I am absolutely enamored with the History Channel. Sure, there is a glut of Hitler, UFO, Nostradamus and End-of-the-World edu-tainment and completely out of place lumberjacks felling oxygen-producing trees for our ever increasing demand for college-ruled notebook paper and billing statements sent by rump-humpin' banks and utility companies on the History Channel. However, every now and then a bit of relevant history slips through the cracks and creats a new wrinkle in my brain.
As an example, allow me to relate a little nugget of information from a series called 'The Seven Deadly Sins." The series delves into the history of the acclaimed list (which, by the way, originally consisted of eight deadly sins until the eighth was deemed as being simply a maiming sin and not quite deadly enough for inclusion), and is broken into seven distinct episodes which explore, in-depth, each of the seven pleasures ... uh... sins that send us weak-minded souls directly to the firepit. Another "by-the-way" tidbit, no organized religion has souls sent directly to eternal damnation with the exception of Christianity. That particular horrific and fate was created and penned by a certain Pope Gregory back when catholocism was da bomb and God's love was available to everyone. Of course, during that same time, if an individual used his God-given free will and decided not to follow Pope Greg and his beliefs, that individual was tortured ... all in the name of God's love, of course.
I digress. I was hoping that the featured transgression displayed in this episode would delve into Lust since, well, it's my preferred method of securing damnation. No luck. The sin being featured this night just happened to be the sin of "Pride." Pride apparently is the bomb-diggety, motherload, holy mother of Haysoos of sins. If you want to assure yourself a place around the campfire, love yourself.
Of course, it's much more complicated than that. I know that excessive pride is a fault that breeds a horde of evil, icky acts. What led to my amusement this night was an example of an entire god-fearing sect of quasi-Christian people who's pursued lack of pride is a blatant example of the very kind of sinful pride that they eschew. No, it's not the Mormons. Donny and Marie are more than enough reason to exhibit superior displays of prideful behaviour, but no, not the Mormons on this occasion. This group, my friends, is none other than the Amish. The masters of fashion, woodworkers extraordinaire, barn-raising, technology-dissing lemmings of the King of their Domain.
Apparently, the Amish are a group so devoted to the beliefs conveyed by a man named Aman, (which, coincidentally, is a name for one of the demons responsible for one of the other deadly sins) a man who consulted with the Big Guy, then perfectly merged his own personal understanding of the Divine's nature and subsequent required do's and don'ts for humankind with BG's directives, that they will stop at nothing to preserve traditions and thinking that is, well, antiquated. Wait a second ... that can describe any organized religion based on ancient teachings. hmmmm...
In any case, make no mistake, this was a man with a plan. Today, attention to that plan is carefully adhered to. Nevermind the profitable drug trafficking and teenage alcoholism rate within the sect ... we want to focus on the negative aspects. I'm referring to the crime of using automatic milking machines on livestock.
Yes, pride has overtaken many in the Amish community and brought them to the point of boasting that they no longer get 'titty-hands' from manually milking cows. They proclaim that they can procure two, even three times the volume of cow juice from their Bessies than Obidiah next door who adheres to the directives proclaimed in the sacred tenets brought forth from Mount Armoire. For this sin the punishment is swift and severe. Offenders are publicly humiliated, shunned by friends, family, neighbors and Jesus. Then, as a last painful reminder of their disobedience, the offender is excommunicated ... banned from ever being able to don the hat .... forced to wear a goatee. In what seems to be the most cruel and damning punishment, the 'friend of the devil' udder offender is forced to make his way into general society and live among the unenlightened. Obtaining a driver's license and enduring the purgatory of the DMV soon opens the eyes of most 'suction-milkers', but by this point their lot in life is cast and there is no return.
There is no place in the Amish community for the mechanical milking sinners. Pride has overtaken them. They must be driven from the herd in order to preserve the herd's integrity. Otherwise, utter chaos would certainly spell the end of the sect. Soon, men would be using hand-spreaders to seed their lawns. Women would resort to using the Slap-Chop to dice and mince vegetables for stews and teens would rely heavily on Schick Quattro razor blades to finely cut their cocaine as opposed to their grandfather's hand-me-down pocket knives. Most assuredly, quality, hand-built furniture would skyrocket in price as supply diminished and the sheer novelty of claiming to own an Amish-crafted coffee table lost all of it's allure and credibility. How is someone to know that an electric lathe wasn't used? How could one be sure that a Black & Decker multi-purpose sawhorse wasn't utilized in a piece's construction? Chaos, oure and simple.
So, it is obvious ... Pride is destructive. Pride is a major, major sin. It is a sin capable of destroying the livelihood of an entire way of life. A sin that can without hesitation bring the thriving handcrafted-furniture trade to a screeching halt. As it says in the Amish Bible's book of 'Letiticus', "Be not haughty. Be not proud. Thy sheep are for shearing and thy scissors are God's fingers. Thy cows art supplied by God with teats meant for manual stimulation. Let not thy suction nor thy pride divert attention from God's gifts. Heed the words of thy God and help thy neighbor refrain from the evils of worldly teat advancements. Failure to adhere to the bovine laws of thy God will certainly cut you off from His unconditional love."