Cultural-Religious-Spiritual follower-ites


As many of you know, I have a fair bit of curiosity about some of the unique cultural groups that live in this area. I have had a long standing interest in the culture of our Native peoples, but here you also have the various groups of Hutterites, Mennonites, and Mormons. That is obviously overlooking the NRC Calvinites, the URC Calvinites the CRC Calvinites and their many variations.

Last week Thursday, on the way through the back roads looking for things to take pictures of, I saw more than 12 combines working one field. I took some shots like those above from a distance away, and then took a side road which would bring me closer. Once I got closer, I could also see a Hutterite colony in the distance. I then did not feel comfortable obviously taking pictures. In sharing the pictures and story with others, I’ve learned some interesting things. As I understand it, everyone wants to run a Combine on the colony, but few if any want to drive the grain transport trucks, so the Combines end up standing around waiting to unload a lot. I see the inefficiency of that. Do they? That is not only interesting, but is an opportunity to hold up a mirror for ourselves. I’ve mentioned in a sermon how Nathan used a story about someone else as a mirror. I also pointed to James writing with warning about not becoming people who look into the mirror of God’s word, see their true selves, and go away and forget what they saw. Well this inefficient Combining story I one can use in that way, and so I ask you: In the colony called Nobleford CRC, what are our Combine jobs and our hauling jobs?

I’ve learned many similarly interesting things in my visits with you as well. For instance in one I learned that the Hutterites are often paid to sow ceremonial pow-wow costumes for the Natives, and that on the colony the whole school is scrubbed down each day by the students, and that the men and women and children eat separately.

In some visits I shared my experience of standing in a store line behind some Hutterites, an older woman, a well past middle age woman (daughter or daughter-in-law?) and a man the same age as the second woman. I do like the black jackets the men wear, the ones with the pointy shoulders that slim from there down to the waist and make anyone wearing them look fit and buff! They never come available at Value Village though. The women were in dark long dresses with up and down lines of dark blue, and wore head covers with large polka-dots. As we stood in line a younger couple went by, with the wife in a long dress of a lighter colour, a head covering with smaller dots, and a baby in the buggy. The husband was wearing a denim jacket. All faces were friendly as the couple came toward us, but as they passed, the women in front of me turned to look at the backs of the young couple, and the scrutinizing scorn on their faces almost had me laughing out loud, it was such a change and it was so extreme. The two women in unison looked the young lady up and down, sending some extra scorn in the direction of her feet (I don’t recall what exactly she had on her feet, except that they were white and looked comfy over top of ankle socks). It was a sight to behold. And it too prompts a mirror question: How do we scorn those who are even slightly different from what we consider normal or acceptable.

Is this scorn incident in any way like the warning someone received when they informed a friend they were going to meet with me, and were told to watch out, their pastor in their Calvinite church had mentioned that that pastor in Nobleford is the guy who is against the catechism. To me it is the same thing. But we readily talk about the other-ites, and don’t look at ourselves.

I’ve heard from several of you that the people referred to as Mexican Mennonites are not seriously religiously followers of Menno Simon, but are ‘cultural’ Mennonites. I find it interesting that we can recognize that in others, and it prompts me to hold up those others as a mirror and ask: Can you tell a cultural Reformed person from a religious Reformed person? Is that different than a Spiritual Reformed person?

No, I’m not going to answer my own question.

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