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E sort of Backroad to Heaven Excellent book that explains the history and present of the Hutterites Mennonites Amish and Excellent book that explains the history and present of the Hutterites Mennonites Amish and Older Brethren I found this book very helpful in explaining these religions especially the Brethren the German Baptists I had some as neighbors and they were very nice and friendly Our children played together and attended school together and I worked with some Although they are the most modern of all the groups they are still considered an old #order It really helps to understand other religions and respect their ways without udging Picked this up at the because #It really helps to understand other religions and respect their ways udging Picked this up at the library because featured a chapter about the Hutterites It s a neat book that compares and contrasts four different Old Order groups The first few chapters cover each group and the last few compare and contrast them then talk about what makes them continue on despite changing technology The chapters on the Old order Mennonite and Amish were ok probably because I already knew some things about them The most interesting to me were the chapters on the Hutterites and the Old German Baptist Bretheren Probably because these two groups aren t as well known If you are interested in the Amish and similar groups at all I recommend this book The authors of this book take a look at four Old Order Anabaptist groups and explain the history beliefs and practices of the groups their similarities and differences and why they chose to live the way that they do The Old Order groups are the most extreme in their beliefs and separation from modern society Some eschew automobiles and electricity while others allow some modern devices while denying others such as the Bretheren s use of automobiles as long as the radios are removed I found this book to be very informative and well researched I chose to read this book for several reasonsI have recently read books about the Amish and have read This is a sociological study of four Old Order Anabaptist sects the Amish the Horse Mennonite the Dunker and the Hutterite communities written for the general reader by authors with deep knowledge of their history culture and faith traditions This work is particularly valuable for the information it provides on the lesser known sects on the Hutterites and the Dunkers the Old Germen Brethren But it contains a plethora of information on all four And is objective It does not romanticize their communal life styles does not it see them as ecological heroes nor as unspoiled naturally wholesome primitives nor as tourist attractions or curiosities Although the word heaven is in the title and heaven is the ultimate goal of the groups discussed and is in fact the original and continuing motivation for the existence of these groups this work is sociology not theology Is primarily a study of the countercultural social structures of these sects particularly the means by which they define themselves organize their society preserve their traditions The authors provide a good description how each actually functions They evaluate each community s success in creating group loyalty in fulfilling the physical and emotional needs of its adherents They do a costbenefit analysis of the price paid the compensation gained by adherents for replacing their individuality with group identify They also provide an economic analysis of each society of the means by which they support themselves how successful those means are whether the group is prospering growing or declining In the past the groups were primarily dependent on agriculture on farming but this is changing The growth in their population resulting from the large size of their families coupled with the unavailability of suitable cheap farm land has forced some particularly among the Amish to turn to other sources of income This change to work outside the farm to work in constructio. Life Following a general introduction to Old Order culture they show how each group uses a different strategy to create and sustain its identity The Hutterites for example keep themselves geographically segregated from the larger society whereas the Brethren interact freely with it The Amish. I ve always been a bit confused about various plain folk and #This Book Straightens It #book straightens it out The writers do torture the metaphor of backroad to Heaven a bit but its a small flaw that is than made up for by the sensitive and careful delineation of each group s similarities and differences On the Backroad to Heaven is a fascinating comparative study of four Old Order religious groups Amish Old Order Mennonites Hutterites and Brethren providing an overview of the culture growth distinctive way of life and uniue religious heritage Further analysis is also done on the effects of Post Modernism on these communities so deeply rooted in tradition Kraybill and Bowman do not treat the Old Order communities neither as cultural relics nor overly romantic
anti modernists butModernists but as committed Christian communities living by faith and as having made rational and sincere choices to protect that faith in the face of Modernity s onslaught Both Kraybill and Bowman are respected and known scholars of Old Order Anabaptists and so this book naturally is informative and scholarly It provides a welcome addition to scholarship on Old Order Anabaptists particularly the Old German Baptist Brethren on whom there is comparatively less scholarship I read this admittedly decade old book because I wanted to learn about Hutterites and this is what my local library had available without getting a loan from an university Having grown up in Pennsylvania I was somewhat familiar with Mennonites and the Amish and even some Brethren and it was nice to read a well researched text that explored their social organization and how technology or the avoidance of it fits into their separatist beliefs Having grown up near these groups I don t romanticize them I have no delusion about living the simple life Old Order Mennonite style I can t even imagine the life of a farmer using every available technology I know farmers and I know that farming is hard and there every available technology I know farmers and I know that farming is hard and there a reason my family has been working in trades since all branches of the family tree were still in Europe The one thing I have been guilty of romanticizing is the sense of community in these groups Perhaps this is because I live fairly solitary existence and the thought of a built in network is appealing This book explores that sense of community and while it shows the incredible benefits it also explains how the trade off is giving up any individualism and self determination I can t really speak to the academics I will presume the authors are experts but one thing struck me as odd While I m assuming the authors intent when referring to ancient truths or ancient ways or ancient anything with the Old Order groups that they meant that the groups considered these traditions to be ancient Why point this out Many other religions consider their beliefs to be ancient in origin as well By calling the Old Order ways ancient it seems to imply an ancient origin to their religion which ust isn t there or at least not so than any other Christian religion I m no Biblical scholar but I m confident in my assessment that Jesus didn t wear suspenders and a broad brimmed hatWhile I found the book to be educational and informative I can t say it was a fun read Like so many academic books the authors don t seem to want to make it read like anything other than assigned reading True they are professors and not authors per se but that s not a good excuse for their book to get a bit dull and even repetitive at times I do have to give kudos for the title On the Backroad to Heaven is a fantastic title And the authors were obviously in love with it they use that phrase uite a bit throughout the book It was overused to the point where every time I read it I could envision Craig Robinson turning to the camera breaking the fourth wall and saying It s like we re on som. On the Backroad to Heaven is a uniue guide to the world of Old Order Anabaptist groups Focusing on four Old Order communities the Hutterites Mennonites Amish and Brethren Donald B Kraybill and Carl Desportes Bowman provide a fascinating overview of their culture growth and distinctive way of.
Donald B. Kraybill