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Mennonite Muscle; Pennsylvania Dutch Easter

I've said before how much I admire the Mennonite religion, and sometimes think I should explore joining it. I love their committment to service, simplicity and pacifism, while still embracing modern methodology.   Anyway, this is an article from a Montana paper that chronicles a group of young Mennonites who came to Big Sky country to do some service work.  The article is informative, but I kind of did a double-take at the farmer's wife saying: "I was really worried when they came that they'd have on their bonnets and dresses."  Um...newflash to the farmer's wife:  bonnets don't bite!  Sheesh.  Just be glad they came to help.  Click here to read the full article.

This is an interesting article just about the historical Easter traditions of the Pennsylvania Dutch.  Kutztown University does such a good job of preserving these traditions in a tasteful way. Click here to read more.

Re: Mennonite Muscle; Pennsylvania Dutch Easter

Just about 5 years ago at this time I was convicted to be a "dresses only" woman.  I have never not been able to accomplish any task because I wear a dress or a skirt.  I have work (everday at home) dresses (skirts) and going out dresses (skirts).  I still waiver on the head covering issue, as of yet the Lord has not sent a clear message to me as to cover my head with a cloth or cap.  We are not Anabaptist, there is a strong movement among conservative (non-Anabaptist) believers to be "dresses only" women. The conviction comes from Scripture expressing that as believers we are to be not of the world, but set apart from the world.  

Our oldest daughter struggles with "dresses only" for everyday now that she is a young adult, but not modesty.  I attribute this to the fact that the house rule about dresses only for the girls in our household came about when she was a teen.  She did comply during those years.  Our two youngest daughters have never known any difference. We do homeschool using a conservative Mennonite curriculum and all the little girls and women are drawn in the traditional Mennonite style of dress. 

As they age, they will probably wear more skirts and blouses, right now jumpers are easy.  For things like bike riding I have made them some skorts, and I do purchase skirted swimwear for them, and they wear through tights very quickly!  

I am guessing that Kevin would chime in saying that none of Lovina's girls have ever been slowed down because they are in a dress!

The book of 1 Corinthians (1 Cor 11, is the head covering section) Timothy and Titus are helpful in answering questions if you too are feeling this conviction to be a modest dresser.   

I will also add that each year our church sends a mission team of youth to Mexico the week prior to Easter, and the girls are required to wear modest dresses or skirts.

My opinion is that if the mission team sent to Montana was from the more conservative Mennonite church, the girls would know how to dress warmly and still be in dresses and kapps.  I do think the farmer that made the quote just spoke out of ignorance, and we will just have to forgive him for that.    

Re: Mennonite Muscle; Pennsylvania Dutch Easter

Hi KJunebug,

 I was interested in your commentary regarding head coverings among Christian women. I was wondering, does your church encourage head coverings? One of the things that is most pronounced in Mennonite/Amish districts is that the choice of clothing, head coverings, etc. is never an individual one. Because the Bible speaks of the church as a group, the decisions made as to what you put on are made for all by leaders in the church body. If you feel convicted to wear a head covering, why not consider a Conservative Mennonite church? Conservative Mennonites are actually an offshoot of the Amish. They are the group that produces Rod and Staff curriculums for homeschooling. They drive, use computers, and access certain technologies, but dress plain, and do not watch television nor permit their children access to video games,and the more pernicious forms of entertainment. Of course, it depends on where you live, and what your stance is regarding non resistance. The head covering is a sign of submission, and is taken very seriously by those whose groups wear them. Women's coverings are the revealed symbol of her submission to her husband and to God. I also dress simply, wearing mostly dresses, but again the Mennonite clothing is selected as representative of what their church stands for, and is really very much a tradition amongst them. In other words, where you or I might make conscious efforts to wear dresses only, it is second nature to them. What is important to remember,I believe, is that the clothes one wears does not guarantee salvation, and that it is always best to view things in moderation less we make idols of that which we admire. God's blessings..Susan

Re: Mennonite Muscle; Pennsylvania Dutch Easter

Thank you for your comments Susan.  Part of my confusion on a head covering for myself is that our church does not regulate that women wear a covering or even dresses. (regulate was the best word I could think of at the moment) and I am the one of only a couple women who wear dresses all the time. Many in the church wish not to get into issues of legalism, me included.  My confusion is that I feel at times that wearing a covering in the area where we live (a very liberal big city) would make a strong outward statement that says, I am a Christian woman, who is submissive to my husband and therefore to God, but that is the self righteousness with in me and would be wearing a cover for the wrong reason.  There are no Conservative Mennonites in our area. Since the topic has once again been brought up to me, I will be praying and asking my husband again to pray on it too, we will see where it ends up this time.

We do use Rod and Staff curriculum, and Sunday School which we do at home right now. (long story how we got to that point), all I will say is that Jesus is so good and provided.

LuvMaerz's picture
Re: Mennonite Muscle; Pennsylvania Dutch Easter

"A mind is like a parachute. It doesnt work if it's not open."- Frank Zappa


I think what the woman meant was that she was glad that they came dressed to warmly and comfortably work, in jeans and sweatshirts, rather than dresses/bonnets.  That's just my take Wink.

Re: Mennonite Muscle; Pennsylvania Dutch Easter


Bet that farmer's wife would like to rewrite taht interview.

I hope it was just another stupid remark like i also have a tendency to make. My father calls it mouth in operation before brain is in gear.  And then we wonder ourselves why we ever said that.  We can give her the benefit of the doubt because she sounded genuinely thankful and appreciated their manner in the rest of the inerview.

Re: Mennonite Muscle; Pennsylvania Dutch Easter

  What is interesting about the "Mennonite muscle "article is that so many people do not realise that there are many groups of Mennonites. The Montana woman evidently figured that Mennonite meant long dresses and head coverings, which is does for the more conservative branches. The group that was helping out were part of the liberal arm of the Mennonite church which has very little in common with the more traditional one. Also, it is important to note that Mennonite doctrine emphasizes non resistance rather than pacifism as a lifestyle. Unlike the direct, anti war statement of pacifism, non resistance is a passive stance that mirrors Christ's admonition to turn the other cheek. The committment to non resistance is tied to the gelassenheit or submission that influences this way of life. Susan Gill Smile

Re: Mennonite Muscle; Pennsylvania Dutch Easter

Susan, thank you, good points!! - Kevin

Re: Mennonite Muscle; Pennsylvania Dutch Easter

Brenda - Fair points.  I may have unfairly pounced on that one quote. If I had a nickel for everytime I've stuck my foot in my mouth, I'd be a very rich man - Kevin

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