Tag Archives: Amish

An oldie politically incorrect joke


A 15-year-old Amish boy and his father were visiting a mall outside their community.

They were amazed by almost everything they saw, but especially by two shiny, silver walls that could move apart and then slide back together again.

The boy asked, “What is this, Father?”

The father, never having seen an elevator, responded, “Son, I have never seen anything like this in my life, I don’t know what it is.”

While the boy and his father were watching with amazement, a rotund old lady in a wheel chair moved up to the moving walls and pressed a button. The walls opened, and the lady rolled between them into a small room.
The walls closed, and the boy and his father watched the small numbers above the walls light up sequentially. They continued to watch until it reached the last number, and then the numbers began to light in the reverse order.

Finally the walls opened up again and a gorgeous 24-year-old blonde stepped out. The father, not taking his eyes off the young woman, said quietly to his son… “Go get your Mother.”



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   from Huffpost Religion:

“My name is Zachary Roberts and on Oct 2nd, 2006 my oldest brother, Charles Roberts, walked into an Amish school house in Pennsylvania where he shot and killed five young schoolgirls and injured five more before taking his own life,” said Zachary Roberts in a press release for an upcoming documentary.

Seven years after the tragedy, the Roberts family still seeks a kind of peace, as they deal with the aftermath of Charles Robert’s violence in their small, rural community. Faith has anchored all affected by the incident, and the world was amazed by the show of compassion by the Amish community as they took the path of forgiveness rather than anger, with many even coming to Charles’ funeral.

Many scars remain, as Zachary asks, “How does the mother of a mass murderer move forward in life?”

Terri Roberts, Charles and Zachary’s mother, visits Rosanna, who was paralyzed during the shooting, every week, bathing and talking to her. The surviving girls and their mothers began visiting the Roberts house a mere three months after the shooting, in an incredible demonstration of mercy and love.

Zachary Roberts wants to capture the redeeming power of forgiveness by making a documentary about the shooting and its aftermath, called “Hope – Documentary.” Though at first he sought to distance himself from the tragedy as much as possible, he now wants to share the powerful events that have transpired afterwards.

Zachary told The Huffington Post, “I know that for my mother, one of her most important things is forgiveness, and that was the virtue that the Amish expressed when this happened. I believe that was the impetus which set my mother on the path which she is now on. Forgiveness is a very powerful human choice and when exercised it can have the power to alter lives in an extreme way.”

The documentary focuses on his mother’s journey, as she “picks up the pieces after one of her son’s senseless mass murder spree and suicide, and on the very same day as the tragic incident, the Amish community decided to forgive,” according to the movie’s funding page.

How did Roberts himself get to the point where he was able to tell this personal, heart-wrenching, story? “The inspiration to make this movie was that I knew that at some point, somebody was going to approach my mother with hopes of telling her story. I guess I just felt a tremendous weight that I should be the one to do this. I knew it wasn’t going to be easy, but I thought it would be a really good process for myself and for my family,” he said.

terri roberts

“I first had the idea roughly a year and a half ago, and I guess it came about after the last several years of hearing about the things that were happening in my mother’s life. It seemed like her life was transforming in an inspiring way and I saw and heard how her life was impacting others. I just decided that this was something that needed to get out, it needed a bigger audience and film has the ability to reach a large audience.”

He explained, “The documentary will focus on on my mother from the time she heard the news about her son all the way up to present day – her story keeps evolving. We will really focus on my mother’s feelings upon hearing the devastating news and how she reacted and what she thought – we will really see and understand those raw emotions.”

The team has finished shooting the initial footage and is now seeking funds to complete the production process via crowd-funding website Indiegogo.

Roberts said, ” I really wish for people to understand that no matter how bad life gets, there is a path towards being happy and enjoying life. For a mother of a mass murderer to even want to live, let alone open up her life to others to instil hope, I think is a tremendous lesson in the strength of the human spirit.”

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November 18, 2013 · 00:52

reblogged – Clare T Walker (my niece)

Principle 7: Collaboration


Balance prudent self-reliance with healthy, interdependent relationships.

Some time ago, I came across a book called The Lonely American: Drifting Apart in the Twenty-first Century[1](written by two psychiatrists). A quote from the book:

“Being neighborly used to mean visiting people. Now being nice to your neighbor means not bothering them.”

I think this anti-social attitude has infected much of the technologically advanced world, not just America. We leave people alone because we think that’s what they want, yet loneliness has become a hallmark complaint of modern men and women. We dare not show our faces on our neighbors’ front porches…

…yet we scrawl updates on the walls of their facebook pages, we tweet until our smart phones are hoarse, we forward emails to all our contacts. It’s paradoxical. We have an explosion of online social networks, endless opportunities to “connect,” but how many of us scroll through our computer screens, feverishly hitting the delete button, just looking for something—anything—from someone we actually know or that we actually want to spend time reading?[2]

It’s good lift up our eyes, away from our screens, and be really physically present to other human beings.

illustration from the front cover of O Come Ye Back to Ireland, painted by Christine Breen

Susan K. Rowland, in her book Make Room for God, discusses at length Sarah Lanier’s[3] comparison of “hot-climate” and “cold-climate” cultures:

“Hot-climate cultures are communal, group-oriented, inclusive and spontaneous. Cold-climate cultures are more individualistic, privacy-oriented and interested in structure and productivity.”

My parents grew up in England—which has elements of both hot- and cold-climate cultures—but cultures definitely collided when she encountered the true hot-climate culture of southern California in the 1960s. She and my dad had just moved to America with their infant daughter (me). After several months of dealing with the apparently certifiably insane population of La Mesa on the odd side of town, they moved into a new place. My mom, expecting the worst, battened down the hatches, unwilling to interact with more of these crazy Americans.

To no avail: one morning there was a knock on the sliding door of the kitchen. In walked her new neighbors with freshly baked goods and coffee. Long story short—these two or three families spent the next five years raising their small children together, and even though they now live across the continent from one another, they are friends to this day.

What does any of this have to do with simplicity?

Living and working in close proximity to other people, and building intentional community with them, simplifies things because you can pool resources of time and energy, tools and materials, emotional strength and physical skills.

“Many hands make light work.” (John Heywood, 1546)

Cocooning with just our nuclear family on the back deck while the front porch remains unused isolates and limits us. You don’t have to reinvent the wheel—you can ask your neighbor if you can borrow his wheel. And, even though we are sturdy, self-reliant Americans, we don’t have to do everything alone in this increasingly cold-climate culture:

  • The Amish and other “plain living” subcultures excel at the principle of collaboration, with their barn-raisings and other community activities.[4] [5]
  • Busy yuppies Niall Williams and Christine Breen experience the beauty of community and collaboration when they move from Manhattan to rural Ireland and work side-by-side with their neighbors on their farm.[6]
  • In The Way (2010, Directed by Emilio Estevez), a man grieves the death of his son, and also honors his son’s memory, by walking the historic “el camino de Santiago” (“the way of St. James) in France and Spain. On the journey he discovers the beauty of community and collaboration.

I’ll finish with a little anecdote from my own neighborhood. A friend who lives nearby was over at my house putting the finishing touches on some electrical work he had very kindly done for me.

As he was leaving, he said, “I think I’ll take my ladder home with me today, because I’ll need it for a project I have to do at my house.”

“Okay,” I said.

Then, after a moment’s thought, I said, “I think that ladder might be mine.”

“Hm,” he said, furrowing his brow. “Are you sure?”

We went to look at the ladder. It had been back and forth between his house and my house so often in recent months that neither of us could remember whose ladder it actually was!

He took it and used it for whatever it was he was working on, and I think it’s in my garage at the moment.

“Any culture emphasizing productivity cannot allow us to spend much time socializing.” (Susan K. Rowland Make Room for God)

[1] The Lonely American: Drifting Apart in the Twenty-first Century by Jacqueline Olds and Richard S. Schwartz (2009).

[2] Social Clear Cutting: Can Our Social Media Behaviors Destroy Our Social Environment?” This is a very good post by author Kristen Lamb. She writes passionately about the need to forge real connections with other people. Her target audience is other authors attempting to construct social platforms to promote their creative work, but her articles and books (We Are Not Alone: The Writer’s Guide to Social Media and Are You There, Blog? It’s Me, Writer) still speak to anyone disillusioned by online social media and searching for rewarding interactions online.

[3] Foreign to Familiar: A Guide to Understanding Hot- and Cold-Climate Cultures by Sarah Lanier (2000)

[4] Plain and Simple: A Woman’s Journey to the Amish by Sue Bender (1989)

[6] O Come Ye Back to Ireland by Niall Williams and Christine Breen (1987)


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How many Christians does it take to change a lightbulb?

Charismatics: Only one. Hands already in the air.


Pentecostals: Ten. One to change the bulb, and nine to pray against the spirit of darkness.


Presbyterians: None. Lights will go on and off at predestined times.


Roman Catholic: None. Candles only.


Baptists: At least 15. One to change the light bulb, and three committees to approve the change and decide who brings the potato salad.


Episcopalians: Three. One to call the electrician, one to mix the drinks and one to talk about how much better the old one was.


Methodists: Undetermined. Whether your light is bright, dull, or completely out, you are loved. You can be a light bulb, turnip bulb, or tulip bulb. Church wide lighting service is planned for Sunday. Bring bulb of your choice and a covered dish.


Nazarene: Six. One woman to replace the bulb while five men review church lighting policy.


Lutherans: None. Lutherans don’t believe in change.


Jehovah’s Witnesses: Three. One to screw in the bulb, and two to knock on your door and ask you if you’ve seen the light!


Mormons: Just one, after his wives have gotten on the school bus.


Amish: What’s a light bulb?

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The Meenister’s Log

An Amish  woman was driving her buggy to town when a highway patrol officer stopped her. “I’m  not going to cite you,” said the  officer.

“I  just wanted to warn you that  the reflector on the back of your buggy is broken and it could be dangerous.” 


“I  thank thee,” replied  the Amish lady.  “I shall have my husband repair it as soon as I return  home.”

“Also,” said the  officer, “I  noticed one of your reins to your horse is wrapped  around his testicles. Some people might consider this cruelty to animals,  so you should have your husband check that too.”

“Again  I thank thee. I shall have my husband check both when I get home.”

 True to her word, when the Amish lady got home she told her husband about  the broken reflector, and he said he would put a new one on it immediately.

“Also,” said the  Amish woman, “The  policeman said there  was something wrong  with the emergency brake.”

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