left biblioblography: The Devil's Playground - Hey, Is That Beelzebub On The Monkey Bars?

Saturday, December 20, 2008

The Devil's Playground - Hey, Is That Beelzebub On The Monkey Bars?

Cross posted @ God is for Suckers!

(In which I manage to dodge/artfully evade the topic of the oncoming holiday)

Rumspringa-CoverI just finished watching the Devil's Playground. This documentary deals with the Amish custom of Rumspringa, of which the Wiki entry says:

Rumspringa (also Rumschpringe or Rumshpringa, derived from the Deitsch term for "running around or jumping") generally refers to a period of adolescence for some members of the Amish, a subsect of the Anabaptist Christian movement, that begins around the age of sixteen and ends when a youth chooses baptism within the Amish church or instead leaves the community. The vast majority choose baptism and remain in the church. Not all Amish use this term (it does not occur in Hostetler's extended discussion of adolescence), but in sects that do, Amish elders generally view this as a time for courtship and finding a spouse.

As a rule, of all the Christian cults, I rather appreciate how these folks tend to stay out of other folks' affairs. We envision them as religious anachronisms, as they tend to veer away from modern technology, but the film states that they shy away from anything that might endanger the community or family (the example was that a battery charger, not much of an impact, an automobile, a huge impact).

In fact, the doors are pretty much open to the adolescent at any time they want to return to the 'fold' - but if they return, and change their minds, to return to the 'English' ways? Then they are shunned.

My major issue with this group (as with any other religious nomenclature) is this sense of tribalism. In some ways, tribalism is a social networking tool, a meeting of like minds. The unfortunate side-effect is the exclusion of those deemed other. And when it is done in a religious context, somehow, some way, it just seems to make it that much worse. Basically, a group of human beings is isolating and outcasting another human (or smaller group of humans) over a bunch of superstitious hooey. A perceived non-crime committed by a non-criminal as per rules set by a non-existent judge.

Kafka, anyone?

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