Monday, July 6, 2015
ELMER ANSWERS SOME QUESTIONS
If you ask the young people like John, he says we aren't getting enough changes, although now that he is married, he has mellowed a lot. You ask me, we have had a lot of changes. I don't know if the changes are really do to the Englishers or we have changed and the world around us has changed do to time.
Also, maybe, it is from our moving so many times. Most Amish groups are different from other Amish groups, as I have said before. Like certain things we didn't do in Pennsylvania , we do in New York and was still different in Ohio. Now that I have you completely confused, let me explain that better.
Like when I grew up, we didn't have indoor plumbing. We had running water when you ran out to the well, pumped the water in the bucket and ran it into the house. You wanted hot water, you but water in a pot and heated it on the stove. If you had to go potty, you went to the outhouse no matter if it was 80 degrees or 10 degrees or anything in between. To take a bath, you filled the big black tub with heated water in the middle of the kitchen. Me and all my brothers and sisters took a bath in the same water. We never thought of indoor plumbing or toilets.
The next thing I remember is they allowed you to put a pump in the house at the kitchen sink. You would pump the water there and didn't have to run outside to get it. Still had to heat the water on the stove if you needed hot water. Still used the big tub to take a bath in and still used the outhouse.
If my memory services, the next thing that was allowed was plumbing in the house. You could have running water and a hot water heater to heat it, but we still had to go outside to do potty. Anna and I moved around for a while, having children along the way. When we moved back to Pennsylvania, they had indoor bathrooms - with toilets in them so you could potty inside the house. Again, not all Amish groups have indoor plumbing or water pumps and many still use outhouses. I am talking about our group.
When I grew up, we milked all the cows by hand. Some Amish groups still do. It seemed like you just got finished milking the cows and it was time to start again. Really wasn't the truth, but it seemed like that. Today, we use automatic milkers powered by generators.
I could go on and on about changes made. To the many of the Englishers we appear backward in our ways, but if you take a close look, we aren't really.
How is it decided which "modern" things you are allowed to adopt? It is a long slow process. There has to be a need for thing - not just for one person, but all the people in our group. Is it really necessary? What does the Bible say? What are our beliefs in the Ordung? Just going into that is a long process by the Bishop and deacons. They ask prayer and ask for the Lord's wisdom in this decision. If it is considered, we discussed among the members of our church. Usually, a meeting is held after church to discuss this - all the time asking for prayer and wisdom. If everyone's thoughts are heard, depending on what it is, it might be tried by one or two families, to see what will happen or what doesn't happen. It the need necessary? Does it take from their time at church or with family? Does it keep them from their work time?
It takes a long time before a decision is made. I mean we maybe talking years. No decision for something new is made fast. At any time along the way, the decision "no" can be decided by the Bishop and that's the end of it. Once the final decision is made by Bishop for this thing, some people may not adopt it. Don't do what ever it is. If the don't agree, they may just ignore it or move to another Amish group that doesn't allow it.
Which leads to another question is Bishop. What our Bishop Eli might allow, another Bishop wouldn't. Or what another Bishop would allow, Bishop Eli wouldn't. Each group has their own Bishop. The Bishop tries to help the people in God's will and way. Yet, the Bishops are human. They pray for God's will, understanding, knowledge and direction. Adopting something new is a hard decision to make, especially for the Bishop.
Trust God's Wisdom,