Rumspringa: A Tradition Within The Amish Community

1588 words - 6 pages

RumspringaTo be or not to be Amish is one of the most important and difficult decisions a young teenager brought up in the Amish faith will ever face. To go ahead and join the church and enter a way of life that someone has been raised in since birth, or turn their back and start a new life for themselves without the help and support of their family. According to some "Englischers" rumspringa appears as if it is all fun and games, but in reality, it is the most influential time in the Amish's young adult life as they chose between baptism in the Amish church or being shunned from the only family they have ever known.The Amish faith developed out of the Radical Reformation in the 16th century Europe. Amish communities began to appear in Switzerland, Germany, Russia and Holland. In the early 18th century, many of the Amish began emigrating to North America mainly to avoid religious persecution. They first began to settle in Pennsylvania and have to this day branched out to many other parts of the country, including Ohio, Indiana, Iowa, Illinois, and Kansas. Today, no Amish remain in Europe.Through the Radical Reformation, the Amish agreed with the Anabaptists on many of their beliefs. However their beliefs differed greatly from those of the mainstream Protestant church. The Amish reject all church authority and believe that the church should only consist of baptized believers, yet they reject the idea of infant baptism. They believe that as a young adult, and individual should come to the church on his or her own terms to be baptized and become a member.The Amish, sometimes called Amish Mennonites, are members of an Anabaptist Christian denomination, who are especially known for their separation from society and rejection of most modern technology ("The Amish" 1). The Amish have mostly the same beliefs as any other Christian today, but with slight differences. The Amish believe that individual bible study is the key to living a sin free life after being baptized as an adult. The only reason they are set apart from our society today is because of their choice to reject modern technology. There is no use for electricity, cars, or phones in their community.The Amish base their lives around an unwritten code of behavior called The Ordnung. The Ordnung began as a basic outline of the Anabaptist faith in the 16th century, and since then, details and new rules have been added, which define what it means to be Amish ("The Amish" 2). It governs their everyday lives and customs. It governs everything from what clothing they should be wearing to how their weekends are to be spent. However, its rules are not guidelines; infractions can bring reprimands and usually set the member into a confrontation with the leaders, which, if continued, can result in the suspension from the church or, in the ultimate instance, excommunication (Shachtman 47). Depending on the bishop of in their community, the enforcement of the rules may vary.When an Amish adolescent becomes...

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