Saturday, January 08, 2011

I'm Confused...

I recently moved to a place where I live among a sect of Mennonites (locally?) known as Holdemann. Holderman? Something. I think they are the "Mennonites" (no specific distinction) referred to in Beverly Lewis books. They aren't "Old" Mennonites who wear white caps, but drive cars, and aren't Amish Mennonites who wear white caps and drive buggies. They aren't what we refer to as General Conference Mennonites who, in my personal opinion, could very well be Methodists just as well, and they aren't Mennonite Brethren (which I will soon be again once I can acclimate myself to not dancing in church) who could be described as basically a Baptist without a weekly alter call. They are the Holdemann (whom I can't even spell....) who, when we moved to town in 1990 were known for their cotton shirtwaist dresses and Keds and could drive cars, but they couldn't have chrome on them or radios in them.

Fast forward 22 years. I've left, gone to college, married, had children, lived in the city and returned, the prodigal child. Back to the Mennonites. And what do I find?

*A Mennonite lady who is STUNNING, by the way, without makeup and I still question whether she had some on (not that YOU can't be stunning without makeup, but I sure can't), dressed in her sensible baby blue cotton shirt with DC plaid skate shoes and an Abercrombie and Fitch hoodie.

* A Mennonite lady in a red floral sensible skirt with a SLAMMIN' rhinestone studded, bedazzled AERO(postale) hoodie.

*A group of Mennonite teens at PF Changs. (Not that they aren't allowed to eat out, but I never used to see them in any restaurants where the plates are more than $5 a piece unless it was a Mennonite run establishment). I asked hubs if he thought they were on rumpspringe and he correctly notified me that they would have left their caps home should that have been the case. On the other hand, they weren't texting each other around the table like the group of men behind us. And they had chaperons. And who doesn't like a little Chinese food every now and then? I was there... 

* A Mennonite teen wearing a bubble vest over a tight black long sleeve tee (over her sensible skirt).

* A Mennonite teen in an Underarmour shirt.

*A Mennonite teen with fringe bangs hanging sideways out of her cap. (If it looks like they could have accidentally slipped out, that makes it OK.)

I'm sure this type of thing will cease to amuse me, but for now, I'm going to take all the laughter I can find. Tell me, how does a people group who is not allowed to have chrome on their cars, justify rhinestones on their clothing? And if they are supposed to be in and not of the world (as we all are) how does holding on the the sensible skirt designate them as very much different when mostly what a person sees is the top?

And, OK, I'm not a "rules" girl when it comes to faith, but when you are a "rules" based sect of Mennonite, where does it stop?

Hubs said, not entirely teasing, "They're losing them."

Rules are made to be broken. That is demonstrated all through the Bible. If you have a rule, people will find a way around it. The result can often look silly. Obeying the letter of the law, but not the spirit.

And I'm sure there is something I could say at this point to wrap this up all nice and tidy, but I've got nothin'. I'm just thankful for the freedom found in Jesus. And though I may look silly to the world at large because they don't understand....I guess I don't really care. So why should I care what the Mennonite's are wearing as if I know their rules better than they do? I guess I don't. But I shall find amusement in it for the time being, nonetheless.


Sr. Citizen said...

Faith comes from God. Rules and Doctrine comes from man (Woman - His boss) Who/What are you going to live by and listen too ! People mostly babble - God speaks softly (mostly) and lets you learn by living.

Now where did that bossy woman (wife - Mrs Sr.) hid that darn coffee cup - not on it's usual spot on the ceiling.


Wendi said...

3 thoughts:

1) I think there is some leniancy during the teen years to explore worldly things.

2) Would not be surprised if these were et cetra findings- which may make it a little more acceptable than walking into Abercrombie.

3)I guess, just like us all, we can't be sheltered from everything. And who can resist shiny, colorful clothes and really good food?

I don't understand the Holderman people, but I'm sure they are more human that I've always thought. I really don't understand the rules and am glad I don't have to always wear my hair in a hat. Not everyone looks good with their hair back like that.:) Love hearing about life in the 'boro!

Chaos-Jamie said...

Wendi-I know you aren't arguing with me, but in response:
1) they haven't all been teens, because that was my first thought.
2) I'm sure they are, but rhinestones are rhinestones.
3) Totally.
4) It does seem like they are getting far more lenient than they were in the 90s, is really all I'm saying. I find it intriguing.

Liz said...

Maybe they, too, are focusing on relationship with God rather than holding up the traditions and the image of their faith?

That's coming from a one-God, Apostolic, tongue-talkin' holy roller ...

But really, I know what you mean. I just had this conversation with K last week. She wanted to wear a purple dress to church, b/c all the other teenie boppers were doing it, and the purple dress she found was a one-off-shoulder strap, and all slinky and not at all appropriate for church. Not even wearing it as a "shirt" that needs a long sleeve underneath it and a skirt. I told her if she has to work so hard to make an outfit modest, then it's not true modesty. Thankfully, she agreed with me, we found something else acceptable, and went on with our lives. I hope I can teach my children to have a relationship with God AND still hold to a standard of separation.

But a bedazzled hoodie sounds just awful even on a worldly teen ;)

(ps, my word verification is "likers" haha)

Michelle said...

All I gotta say is "Rules Do Not Apply". This is how I make sense of that which does not make sense or follow and order.

Wendi said...

Yeah, not arguing, just thinking it through along with you. And I'm still processing the Mennonite thing.