Reviews - What do customers think about Mennonite Life?
Plain, Fancy, and Black Bumper Mennonites Mar 29, 2005
This 48-page booklet on the Mennonites helped me understand the differences between the Amish and the Mennonites. Both religious groups are descended from the Anabaptists, who originated in sixteenth century Europe coincident with the beginning of the Protestant reformation. Zurich, Switzerland was the original home of the Anabaptists who disagreed with the 'mainstream' Protestants of the time over infant baptism. The Anabaptists believed that baptism should only be conferred on adults who were willing to following the disciplines of the new Church. They also renounced oaths, reveling and drunkenness, the use of force in war or civil government, and personal adornment.
These practices did not make them popular with their fellow Protestants or the local rulers, and the book "Martyr's Mirror" records the persecutions of this period. Gradually, the Anabaptists split apart into the Mennonites, Amish (mainly because of disagreements over the practice of shunning), and Hutterites, and migrated to America and Canada.
Currently the Mennonites live in forty different countries, which is one thing that differentiates them from the Amish, who stick pretty close to home in North America. The Mennonites are more like the Society of Friends in this respect, as they are heavily into works of charity in less fortunate nations. They are also more urbanized than the Amish (not more than 20 percent of American Mennonite households are engaged in farming), and Mennonite youngsters are encouraged to go on to high school and college, whereas Amish youngsters stop schooling after eighth grade.
The Mennonites themselves are split into 'plain' and 'fancy' church groups. "Divisions among the Old Order Mennonites have given rise to such special subgroups as the 'Black Bumper' Mennonites who are allowed automobiles, if everything, including the chrome, is painted black."
The author paints quite an interesting history and sociology of the Mennonites in the forty plus pages of this booklet. He definitely makes me want to pursue my studies of this 'Work-Saint' religious group.
A Book with very THIN coverage Jan 19, 1999
This book is not very detailed, and is not at all comprehensive. It takes a "broad spectrum" look at Mennonite life which is to say that it does not cover anything in decent detail. The most liberal "Mennonites" are no different than anybody else, and "Mennonite Life" is a sort of meaningless term. Old Order Mennonites are all lumped together and not covered well at all.