THE MENNONITE LIFESTYLE

Length: 7 Pages 1874 Words

History and Origins: The Protestant Reformation of Martin Luther sparked the formation of a radical "Anabaptists" branch of Christianity in the sixteenth century, many of whom eventually fled religious pressures and persecution in their countries of origin. Some resettled in the Americas, while others found relative safety in Russia. Ultimately, many of the Russian Anabaptists sought refuge in the United States by the end of World War I, too.(1) Many of the later Anabaptist immigrants to America came from Switzerland and Germany, and they retained most of their cultures of origin, such as their German dialects and cuisine. Many more communities or sects developed within the Mennonite Anabaptists, totaling more than one million, in the Americas, Africa, Asia, and in Europe, their land of origin. Mennonites took their name from a converted Dutch priest by the name of Menno Simons (1496-1561) who provided Anabaptism with his leadership in 16th Century Holland. The appellation "Anabaptist" refers to their practice of rebaptizing adult believers.(2) Subsequent philosophical differences led to the splintering off of stricter, more orthodox Mennonites l Continue...


Education: Mennonite schooling varies primarily in conjunction with the degree of orthodoxy of the community. In a landmark ruling, the Supreme Court upheld their right to do so, because this aspect of Amish life is considered central to their religious beliefs and practices. (7) Other tenets shared by Mennonites generally include a focus on scriptural interpretation and the importance of living within a Christian community and honoring the teachings of Christ. Unmarried men are clean shaven, while married men are required to grow their beards. This "Plain Living" is a central tenet of Mennonites and Amish, as well as to Church of the Brethren, Brethren in Christ, and the Hutterites. (14) Social Customs and Roles: All Mennonite sects are based on strict religious observance and interpretation of scripture. Consequently, their farming activities usually consist of crops such as grasses (for cattle feed), corn, hay, wheat, tobacco, potatoes, and vegetables, some of which are used for marketing in sects which allow commercial exchange with the surrounding communities. Contemporary Mennonite societies have established high schools as well as colleges and seminaries outside their communities, because 10. The range of social rules varies so widely, that many contemporary sects allow the use of electricity (as well as computers) and even the ownership of cars, while Orthodox Mennonites sometimes prohibit the use of batteries. (6) All Mennonites hold sacred the teachings of Christ, and the general notion of "living" their faiths, rather than merely "believing". What are Amish Mennonites Anabaptists (2002) Pagewise Inc. The focus on living in harmony with nature and with God's physical earth brings most Mennonite cultures into an agrarian lifestyle, but Contemporary Mennonites employ modern farming equipment and techniques, whereas Old Order sects use only horse drawn equipment and metal wheels, rather than 20th Century techniques and industrial products like rubber.