Horse and buggy Mennonites don't love horses, says Mennonite historian Royden Loewen; it's suffering.

I suspect it's not that they don't like their horses, nor that they don't find some parts of the horse-dependent existence enjoyable, even preferable to mainstream society's ways, but it's not some horse crazy notion that leads them to that choice.

They're under no illusion that their simple life is necessarily easier. It would be more comfortable to have cars. It would be more comfortable to have electricity.

But at what cost? It's not financial cost at issue, but the cost to souls. It's hard to be mindful when life is easy. It's easy to become independent and preoccupied with leisure. It's hard to keep God in his place and us in ours.

Suffering -- no, not a mortal suffering, not the pain of broken relationships, nor a masochistic infliction, but a choice to do things the hard way for the greater good -- that's the saving grace of the horse. The extra effort reminds you of your physical fitness to exert it and the gratefulness that is due. The slower pace means you can take time to see and be in your environment. The vulnerability to the elements puts the universe and our ultimate reliance on the creator in perspective.

Is it pompous to say that through my biking I can relate with this perspective?


Yes - but I think you have every right to do so.

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