I had an esteemed colleague who believed that there was more than just stinginess at play when congregations underpaid their pastors.
He believed that at some level, some church folk believe the financial sacrifices of their clergy rub off on them vicariously. You know like extra merit points in the Medieval Catholic system. (Ok maybe not so medieval)
I think he was on to something. I also think that is what is at play with this silly love affair Americans seem to have with the "idea" of the Amish. Nobody wants to live as they do but the idea that there are some people living off the land, unsullied by the evil of the world in the world, just makes us all a little bit more holy.
Well that's a lot of horsepoo. There is nothing romantic or holy about the Amish. The fact is the Amish have just as big a problem with sexual abuse and covering up as the more vilified Mormon cults. Just google Amish sexual abuse and you'll see the problem.
Sorry I just find nothing romantic about patriarchal closed communities.
And the Amish are the largest operators of puppy mills. You know those places where dogs are kept in unspeakably cruel conditions and then sold sick and unsocialized to unsuspecting customers?
I was ranting about this to my son and he said, "And you blame ALL the Amish for this?" Yes. Yes I do.
A community that requires conformity and shuns those who don't comply must also bear responsibility for the behavior of their whole community.
So no, I don't want to read the latest book about how forgiving and loving the Amish are.