I’ve enjoyed watching various reality shows over the last few years as this new phenomenon has grown in popularity on television.  These shows give you a peek into the lives of interesting people that you might not otherwise meet or who live too far away for that possibility.  One particular show that I’ve enjoyed watching is American Colony:  Meet the Hutterites on the National Geographic Channel.  The religious sect which is the focus of the show lives in Montana in the United States.  For the uninitiated, the Hutterites came from Germany in the 19th century, but they trace their roots back to Jakob Hutter, an Anabaptist preacher during the 16th century in the south of the Tyrolean region of the Alps.  That area today is in Italy, but the people are a Germanic group with some vestiges of German words still in their vocabulary.  Hutter and the Anabaptists came out of the Protestant Reformation, so they have a sound footing in the Bible and in Christian living.  But while I applaud such groups that try to keep their traditions and try to keep the world from interfering with their lives or changing their practices, I also see that they too often lapse into legalism, applying rules harshly in a way that is not securely founded in love which is the key principle of Christian doctrine.  Too often, such groups carry on their traditions without careful study or explanation of the reason for their way of life.  Over time, successive generations forget the reasons and begin to apply their rules legalistically, leading to bad practices every bit as ridiculous as what their founders objected to in the 16th century Roman Catholic Church.  Hence, they become every bit as harsh and legalistic as the Pharisees that Jesus criticized during His ministry on earth. 

The same can be said of Amish and Mennonites who came out of the same tradition and also from a Germanic culture, although the area where those two groups originated would now be Switzerland.  There are several reality shows based on the Amish who are the stricter of these two sects.  Some of the Amish groups do a good job of retaining the loving foundation of their rules and remembering the compassionate example set by our Lord.  Others lapse into pure legalism that has very little resemblance to a Christian life.  You can see this in some of the episodes on the shows that tell their stories.  In one show, Amish:  Out of Order, much of the drama centers on the attempts of young people in the Amish community to break-out into the modern world around them as they crave a life free of the constricting rules that stifle creativity and the human spirit.  But this is a difficult task for these young people, requiring great courage to make the leap, especially when their legalistic families subsequently cut them off, refusing even a kind word under their legalistic practice of shunning.  This is a far cry from the loving requirements of the Bible that God wants us to live up to.  Moreover, this is not what Jesus said He expected of those who claimed to be His followers (Mat. 25).  You can easily understand the frustrations of these young people in trying to live under such a harsh rule, and you can understand why they would want to break free from such a lifestyle. 

They remind me of the many East Europeans that risked life and limb to try escaping from the cruel, bleak life of the former Communist regimes during the late 40’s through the late 80’s.  I remember visiting Berlin before the wall fell.  I was stationed in Germany as a young American military officer.  My wife and I took advantage of a guided tour to that island of freedom in the middle of tyranny.  I distinctly remember crossing the heavily fortified border of East and West Germany.  The fences, towers, and other fortifications of the border informed you immediately that the authorities meant business and that this was a closed society.  As we moved through the highway checkpoint and entered East Germany, the change was abrupt.  The smooth asphalt ribbon of the West German Autobahn changed to a bumpy, rough concrete road which you would more expect to find in a less developed, less industrialized nation.  Additionally, the neat, pristine, colorful houses of West Germany gave way to the drab, run-down looking houses east of the border.  The meticulous yards full of interesting plants and flowers that you see everywhere in western Germany gave way to the disheveled, disorderly yards of the Communist side.  The message you could read on virtually everything in that country was that nobody cared, so why bother. 

More on this tomorrow.



02/02/2017 2:36am

Freedom is right of all human and new generation are want to much freedom in all matter of life. But it is not good for them. Parents should deal with love and soft attitude of his children. It is best way for control new generation.

09/23/2017 6:35am

I believe that all of our hearts desire for our freedom. Who among us wanted to live a life being caged to somewhere we don't want to, right? That's why it is just right for us to listen to what our hearts have to say. At the same time, people have to be considerate about that! Sometimes, there are also people who are caging us. Let us not give them the power to do so!


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    I'm a retired soldier, having spent 23 years of my life serving our country, actually 30 years when you count the reserve and National Guard time as well.  I believe in servant leaders, following the example of our Lord, and I believe in giving back to the troops once one has attained a certain status or level of success in life.  But I also believe in fighting back against corruption and incompetence wherever you find it if it hurts people.  Our national values were worth dying for.  They are also worth living for.  A man or woman can actually live a life by these principles of humility, service, love, duty, and honor, and have a significant impact on the world around them...if you have the dedication to see it through. 


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