to pass this information on to readers, who need, above all, to forgive and move on.

    "Soon it's going to drop out of the scene," he said. "It's really not important to point out all the knickknack items." When letters come in referring to a gunman, for instance, "we just talk about the tragedy in the schoolhouse," he said. "We don't want to get into too much talk about gunmen."

    A typical edition of Die Botschaft — a Pennsylvania Dutch term meaning "The Message" — consists of 50 to 80 pages of chatty letters sent in from rural outposts.

    There are no pictures.

    But that does not diminish the enthusiasm of Die Botschaft's subscribers, who pay $32 a year and pore through it for news of their scattered families.

    Letters in the Oct. 2 issue described Eli Gingerich's cataract operation and the difficulty of drying clothes outside when it is raining. A scribe from Monticello, Mo., wrote this:

    "Levi Stutzman had a bout with a big, mad male hog. That knocked him down, ripping his arm open with his tusk. They, with the help of a neighbor, took him down and gave him an attitude adjustment, also cutting his tusks off."

    From Clearbrook, Minn., came the news of Aunt Rhoda Sturgis' cancer and the adorable behavior of Ida Stutzman, 2, who "emptied a box of apples at Dannie J.'s where the women had work day, crawled into the box and fell asleep. Grandma thinks that was cute and thinks Grandma Stutzman would think it cute too."

    Death is recorded but not dwelt upon, as in the case of Emanuel King, 12, hit by a car Sept. 24 while riding his scooter:

    "His birthday was in November, so he didn't get to be a teenager," wrote a scribe from Paradise, Pa. "Oh, how soon one's plans can change ... He was our son Allen's age, and only two months younger. Guess that's why it hit us so much! Keep looking up!

    "On Sunday, we had a very relaxing forenoon at home, then in the afternoon went to Merv and Ada Marie Lapp to see the precious bundle, Anna Marie."

    Elam Lapp runs the business in Millersburg, about 75 miles northwest of Nickel Mines, and oversees a staff of seven. Like all mature Old Order Amish men, he is bearded; he wears his gray hair long and in a bowl cut. At an outbuilding down the hill from his farmhouse, he has laid out templates for the Oct. 16 edition, pasting up advertisements for quilt batting, homeopathic remedies and buggy-repair services, among other products.

    Die Botschaft is printed and mailed Mondays; because of the ban on electronic equipment, the editorial process is a bit tortured.

    Every week, Lapp receives about 400 letters in the mail and sends them out to non-Amish (or "English," as the Amish call them) employees to be typed. Lapp edits the galleys and returns the texts to his English colleagues, who take them to the printer. By the time the news reaches subscribers, it is one to two weeks old.

    Lapp said he rarely has to edit out objectionable material, although typographical errors, he said, "can create words not fit to express."

    Lapp has 11 children. As he talked, Miriam, 5, was sitting beside him, drawing with a black marker. Every time she turned to her father, interrupting him, he stopped what he was saying, smiled at her and answered.

    When Lapp returned to killings, it was as if a weight descended on him.

    He knew a lot about them. His brother, who lives near Nickel Mines, had attended viewings of the bodies and left a message on Lapp's voicemail (he has a phone for his business, although, in accordance with Old Amish law, there is none in his home).

    The voicemail described the scene inside the schoolhouse in such awful terms that Lapp erased the message "because I really didn't want anyone to hear it."

    "I felt sick after listening to the message," Lapp said. "There are facts that we really don't want to repeat."

    Next week's edition will bring readers news that the goldenrod is blooming, the corn is tasseled and turning brown and the trees in the apple orchard are heavy with fruit.

    Lapp has just begun to receive the letters for the Oct. 16 edition. So far, they are shorter than usual. People do not feel like writing, he said.

    He shared one letter. It details a move to the former home of Daniel and Mabel Newswanger, and then, with no other comment, finishes with this quote from Mennonite author Peter Dyck:

    "Forgiving is a serious business because it is basically for our own spiritual, emotional and physical benefit. We may or may not establish a new relationship with the person who injured us; that is not the heart of forgiveness. When we forgive, we finally stop hurting ourselves, hand the whole matter over to God, and believe what he says: Vengeance is mine. I will repay, says the Lord."

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    Post  baggywrinkle on Wed May 05, 2010 10:47 pm

    Last week I made the comment to my wife about our little church that we would know we were members when we missed and someone noticed
    that we were not there. It was said off the cuff and then forgotten.

    It really is a small congregation. It began nine years ago with two families from Lancaster Pennsylvania, a family from British Colombia, and a family
    from Oregon. This last Sunday there were 128 souls attending. Their school has 50 kids. Not counting the children too young for school that
    figures to around seventy adults or about thirty five families. They are a tight little community.

    We were very busy this last week. Saturday was full of chores caring for the animals working with the bees and tending to the pasture. Barely time
    to rest at all. I never did get the second stories of the hives built like I wanted. Come Sunday morning the alarm went off and I just couldn't do it.
    No protest from my wife, we went back to sleep instead of going to the morning service. It worked out well because later we turned
    out a very productive day from being well rested. On the first and third of the month they hold evening service also and we did make it to the
    evening service.

    This was a turning point. My new suit jacket arrived last week. We walked into the evening service like we were full members. Deb in her cape dress
    and prayer cap. Me dressed all in black with my nehru jacket (think priests coat) with white shirt buttoned to the throat no tie and clean shaven like Donny Osmond in true Mennonite fashion.

    After the service I was surrounded by several men no doubt surprised by my new threads and face. It actually happened. Not one, but several people
    asked both me and my wife; Where WERE you this morning, we missed you.

    One of the ladies has said she would help Deb learn to sew a cape dress. The pastor's wife wants to learn to crochet from Deb. But most touching is
    that several of the ladies are trusting enough to allow Deb to hold their newborns. You can't get more welcoming then that. I am emailing with Mark
    to help him research his book on hidden ancient cultures in America such as the blue eyed welsh speaking Indians of Kentucky. The book is aimed
    at Amish Mennonite folks who would not have access to such information any other way. I am also speaking to him on topics that are very familiar
    to participants of this board. Not having access to electronic media, he is thirsty to know. In return he is teaching me about his culture and answering
    my questions. Community is where you find it.

    Be glad there's one place in the world
    Where Everybody Knows Your Name
    And they're always glad you came
    You wanna go where people know
    People are all the same
    You wanna be where everybody knows your nam

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    Post  baggywrinkle on Sun May 16, 2010 12:32 am

    We went to the mall today for the first time in two years. It was a warm spring day. The teens were wearing as little as possible as teens are
    likely to do. Who can blame them. They look to their peers and the community that raised them for their ques How can they resist when
    they are surrounded in every store window by

    Love, Community, and our walk of faith. Ckadcampaign

    We were appalled. Perhaps we are showing our age, but we were appalled.

    Love, Community, and our walk of faith. 6a00d8341c60bf53ef0120a5d7a98d970c-500wi

    But it was my wife who was turning heads in her ankle length cape dress and prayer cap. A young boy held the door for her, his big sister
    smirked. Three young sales clerks turned eyes left in unison to check her out. This is the testimony of plain dress. Silent witness by example.
    In the parking lot a van slowed as we walked to our car and made a point to pull in next to us. The window rolled down and the driver asked
    if we were Mennonite - he had family back east. We told him there was a church in ***** and he was welcome to join us there. The waitress at
    Denny's told us "You are welcome to come back any time ". My wife commented that she had noticed the girl eyeing her cap every time she came near.

    It is a wide gulf from this

    Love, Community, and our walk of faith. S201657359

    to this

    Love, Community, and our walk of faith. BritneynewSPL_468x800

    and it happened in my life time.

    Presumeably you would hope that there would be children in your sustainable community. Look closely at the values that are offered to them
    Do not allow it to happen by accident or someone else's design. Especially a wall street marketing firm.

    How can a child hope to maintain any shred of innocence in a world where you can buy pole dancing barbie and bikini's with padded tops for
    five year olds? If we've gone from prayer caps to negligee tops in my life time what will the norm be for the grand children once babies
    are sexualized?

    Love, Community, and our walk of faith. Pole-dancer

    We've even drifted a long way from this outmoded and quaint lifestyle

    Love, Community, and our walk of faith. Mickeypeopledisplay

    to be replaced with....

    Love, Community, and our walk of faith. Punks460

    which reminds me of a joke

    An old man and his daughter were eating lunch in a food court at the mall. A group of young teens sat down nearby looking like the
    photo above. The man stared at one of the boys ignoring his daughters pleas to stop. One of the young men noticed and became angry.
    He said 'What's wrong old man, didn't you ever do anything wild in your youth? The old man said; Yes I did, I had sex with a peacock
    and I was wondering if you were my son."

    In the end it obviously is not the clothing at all that matters. I met an emotionally healthy young boy who had grown up in the cruising
    community. When his family returned to Ft Lauderdale he wanted to know why the people were wearing swim suits at the
    beach. What does matter are the priorities in the minds of those scantily clad teens hanging out at the mall.

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    Post  Mercuriel on Sun May 16, 2010 2:43 am

    Love, Community, and our walk of faith. Disney10

    Disclaimer: Note all of the Conclusions the Maker of this Video comes to are Conclusions that I don't necessarily share. While I have some congruity with the Maker of the Video regarding some of His conclusions - What I do agree with is the examples of Subliminal Programming that Hes displayed. His conclusions about Them however are not mine. This Video is only Posted so the Subliminals can be seen...

    Please understand - It is not My intention to harm Your Sensibilities - Merely to Inform and Enlighten...



    Peace, Light, Love, Harmony and Unity...

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    Post  baggywrinkle on Sun May 16, 2010 10:24 am

    Mercuriel wrote:

    Disclaimer: Note all of the Conclusions the Maker of this Video comes to are Conclusions that I don't necessarily share. While I have some congruity with the Maker of the Video regarding some of His conclusions - What I do agree with is the examples of Subliminal Programming that Hes displayed. His conclusions about Them however are not mine. This Video is only Posted so the Subliminals can be seen...

    Please understand - It is not My intention to harm Your Sensibilities - Merely to Inform and Enlighten...


    Point taken.

    I am aware of the role of Disney in the Satanic agenda - which is to destroy the basic unit of community which is the family and make government your
    god your parent your family.

    As we were leaving the mall this decal was in the window of a car in front of us. It is a more main stream symbol of the American family than the
    Mennonites are. The Brady bunch comes to mind until you look closely at the Brady bunch; two broken families blending. The media attack comes
    from all quarters.

    A good argument to turn off your media, avoid the pornographic malls take off the mouse ears and just be a family and community.

    Off to church - gotta run.

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    Post  baggywrinkle on Mon May 31, 2010 7:17 pm

    I thought you might be interested to know that the conservative Mennonite conferences run their own banks through the church.
    It was mentioned at lunch that they have assets of forty million dollars not counting land holdings.

    The members do all of their financing through the church and are largely independent of the beast system.

    Last edited by baggywrinkle on Wed Jun 02, 2010 12:21 am; edited 1 time in total

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    Post  Mercuriel on Mon May 31, 2010 9:55 pm

    It has been said many times here and in other places - We could find alot of Ourselves once again in Your Peoples' ways...

    There is much that We have forgotten Indeed...



    Peace, Light, Love, Harmony and Unity...

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    Post  baggywrinkle on Tue Jun 01, 2010 12:13 am

    Mercuriel wrote:It has been said many times here and in other places - We could find alot of Ourselves once again in Your Peoples' ways...

    There is much that We have forgotten Indeed...


    That would be my prayer, Brother. That is why I am here.

    This one church is spread across two countries and several states and numbers only about 5,000 members. That works out to an average of 8,000 dollars per member. That is very modest for this day and age.

    The congregations are much smaller than I originally thought. Our own little church seems to be about eighteen families. They run their own school
    with fifty children from grades one through ten, so about two thirds of the church attendance are young people or visitors like us Love, Community, and our walk of faith. Icon_biggrin .
    There are only seven congregations in our district and six of them are in Canada. This church was formed in 1968 when it was felt that the
    parent conference was becoming too liberal in a division that split families. Today you can not tell the parent conference from the Methodists across
    the street. This church held tight to some traditions like the prayer covering for women, yet they drive cars and carry cell phones.

    Our church was started ten years ago with four families. Today they are a beacon of sanity over a sea of broken homes and troubled lives. People
    are drawn to their silent witness. Especially when they have young children to raise in a troubled world. While I predict that they will grow and thrive
    here, my main point is they are very small in relation to the population. What they have done you can do also.

    To be successful you need to start with a common vision that brings like minded people together. To withstand the rigors of time, and the persecution
    of others this vision must appeal to each new generation in turn or your efforts will disintegrate and blow away on the winds. You've got to have faith
    if it is going to be sustainable.

    We have now visited four families after church for lunch and fellowship. There were never less then ten people and as many as twenty breaking
    bread. They have been from Canada, Maryland, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, and Missouri. I have not seen gatherings like this since I was a small child
    in Iowa. The gatherings are warm and intimate. There is laughter and belonging.
    Is it worth the effort? You tell me.

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    Post  Mercuriel on Tue Jun 01, 2010 10:51 am

    Coming together in Unity is always worth It My Brother - Always...



    Peace, Light, Love, Harmony and Unity...

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    Post  Carol on Tue Jun 01, 2010 11:14 am

    I'm so happy you are sharing this Baggywrinkle. I'm currently in northeastern Oregon. How far away is your location from here as I would be interested in making out that way if possible.

    Many blessings to you and yours.

    Aloha, Carol

    What is life?
    It is the flash of a firefly in the night, the breath of a buffalo in the wintertime. It is the little shadow which runs across the grass and loses itself in the sunset.

    With deepest respect ~ Aloha & Mahalo, Carol

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    Post  E.T. on Tue Jun 01, 2010 11:27 am

    It's only too easy to get lost, as an individual, among this flock of 'modern society' . That's what all of the churches played upon with ''you are no one, keep to the flock or you shall be destroyed ..''

    It's much easier to belong than not to belong ..When a child is born, and his mind matures, and starts asking about the world it has to find his own answers , within himself, within life ..

    We are searching for 'new journey', lots of people in my generation are not happy with what how their parents lived. The shining examples of happy businessmen and families baking themselves on beaches ,
    somehow, the civilisation seems to losen its course..
    because in the great chaos , like in mothers womb, there is a seed of the new world,

    how many times will we have to die yet than we reach salvation..

    I admire your sharing with us,

    Love, Community, and our walk of faith. Icon_flower

    I remember a friend was showing to me a movie called 'Baraka', i'm sure that you might have seen it too, it has some beautiful captures on nature sceneries and life pictures of this planet , some of the very strangest insights to how people live,

    and then we were watching Indian slams and this little boy said..'they are the beginning of the new generation..' I thought, how strange..'

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    Post  baggywrinkle on Tue Jun 01, 2010 9:44 pm

    Are you friends of the bride or the groom? The girl on the right is in our congregation

    Love, Community, and our walk of faith. Brideorgroom

    After the wedding. You can see the bride and groom meeting and greeting on the left side of the porch. The groom is our pastor's son

    Love, Community, and our walk of faith. Afterthewedding

    Headed home after church ...not our church ... our folks drive huge gray menno-vans. With twelve children you need mass transportation like that.

    Love, Community, and our walk of faith. Homeafterchurch

    Community is where you find it.

    Just do it.

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    Post  Carol on Wed Jun 02, 2010 6:38 am

    The horse and cart are so perfect in so many ways. We have the miniture horses with the miniture Amish uncovered cart. Baggywrinkle, what is the climate like where you are? There is a lot of bearutiful farm land available here but there are cold winters.

    My brother lives in Brownsville about an hour north of Eugene near the rivers at around 400 foot elevation. The elevation at the ranch is 5,000 feet. I've seen a lot of land for sale at reasonable prices and also down in Elgin and La Grand areas. They used to grow a lot of potatoes in this area and of course feed for livestock.

    What is life?
    It is the flash of a firefly in the night, the breath of a buffalo in the wintertime. It is the little shadow which runs across the grass and loses itself in the sunset.

    With deepest respect ~ Aloha & Mahalo, Carol

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    Post  baggywrinkle on Tue Jun 08, 2010 12:56 am

    We sit waiting in our car for the family who had invited us to lunch to finish their goodbyes and make their way to their van. They live way up in the
    hill country and we will never find their home without following them. We watch several little girls balancing carefully on a low concrete wall. They all
    wear ankle length dresses and have braids to their waists. Jon (pronounced yon), our resident Amishman, steps gingerly across the parking lot. He is curious in his bare feet. His suit is all black and fastens with hooks and eyes. He is a bible scholar and very outspoken in bible study. But with his belly
    length beard and bowl cut, I cannot help but check the tops of his feet for hair - he looks just like a hobbit or a garden gnome. I plot to invite him
    to lunch some time so that I can plant him in my front yard for good luck.

    Then the Pastor comes out the door and makes his way across the parking lot. As I roll down my window he smiles and says we now have our own
    mailbox and this is our mail. I guess that makes us official. We have found a home.

    Love, Community, and our walk of faith. German_garden_gnome_cropped

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