Wednesday, June 23, 2010
Even though I've got a stack of books that I have got to get read and reviewed and I really have no business agreeing to read others I had to make an exception. The story of the Hutterites is new to me. I had never heard of this people group so I agreed to add it to my pile. When I saw the mini-documentary about them, glimpsed the black and white polka-dotted kerchiefs on the women, I moved the book to the top of the stack.
Those of you who love religious memoirs or the idea of a simplier life really need to get your hands on a copy of this fascinating, poignant and rich memoir. This is a story of a unique journey. Mary Ann Kirkby knew only life in the colony until days before her tenth birthday when her world drastically changed.
My family spends many hours a week with our church family and we consider them an extension of our natural families. In the Hutterite colonies this concept is carried to the extreme. The Hutterites model their lives after Acts 2: 42-47 where scripture states that personal possessions were shared or sold for the good of the community and communal meals/togetherness was the rule and the life of the early New Testament church. The Hutterites share everything and live in a small village of people who care for one another. As idealic as that sounds, and there were passages in the book that sounded almost like paradise and made me wistfully want to find my own group of Hutterites and beg to join the community. But as with most things good and all things tinged with humanity and its inherent selfishness, the heaven on earth of living with loved ones and sharing life with them became torturous for the parents of Mary Ann and their family. A stubborn family member, old grudges, unforgiveness, and a rules trump people mindset became too much and Mary Ann's family fled.The story wends through a fascinating, though utilitarianly written, account that dips into poignancy many times throughout the decades of Mary Ann's life as a Hutterite and one who is on the outside looking it.