7 responses to An Amish America Q-and-A with Rumspringa author Tom Shachtman
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    Reid Hochstedler
    Comment on An Amish America Q-and-A with Rumspringa author Tom Shachtman (March 28th, 2008 at 06:21)

    I agree that Amish are often times romanticized. Portrayals of the Amish in media often only focuses on certain aspects of Amish culture, meidung, being out of place in time, rural living, etc., that only shows part of the story. I believe the Amish would not lose any religiosity by allowing their children to attend high school. The children may be exposed to more worldly values, but those can be combated at home. I’ve not had a chance to read Mr. Shachtman’s book, but I might just have to pick it up.

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    Comment on An Amish America Q-and-A with Rumspringa author Tom Shachtman (March 30th, 2008 at 14:01)

    “TS: Also true. Romanticization is a bad basis for relationships; rose-colored glasses are more opaque than they need to be.”

    Rumspringa is a media created, romanticized concept.

    Here’s an exerpt from a letter to the editor of the lancaster Pa paper. The author is my ex-wife.

    “The media is mistaken about the meaning of rumspringa. The media’s version of rumspringa is acting rebelliousness, and testing out the ways of the world to see if one wants to remain Amish. This idea is wrong.”

    the full letter has been posted on my site with permission.
    PS. Don’t tell her Bishop.

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      Helen Curtis
      Comment on Rumspringa (June 18th, 2018 at 08:29)


      I would like to read the rest of the article on Rumspringa

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    Dave Carrig
    Comment on An Amish America Q-and-A with Rumspringa author Tom Shachtman (April 4th, 2008 at 12:01)

    As an admirer of the Amish – this is one aspect of their culture that I don’t like at all and completely disagree with. I have often wondered the scriptural basis for this practice. For examble, supposedly any baptised male can be picked for eldership within a community yet 1 Timothy 3:4-5 as well as 1 Timothy 3:12 clearly admonish elders and deacons to manage their households and to keep their children submissive. Those verses alone would wipe out probably 99 percent of the males for qualification to either office. Scripture makes it quite clear we are to raise up our children in the ways of the Lord and the Rumspringa is clearly not of scripture.

    Whatever reason they do it for – they cannot claim that it is scriptural or done on a scriptural basis.

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    Comment on Reconciling Rumspringa with the Bible (April 4th, 2008 at 12:47)

    Reconciling Rumspringa with the Bible

    Dave, I would be interested to hear the ‘Amish’ response to your question, especially since the Amish look to Scripture as justification for such a significant portion of their cultural practice. For that matter, I’d also be curious how they’d respond on the issue of tobacco use and one or two other things.

    Off the top of my head I cannot recall what I’ve heard or read about attempts to reconcile Rumspringa with Scripture but it would be good to locate something on that.

    I think the New Order Amish are one group that have recognized this discrepancy and thus you have the somewhat different cultural practices.

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    Comment on An Amish America Q-and-A with Rumspringa author Tom Shachtman (April 10th, 2008 at 20:45)

    I just finished reading this book today, after buying it because I saw this very article.

    I enjoyed the book quite a bit. I have some other books about Amish culture, but it was interesting to see discussion of some modern issues that the other books only hinted at (mainly, the inevitable moves away from farming).

    I also found it interesting at the very end that the author mentions the Hasidim. Something he did not mention directly is that Hasidim (and Orthodox Jews generally) are not permitted to drive on Shabbat (Saturday) which means that they live such that they can walk to shul (the synagogue). This enforces tight-knit clusters of people even in the urban neighborhoods (be it NYC or smaller enclaves elsewhere). It strikes me that this is a self-imposed geographic limitation that shares something with the Amish insistence on horse-drawn travel.

    Anyway – quite enjoyed the book!

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    Comment on An Amish America Q-and-A with Rumspringa author Tom Shachtman (July 8th, 2008 at 11:27)

    I also enjoyed Mr. Shachtman’s book. Another book that has been published since his is called Growing Up Amish: The Teenage Years by Stevick. Whereas Shachtman’s book generally dealt with the wild, extreme end of rumspringa, Stevick claims that in general the majority (more than half) of Amish teens do not engage in rebellious behavior. His first-hand descriptions of Amish Sunday night youth singings provide a rare look into this unique social event. His description of Lancaster youth “gangs” show both ends of the behavioral spectrum in a large settlement. Also, his description of bundling, courtship, and marriage are fascinating. If you liked Shachtman’s book, I think that you will also like this one.

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