Wednesday, April 2, 2008

this is an essay i was assigned to write for reading class. I was to write on the reasons mennonites struggle with pursuing education beyond grade school. The art of writing is phenominal. you can write things between the lines that you would never dream of saying out loud... wow. :)

The Struggle for Education

The pursuit of education is a noble quest that is too often neglected and even discouraged among our Mennonite/Beachey/Amish circles. This dearth of learning continues to be a weak spot in our rich heritage for several reasons that I will explain.
It seems as if there is very little encouragement from the parents and/or elders of the church to pursue a higher education than grade school. I believe that part of the reason for their hesitancy in encouraging high school and college is because they feel their authority is threatened when those younger than them exceed them in learning. Our Amish heritage has emphasized a hard-core manual work ethic (a very good thing in itself) at the expense of the mental work ethic; this may be one of the chief reasons for a deadened desire for pursuing knowledge. When youth learn to think and are educated, they naturally question things in our way of life that seem to them to be contradictory to our beliefs or flat out ridiculous. Because of a lack of experience and common sense, the scholar can quickly become proud. Though this attitude is a very dangerous one, if it is handled correctly, it can be turned into a deep respect for what we believe, and the seemingly arrogant questioner is transformed into an ardent defender of the faith. Because too many leaders do not have the ability to see through the arrogance of a “proud scholar” and help him to keep a good perspective, the educated often appear to them as being high-minded, disrespectful college graduates. When this happens, many people blame the attitude problem on too much education and fail to reckon with the real problem.
Another reason why many of our youth fail to pursue a better education is because they dislike studying. This attitude, I believe, is often masked with the claim for a desire to find a job and make money. The excuse, "While you are pushing pencils all day at your desk, I can be out working and making money" is an all too common one, and those who find themselves using it should seriously check their perspective in life.
This lack of interest in education has crippled our witness of Christ to the world and has destroyed a very valuable part of our culture. I believe we should pursue a high level of education so that we are prepared to meet circumstances in life with maximum courage and capability so that we can serve our Master to the fullest degree.

My people are destroyed from lack of knowledge. Because you have rejected knowledge, I also reject you as my priests; because you have ignored the law of your God, I also will ignore your children. (Hosea 4:6)

until next time,

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