|Author:||Charles River Editors|
|Published:||December 11th 2017 by Charles River Editors|
*Includes pictures *Includes contemporary accounts *Includes a bibliography for further reading *Includes a table of contents Since its fruition, Christianity has faced an unremitting string of conflicts, critics, and challenges. As the number of Christian converts grew, the growth in clashes on ideologies and control was only natural. In the same vein, more and more of those who called themselves Christians seemed to be straying further and further away from God's light. Drunkenness, heresy, and immorality were on the rise. The Middle Ages was especially rife with rape, incest, adultery, and other obscene sexual behaviors, which were well-recorded by medieval chroniclers. The English scholar, Alcuin, lamented that civilization had become “absolutely submerged under flood of fornication, adultery, and incest, so that the very semblance of modesty is entirely absent.” Towards the 17th century, the Puritan-raised George Fox became increasingly discouraged by the worsening moral conditions of society. George was unable to fill the spiritual void inside of him, until one day, he discovered his inner “Light.” Next came the godly visions. George began to preach about the “true” Word of God, and soon, amassed a following – the Religious Society of Friends, later known as the “Quakers.” Few today know much about the Quakers.
Whenever the subject of Quakerism slips into conversation, most picture a rosy-cheeked fellow in a simple black overcoat, and a wide brim hat atop his thick, cloud-white hair, inspired by the famous logo of the Quaker Oats company. In spite of the stereotype, Quakers today come in all colors, shapes, and sizes, with the more liberal folk sporting trendy haircuts, tattoos, and various piercings. They call themselves “Friends,” a starkly different but very devout following of God. They strive for a world empowered by peace and acceptance, an ambitious mission fueled by diversity, blind to race, gender, or creed. Back in the 16th century, the Protestant Reformation took Europe by storm.
The havoc wreaked saw the split of churches and the emergence of the Amish, led by Jakob Ammann. By the 18th century, a group of Amish had crossed the seas to the United States, where they made their home, and today the Amish are now one of the fastest-growing populations in the world. Buggies, straw hats, long and plain dresses in shades of blue and black, charming log cabins reminiscent of the Little House on the Prairie – this is often the mental image that comes to mind when one thinks of the Amish. Nowadays, many have become accustomed to being within a 10 foot radius of at least 3 pieces of technology every hour of the day. World news and current events has never been more readily available, accessible by just a touch of a fingertip. Yet there exists a collection of cultures worldwide that steer clear of contemporary society for a range of reasons. Americans have heard of the Amish, but most know little about them. They are often seen as unconventional and strictly religious, but quiet, calm folk who keep to themselves.
Those who have heard of them know of their rejection of electricity and most, if not all modern aspects of life. Those who have taken a gander at the dozens of “reality shows” that have sprung up over recent years may have even heard of the ever-so-famous – but often inaccurately depicted – Rumspringa.
But beyond the buggies and prayer bonnets lies an intriguing culture that has remained strictly loyal to its roots. The Quakers and the Amish: The History and Legacy of the Two Unique Religious Communities profiles both societies, and the praise and criticism they’ve received over the centuries.