Archive for Friday, May 9, 2008

Religious meeting to draw 5,000

German Baptists create small city south of town

Old German Baptist women peel potatoes in preparation for lunch Thursday.

Old German Baptist women peel potatoes in preparation for lunch Thursday.

May 9, 2008

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Living by the book

For over 100 years, the Old German Baptists' have taken a stand against religious innovation.

Old German Baptist Brethren conference comes to Baldwin

Charles Beeghley is hosting the annual conference of the Old German Baptist Brethren, the first in Douglas County since 1970. Enlarge video

If you go

From Lawrence, go south on U.S. Highway 59. Turn west (right) at the Zarco 66 filling station (North 650 Road). The Beeghley farm will be on the right at 1164 N. 650 Road.

Charles Beeghley isn't surprised by the number of cars driving slowly past his farm, south of Lawrence on North 650 Road.

Wooden buildings have recently cropped up in his field. On Thursday, giant tents went up.

"We've had a lot of inquiring and people driving by here the last couple of weeks," Beeghley said. "Finally, their curiosity got the best of them and they turn around and come back and say, 'What are you doing out here?'"

What he's doing is allowing his farm to be home to the annual conference of the Old German Baptist Brethren. When thousands descend on the Beeghley farm Saturday, it will be the first time the conference has been in Douglas County since 1970, when it was across a few fields to the south of the Beeghley property.

Darrell Shuck, who along with Beeghley is one of the local congregation's four ministers, estimated about 5,000 people may attend - many of them among the brethren's 6,000 or so members. Most of the others attending will be family members, some of whom are not baptized and are not yet considered members of the church.

"It's hard to really guess how many might be here," Shuck said. "And I expect the gas situation, the prices, might make a difference in our attendance this year."

The conference, which is conducted every year on Pentecost, the 50th day after Easter, begins at 10 a.m. Saturday with an opening worship service. Over the course of the event, there will be 10 more services, all of which are open to the public.

For the brethren, going to church means going to weekly meetings led in rotation by one of the multiple ministers the congregation has elected to serve a life term. The 6,000 or so members are spread among 56 congregations in the United States, including 65 members at the local Willow Springs Old German Baptist Brethren Church.

To become a member, a consenting individual must repent and be baptized by trine immersion, which means a person's body is submerged in water three times in the name of the Holy Trinity. This gives them the nickname "the Dunkers."

The brethren's only creed is the New Testament, and members believe in the literal translation of the New Testament and apply those Scriptures to daily life. The group believes in a way of life that doesn't engage in swearing, is nonresistant and does not conform to the world. They wear plain dress, bonnets or hats, and the men have beards. Modern influences such as television, radio, stereo and the Internet are not acceptable in their homes.

The conference location is picked two years in advance based on a rotation across the country from east to west and is held in areas that are concentrated with members of the faith. The conference also was held in Douglas County in 1909 and 1936 in the Willow Springs community.

With so many out-of-towners traveling to the area, logistics are carefully planned. Shuck said the Douglas County Sheriff's Office will help with traffic control, and Beeghley says many neighbors and friends of the congregation are hosting visiting families.

"We've got a lot of good neighbors we appreciate, and have a good relationship with all of them," Beeghley said.

After the close of the conference Tuesday, the tents and buildings will come down, and all the extra lumber, bedding, food and other goods will be sold as part of an auction the following Saturday.

And soon Beeghley's field will be back to normal, with the next crop planted.

"From Thursday to Thursday," said Beeghley's wife, Barbara, "you'll see a city rise and function and disappear."

Comments

Melanie Birge 7 years, 2 months ago

I won't be signing up anytime soon. Bet they won't be at the Farmers Market tomorrow. :(

BrianR 7 years, 2 months ago

I've often wondered how they determine at which point in tecnological history they stop advancing. A ploughshare is ok but a John Deere isn't. Why?

Jeteras 7 years, 2 months ago

I dont understand "no modern influences?", no TV, Radio but yet I have seen 500 bearded men driving around in heavy duty gas guzzling diesel pickups and oversized SUV's ?? I bet one of them has a headrest LCD..... UH OH!

Bossa_Nova 7 years, 2 months ago

i dont know how similar these guys are to the amish, but for what it's worth, i spent a week with the amish in indiana a couple years ago. it was a great experience. had i been a believer in christianity i might have stayed. they were really good people and it was so layed back. and yes the food was great

Bossa_Nova 7 years, 2 months ago

jeteras, from what i understand each sect is different. i get the impression however that many of these guys have come to realize that its impossible to be completely "traditional" so each community makes concessions in reference to certain "modern" gadgets and so forth. the amish that i stayed with tried to avoid the use of vehicles unless they had to travel long distances. as for electricity, it was permitted only for certain "gadgets" and their electricity was obtained off the grid, i.e. diesel generators or solar. it was really interesting. i would encourage anybody to try and spend time with the amish.

Jeteras 7 years, 2 months ago

I have been to jamesport, MO. I did not see many of the "locals" driving cars at all. Just wondering because it does not get much modern than a vehicle :). Would be nice to live without hate for sure.. Do these people home school I wonder?

LogicMan 7 years, 2 months ago

"I'll bet the food will be good."Sehr gute! Mit Bier? :-)

Bassetlover 7 years, 2 months ago

Their culture and lifestyle is worthy of our respect and admiration. God bless each and every one of them.

Thats_messed_up 7 years, 2 months ago

Why would they have it near this Godless town?

TopJayhawk 7 years, 2 months ago

I think that they aren't saying that modern conviniences are wrong in and of themselves, but that they can be misused, or can encourage sinfull behavior. (on that they ain't wrong!!) so they just try to stay away to enhance their simple way of life which they feel is more Christ-like (for lack of a better term.) I'm not saying I agree with that idea, but I do agree that these are good people, and worthy of our respect. I suspect if someone tried to do to one of their daughters what those guys in Col. were doing, one might be introduced to a very old and simple shotgun muzzle!!

geniusmannumber1 7 years, 2 months ago

Here's a semi-serious question asked with the utmost respect. Is there a particular reason for the no-moustache thing?

LogicMan 7 years, 2 months ago

"i dont know how similar these guys are to the amish"From an outsider's point of view, very similar (but more "liberal"). But I'm sure from inside, very different.There's much info on Wikipedia.org about these groups. They (Amish=Pennsylvania/Ohio "Dutch" (Deutsch=German), Mennonites, Old German Baptist Brethren, etc.) came from what is now central Poland (then Prussia) a few centuries ago to escape mandated military conscription.Also, they are not "German Baptists", who themselves came from the same region about 100 years ago, and were from a second wave of Baptistism that spread again from England, to the Netherlands, to Prussia. German Baptists are now known as "Baptists" here, but are different from "Southern Baptists".

Bossa_Nova 7 years, 2 months ago

when i spent time with the amish i remember they had a schoolhouse for the children and from what i understand they learned the same subject mainstream american kids learned. of course they had a religious twist to the curriculum the same as a catholic school does. i dont think they are as sheltered as one might think, at least not the amish i was with. many of them had internet, celular phones, rollerblades, etc. the community i was with basically allowed their children to participate in mainstream activities and then after they were adults (18-20ish) they were allowed to choose a traditional amish lifestyle or a mainstream lifestyle. i didnt see it as harsh or sheltered. like i said, i prolly would have stayed had it not been for the religion part. i would have felt like a hyprocrite going to church and taking part in the religious traditions knowing good and well that i didnt share their beliefs. other than that, those guys appeared to live a nice happy lifestyle. and of course the food was excellent and lots of it and nobody was obese.

Jeteras 7 years, 2 months ago

Good point Brian I dont know how they can. Even just to farm and make ends meet you need some serious technoloy to keep up with the average joe farmer. I can say one thing, I bet it sure confuses their children. The only way to truly live this type of live is to shelter your children but is that a good thing.. Also is all they do for work is farm? What if their child wants to be a Vet or a Doctor? I dont know but they have enough volleyball nets and basketball courts setup for one heck of a party thats for sure.

LogicMan 7 years, 2 months ago

Oddly enough, old potatoes do get "eyes". Maybe that's where the Mr. Potatohead idea came from.

Carl Edwards 7 years, 2 months ago

Anonymous usergeniusmannumber1 (Anonymous) says:Here's a semi-serious question asked with the utmost respect. Is there a particular reason for the no-moustache thing?------------At least in the Amish, the no-mustache thing is to separate themselves from European military officers that wore them...the same with buttons. Old German Baptist/Brethren may have different reasons.

OldEnuf2BYurDad 7 years, 2 months ago

They aren't obese because their culture isn't wracked with addictions like ours. Americans are HUGE (me being one of them) because we are gluttons and sit on our butts. These folks work with their hands a lot and consider it a sin to use food like it's Prozac.

Jeteras 7 years, 2 months ago

Hey do a search for Church of the Brethren in wiki.Most of the ? are answered. Kind of interestingit states "When disagreements arise as to the correct interpretation of New Testament passages, the final authority for settling such disputes is the Annual Conference"

geniusmannumber1 7 years, 2 months ago

Thanks! I knew there had to be a better reason that "They've always done it that way."

Bossa_Nova 7 years, 2 months ago

Confrontation:LMAO, amish paradise lyrics! you rock! weird al rocks!

Steve Jacob 7 years, 2 months ago

"Their culture and lifestyle is worthy of our respect and admiration. God bless each and every one of them."I am not a church person, but have to agree with the quote above.

beatrice 7 years, 2 months ago

fatwas? No fatwas, I said the Muslims were "non-obese." - (ba- doom boom!)Well stated bossa-nova. I am just pointing out that being religious does not necessarily make one "better." And for grins and giggles: http://metasurfing.blogspot.com/2008/01/blasphemy-ticket-to-hell-has-never-been.html

Kaw Pickinton 7 years, 2 months ago

Deel Leit laafe baarfiessich rum un die annre hen ken Schuh.

jumpin_catfish 7 years, 2 months ago

In case you are wondering they think they're going to heaven and the rest of us well.... you know the other place. I don't see that they are any better then me or anyone else. Exclusive club religion, there are a lot of those in this old world.

World_Vision 7 years, 2 months ago

Can you pick up more chicks there then at Wakarusa?

SpeedRacer 7 years, 2 months ago

I know a lot of people are suspicious of those who dress differently, but whenever I have encountered any of them they have been very nice and friendly; very nice to talk to. I hope the weather is good to them this weekend.

Mike Blur 7 years, 2 months ago

Bossa_Nova, I think many of the Amish you were hanging out with were in rumspringa. (Look it up on this here internet.) There's a fascinating documentary about rumspringa called "Devil's Playground" that can be checked out of the Public Library for free.

Bossa_Nova 7 years, 2 months ago

like the fatwas that Pastor Phelps makes about gays? or like the fatwas Pope Urban II made about the "non-believers" in the holy land? or maybe the fatwas that the jesuits made about the those heathen indians who just wouldn't convert to catholicism, "for without christ it is as though you are dead" ---> interpretation: just kill'em if they don't accept christianity! or maybe like the fatwas that the roman armies made against the pagan germanic people who also wouldn't accept christianity. is the concept of a religious fatwa something exclusive to muslims?

EasilyAmused 7 years, 2 months ago

Sorry LogicMan - no beer - German Baptists don't drink alcohol

orbiter 7 years, 2 months ago

"Here's a semi-serious question asked with the utmost respect. Is there a particular reason for the no-moustache thing?"--It's a completely serious question. This has to do with the pacifist stance. Mustaches were worn by military men in Prussian society. _""Their culture and lifestyle is worthy of our respect and admiration. God bless each and every one of them."I am not a church person, but have to agree with the quote above."--I know a couple ex-Dunker women that may take exception to that blind statement of "admiration". Modern convenience isn't the only thing that lags in Dunker communities. There are just a few more components to these communities than big suppers, distinctive garb and lack of Grand Theft Auto. Theocratic patriarchal communism can be a hell of a thing.This is not to disparage the movement as a whole, but one should not idealize these groups. There are cancers within these societies, just as in the mainstream. There are admirable aspects but it is important not to put these people in curio cabinets and coo at them.

Jeteras 7 years, 2 months ago

I have shoes, but sometimes I walk barefoot too kawryan. I dont mind all the beliefs and such but when some of them try to push it onto others that is where I get pissed. I would bet if someone wanted to join these people they would welcome them with open arms gotta respect that.

notsobright 7 years, 2 months ago

Track the German Baptist folks and the typical Wakarusa folks for the next 20 years and see which ones have the fullest life in relationships, marriage (sex too!), family, work, and those things everyone is attempting to find in this broken world. Any one want to bet on the results? (I will be interested to hear how many arrests the Sheriff needs to make out there this weekend :) )By the way, I love when someone makes a judgment about some other groups or person(s) being "judgmental." Kind of like the bigoted and judgmental bumpersticker that states "Kansas- as bigoted as you think." Ah- the myth of neutrality. There is no neutrality folks. Every viewpoint is judgmental and GBs certainly know that a person living for themselves in their self centeredness, (also called "sin") without divine forgiveness is up for a serious conflict. Also- no one takes the Bible "literally." Not even GBs. The Bible, as a divinely given voice, is a literary device that is taken as such. When it says the sun sets- no body thinks that it literally means the sun "sits down!" It is taken as it was intended- with common idioms, etc. By the way- while I do not agree with all the conclusions on a few non-essential issues with my friends in the GB tradition, when it comes to the essentials- they embrace the same thing as believers in Christ around the world. FYI too- most are not farmers and they do not have their own school. Many are local business owners whose services you have contact with and probably do not even know it. Many are in the medical fields. Further, you can hardly find better quality or ethical people.

EasilyAmused 7 years, 2 months ago

I know several German Baptists...1) They live by a strict set of rules that I would never want to live by2) They are some of the nicest and most accepting people I know3) They don't have an exclusivist belief that they are the only ones that are going to Heaven, although, as in ALL religions, there may be a few that are judgmental and may think that others are sinners or are going to hell4) If someone needed help, they would be there with open arms, whether or not you are a member of their church

Bob Forer 7 years, 2 months ago

Just wondering. Have the number of Old German Baptist Brethren increased or decreased over the last two generations. I understand some of the members, upon reaching the age of majority, choose to leave the congregation. Since the membership is relatively small, the number of like-minded folks of marrying age must be small.

LogicMan 7 years, 2 months ago

"and nobody was obese."I'd bet they use "shaming" and "shunning" to keep people in line. We're not allowed to do that much in the mainstream; everyone else's culture is to celebrated and adopted, but this part of Germanic culture -- of the largest ethic group in the U.S. -- is apparently verboten.

Jewell 7 years, 2 months ago

"There are admirable aspects but it is important not to put these people in curio cabinets and coo at them."I love your comment, orbiter.

Confrontation 7 years, 2 months ago

(Yes, I know they're not Amish, but....)"As I walk through the valley where I harvest my grainI take a look at my wife and realize shes very plainBut thats just perfect for an amish like meYou know I shun fancy things like electricityAt 4:30 in the morning Im milkin cowsJebediah feeds the chickens and jacob plows... foolAnd Ive been milkin and plowin so long thatEven ezekiel thinks that my mind is goneIm a man of the land, Im into disciplineGot a Bible in my hand and a beard on my chinBut if I finish all of my chores and you finish thineThen tonight were gonna party like its 1699"---Weird Al Yankovic

Bossa_Nova 7 years, 2 months ago

there's a community here in kansas similar to the guys in middlebury, in. if i recall correctly, its a place called yoder, ks. i used to swing by there when i was working on pumpjacks in the oil fields.

Bossa_Nova 7 years, 2 months ago

mike-blur,i dont think they were on rumpshaka or whatever you called it. this was an amish community that seemed "less traditional" or more "mainstream", for lack of a better explanation. actually the family i stayed with appeared very amish to me while their kids appeared very mainstream and they made a distinction between their community and the one a few miles away who apparently were more traditional. i drove there in my horseless carriage and spoke with a guy at a chainsaw repair shop who's english was "challenged". too bad i didnt speak german. its a very interesting part of the country if you ever get over there. i was in middlebury, indiana. here's a website if you wanna check it out. http://www.amishcountry.org/communities/middlebury

TheOriginalCA 7 years, 2 months ago

Nothing like bigoted comments from snobby college town anarchists and hippies.

GIHAWK 7 years, 2 months ago

I have seen several of them working in jobs in Lawrence. Employers like to hire them because of their work ethic. When I was growing up in Lawrence, we hired a woman to clean. She did a fantastic job. And she did it the old-fashioned way--Scrubbing on hands and knees! They are a very meek people. Is this what they mean by the meek shall inherit the earth?

Kaw Pickinton 7 years, 2 months ago

Will the state troopers be searching vehicles on their way in to this "meeting"?

EasilyAmused 7 years, 2 months ago

I believe that Yoder (by Hutchinson) is Mennonite. If you are ever near Yoder, stop at the Dutch Kitchen - amazing cooking

Jason Bowers-Chaika 7 years, 2 months ago

Well, since they are not slaves to the book of Leviticus what is their stance on gay people? They adhere to the New Testiment and Jesus was silent on the issue. In their tent city is there a gathering of immpecably decorated tents. Is there a big tent with a disco ball? Are there transgendered members? www.KansasEqualityCoalition.org

Crossfire 7 years, 2 months ago

Potato peelin' hotties.I'm heading for the tent right now.

JesusisLord 7 years, 2 months ago

The problem with their rules is that if you don't abide by them, certain (not all) congregations will kick you out, or disfellowship you. Also, making rules and forcing them on people clearly goes against Biblical teaching. So these folks saying they interpret the Bible literally is not totally 100% accurate. Good, well-meaning people though, no doubt about it.

bearded_gnome 7 years, 2 months ago

absolutely wonderful people. their hymn singing is incredible. I know it takes a lot of fortitude for them every day to live that way by choice in this world. of course they are human. however, the central issue in this story is that they believe in something, someone, greater than themselves and seek to serve with their lives as sacrifice. God bless them, every one.

geniusmannumber1 7 years, 2 months ago

Gosh, beatrice, I was trying so hard to be positive about this whole thing. But you do have a very good point.

beatrice 7 years, 2 months ago

Can you imagine the comments if the traditionally dressed, hard working and non-obese religious folk gathering for a meeting were Muslim?

Haiku_Cuckoo 7 years, 2 months ago

Can you imagine the comments if the traditionally dressed, hard working and non-obese religious folk gathering for a meeting were Muslim?=============That depends. Can you imagine if Old German Brethren starting issuing fatwas against non-believers?

ilikestuff 7 years, 2 months ago

Bossa_Nova (Anonymous) says: like the fatwas that Pastor Phelps makes about gays? or like the fatwas Pope Urban II made about the "non-believers" in the holy land? or maybe the fatwas that the jesuits made about the those heathen indians who just wouldn't convert to catholicism, "for without christ it is as though you are dead" > interpretation: just kill'em if they don't accept christianity! or maybe like the fatwas that the roman armies made against the pagan germanic people who also wouldn't accept christianity. is the concept of a religious fatwa something exclusive to muslims?------------------------------------------Talk about humongous errors... Spend a few minutes doing some research before you bash people across 1/2 the world and 2k years of history. Otherwise you come off seeming stupid in addition to bigoted.

Bossa_Nova 7 years, 2 months ago

none2, gimme a break man! christianity has been around for about 2000 years and its growth has been mostly attributed to rape, pillage, conquest and forced conversion. it's only recently that christianity has been forced to take a more peaceful stance as the last hundred years of mass communication, education, scientific proliferation and liberal ideals have challenged it's traditional disposition and behavior. perhaps recently you think it's the muslims who are behaving like a bunch of heathens blowing themselves up and getting outraged over cartoons, but if you look at it from a timeline starting 2000 years ago, this peaceful version of christianity is only a wrinkle in time. and if you think there aren't any wacko christian terrorists who are alive and well with the same ferrocity as the wacko muslim terrorists, think again. phelps doesnt even come close to some of those wackos who dont make the mainstream news. if you're interested take a look at some of the contemporary christian terrorist groups who are active today: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Christian_terrorismand by the way, did you ever hear of a wacko named Timothy McVey? Or how about the IRA? the KKK? Mr. Jim Jones? and if you think recently it's only the muslims commiting acts of violence in the name of God, then maybe you should speak to my wacko christian fanatic high school buddy who joined the army because he thought he was joining "jesus' army" to go fight them infidel moslems over ther in iraq. you see, by joining the military he has just legitimized his real passion to commit violence against people who don't share his wacko christian fanatic beliefs. only a wacko fanatic hate-monger would do such a thing!

ReadingSports 7 years, 2 months ago

Ag,Saddleback church isn't some secret cult. Here's their website: http://saddleback.com/, and Pastor Rick Warren is a best selling author. (Although, I haven't and probably won't read his book.) I understand that he has really taken up the issue of AIDS.Please share, why you feel that Saddleback is less Christian, and less likely to have Christians in it. Isn't your statement judgmental? How can you know the condition of someone else's faith? Or Heart? Or Mind?How about Osteen? What is your beef, with him?

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