Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Book Review: 'Amish Grace' by Donald Kraybill

✰✰✰✰ Ten years ago, a local milkman invaded an Amish schoolhouse and took hostages. Before the day was over, ten girls between the ages of six and thirteen had been shot. Five would die, and Charles Roberts committed suicide. As the world watched, at first in horror and then in amazement, the Amish responded to what became known as the Amish 9/11 with grace and forgiveness instead of rage and vengeance.

This is the story of how these grieving families responded together as a devoted Christian community. While many non-Amish observers admired the Amish for their strength and convictions, others criticized them. Did they forgive too quickly? Was their forgiveness authentic? The issues raised in this book illuminate the many different acts of grace that can be found in the most unexpected places. 

The Bottom Line: Amish Grace is a book that inspires the reader to explore their faith. By recounting this tragic incident in the history of the Amish and exploring the acts of grace in the months that followed, the authors raise many questions. This is a story of forgiveness that has been shaped by the history  and culture of the Amish. Recommended for clergy, historians, psychologists, and those interested in personal reflection and religion. 

Book Club Notes: A dedicated group of book club members gave up watching a Cubs game and braved foul weather to attend. They were ready to tackle the topics of religion and forgiveness. By taking an inside look at what the Amish can teach us about forgiveness, grace, healing, and moving forward, each of us reflected upon our own experiences. We all come from different backgrounds, and while we sometimes disagreed, this book brought out a thoughtful, engaging discussion. There is a discussion guide available in the book or you can download a PDF copy here. For those who have taken it a step further and also viewed the movie, you can find sermon outlines here. Also, here is a thoughtful study guide from GodChicks. While this book and the topic of forgiveness were a more challenging read, it provided us with a new perspective. Overall, the ratings in the group averaged 4.5 stars, and we would highly recommend it for book clubs interested in learning about Amish culture, Christian living, faith, and religion.

Details: Amish Grace: How Forgiveness Transcended Tragedy by Donald B. Kraybill, Steven M. Nolt, and David L. Weaver-Zercher. Paperback published by Jossey-Bass in 2007. 288 p. ISBN: 978-0-470-34404-0 

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