Eclipse 2017: “What I really need is a bathroom!”

When the answer to "Why are you so nice?" is "Jesus"

I salute the Paul Smucker family for opening up their house — fridge, pantry, bathrooms — to passers-by of The Great Exodus after yesterday’s total eclipse.

Total Eclipse 2017: Simone handing out free drinks at Paul's

“What I really need is a bathroom,” one woman confessed. So we made a new sign. “Restrooms Available!” And soon had a long line stretching all the way out our back hallway. Matt sat in the living room and directed people to our upstairs bathroom, while Mom showed people where the downstairs bathroom was as she mixed up batches of lemonade. Soon we had groups of people in our driveway chattering in Chinese, as children swung on our ancient tire swing.

Did you know Mennonites (or other Christians) were that hospitable? I’m certainly not! Oh, I would have enjoyed handing out free drinks and nibbles. But opening my house for an invasion of strangers to use the bathrooms, upstairs and down?! I. Don’t. Think. So.

I’ve got so much to learn and live yet…

But back to the story:

But still we gave them drinks and they used our bathrooms. Mom made tea until she ran out of ice, then lemonade until she ran out of lemonade powder, and finally we just handed out water and whatever odd grocery depot macaroons and brownie bites we could find.

I felt like Jacob who just happened to have some stew, and here were these desperate Esaus who were willing to give up their entire birthright for a cup of lemonade and a chance to use the bathroom. “Why are you so nice?” They asked, pressing money into our hands even though we insisted it was free.

Look, I know these people (to a certain extent). I vouch for their humanity (because that condition is a safe thing to vouch for). So don’t go thinking that I’m pedestalizing them. But I make no bones about hoisting them on high here as uneclipsed examples of loving their neighbors (perhaps even some on the road to Jericho).

With these thoughts in mind, I urge you to read the rest of Emily Smucker’s The Strangest Day of my Life. Like I said in my comment there:

Such pleasant Sonshine after the eclipse!

Kenneth L Miller, Federal Prisoner 08464-082

When the Christian faithful collide with a society in the grip of Satan's tyranny

Because “a woman’s faith and modern society collided,” Ken Miller reported to federal prison in Virginia on March 22, 2016.

In this “war against Satan’s tyranny,” Ken holds to the view that the proper weapons must be employed by the faithful disciple of Jesus. In the excerpt below, notice how he identifies such weaponry.

Ken Miller bids farewell to his home congregation Read it all

Prowling the VBS Front Lines

Wherein I scope out the Summer Bible School venue for Hopewell Mennonite Church

While the building was quiet and empty,
And my soul was needing a break,
I gat me o’er to the edifice so dainty,
And, lo, a verse to my heart did spake.

OK, so quick rhymery it is but hardly wholly sensible poetry. But, hey, you’re getting your money’s worth, so don’t fuss at me. Just scroll on and enjoy the scenery.

Bible verse

I was so blessed to read that verse! I took it just for me! (I also thought of several of my troubled friends…) Read it all

The Budget, an Amish-Mennonite Newspaper

A 123-year-old weekly newspaper bearing news of, by, and for Amish and Mennonite communities
photo of portion of The Budget
a portion of the April 17, 2013 Budget

The Wall Street Journal had a piece about The Budget, which we get third-hand.

The corn stands 5 feet tall, the temperatures are in the 90s and Johnny Byler got hooked on his head while fishing with a friend, reported Mrs. Jerry Ray Byler in a recent front-page article of the Budget.

Mrs. Byler is one of about 860 correspondents for the Budget, a 123-year-old weekly newspaper, which carries the news of Amish and Mennonite communities […]

They write about who got married, who went to church, who received dentures—and how 11 chickens went missing when Toby Schrocks of Cisne, Ill., forgot to close the chicken-house door.

Budget Correspondent Paul Troyers in Genesee, Pa., reported that family members held an auction with good results. “The medium-sized dinner bell that mom wanted to throw out brought $400,” he wrote.

“It’s like someone talking over the back fence to a neighbor,” says Budget publisher Keith Rathbun. Mr. Rathbun, who isn’t Amish, covered sports and put out an alternative entertainment weekly before coming in 2000 to the Budget.

The Budget runs about 500 letters a week on 44 to 46 pages that contain no photos. It costs $45 a year; newlyweds pay $42.

It does have competition. Die Botschaft—German for the Message—costs $44 a year, has a circulation of about 12,000 and also consists of letters and reports from contributors. It’s a more conservative alternative to the Budget, which some Amish readers thought was too liberal, say Amish scholars.

Of course, there’s much more to the WSJ article — Amish Newspapers Thrive in Digital Age — but in closing I offer you its crowning paragraph:

Both papers like variety—and letters about interesting, if benign, events. Included on Die Botschaft’s recent Worth Mentioning list: “Mineral deficiency causes a dead cow” referring readers to a letter from a man in Plains, Montana, who found his only milk cow dead one Saturday morning. One woman wrote about her cousin who stuck something up her nose and didn’t tell anyone. Sometime later, her mother noticed a sprout growing out of her nostril, pulled on it and out came a corn kernel.

Have you read the Budget?

Only Spank Kids on Their Behinds

So say Manitoba social workers (who actually don't support spanking, just so you know).

Manitoba social workers want parents of an orthodox Mennonite community to promise they will only spank kids on their behinds and not use objects, such as belts, as punishment.

Makes sense to me. (“But I suppose that comma after objects shouldn’t be there,” said the Grammar Guardian.)

The parenting rules and discipline guidelines are spelled out in a recent letter from the government’s Child and Family Services Department to members of the tiny community, where Mounties made arrests over several weeks this summer.

The Canadian version of CSD actually allows spanking?! 😯 Read it all

Above all, love God!