The Amish Way: Patient Faith in a Perilous World

The Amish Way: Patient Faith in a Perilous World

The Amish Way: Patient Faith in a Perilous World

The Amish Way: Patient Faith in a Perilous World

Excerpt

On October 2, 2006, the unthinkable took place in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania. On a crystal-clear Monday morning, a thirty-two-year-old milk truck driver armed with guns and ammunition entered a one-room Amish school. Embittered by the death of his infant daughter nine years earlier, he was determined to get even with God in a most gruesome way. After sending the boys out of the school, the gunman tied up the remaining children—ten girls, ages six through thirteen—and opened fire in execution style. Moments later, five girls lay dying, the rest had been seriously wounded, and the intruder had killed himself. One Amish leader, searching for words to describe the horror to his non Amish neighbors, said simply, “This was our 9/11.”

Although millions around the world were stunned that such evil could transpire in an Amish school, many were even more surprised when the Amish community, within hours, extended grace and forgiveness to the killer and his family. How could anyone do what the Amish did, and do it as quickly as they did?

This was the question we addressed in Amish Grace: How Forgiveness Transcended Tragedy. In writing that book, we interviewed dozens of Amish people and read scores of Amish publications, and we soon discovered that forgiveness is embedded more deeply in Amish life than we ever suspected. That realization inspired us to listen more closely for the religious heartbeat that sustains their entire way of life. This pulse, which often goes unnoticed, is more fundamental to the Amish way than the buggies and bonnets that receive so much attention. Strong but subtle, quiet yet persistent, this heartbeat is Amish spirituality.

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