Thursday, March 17, 2011

Back to Church

The Sunday morning that I was going to go to church for the first time with our baby seemed like a dream come true. I dressed him in a little green dress and white apron, I thought it was a shame that I had to dress him like a little girl but even worse was the black blanket that had to be used to go to church. After wrapping him in his blanket and then into a "mondli' and a little black bonnet we were ready to go.

The woman all had to take a peek at him as I made my rounds shaking hands with everyone and then went to sit at my usual place. For the first time I got to use one of the little footstools that were kept under the benches for the women to be able to sit, holding their sleeping babies more comfortably during the long services.

Once church was over the bishop announced that all the member were to remain seated for a little while yet. I felt like sighing. It seemed that more often than not, the members had to stay after services to deal with something or the other.

After all the children had gone outside and the doors were closed, he rose and had an update on a previous matter they had been dealing with and then continued. "It has been brought to our attention that there is a family that has a recliner in the home.  We as a church feel that recliners are not something that should be allowed and that they would be giving the offenders several weeks time in which to get rid of it.

I nearly choked but sat there pretending to be totally clueless who they were talking about. I was going to miss our recliner and wondered which of the people who had come to see our baby had snitched on us. We had been unaware that there could be anything wrong with a recliner and weren't looking forward to have to part with ours.

That evening LV called his parents who lived out of state and asked them if they would like to have it. That we would keep it for them until the next time they came to visit.  We moved it out of our living room and up to one of the spare bedrooms. And then went to my parents shop to order several glider rockers complete with gliding ottomans to use as a replacement. 

Somerset County Amish little boys have to wear dresses and bonnets until their second birthday. Why? I have no idea, it's simply the rule.

41 comments:

  1. All I can say is...wow. That had to be frustrating...

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  2. I am curious as to why you could not have a recliner. Was there a reason given or was that just the way it was?

    I am enjoying your story so much!

    Be blessed.

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  3. Wow. That's...unreal. I can't imagine getting called on the carpet for a recliner. They're so comfy..

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  4. The line between pious and crazynuts can be very fine. IMHO.

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  5. We were told the little baby boys have to wear dressed up to a certain age because it is easier to change their diaper when in a dress rather than pants. Also in some groups the boys have to wear dresses until they are potty trained.

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  6. Wow! A recliner? Talk about micromanaging people's lives.

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  7. I am an avid reader of Amish fiction and am not surprised at this decission that was reached.
    A little 'way out there' I guess if we aren't Amish we will never really understand...but I so respect your life and see that you have a little struggle now and then but totally adhere.
    Bless you - I really love your blog.

    Karen

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  8. Oh no! We have two such offensive things. Who knew?

    Bless your little pink heart. I love hearing these stories; and I can even appreciate the heart of a peoples wanting so desperately to do the right things. Thank God for grace, for truly there's none among us who can do the right things without it.

    I write this from my recliner :)

    Kathleen

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  9. How sad to think that they coud be so prescriptive.

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  10. What harm could a recliner cause? I love your blog!

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  11. Oh my, that's too bad. My husband really enjoys a recliner. Looks like a nit-picking rule to me. (Now, the way some folks dress ourselves these days...wouldn't hurt to look that one in the eye a bit. O.O)

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  12. You may find this article interesting. It suggests that your community custom of dresses for boys was related to a more widely held European custom. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Breeching_%28boys%29

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  13. Wow - It amazes me that someone felt like they had to stick their nose into your private life about something as trivial as a recliner. I would guess they were jealous that you had one and they did not and decided to even the score. lol.

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  14. Totally amazing! I find that the choices that you and LV have chosen work the best for you and your family! I have not met you, but from your posts, you seem so laid back and living life to all of life's contentment! I admire you for the choices you have made! Such little things as a recliner can interfere with our everyday choices!

    Blessings,
    Debbie S.

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  15. I have no idea why a recliner would be against the church laws, but perhaps it has to do with the idea of sitting modestly? Or, would it be the idea of 'laziness' if one sat in such a reclined position?
    I wonder, too, about dressing the baby boy 'like a girl'. And, is the black for church a reminder to be somber? I remember you mentioned that you had to wear a black bonnet to church over your covering. There is so much we have to learn of the Amish customs, as they truly are so different from our "English" ways, which I think, could use a bit of 'refining' at times! :-)

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  16. Where the church drew the line doesn't bother me near as much as the fact that Matthew 18 wasn't followed. Is their any teaching to on going to a brother in private first?

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  17. What a shame that taking the baby to church for the first time was spoiled by the recliner issue. I can't imagine why a recliner would be against church laws.

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  18. There are way worse things you could possess... It bothers me that they don't obey the verse that talks about going to the person privately about the issue, then with a group, and then in front of the church. They sort of just skip those first two steps.

    I'm eagerly looking forward to the time when the stuff hits the fan and you tell what finally made you decide to leave the Amish church. I hope that you don't read that as "I'm glad you left the church", but knowing that you've left and not yet knowing why makes me curious.

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  19. I can't help wonder who made these rules. I have never seen anything in the Bible that forbids recliners or comfortable seating or dressing baby boys in dresses.
    I believe our Lord Jesus would have enjoyed resting in a recliner after a long day of teaching.
    Thank you for sharing.

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  20. Katie Troyer you're right about the reason for dressing boys in skirts.It was done handiness and in the odd antique painting we can see small boys dressed in skirts. Once a boy was considered old enough for trousers, he would be then sent to school if his family was rich enough.

    The tradition carried to a lesser degree on until the
    1930's when boys would wear shorts until they were considered old enough to be "breached"- to wear trousers.Little children in that period could often be identified only by the colour of their clothes and the side the buttons were on their coats- and that continues today:Pink for girl, blue for boy and the buttons on different sides.

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  21. I don't see anything strange about a baby boy in "dresses". I'm not Amish, but I'm almost 58, so maybe it's more of an old-fashioned thing than an Amish thing. I remember that at least in warm weather, my little brothers lived in diapers and what were called "diaper shirts", handmade by my grandmother (more of a long shirt than a dress). They were cooler and made diaper changes/potty training much easier.

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  22. Too bad about the recliner. I'm thinking maybe it was so you couldn't get too comfortable and become lazy. Just a guess why there would be a rule like that.
    I too love your blog!!

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  23. I can see where dresses might have been handier but what about having little boys wear bonnets until they were two?

    Isn't it strange how both the Amish and Non-Amish culture had boys wear dresses years ago, who would have dreamt that someday Amish churches would strictly enforce the rule of keeping boys in dresses. Weird.

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  24. Such a shame about the recliner...

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  25. oooo I would be so ANGRY! and the fact that you didn't know who it was that snitched would be even more frustrating to me! Blessings, Joanne

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  26. A recliner? Okay. Wow. I respect a lot of things but...a recliner? Sounds like some people have too much time on their hands, mixed in with the need to control and voila!

    Out comes a recliner!

    Thanks for this post. Very interesting.

    Take care~
    Shay

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  27. In the past babies all wore dresses. It was easier to change diapers that way and when the child was old enough to be out of diapers they moved into short pants/tunics. Girls dresses started out shorter for small girls, then lengthened as they approached adulthood. If you examine old CDV's you will see little girls had hair parted in the middle, boys on the side. Infant dresses were similar for both sexes, toddler dresses had more hallmarks of gender in the trim, sleeves and choice of patterned fabric. The loss of your recliner must have been hard- that was always my favorite place to sit with my babies. :(

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  28. Haha! wow who'd have thought a recliner would be against the rules.

    I always liked the little baby boys in their dresses. It seemed old fashioned to me.

    Have a great day!

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  29. That is an interesting church to go too:)

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  30. I could see why an Amish community would see a recliner as a no-no. As I read it, I was worried they were calling out an elderly person who used the recliner out of need.

    Anyhow, about the dresses thing, we're 18th century living historians and my son is turning 5 and only just got out of the "dresses" (called frocks) and into breeches.

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  31. Really a great story and experience you shared in the post.I read some of your blog entries and found them interesting and impressive,Thanks a lot for such a nice blog.I will follow it.

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  32. Perhaps th e church people did not have any knowledge of the Bible customs - Jesus reclined at the dining table with his disciples - it was the Jewish (Roman) custom to eat in a reclining position.

    Maybe th e bishops would have barred Jesus from the church too. Ha!
    AMRITA from India

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  33. I am loving your story, The recliner-thing is just sad. The fact that someone came to visit you and the baby and then decided to look around to find something to report on.
    Thank you for sharing your story with us. Rosemary (Nonna)

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  34. SINNER! LOL Just joking of course! You already knew some of the rules didn't make sense but thinking that a friend felt the need to go behind your back like a tattletale would've made me pretty ticked. Grrrr...

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  35. So, let me get this straight...Recliner = bad;
    Blog = good?

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  36. Everyone is surprised about the recliner. I'm more floored that you got Rhoda to come over and help after Sailor was born. If you were Mennonite, you wouldn't be allowed any help until baby #3.

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  37. I get the dress thing, but I am also lost on the bonnet...

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  38. I am lovin' your blog. Just discovered it tonight and I am rather enamored. :o)

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  39. Maybe it's a regional thing... my brother (he's 20 now) wore a dress until he was nearly 2. But we're in Texas. Not people trying to live in a time-warp like LARP people either. Just that's the way it was. Snaps were there in the middle of the front and back hem, so they *could* be made into a sort of romper-type outfit, but they were rarely used. (And they weren't the intent - my mother made the dresses.) Even now among my friends (pretty upper-class cosmopolitan Houstonians) you'll still see that sometimes with boys, or at least "bishop" or "bubble" style outfits with easy-access on the bottom. Needs to be open and airy down here in the heat! Onesies and leggings for babies are all well and good for my Chicago sister-in-law, but not that practical in a Texas summer.

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  40. Oh, and, of course, hats are a must on babies outside, or (when it does get cooler) inside.

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Thank you so much for taking time to comment. I love hearing your thoughts.