Monday, August 29, 2016

Community In Action

Last Wednesday, a tornado moved across the southern edge of the Amish community near where we live. The worst damage occurred on a road we travel often, next door to a family we know well. One place was completely obliterated. The family was getting ready to eat and literally made it to the basement with seconds to spare. Their home, their barn and a very expensive and pretty new chicken barn housing over 25,000 birds were all leveled. It was hard to tell where the house ended and the barns began. Those chicken barns are all automated and run upwards of three quarters of a million dollars.

26,000 chickens with nowhere to go post tornado

This is the scene today from a picture I took this afternoon, less than a week after the tornado struck...

The house is going up, the roof is on it, their regular barn is well on the way to being replaced and the new walls for the chicken barn have already been poured.

If the Amish are known for anything, they are known for rallying around each other when a neighbor is in need. Their community suffers from a lot of the same stuff any other community does, gossip, envy, resentment, etc. The Amish have plenty of issues including an almost cultish behavior toward members who stray and outsiders. Nevertheless when it comes to helping one another they put most of the mainstream of Christianity to shame.

There is something to be said for relying on each other instead of insurance companies when it hits the fan.

I think that we are so comfortably integrated into our society that leaning on the church or being prepared to be truly sacrificial when someone is in need is almost unthinkable. Not because we are unwilling necessarily but because we assume that the social safety nets will bail people out. Insurance if your car is wrecked or your house burns down or you get sick. Government programs for the poor. A public school system to provide "education" and/or state sponsored day-care. On and on.

Maybe we would be healthier if we had more uncertainty, if we thought first of the church when things go wrong because that is the only source of relief. Maybe we would be less likely to find ways to divide ourselves and keep other Christians who are not just like us at arm's length.

Just a thought.

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