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Amish Grace: How Forgiveness Transcended a Tragedy
     

Amish Grace: How Forgiveness Transcended a Tragedy

3.9 41
by Donald B. Kraybill, Steven M. Nolt, David L. Weaver-Zercher, Paul Michael Garcia (Read by)
 

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On Monday morning, October 2, 2006, a gunman entered a one-room Amish school in Nickel Mines, Pennsylvania. In front of twenty-five horrified pupils, thirty-two-year-old Charles Roberts ordered the boys and the teacher to leave. After tying the legs of the ten remaining girls, Roberts prepared to shoot them execution with an automatic rifle and four hundred rounds

Overview

On Monday morning, October 2, 2006, a gunman entered a one-room Amish school in Nickel Mines, Pennsylvania. In front of twenty-five horrified pupils, thirty-two-year-old Charles Roberts ordered the boys and the teacher to leave. After tying the legs of the ten remaining girls, Roberts prepared to shoot them execution with an automatic rifle and four hundred rounds of ammunition that he brought for the task. The oldest hostage, a thirteen-year-old, begged Roberts to "shoot me first and let the little ones go." Refusing her offer, he opened fire on all of them, killing five and leaving the others critically wounded. He then shot himself as police stormed the building. His motivation? "I'm angry at God for taking my little daughter," he told the children before the massacre.

The story captured the attention of broadcast and print media in the United States and around the world. By Tuesday morning some fifty television crews had clogged the small village of Nickel Mines, staying for five days until the killer and the killed were buried. The blood was barely dry on the schoolhouse floor when Amish parents brought words of forgiveness to the family of the one who had slain their children.

The outside world was incredulous that such forgiveness could be offered so quickly for such a heinous crime. Of the hundreds of media queries that the authors received about the shooting, questions about forgiveness rose to the top. Forgiveness, in fact, eclipsed the tragic story, trumping the violence and arresting the world's attention.

Within a week of the murders, Amish forgiveness was a central theme in more than 2,400 news stories around the world. The Washington Post, The New York Times, USA Today, Newsweek, NBC Nightly News, CBS Morning News, Larry King Live, Fox News, Oprah, and dozens of other media outlets heralded the forgiving Amish. From the Khaleej Times (United Arab Emirates) to Australian television, international media were opining on Amish forgiveness. Three weeks after the shooting, "Amish forgiveness" had appeared in 2,900 news stories worldwide and on 534,000 web sites.

Fresh from the funerals where they had buried their own children, grieving Amish families accounted for half of the seventy-five people who attended the killer's burial. Roberts' widow was deeply moved by their presence as Amish families greeted her and her three children. The forgiveness went beyond talk and graveside presence: the Amish also supported a fund for the shooter's family.

AMISH GRACE explores the many questions this story raises about the religious beliefs and habits that led the Amish to forgive so quickly. It looks at the ties between forgiveness and membership in a cloistered communal society and ask if Amish practices parallel or diverge from other religious and secular notions of forgiveness. It will also address the matter of why forgiveness became news. "All the religions teach it," mused an observer, "but no one does it like the Amish." Regardless of the cultural seedbed that nourished this story, the surprising act of Amish forgiveness begs for a deeper exploration. How could the Amish do this? What did this act mean to them? And how might their witness prove useful to the rest of us?

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781433244636
Publisher:
Blackstone Audio, Inc.
Publication date:
04/01/2008
Edition description:
Unabridged
Pages:
6
Product dimensions:
6.70(w) x 6.20(h) x 1.20(d)

What People are Saying About This

From the Publisher
"A story our polarized country needs to hear: It is still grace that saves."
Bill Moyers, Public Affairs Television

"Amish Grace tells a story of forgiveness informed by deep faith, rooted in a rich history, and practiced in real life. In an American society that often resorts to revenge, it is a powerful example of the better way taught by Jesus."
Jim Wallis, author, God's Politics; president, Sojourners/Call to Renewal

"In a world where repaying evil with evil is almost second nature, the Amish remind us there's a better way. In plain and beautiful prose, Amish Grace recounts the Amish witness and connects it to the heart of their spirituality."
Sister Helen Prejean, author, Dead Man Walking

"An inside look at a series of events that showed the world what Christ-like forgiveness is all about—a story of the love of God lived out in the face of tragedy."
Tony Campolo, Eastern University

"Amish Grace dissects the deep-rooted pattern of Amish forgiveness and grace that, after the Nickel Mines tragedy, caused the world to gasp."
Philip Yancey, author, What's So Amazing About Grace

"Covers the subject in a superb way. It gave me a private tutorial in Amish culture and religion—on their unique view of life, death, and forgiveness."
Fred Luskin, author, Forgive for Good; director, Stanford Forgiveness Projects

"A remarkable book about the good but imperfect Amish, who individually and collectively consistently try to live Jesus' example of love – for one another and for the enemy."
Dr. Carol Rittner, distinguished professor of holocaust and genocide studies, The Richard Stockton College of New Jersey

"A casebook on forgiveness valuable for ALL Christians. It drills beneath the theory to their practice and even deeper to the instructions of Jesus."
Dr. Julia Upton, provost, St. John's University

Meet the Author

Donald B. Kraybill, Ph.D., is senior fellow at the Young Center of Elizabethtown College. Among his many publications, he has authored or coauthored numerous books on Amish society. The Young Center fielded hundreds of media calls in the week following the shooting.

Steven M. Nolt, Ph.D., is professor of history at Goshen College. He has written extensively on Amish history and culture.

David L. Weaver-Zercher, Ph.D., is associate professor of American religious history at Messiah College. His books on Amish life explore outsiders' fascination with and perceptions of the Amish.

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Amish Grace 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 40 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
not even imagine what they went through and are still dealing with today.They live what they believe, not like the majority of us that say something and then when hard times come we fall apart and cave in instead of standing strong on our faith.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I live in Pennsylvania and this story was hard to miss in the news when it occurred. At the time, I thought it was just another tragedy until I read R.A. Clark's book, "When God Stopped Keeping Score" that showed how the gift of forgiveness that came afterwards transcended the tragedy. I applaud this author's effort to help showcase this story because not only is it worthy of telling so that it never happens again, it also helps people understand what could push a person to that point to begin with.
Tom_B More than 1 year ago
This is a story of how the Amish forgive just like Jesus intended.
becca5965 More than 1 year ago
Like most of the world, I was in shock when the news of what happened became public knowledge. My husband and I know a few Amish people. We used to go to a camp for kids with Muscular Dystrophy and two of the boys there were Amish. My husband was their "buddy" for the week of summer camp for MDA. We became friends with their family and have spent many wonderful days in their home. The two boys have both died since that time but we continue to visit when we can. I am certainly no expert on the entire Amish lifestyle but a lot of what was in this book appears to agree with what we have found out over time. They are wonderful people and this book gives major insight in to their lifestyle and who they are. It wasn't what I was expecting but ended up being so much more.
woodie22 More than 1 year ago
It is very easy to hate, unfortunately. Having the Heavenly Grace to forgive even the vilest of deeds is more than accomplishment; it is inspired grace. The authors weave a worthwhile story of community, bed-rock faith, and truly 'walking the walk' of faith. Great read!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I loved this book! It was inspirational! It will make you think about your own beliefs on forgiveness.I was given more insight to the Amish and their religious beliefs.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This beautiful true story is written well and you can almost feel the sadness and yet you can also feel the forgiveness with this book. I am not done with the book yet but only have two chapters left and I have only had the book for 4 days. It was a very tragic event that the amish turned into forgiveness as only they do it seems.
Guest More than 1 year ago
It is so simple, as they have chosen to live there lives perhaps living simple staying small and not allowing the world to rule them has made it possible, by living it day by day! They have in fact embraced Jesus Christs last words forgive them Father they know not what they do!
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I have seen the movie so i know i will absoulty LOVE it.
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