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Grizzly Mama

There's a Grizzly who has escaped the City of Brotherly Love..(and she's going back to homeschooling!!)

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Location: Out of Philly, Pennsylvania, United States

"All who have meditated on the art of governing mankind have been convinced that the fate of empires depends on the education of youth." Aristotle - Greek Philosopher.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Leap of Faith

Letting go of the things that have defined us - the truths that we learned at our mother's knee - can be terrifying. Questioning those truths is difficult at best, and at worst can feel like dying. (What will happen when I let go?) The foundation is ripped away - the abyss that we imagine ourselves dangling above is endless. All we know is that what made us 'us' is gone. It feels like being a helpless child again, our very survival is at stake. The feeling is huge - an enormous feeling - that many cannot face.

I can imagine that being excommunicated, shunned from the Amish community, would equate to my own isolation from my family of origin. Terrifying at first. We choose to make the break, but it is not an easy break. That moment when we're hanging on by our fingertips, too afraid to let go but knowing there is no other way. It is the leap of faith. The reality is that we don't know if we will be okay, and the overwhelming feelings of fear, regret and doubt muddle our senses.

Time and experience have taught me that my faith will be rewarded. But that moment of letting go, it is a scary one. I let go all the time, now! Sometimes what is happening in my life doesn't make a damn bit of sense to me, but I just turn it over and trust.

I had a conversation with a young Amish father recently. He approached me in the WalMart - I don't know why. But he did and we talked. He shared a bit of his belief and experience, and then asked me to take a look at Trouble in Amish Paradise. I read of the struggles that some of the Amish have had with themselves and their communities. Many have been excommunicated. I will pray for them, and I ask that - if you are so inclined - you pray for them, too. Pray for them all, because the ones who can't take the questioning are lost, and the ones doing the questioning are being incredibly courageous in my opinion.




Blogger Most Rev. Gregori said...

Such an age-old question, do we listen obey the word of God or the laws of man, do we follow the rules of our Church or the commands of scripture?

Even as an Orthodox catholic priest and bishop, I feel that if church elders stray from the Word of God, and begin to add innovations to what the Bible teaches, then we have a moral right and duty to question.

I say, "ask yourself which is more important, to not eat fish on Friday or to love God with all your heart and soul?" Is there any thing in Holy Scripture that forbids us from eating meat on Friday?

As the old saying goes, God made man and man made religion. If the Church we belong to lives by the word of God, that is good, the external trappings are superfluous and really unimportant. How we dress, go about our daily work, are really unimportant. If a religious group wishes to adopt a specific form of dress to distinguish themselves from others, is ok, but it should NEVER become so important that a church should make it a mark of just who is more Godly then the next person. The clothes do not make the man. If a church dictates how their congregations should dress* and how they should perform their daily tasks or cut their hair, then what makes them better then the Moslems?

*Of course, when it comes to dress, we should always dress in a modest fashion.

22 March, 2009 18:48  
Blogger Grizzly Mama said...

Rev - I appreciate your thoughtful comments, especially as a representative of the Orthodox Catholic Church. I agree that being a faithful Christian does not preclude choosing certain lifestyles - such as Plain living. I also agree that we tread on dangerous ground when we judge ourselves and others on the external trappings.

The girls sang in choir at Mass this morning - and we had a visiting Father who hailed from India. He said much the same thing, and that the Pharisees were blind sinners for seeing only the outward things and being so concerned about the rules, while God sees what is in our hearts.

Although I think Amish and Moslem are on opposite ends of the thing, I see your point about the rules and regulations on the minutiae of life becoming overly important. It is a beautiful thing that these Amish men and women have the strength and can question, and argue their point, and disagree without fear of beheading - - - no matter how terrible and painful excommunication is, it is not death even if it might feel like it at first. Those women in moslem countries being beaten or killed for not covering properly is the rule making to the nth degree.

I think that the shunning is cruel - and many Amish communities do not practice it anymore because it is so cruel for everyone involved.

22 March, 2009 22:28  
Blogger Grizzly Mama said...

Oh! And about the fish - I have never abstained from meat during Lent. The Catholic Church says that we should, but I don't. I think that voluntary sacrifice is a wonderful and personal way to acknowledge the sacrifice that was made for us, but I don't think it should be a rule handed down to us by the Church.

Thanks again, Rev!

22 March, 2009 22:39  
Blogger DirtCrashr said...

As missionary kid and son of a Baptist theologian/educator, it seems to me less important what you (or your group insists upon) do to yourself, than what you do unto others. ;-)

24 March, 2009 11:14  
Blogger DirtCrashr said...

Some groups have tied themselves in knots with such complex layers of do's and don'ts - an itinerary of such opposites that are a Required Proof of Faith, that it is absolutely psychologically debilitating for some or even most of its members.
As a student of Anthropology I find the humble grace and culture of the Amish much more palatable than any of the achievements of the Moslems, but their inward-turned interpretation of Belief is a cultural phenomenon that ultimately has a finite time for its expression.
Islam strikes me as being much more convoluted and rules-based than the Amish, with the evidence of such pathologically suffocating strictures being their channeled expressions of scripturally legitimized sectarian violence. One doesn't see many Amish overturning and burning cars, threatening and carrying-out beheadings, or blowing themselves up. Islam is an aggressive accumulator of its own chattel and by it's own teaching seeks to outwardly dominate and grow by any means necessary. But that's a whole 'nother conversation.

24 March, 2009 11:22  
Blogger Grizzly Mama said...

I agree DC.

A woman who used to comment on my blog asserts that islam and the west have a completely different philosophy for living - as in we are taught that protecting, promoting and cherishing life is the mark of what is 'good', islam teaches that anything that promotes islam is 'good'. Therefore, killing and terrorizing innocent people is 'good' as long as the promotion of islam is the reason for doing it.

The Amish, being raised on Judeo-Christian values, (as we all have been in the West) are similar to us on the basic and most important rules for living even if they isolate themselves and live separately.

There is a huge and fundamental difference between islam and the Amish. The fact that their rules can suffocate its members is a small similarity when looking at the big picture. IMHO, of course!

Thanks for commenting!

24 March, 2009 13:02  
Blogger Mike's America said...

There was a program on cable a while back about young Amish that go out and sow their wild oats. They drink, have sex, get in fights and car crashes before they decide whether to rejoin their families or not.

24 March, 2009 22:24  
Blogger Grizzly Mama said...

Hi Mike! I actually saw those on YouTube while I was watching this. I watched a few of them. Very interesting - their parents must almost have a heart attack. But they do have that running around thing, some of them, and they don't get baptized until they are adults and ready to commit to the church. From what I can gather, they are always welcomed back as long as they repent.

The situation I'm blogging about is a bit different, as these folks are excommunicated because they questioned the church elders.

25 March, 2009 08:56  
Blogger Grizzly Mama said...

Actually, they questioned - and challenged - the elders.

25 March, 2009 09:02  
Blogger tweetey30 said...

I should have watched this the other day when I had it up but forgot about it and now it has been taken out because of abuse on usuage or something like that.

27 March, 2009 19:48  
Blogger Grizzly Mama said...

Crap! I didn't notice that - thanks for bringing it to my attention.

28 March, 2009 08:47  

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