Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Novel and Castes and Kids Leaving

Recently I was very happy to discover a new author/novel.

Backstory: Emily and I were in BigLots a while back and in the book section she found this funny-looking book in pink and orange called The Marriage Bureau for Rich People, by Farahad Zama.

I should buy it, she said, and I was suspicious because any of you with children know this strategy, like "WE" really need this a.k.a. "I" really need/want this but I will earnestly try to convince you the FAMILY needs it so you'll pay for it.

Five dollars.  I said no.

I forgot all about this and a few months later gradually became aware of this book as one that has a similar tone to the #1 Lady Detective Agency books which I am crazy about.

So I ordered a used copy on Amazon.

For about $5.

It's all about this guy in India who arranges marriages and all the colorful little stories that weave in and out of that plot.

I devoured it.

I was fascinated with many of the cultural things, especially how the different castes are so important.  Brahmin, Vishnu, and various others, with various sub-castes and this complex system of whether and when it's ok to marry outside of your caste.  Education and income are important too, but everyone was always most relieved when they were the same caste and compatible sub-castes.

The American in me said, "How silly, unenlightened, and foreign."

But then the Mennonite in me tapped me on the shoulder.

The Indian people have nothing on us.

Let me list a few castes of ours and if you have any Mennonite in your blood at all you'll have a good idea right off if people from one group could or absolutely could not marry someone from another:

Pacific Coast Conference, Swartzentruber Amish, Western Fellowship, Nationwide, Charity*, Beachy Amish, Conservative Conference, BMA, Keystone, Southeastern, New Order Amish, Holdeman, Eastern, Wenger, Wisler, Old Order Amish, Fellowship, and Mid-Atlantic.

*Except they say they aren't Mennonite, but we know they really are.

Novels are actually a nice distraction from the fact that three of my children have moved off to new adventures in the East in the last two weeks.

Half of them, at once!

I miss them a lot.

Quote of the Day:
"You look like you're trying to look young.  Keyword: Trying."
--Jenny, when I combed my hair without a poof the other day


  1. Your comment about the Charity folks saying they aren't Mennonite makes me laugh. I was in a Charity church for 7 years, and it wasn't until the last 2 years there that I finally caved and just started telling people I was Mennonite.

  2. I would call my kind of Mennonite MC-USA, and yes, I do heartily want my children to marry within their kind - and if not that, then at least some stripe of Anabaptist. It's so much easier. Then you only have personality conflicts, not ethnic conflicts (right?? I married a Brethren boy)

    I adore the #1 Ladies Detective (and the TV series was actually pretty good too - my library has those DVDs). So I will be looking up this book, too! THanks.

  3. I come from a holdeman background and this really made me chuckle :)

  4. To Bridget: I know. I laughed right out loud about the Charity/Mennonite clarification. I'm NOT jeering! I wouldn't! I'm simply agreeing, and it brought a knowing laugh. :)
    We were Charity for 10 years, and for most of that time, people were telling me not to say we were Mennonites. But since in culture, and many practices, we were/are "Mennonite", and since those not raised in this culture often have trouble seeing the difference in the stripes, I did it anyway.
    We now go to another "non-denominational anabaptist" church and now hubby is starting to tell folks, "Yes, if you need to call us something, call us Mennonites."
    "it's simpler," he says. I still agree. :)
    The important thing is obedience to our best understanding of Scripture, and if that lands me in a certain camp, count me in!
    -PC in VA

  5. One more clarification about "Charity"...
    "Charity" has become a sort of denomination by default. The first congregation in this non-denominational movement named themselves "Charity Christian Fellowship" (it could have been could have been Shiloh, or Cool Waters, or Morning Star).
    As other people began to agree and affiliate themselves with Charity Christian Fellowship, they simply became known as "Charity churches".
    For whatever that's worth...... :)
    -PC in VA

  6. Is it ok for men to comment here?? I chuckled also, but when you get done laughing it's really kind of sad. I was thinking down the same lines in one of my last blog posts which was entitled "Non-Traditionally Conservative".

  7. This is great. It reminds me of when I went to SMBI. After I had made friends and had intellectual discussions in which we all had the same core beliefs, I started realizing that some of these people were Beachy and some were Charity and some went to those liberal churches where they let you wear pants sometimes.
    I wonder how many inter-"caste" menno marriages have come out of SMBI?

  8. I've often wondered at all the divisions we ourselves create amongst Christians... and it goes beyond the Anabaptist churches, alto it may be more prevalent there. But around here I know some die hard Catholics who are grievious of children marrying outside their faith. On the other hand, we're talking marriage, there should be agreement on convictions of our faith... just have to wonder how God views it all...

  9. We moved to an area in Somerset County Pa where there are very little of the Mennonite culture...Amish yes, German Baptist yes, Mennonite no... oh sure there are several kinds or brands of Mennonites about 25 miles in each direction of where we live.
    And yes, it does take us 35 to 45 minutes to go to church on Sundays.
    The questions we get asked by many of the locals and also from tourists on the way to the Flight 93 Memorial(we opened a small country store so we get quit a few tourists )...Who are you? Mennonite or what? what kind of Mennonite? There are no other Mennonites here...

    My answer is "I am a Mennonite by culture and a Christian by choice."

    That seems to open the door for lots of good conversation!

    Last week two girls stopped in we got on the discussion of Dutch Speaking folks ( I know some Dutch but speak English) ... and as I am well, outgoing, finally the one girl said " If I can be open and honest you are so happy, open, and free about your life if you wouldn't be dressed like a Mennonite I would think you were a leftover Hippie from the 60's!" I am not sure what that said about me but I have been chuckling ever since.

    Sarah Miller

  10. Ain't that the truth! We have felt and seen the wall come up or curtain come down whenever we tell "Fellowship" folks that our church is non-affiliated. But on the other hand, I (a Conservative Mennonite Fellowship) married a Southeastern! :-) Not sure how I managed that breech but I think the Fellowship thought they were gaining a new member. We ended up joining Cumberland Valley Conference!
    Keep up the writing. I love it.

  11. Dorcas Byler9/22/2012 10:49 AM

    QOTD made me laugh. We can't win with our teenagers, now can we?! Either we are hopelessly old fashioned or trying too hard to be cool.

  12. Love it, now try explaining all the divisions to a newly adopted 12 y.o. Chinese boy...he thinks he has this Menno thing figured out ...and finds out he is still wrong!

    Your quote...well I parted my hair different one shoulda heard the comments

  13. I noticed your little star beside the Charity name and wondered now why is that there? After I scrolled further and found the answer I chuckled too!Oh boy, I'm afraid its true, more so now than ever.My husband just transplanted me into a BMA church after 18 years in a quote "Charity" church. I have to say the core beliefs are the same.There used to be some differences in that everything was rethought and re studied and a lot of revival happened. Probably similar to the Brunk revivals. I really do respect the work God did and I appreciate the fire that Denny Kenaston contributed, but now they are very Mennonite no doubt Good points, bad points and everything in between.Enjoyed your insight.