About ten miles from where I grew up is the Douglas County, Illinois Old Order Amish community. To most outsiders, that conjures up images of men wearing black hats and long beards, women attired in plain dresses and aprons, children going barefoot in the summertime and horse-drawn buggies; That is accurate, but it doesn’t scratch the surface of who the Amish truly are.
They are a self-contained community which depends;minimally on the outside world for their needs; That is due to the fact that they’ve learned the difference between essentials and frivolities, and they’ve subordinated individual desires to community necessities; They have also allowed the selfless value of “we-us-ours” to subvert the selfish notion of “I-me-mine.”
Rather than spend large amounts of money on household insurance policies, it’s understood that one person’s loss is a community responsibility to respond to, such as when a barn burns or a house gets blown away by a tornado; At those times, true fellowship kicks in and a spirit of community runs rough-shod over the disaster.
They open their homes for church services, just as first century Christians did; And they do not pay their pastors, because there is no professional clergy; Elders of the community whose day-to-day jobs are the same as everyone else’s do the preaching.
There is what’s considered private ownership of houses and other property, but it is understood that if someone has a need for something which another person owns, it is there for the borrowing, knowing that the borrower will one day reciprocate with possessions of their own.
For those who are tempted to shout, “Socialism!” read Acts of the Apostles 2:44-47.
“All of the Lord’s followers often met together, and they shared everything they had; They would sell their property and possessions and give the money to whoever needed it.”;
“Day after day they met together in the temple; They broke bread together in different homes and shared their food happily and freely, while praising God; Everyone liked them, and each day the Lord added to their group others who were being saved.”
So, why doesn’t much of the mainline church operate like that today? Because they have allowed the selfish notion of “I-me-mine” to subvert the selfless value of “we-us-ours.”