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February 29, 2012

The Amish and Shunning

Dad and Mom
Today, I watched a 2 hour documentary on PBS about the Amish. 

It was interesting. The Amish are generally down to earth, devoted, generous, hard working and industrious. They live a God-centered life and believe that they are "in the world" but "not of the world". 

This documentary and other similar Amish related documentaries also talk about the "shunning" that occurs when Amish men and women, (usually in their teens or early twenties), leave the fold and go out in the world. Their parents are not supposed to eat with them, or acknowledge them as their children. As one Amish young man said: "When I left, my father said to me - It would be better if you don't come back."

The shunned son
Actually when I was watching this documentary, the lapsed Amish young men were hard-working, low-key, respectful and shy. They showed a group of five of these men working on a construction site as carpenters and before they ate lunch, they all said a prayer of grace. You wouldn't find 5 young men doing this on any other construction site, would you? 

It is extremely unfortunate when religion separates a father and son, one from the other, regardless of which religion you belong to. Life is tough enough without your loved ones kicking you to the curb over dogma. In the end, all of them lose. 

Let us pray for all of those people who have left their faith, whatever faith it is, and have been shunned by their loved ones. Amen.

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