Amish Grace: How Forgiveness Redeemed a Tragedy  -     By: Donald B. Kraybill, Steven M. Nolt, David L. Weaver-Zercher
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Amish Grace: How Forgiveness Redeemed a Tragedy

John Wiley & Sons / 2010 / Paperback

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On October 2, 2006, a gunman killed five Amish girls in a Pennsylvania hamlet. A stunned nation watched as the children were laid to rest---and as their grieving parents forgave the murderer. How could they pardon such a heinous act? The authors explore this question and reveal how God's mercy can triumph in our vengeful world.

Product Information

Format: Paperback
Number of Pages: 252
Vendor: John Wiley & Sons
Publication Date: 2010
ISBN: 0470344040
ISBN-13: 9780470344040
Availability: In Stock

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Publisher's Description

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 style 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?

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Displaying items 1-4 of 4
Page 1 of 1
  1. Age: 25-34
    Gender: male
    5 Stars Out Of 5
    A Community Who Lives Out Forgiveness
    February 15, 2013
    Age: 25-34
    Gender: male
    Quality: 5
    Value: 5
    Meets Expectations: 5
    In October 2006, a horrible tragedy struck a small community in Lancaster Pennsylvania. A man walked into a one-room school house, taking the lives of 5 young girls, along with his own. School shootings gain the world's attention, however this was a little different, as it involved a very interesting sub-section of American society - the Amish. Most people are fascinated (yet misinformed) as to what the Amish are about and this interest continued as they seemed to respond quite uniquely. Instead of decrying violence, raising the banner for gun control or any other typical reaction we might think of, the Amish responded in offering forgiveness to the gunman's family. They met with them on numerous occasions, praying with them and even giving a portion of the money that poured in to his family. Many outsiders looking in had one big question - why?

    Amish Grace seeks to answer that question of why and the three authors do a fantastic job in their exploration of this tragedy and ensuing aftermath of the typical Amish counter-cultural approach to life. Not only that, they explore various aspects to forgiveness in Amish thinking, answering numerous questions we may have as to how this plays out in both daily life and when tragedy strikes. Topics like grace, pardon and reconciliation are treated as well, as these are important aspects to forgiveness. I had questions about the topic of shunning and this was handled to my satisfaction. All of the authors are respected Amish scholars and they treat the subject at hand with great insight and nuance.

    I would highly recommend this book to anyone who wants to know more about this particular tragedy, Amish life in general or are exploring topics like grace, forgiveness and community.
  2. Elk Grove, CA
    Age: 55-65
    Gender: male
    5 Stars Out Of 5
    January 17, 2012
    Elk Grove, CA
    Age: 55-65
    Gender: male
    Quality: 5
    Value: 5
    Meets Expectations: 5
    Excellent in content and written in an easy understood format. Gives one a good example of what forgiveness should look like.
  3. Symrna, DE
    Age: 45-54
    Gender: female
    4 Stars Out Of 5
    Riveting story
    April 14, 2011
    Judy Keenan
    Symrna, DE
    Age: 45-54
    Gender: female
    Quality: 5
    Value: 4
    Meets Expectations: 5
    I have always had an interest in the Amish. I was shocked, like the rest of the world, to learn of this tragedy. This book gives alot of insight into the Amish culture and we get to know the families of Nickel Mine. May we all display Amish Grace!
  4. 4 Stars Out Of 5
    June 5, 2010
    Tina Smith
    Wonderful book really gives you a insight of the Amish life and forgiveness. I would recommend it to anyone interested in knowing what forgiveness is all about and how God wants us to forgive those who harm us. It is hard but when done with a servants heart it is the right thing to do.
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