Lifestyles of the “Rich” and Pious
Most separatist sects die out after the first or second generation, but one group of Pietists have not only survived, but prospered. Known as the “Amish”, these folk have grown rapidly in recent years, expanding across the country and, in the course of their stated objective to do good, have done very well.
Despite eschewing modern technology, the industrious Amish have typically prospered when their neighbors were either less industrious, or overburdened with debt. While “rich” may be a stretch, they do tend to own what they own, while many of the people the world considers rich are in hock up to their ascots.
We don’t really know what to make of them, frankly. Most attention gets focused on their peculiar lifestyle, with very little interaction with evangelical Christianity. Still, there are a number of witnesses who affirm that their theology is no better or worse than many other evangelical groups.
Perhaps, as far as one could get from the pacifism of the Amish is the virulent hatred and terror of ISIS. But once again, we know a lot less than we think we do. It turns out that ISIS believes that luring the west (“Rome”) into a military showdown at the little town of Dabiq will trigger the end of the world, and—wait for it—Jesus will return as the “Redeemer” of Islam. It is obvious why our secular leaders seem utterly clueless in dealing with ISIS. Few Christian theologians have even taken the time to read what they are saying.
A fitting sidebar to the ISIS story is that of Byzantium, where an arguably subordinationist Trinitarianism was defeated by Islam. History can be entertaining and fun, but it can also help you decipher what’s going on in the world today. And finally, we tell the story of the lowly piano’s trek from the saloon to the worship hall. Thanks for reading.
On the Cover
The Butterfly by Nancy Noël. Nancy Noël lives at Llandfair Farm in Zionsville, Indiana, where she raises llamas, horses and a menagerie of other animals. Her love of animals and children, highlighted in her art, has launched her work far beyond Midwestern boundaries. The delicate faces of her Amish Country series portray innocence, strong sense of family, community, and honesty. Visit her website at www.nanoel.com.
The Jul-Sep 2016 issue includes these articles:
- The Amish in America
- When Jesus Comes Back: The Strange, Apocalyptic Theology of ISIS
- Honkey Tonk Convert: How the Piano Got Religion
- Constantinople, The “Other” Rome