May 22, 2011
Family Reunion

The descendants of my grandmother's mother get together once a year or so.  There are hundreds of us.  This year, it was a smaller gathering than in the past, with "only" a couple hundred of us attending. We brought my parents (physically in Namibia) to the gathering too, via the magic of Skype.


When I was a little girl, I always felt really out of place at these gatherings in my "modern" clothing and hair down. Also, all the kids my age spoke German instead of English. As we grew up, they learned English but there was a huge cultural gap. My dad worked with computers; theirs worked on the farm. My second cousins had never seen a movie or listened to "popular" music.  I went to a high school with over a thousand people, my second cousin went to a one room school house until grade eight.  It seems there's a bit of a culture shift going on now - lots of modern dress and the kids that I spoke to all seemed to understand me just fine. There was also less homemade cooking - store bought pies and even KFC and pizza!  I liked feeling more comfortable, but sad to see the erosion of an entire culture right before my eyes. Will there still be Old Order Mennonites in my family by the time Elizabeth has kids?


Also unexpectedly there was only one other little girl Elizabeth's age (actually, she was a year younger!). They both interacted with me fine, but neither would look at each other.  Elizabeth cried when the other girl left though, telling me that she wanted to play with the "oder baby".

On May 29, 2011 at 11:16 am
Grandma H. said:
Thanks again for taking us there! So amazing.
On May 29, 2011 at 04:16 pm
Grandpa H said:
"Old Order Mennonite" was probably the wrong term to describe the Wagler clan even at the time we were married - they were, and are "modern" relative to the genuine Old Order sects. But I certainly identify with your out-of-placedness.

Your question is an interesting one given the peculiar relationship between conservativism in faith, and the perpetuation of cultural norms that date back to the time that the Anabaptists fled European persecution.

Perhaps the more important question is whether Elizabeth will reach motherhood before Jesus returns, and if so, will there still be Mennonites and others that have retained the essentials of the Gospel, in priority over and in opposition to the dictates of popular culture?
On June 1, 2011 at 08:55 pm
Rachel said:
Wow - that is a lot of people!!

I know what you mean about not feeling like you fit in - I always felt like that growing up - at homeschool gatherings, I was the "hip" one with the modern clothes. But at Church gatherings with non-homeschool kids, I was the goody two-shoes.

btw - there are a lot of Mennonites down this way too (particularly in Tennessee) - they always came to the homeschool gatherings too!! :)

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