I’m working in a community where there a lot of Mennonite families. If you don’t know what a Mennonite is, I will quickly explain. Before moving to Tennessee, I had never met, seen, or heard of Mennonites, but there are a bunch of them up here.
On the surface, Mennonites are like the Amish with electricity. I understand that there are a lot of deeper differences, but that’s a major difference between the two. Overall, like the Amish, Mennonites have deeply fused their faith with their lifestyle. They truly believe that the world is not there home, and they are simply passing through. They are probably some of the nicest people I have ever met, too.
They embrace simplicity.
From what I have learned with multiple encounters with Mennonites, some have very strict rules, and others are a little more flexible; it simply depends on where you live. In northern Kentucky, the Mennonites drive cars but wear only brown, grey, blue, black, and white. No TVs. No video games. No internet. One Mennonite family told me that there is a congregation in Ohio where they are allowed to wear colored clothes, watch TV, and use the internet. Rebels.
Where I am now, the Mennonites are not allowed to drive cars. Like their Amish counterparts, the horse and buggy is the most common means of transportation. Even though they can’t drive cars, they do use tractors for farming. Here’s where they find the gray area.
One day, a Mennonite pondered, “We can use the tractors in the fields, right? Well, what if we need to cross the road to get to another field? Wouldn’t that mean we would be driving a vehicle on a modern non-Mennonite-approved surface?”
You see where this is going.
Instead of driving cars, if this group of Mennonites needs to get from point A to point B quickly, or if there is a longer distance between the two, they simply pile into their tractors and drive down the roads. The amazing thing is that the Mennonites 100 miles away have already given in to becomes slaves to Ford and Chevrolet.
Yes, it’s a silly observation, but we do the same thing on a regular basis. It’s called justification.
Instead of driving a tractor down the highway (by the way, they can go about 40 mph), we make conscious decisions to do what we know we should typically avoid. We cross one line simply and make another one.
We keep on going until we’re lost.
The car-driving Mennonites will never go back to the horses and buggies. The tractor Mennonites lust for the day when they can drive a Suburban to the grocery instead of a John Deere.
We decide to turn inches into feet. Feet into yards. Yards into miles. That part is easy. Getting back is the hard part.
The Good News is that God loves enough to welcome us back. Sometimes we just need a reminder that God hasn’t forgotten us. Sometimes we forget the magnitude of His love.