Tamara asked this question a couple of days ago.  As she suggested, it seems like a pretty good topic.  In fact, Tamara’s exact question was:

“Has anyone had a very close relationship with someone who was a “member in good standing” in the Amish church?”

Keith James has already shared a bit about a friend of his, an Amish bishop.  Keith writes:

He was 46 years my senior and we enjoyed a very full friendship until he died almost two years ago at the age of 88. It was through him that I met several of his children who have also become some of our best friends, exchanging phone calls and letters several times a year. We plan our family vacations around visits with them, and are getting ready to visit once again in August (and I can’t wait to get there!).

I am blessed to have a range of Amish friends, buddies, and acquaintances, particularly in Ohio and Pennsylvania.  Despite the distance–I visit a couple times each year–I think we keep in pretty good touch.

amish friendsOne thing I appreciate about my Amish friends is that–though they may be strict regarding their own community’s standards–they are quite accepting of different ways.

For instance, they don’t give me grief for not being married at 32 (just gentle ribbing).  An Amish friend and produce co-op board member employs a range of tattooed metal and hippie types to run the business side of their operation.  I know he considers at least one of them a good friend.

You also don’t find too many Amish hurling fire-and-brimstone condemnations against worldly wrongdoers.  They may disapprove of certain behaviors, but I think they generally take a “hate the sin, love the sinner, go easy on the pride” approach, and I appreciate them for that.

I think Amish folks enjoy friendships with English people for the pure companionship, but the differences in culture and background also make things interesting.  Obviously, a lot of English are fascinated by the Amish lifestyle.  But the interest goes both ways.  I get a lot of questions about “English life” and particularly life in Poland, where I spend some time each year.

So, I’d actually expand on Tamara’s question a bit–I’d be curious to hear how you’ve met your Amish friends, how you keep in touch, what you do or talk about when you get together.

And of course, funny stories are welcome.  I wrote about a couple of the funnier experiences I’ve had with Amish pals here: The Great Tomato Battle, and here: “The guy with the beard“.

Well, at least I thought they were funny.

Photo credit: Melody Joy Kramer

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