Crossville Chronicle, Crossville, TN

Opinion

June 18, 2013

LION AND THE LAMB: More than meets the eye

CROSSVILLE —

It was a quiet Saturday afternoon, and my wife Sheral suggested I join her on a shopping trip. In Crossville Sheral went inside a store and I stayed outside looking at the bargain specials. My mind was in neutral, so I almost missed the little boy’s question. He was about seven or eight, evidently had just seen his first Amish family, and they had seemed very strange to him.

The boy noticed they were different—plain clothing, black socks and shoes, beards, and of course black hats and bonnets. Outwardly they seem so different. Thus he posed the question to his mother, “Mom, who are those people and why do they have those funny hats?”

Now my mind shifted out of neutral. Vicariously I silently entered the dialogue, wondering how his mother would answer the question. As she made sure her son’s shoes were tied she started, “I guess they are from the Mayland area. They are Amish, and they...”

The word “they” was the last word I heard because the pair went inside. How did she answer the question? I yearned to know.

As I was left with my thoughts, I reflected back to the early 1960s when our family lived in Kalona, Iowa, an area with the largest population of Amish and Mennonites west of the Mississippi River. When we moved there, we too were curious about those “strangely dressed people” who occasionally bore the brunt of cruel jokes. Yet in that community our understanding and appreciation of the Amish and the Mennonites flourished.

Those were the years when three young daughters kept our home a beehive of activity and Sheral one happy, yet very busy mother. To help with the chores we had a young Amish girl, Marie, to assist with the housework, and another Amish girl,

Elizabeth, to babysit.

In those close relationships stereotypes died. Marie and Elizabeth were as different as any two people you’ll know. One was industrious, the other put forth minimum effort. One was outgoing, the other was not. They were both very human! One could iron clothes (remember it was the early 1960s) faster than anyone we know and sometimes watched television soaps (something she of course could not do at home). We grew to like her very much, and we enjoyed her use of terms such as “make the light out.”

Amish are people within our world family who have often received abuse. They are misunderstood, usually because we who are the “true Americans” will not take time to understand them.

They believe in nonresistance. They establish their own schools. They choose not to be a part of Social Security. Amish live “nonconformed” to the world; thus they dress simply and without signs of pride. They support their views with passages from the Bible. They are excellent neighbors, possess a deep concept of sharing, and are quick to help anyone.

As for the mother and her son, I can only hope that what she told her son about “those people” was tempered with understanding and kindness. Maybe she said, “They dress that way because it is part of their religious custom. They are nice people. Perhaps we can visit with them sometime.”

• • •

This column is sponsored by Cumberland Countians for Peace and Justice and dedicated by the local writers to the theme that the lion and the lamb can and must learn to live together and grow in their relationship toward one another to ensure a better world. Opinions expressed in “Lion and the Lamb” columns are not necessarily those of the Crossville Chronicle publisher, editor or staff. For more information, contact Ted Braun, editor, at 277-5135.

 

1
Text Only
Opinion
  • We the People: The last dance

    Charlie Hayden’s last recording session with his early partner, Keith Jarrett, was in 2007.  The songs they played were mostly melancholy.  The second album coming from that session includes Weil’s “My Ship” and Porter’s “Every Time We Say Goodbye.” The dark ballad “Goodbye,” by Gordon Jenkins, was the final track.

    July 22, 2014

  • Lion and the Lamb: Living in a pressure cooker

    The Gaza Strip, a small Palestinian territory about the size of Washington, D.C., has been in the news almost every day.  Its key location at the eastern end of the Mediterranean Sea has attracted a number of occupying powers over the years, and it has  been at the center of much Middle East history.

    July 22, 2014

  • Tidbits: The excitement of election day

    On March 12, 1996, there were 427,183 votes cast in the presidential primary election. Among those votes was mine, the first vote I cast in an election, just two days after my 18th birthday.

    July 21, 2014

  • Raising the minimum wage

    My first job from which FICA was withheld was a minimum wage job, seventy-five cents an hour. And yes, even then no one could live on that little money. However, I was a high schooler living at home where my father provided room and board. The job gave me pocket money to buy gasoline, to take my girlfriend out for movies and burgers, and to buy tickets for baseball games.

    July 21, 2014

  • Lion and the Lamb: Children on the move

    The news this past week has focused on the humanitarian crisis developing on our southern border. Thousands of unaccompanied children from El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras seeking to escape from the violence, human trafficking and extreme poverty in their countries have been entering the United States.

    July 15, 2014

  • We the People: Memo to gun rights groups

    The recent incident in California helps us understand why we cannot rely on mental health services alone to solve the problem of gun violence.

    July 15, 2014

  • Tidbits: Make the best of your road trip

    I didn’t care for road trips when I was young. It was so confining to have to sit in the back seat, staring out the window for hour after hour, hayfield after hayfield. And when you’re a kid, time doesn’t pass like it does when you get a little older. Just the trip from Jamestown, TN, to Crossville, roughly 30 miles, felt like an eternity!

    July 14, 2014

  • Stumptalk: Biased climate agenda will cost trillions

    For anyone who has been educated in the history of science and scientific method, this whole issue of “Global Warming” or “Climate Change” is an embarrassing and painful exercise.

    July 14, 2014

  • Lion and the Lamb: Time for an oil change

    The land of Iraq, earlier known as Mesopotamia, has a long history going back to Neanderthal times some 60,000 years ago. Later, around 10,000 years ago, it became the site for some of the most important developments in human history: the invention of the wheel, planting of cereal crops, the development of cursive script, mathematics, astronomy and agriculture. Today it is recognized as one of the cradles of civilization.

    July 8, 2014

  • We the People: American women, be informed and vote

    Voting for today’s Republican Party and its Tea Party members, means you are voting against more than most realize.  This is especially true for women.

    July 8, 2014

Marketplace Marquee
Parade
Must Read
Section Teases
Seasonal Content
AP Video
Raw: Air Algerie Flight 5017 Wreckage Virginia Governor Tours Tornado Aftermath Judge Faces Heat Over Offer to Help Migrant Kids Kerry: No Deal Yet on 7-Day Gaza Truce Kangaroo Goes Missing in Oklahoma More M17 Bodies Return, Sanctions on Russia Grow Gaza Residents Mourn Dead Amid Airstrikes Raw: Deadly Tornado Hits Virginia Campground Ohio State Marching Band Chief Fired After Probe Raw: Big Rig Stuck in Illinois Swamp Cumberbatch Brings 'Penguins' to Comic-Con Raw: Air Algerie Crash Site in Mali Power to Be Restored After Wash. Wildfire Crashed Air Algerie Plane Found in Mali Israel Mulls Ceasefire Amid Gaza Offensive In Case of Fire, Oxygen Masks for Pets Mobile App Gives Tour of Battle of Atlanta Sites
Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide
Weather Radar
2014 Readers' Choice
Graduation 2014