Apparently, while most of white America--and the white world--register birth rates that, someday, threaten extinction, the Amish are proliferating, doing quite well, thank you--so well, in fact, that they're needing more land and finding it, even out in this direction, near Tripp, SD.
It's hard not to love the Amish. They're so diligent about things, such idealogues, so blasted sure of their version of the truth. It seems they could care less about what other people say or do or think of their creeds or their language or their macabre carriages.
Are they a cult? I don't know. But the vast majority of their young people stay, even though each one of them has the opportunity to leave during a wild and crazy time they call "Rumspringa," which means “running around” in the Pennsylvania German dialect. Get this--85% stay Amish, even not a one kid has an iPod--if they do, they're tucked furtively beneath their straw mattresses.
I swear, I wouldn't want to be Amish, but it's wonderful having them around. Few of them, I'm sure, go searching for their ten minutes of fame. When they got it a few years ago--when some madman murdered their school children in Pennsylvania--they got as much ink for their incredible forgiveness than they did for the horrifying bloodletting.
I hope--I may be wrong--that not a one of them has ever heard of the Kardashians. I hope--I may be wrong--not one Amish person heard the latest Roseanne rant, nor know a guido if they saw--or heard--one. Their kids don't need cars, although I'm sure they eye each other's horses enviously (sin doesn't really respect centuries). And in their schools, they get along quite well without team sports, if you can believe it. Oh, yeah--and I'm guessing that when they get together to sing, it's not the your or my brand new praise chorus.
Strangely enough, they're growing by leaps and bounds--and they don't even do evangelism.
They satisfy one of Christ's most puzzling paradoxes--"be ye in the world, but not of it"--in a most admirable way, having determined that what the Lord wants of us is to live the way good, stout agrarian people did in the early 19th century, the Golden Age.
And cute kids. Tons of 'em. And, apparently, always more on the way.
This morning, my morning thanks are for the Amish. More power to 'em, I say.
Horse power anyway.