Wednesday, November 01, 2006

forgiveness versus retribution:
thoughts inspired by recent tragedies striking the
amish community in the middle west
. . .
these comments were taken from news accounts of
the pennsylvannia school shooting in early october,
and of an accident in michigan, where an amish buggy
killing a young girl and the horse pulling the buggy,
and seriously injuring many more.

For the Amish Grieving Privately,
Coping by Faith and Community Support After Tragic School Shooting

The Amish see death as a part of life. They will grieve...but they have more resignation. They will take this as something God ordained.
. . .
Prior to this event this Amish community, known for their peaceful practices and strong ties to the land, lived in a world where they were largely insulated from violence. Members will need to drawn on their faith in God to stoically and privately cope with these tragic events.
Since the Amish view death as a part of life, they may be better prepared to cope with a tragic death than most typical Americans. An expert on the Amish community,
Donald Kraybill, supported this idea stating:
They have a huge family support network. They will not get angry. The pain will be deep, but they will not have to process it alone. They will cry, but it will be in private. And they will believe that it is God’s will and that it is nobody else’s business.
[there is much to be learned here--the rev]

Very Private Grief
For the Amish, public displays of sadness or mourning are very rare, if they are seen at all. Jim Fisher, a retired criminal law professor and author of a book about an Amish murder, offers additional insight into the Amish grief:
They're stoic. They're private. They're not given to public displays of emotion. They'll grieve privately. That doesn't mean they grieve any less.
[gee, does this explain why we don't see amish jimmy swaggerts
tearfully pouring out their sins on television?--the rev]
. . .
Photographers have intruded on these families, capturing images of some of them crying. Amish traditions forbid photography. Thankfully,
the news media is being kept away from the homes where the service is being held and airspace has been restricted so Television helicopters cannot film videos of the event from above. They will be allowed along the route where the buggies will drive to the ceremony for a short graveside service.
. . .
Faith, Community Support and Forgiveness
Dr. Donald Kraybill of Elizabethtown College advises that the Amish faith teaches them that even tragedies, such as the shocking school shootings, are part of God’s greater plan. It is their faith belief system that helps the families and the community cope with death and with the grief over the loss of these five girls. They also have faith that God will sustain them through difficult times and struggles.
[i personally don't believe in god, but that doesn't mean
i don't believe in being good, and leading a good life. by my values,
that means having faith in others, and doing what i can to help.
i feel no need to be the "premier leader" to paraphrase
retired general chong, nor do i feel the need to forcefully impose
MY beliefs on others, who have their own.--the rev]
. . .
In the Amish community a death initiates an outpouring of social support both for the grieving family and for the community. Dozens of buggies line the driveways of the homes of the victims. Family and community members will do what is needed to support those who are grieving by cooking meals, watching other children or doing the farm work. By sharing the grief it is no longer just the grief of a family, but the grief of the entire community. With faith and community support the families will cope with the loss. Perhaps most remarkable for outsiders is the ability of the Amish community find solace within their faith, to grieve together and believe it was all part of God’s plan. Because of their faith they are able to pick up the pieces and keep going.
According to those who know this community, the Amish are not angry, laying blame or seeking revenge following this tragedy. Remarkably they are finding ways of extending forgiveness to the family of the gunman through deed and prayer. Within hours of the shooting, an Amish neighbor comforted the Roberts family hours and extended forgiveness to them.
One person, Jack Meyer, member of the Brethren, another group like the Amish, offered this insight into their beliefs, “There’s not a lot of benefit in looking back and being bitter, unforgiving or critical.”
. . .
[perhaps if bush, et alia, were a bit more forgiving, and less bitter, in their own PERSONAL beliefs, the policies of this country would be less offensive to many in this country, and throughout the rest of the world. i find the christian hypocracy of many in the political arena absolutely the most vile of all hypocracies.--the rev]


Frank Brigandi said...

great post reverend,
I get alot of heat in regard to my views and "supposed" religios conviction and also individual conviction because I share my opinion on my blog. I know I am asking for trouble when I post something derragotory in regard to a particular issue I may have with catholicism or whatever. But what I find most irresponsible about how people lash out against me and defend what they think is actualy religion and spirituality, is that there is alot of disdain in their argumants as if I am not allowed to have an opinion when all I am trying to point out is that the supposed leaders of these " organisations" are everything that religion is supposed to defy. It's not difficult to see the fraud when you read the paperr and a priest has been hammering away at the backsides of 11 year old boys for 30 years because he is "repressed". He;s just a pile of crap. Not a priest. In the cycling community I experience the same reactions when I post something I an priviledged to hear in regard to Floyd Landis being on Drugs Or Tyler Ham,ilton also abusing dope, and one of their "fans" calls me a name or accuses me trying to take them's shallow behavior, odd to say the very least. But the issue of forgiveness, is an act of rising above the situation, moving forward, leaving something behind, and if there is/was/will be a god to present him/her/it self to us I'd have to feel impartial to their intelect and agree that that is the correct way to deal with a situation. THough I personally do not think I could ever forgive someone who would want to kill or hurt one of my kids, I would have his head on a stick on my front lawn, because that's how I am personality wise.
Great post, just great.

Pete Basso said...

Rev says -[perhaps if bush, et alia, were a bit more forgiving, and less bitter, in their own PERSONAL beliefs, the policies of this country would be less offensive to many in this country, and throughout the rest of the world. i find the christian hypocracy of many in the political arena absolutely the most vile of all hypocracies.--the rev]

Kim - One of the problems of this country is that we have lost our "manhood" (so to speak), and try "understand" what everyone in the world is doing. Are you suggesting that Bush should be a little more forgiving and a little less bitter the atrocities of Bin Laden. After he purposely slaughtered 3000 people on our soil I see no reason for understanding and forgiveness. This guy and his following of radical muslims do not want to talk this thing is their life mission to convert or KILL you. Why don't you see that? You'll be forgiving them and trying to understand while they are cutting off your head. Our country leaders are not bitter, our Democratic Liberal politicians are, just listen to hateful comments made by Pelosi, Kennedy, Reid, Kerry, Clinton and many others. While I respect your desire for a peaceful world just as I do, I also see what history has helped us to learn in the past and don't want to make the same mistake. Your a very intelligent guy, read history and you'll see that no peaceful settlements have ever happened before blood shed occurred; WWI, WWII, Civil War, etc.

While I respect and invite everyone opinions such as yours and Franks, I have to ask you, "when is enough, enough"? At what point do you fight back? At what point do you protect your family?

I'm glad there are many people out there like you and the Amish who focus of forgiveness and love, its very admirable and respectable. I think it's the over-abundance of this type of attitude that will lead to our ultimate demise. Your shear ability to forgive anything and everything will allow the Radical Muslim terrorists to take their mission of erratication to our soil...killing our families. At that point the liberals might finally look up and realize, uh-oh!!

Frank - I share your understanding of various disdain for people lashing out against you for your opinions, I'm not one of those. I enjoy listening to what others think and how they've come to those conclusions through their life. But, please don't judge all Catholics because of a few bad priests. Better yet, don't judge all priests because of a few bad ones. I grew up Catholic and went to Catholic school, never was I ever in a situation that would compromise my boyhood. I'm no longer Catholic, but it has nothing to do with a bad experience.

I hope my message comes across right in this comments section, it's hard to write an essay in a space that was intended for short comments.