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Wednesday, July 31, 2013

1775 Broadside

The first battles of the Revolutionary War were fought at Lexington and Concord, Massachusetts, in April 1775. In June, the Second Continental Congress voted to form a Continental Army. Lancaster County, Pa., responded by sending a fair share of men to fight. But at the same time, Lancaster County officials realized they had a large number of Mennonite, Amish, Quaker, and Moravian residents whose beliefs would not allow them to participate in war.
On July 11, 1775, this broadside was published in Lancaster, Pa., urging those in such denominations to contribute financially in lieu of weapons and soldiers. (Broadsides were printed posters hung in public places or read aloud to get the word out in the days before mass media.) The broadside basically goads these conscientious objectors to give money, strongly implying that their beliefs might be seen as a cover for stinginess rather than a dearly-held principle.
"The Committee do therefore join in earnestly recommending it to such Denominations of People, in this County, whose religious Scruples forbid them to associate or bear Arms, that they contribute towards the necessary and unavoidable Expences of the Public, in such Proportion as may leave no Room, with any, to suspect that they would ungenerously avail themselves of the Indulgence granted them; or, under a Pretence of Conscience and religious Scruples, keep their Money in their Pockets, and thereby throw those Burthens upon a Part of the Community, which, in a Cause that affects all, should be borne by all." 

At least 200 copies of this broadside were printed, some in English, some in German. The Library of Congress has a fragment of the German version. This is the only surviving intact copy and the only known English copy.
This broadside has been on display at the Lititz Moravian Church museum (in Lititz, Pa.) since at least the 1970s. The paper has probably been kept at the church ever since the minister received it from the committee in 1775. He would have read the German translation aloud to his congregation and passed it around. Since the German-speaking congregants had little use for the English version, the minister probably just filed it away and forgot about it.
In 2011, the  real importance of this document was discovered. No other copy of this 1775 broadside exists in any other collection in the world. It is unique, the only copy to have survived. Thanks to the extensive archives of the Moravians who never threw anything away!

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Nusiance, Not Handicap

Summer is rushing by much too fast. The daylight hours are noticeably shorter than they were a month ago. I saw some goldenrod in bloom and the garden is fast going from full to empty. I cleaned off two rows of corn today which leaves only two more rows of corn, tomatoes, and onions in residence. I have not done much canning and freezing this year because I have so much left over from other years. We need to use up the old stuff and maybe next year we can start fresh again.
This summer has been not been as busy as most of the previous ones, and not only because I don't need to put up much food for the winter. I have not been idle, but since my leg went lame on me in May I have been finding things I can do while sitting. That included quilting (in the summer!) of all things. But I enjoyed it and was glad for the work. I had to give up going on the book route and taking my daily two-mile walks. I haven't been doing much cemetery prowling either.
It bugs me to have this lovely weather and not be able to go out and get some exercise. But on the other hand, I still have a lot to be thankful for. A lame leg is a nuisance but it is not a real handicap. Now if my eyes and fingers didn't work anymore, THAT would be a real handicap. I won't be bored as long as my eyes and fingers work. And my mind! I certainly wouldn't want to lose that. If I did, I'd
create big problems for the people who have to live with me.
I'm thankful there has been some improvement in my leg the last two weeks. I've been able to set the cane aside most of the time and hope the improvement continues. The MRI showed the problem is a pinched nerve. I don't have cancer or need a hip replacement. Even if the whole summer passes while I mess around with this contrary leg, it could be a whole lot worse.
"We may not be able to direct the wind but we can adjust our sails.

Monday, July 22, 2013

Ed Swope hosts a tractor show and threshing demonstration in our neighborhood. It's small in comparison to some of those things but a nice-sized crowd shows up. It was held this past Saturday and Leroy went for the morning. Gene and Grayson came too. From the looks on their faces, both Grayson and Grandpa were enjoying themselves immensely.
It's never too soon to start training the next generation of John Deere fans!
Here are some more pictures from the day.
Russ Weidman and one of his tractors. Russ worked at Klopps JD in Bernville and was one of Grandpa's JD buddies.
One of the more recent models made by Ed Swope.

Monday, July 15, 2013

Weekend Report

We had a full weekend and it was a lot of fun. We left home about 7:15 Saturday morning and got back at 6 p.m. I was scheduled to be one of the speakers at the Annual Meeting of the Juniata Mennonite Historical Society held at the Susquehanna Mennonite Church. I was asked to speak about my book, Aaron's Civil War, which is related to the Mennonites in Snyder County.
The meeting was very well attended with double the number that usually show up. The bus they had lined up for the afternoon tour could not hold everyone who wanted to go so they made quick arrangements and got a second bus.
Here are a few things we saw on the tour.
 Cemetery where "Long John" is buried. He was an Indian who attended the Mennonite church.
Inside the Stauffer Mennonite church on Produce Road. The bench along the wall is where the ordained men sit. The long table with benches on either side is where the song leaders sit.
Stauffer Mennonite riding mower
Locust Grove school where the Susquehanna Mennonite Church operated a mission outpost for about ten years.
Susquehanna Mennonite Church today, now a part of the Keystone Fellowship.
Seichrist cemetery. Because of the overnight rain we were not able to get into the Brubaker cemetery in a field lane. I know where it is now so I'll go back someday.
We left early again on Sunday morning to teach our Sunday school classes at Quakertown. Instead of staying for lunch as we usually do, we came home and got a nap so we could go again in the evening. Our church was giving a program at a sister church near Manheim. I wanted to go early so I could get a few pictures of a farm in Rapho Township.

This is a farm on Mill Road that was purchased by immigrant Peter Good in 1753. He passed it on to his son who later sold it out of the family.

In his will, Peter described this as poor land which would not provide much of a living. From the size of the corn, this looks like productive land now. I was happy to be able to snap these pictures in time to include them in an article I'm planning to submit tomorrow. We only had to go about a mile or so out of the way to get them and it was a photo-friendly evening.

Friday, July 12, 2013

Listen Up Ladies

As Mennonites we have always understood the first part of 1 Corinthians 11 to say women should not cut their hair and wear a fabric head covering over their hair. Styles of coverings have changed over the years from a white cap that tied under the chin to a loose hanging veil. The Bible does not prescribe a pattern but it does teach the principle and winds up by saying if there is anyone who wants to contest it there is no room for argument. ("If any man seem to be contentious we have no such custom." KJV)
As Mennonites became more acclimated to the American culture, they began explaining away this Biblical doctrine. First the covering was tossed aside, then the hair was cut, and skirts were discarded for pants. Mennonite women blended into society and could no longer be identified as Mennonite on sight. (I'll throw in something extra for free. Why did beards become fashionable? When women cut their hair short and started wearing pants like men, the men had to do something to identify their gender. So they did something women can't do.)
It's odd that people broke 1 Corinthians 11 into two parts, saying the first part on the covering was a cultural practice of Bible times and does not apply to our culture while clinging to the last part of the chapter which gives instructions on keeping communion.
The doctrine of the head covering was explained away but the Word of God did not change. And today people who were not taught this doctrine all their lives are reading 1 Corinthians 11 and coming to the same understanding.
The wearing of fabric head coverings in worship was universally the practice of Christian women until the twentieth century. What happened? Did we suddenly find some biblical truth to which the saints for thousands of years were blind? Or were our biblical views of women gradually eroded by the modern feminist movement that has infiltrated the Church...? - R.C. Sproul
See more here:
Head coverings are NOT a Mennonite idea. It is a Biblical doctrine that God never amended, revoked, or changed. This Head Covering Movement promotes wearing a fabric covering for corporate worship. It's a good start but I believe it should be worn at all times. We never know when we're going to have to shoot off an emergency prayer and need to be prepared at all times. And furthermore, it is a visible sign that we are Christians and take God seriously. It gives a testimony without speaking a word.
Who do you want to be identified with? God or society? Sure, it may make you look "odd" and stand out in a crowd but I'd much rather be identified with God than society. Wouldn't you?

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Sharpen Your Ax

Once upon a time, a very strong woodcutter asked for a job in a timber merchant and he got it. The pay was really good and so was the work condition. For those reasons, the woodcutter was determined to do his best.
His boss gave him an ax and showed him the area where he supposed to work.
The first day, the woodcutter brought eighteen trees.
“Congratulations,” the boss said. “Go on that way!”
Very motivated by the boss words, the woodcutter tried harder the next day, but he could only bring fifteen trees. The third day he tried even harder, but he could only bring ten trees. Day after day he was bringing less and less trees.
“I must be losing my strength”, the woodcutter thought. He went to the boss and apologized, saying that he could not understand what was going on.
“When was the last time you sharpened your ax?” the boss asked.
“Sharpen? I had no time to sharpen my ax. I have been very busy trying to cut trees…”
Our lives are like that. We sometimes get so busy that we don’t take time to sharpen the “ax”. In today’s world, it seems that everyone is busier than ever, but less happy that ever.
Why is that? Could it be that we have forgotten how to stay “sharp”? There’s nothing wrong with activity and hard work. But we should not get so busy that we neglect the truly important things in life, like our personal life, taking time to get close to our Creator, giving more time for our family, taking time to read etc.
We all need time to relax, to think and meditate, to learn and grow. If we don’t take the time to sharpen the “ax”, we will become dull and lose our effectiveness. 
By Stephen Covey