The Dirty Little Secret of Gadites
Rabbi Yehudah ben Shomeyr
The Shoemaker’s are known for their temper. Don’t get me wrong, we are great and likeable guys, most everyone will say so, just don’t tick us off. And God forbid an inanimate object makes us look the fool; windows, doors, walls, cars, computers and dresser draws have all paid the ultimate price.
Most of my relatives on my father’s side are Christians and have anger issues. But there are a few who are non-believers and are famously known as brawlers in the bars. One of my cousins who everyone in the bar scene knew as “Goat” because his signature move in a bar fight is to ram the other guy.
On the first Avengers movie, when Ironman led Loki’s unleashed monster to the Avengers waiting on the city street below, Captain America said to Bruce Banner, “Doctor Banner, now might be really a good time for you to get angry.” Implying, it is time for him to turn into the Hulk. Banner replied, “That’s my secret Cap… I’m always angry.”
The Shoemaker’s are always angry and this past year I finally figured out why.
Without boring you with all the details and to make a long story short, in tracing my genealogy I discovered that my father’s paternal ancestors were German Mennonites, also known as Anabaptists, who ended up coming to Pennsylvania and settling Germantown. I have been able to trace many of the Mennonites back to the tribe of Gad and likely to his son Ozni also known as Ezbon. For in Germany there is a town that bears his name, Osnabruk which if in Hebrew would mean, “Blessed be Ozni.”
Gad was a troop, a warrior tribe of lion faced men (I Chron. 12:8) and those Gadites who eventually became known as the Mennonites denied themselves that prophetic destiny, that call to be a warrior. Much like the Vulcans on Star Trek who supressed emotion for sheer logic. Look, you cannot stop a lion from hunting, even the most docile and domestic of housecats hunt. You simply cannot take the warrior out of Gad. It is in our spiritual DNA. Vulcans had their pon farr to release pent up aggression. Mennonites had no such outlet.
The Gadite Mennonites decided to become pacifists, denying the outlet for the warrior inside them. They did not fight, they did not kill, and they did not join the military. The pogroms; when they were persecuted and harassed they bit their lip and took it and or picked up and moved elsewhere until someone else made them move again. Talk about anger suppression, it is like shaking a pop-bottle and waiting for it to explode!
When you supress a warrior spirit and do not fulfill your spiritual genetic destiny what happens when there are no healthy outlets. Abuse; verbal, mental, physical, sexual. This is the dirty little secret of Mennonites and Amish. The public sees them and peace loving, genteel pacifists, but behind closed doors and out of public view they are miserable and angry people. By the time I came along my family was no longer Mennonite but just simple Baptists and though some of my family did join and participate in the military they were passive non-violent men. The warrior had to come out somehow, and as they say, you end up hurting the ones you love. My father verbally abused me and if were not for my mother playing referee and mediator I would have been physically abused as well. I have spoken with many Mennonite and Amish people and the vast majority of them were abused in one or more of the ways mentioned above. One Amish man said it was nothing for his father to throw him up against the wall.
I was taught never to fight; to, “turn the other cheek.” I was taught to be afraid of and run away from bullies. I grew up being picked on, teased, and made fun of. I was an easy target and as a result I was always looking behind my back in fear.
Today’s Christian and or Messianic men are groomed by religion (for Yeshua has been greatly misunderstood) and cultured, refined, civilized society to be passive, in touch with their feminine side wusses. The warrior is suppressed and usually channeled in inappropriate ways such as the ruthless, cutthroat business man. The book, “Wild at Heart” by John Eldridge fleshes this out very well. I believe it is a must read for every Christian/Messianic man. If a man, especially a Gadite has the proper outlet to be a warrior he will be a loving husband and gentle father.
I used to hate it when my Dad would yell at me and then I grew up and found I had turned into my Dad, snapping at my daughter for stupid things. Like watching a movie I would be yelling, knowing even as the words were coming out of my mouth that I should stop, but feeling powerless to do so and even wondering why I was yelling in the first place! Afterwards I would beat myself up for being such a jerk and wonder why I was the way I was.
For that which I do I allow not: for what I would, that do I not; but what I hate, that do I. – Rom. 7:15
I am like Bruce Banner. I am always angry. Even when I am smiling, laughing and having a good time there is still and underlying current of brooding anger. I have always wondered why and if I would ever be happy. I have discovered that I am the culmination of Gadite warrior suppression and thus generations of no healthy outlet I am like the angsty, angry and brooding Dark Knight of Gotham. But what do you do when there are no Moabites or Philistines to slay? What is a Gadite Warrior supposed to do?
As the old G.I. Joe cartoon says, that “knowing is half the battle.” Now that I discovered the root of the constant anger, which is the suppression of the Gadite destiny of being a warrior, I am finding healthy outlets to allow the Gadite warrior to emerge such as a reading Norse tales or the John Carter series by Edgar Rice Burroughs, watching Braveheart or superhero movies, going camping, MMA (Mixed Martial Art) workout regimen, watching Bull Riding, MMA, and Boxing on TV. Punching the heavy bag or taking and axe and attacking a tree when I get angry. When I do this, when I let the Gadite warrior out in appropriate and healthy ways I am doing it for and repenting on behalf of all the Shoemaker men who suppressed that warrior spirit and ended up abusing their families and loved ones. When the Gadite warrior is unleashed in a healthy way I am repenting of the generational sin and breaking the generational curse upon my line and sending healing and restoration throughout the generational line as a whole.
I am learning that when I appropriately feed the warrior God has created and destined me to be, the “Hulk” which lurks just below the surface can sleep and the loving, happy-go-lucky, attentive husband and father can emerge. I find now that because I allow the Gadite warrior to come out and play, I do not get angry or frustrated as often or fly off the handle over stupid things like I used to. The bonds with my wife and daughter are being restored and becoming stronger.
Praised be His Name!