Loving Our Communities Like the Amish Do

The Gospel Coalition | 1/12/2018 | Staff
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Jeremiah 35 recounts the intriguing story of Jeremiah’s interaction with the Rechabites, a migratory clan who refused to live in cities and drink wine because their father, Jonadab, told them not to. Jeremiah declared that their obedience put to shame Judah’s disobedience to their father, the Lord. The Rechabites looked odd to the world, but they were a living sign of fidelity, and God blessed them.

David Kline is Amish. To casual observers, the Amish seem odd, because they dress in old-fashioned clothes, use old methods of farming and manufacturing, and are very religious. These distinctives arise from their commitment to being community-driven, creation-minded, family-oriented, and self-effacing. They are pacifists (88–89), agrarians, and slow and steady workers.

Kline - Farming - Circles - Editor - Farming

Kline is well-known in organic farming circles as the editor of Farming Magazine. He has written several books, mainly about cherished places, and he’s a regular speaker at conferences. He lives with his wife, children, grandchildren, friends, and animals in Ohio (xi–xv). He’s a pastor, having been chosen to serve by lot (see Acts 1:24) at age 50 (135–36). And he has now written a book about his experiences titled The Round of a Country Year: A Farmer’s Day Book.

Counterpoint (2017). 224 pp. $16.95.

Kline - Book - Use - Amish - Farming

Kline’s book may look disarmingly simple and of little use outside Amish and organic farming circles. But looks, as they say, can be deceiving. His example is vital for everyone, and especially for shepherds of congregations.

There are several reasons why this is so, but I will focus on just three.

Kline - God - Creation - Gift

1. Kline believes God’s creation is a wonderful gift.

It’s not a gift in some abstract way, but through day-to-day reality (see 48–49). Like all other gifts, earth’s Giver ought to be acknowledged and thanked. Further, like all other gifts, creation must be used properly to benefit the recipients and show respect for the...
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