89 responses to If you “left the English”, what would you gain?
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    If you “left the English”, what would you gain? (May 25th, 2011 at 20:06)


    Probably because we (as men) are expected to repair said technology and can’t stand something that is too complicated for us to easily repair?

    I actually prefer the older manual methods over the more modern “labor saving” ones. Saw an interesting study a while back that the time saved by a variety of labor saving devices is paid for by having to work that time. I guess you either have time or money…


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    Food for thought... (July 14th, 2011 at 21:29)

    Food for thought...

    Like so may others, I think the allure of joining an Amsih community mostly centers around a slower, simpler, less crazy pace of life. Family and community would be a great blessing, as would the new perspective on God and a deeper relationship with Him. I’m not sure they would accept me, however, as I am a veteran and have a handful of tattoos.

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      If you “left the English”, what would you gain? (November 3rd, 2013 at 12:10)

      I understand and completely agree. I am honestly thinking about joining the Amish. I don’t want to hurt my family I have but this is something I have to do

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        susan gill
        Joining the Amish is not just living a simple life (November 3rd, 2013 at 14:02)

        Joining the Amish is not just living a simple life

        I have been reading comments and see that many people equate joining the Amish with embracing a simple life. While that is true, it is also false to believe that it is simply a matter of renouncing your current life and shun electricity. I have never known any one from the “English” world joining the Amish community and there is good reason for this. First of all, the Amish do not have that same sense of individuality that we do. In fact, most of the bloggers here who want to leave their families to be Amish, are acting upon a sense of individual will that simply does not exist in Amish living. You cannot just do what you want to do because you are part of a community, not a lone wolf. Secondly, you would need to speak and read fluent German. This is the communal language because it is the language of the church. Every worship service is spoken in German and if you do not know it you would quickly feel like an outsider. Lastly, the Christianity of the Amish is not the evangelical kind. Amish and Old Order Mennonite churches bypassed pietism and evangelicalism , so you would not feel so much you were in a fundamentalist Baptist church as you would a liturgical one. The services are 500 years old and have not changed in all that time. The hymn singing is not your Wesleyan type but sound like Gregorian chants. It is beautiful but if you are a born again Christian and like praise music, you will never hear it. I feel for those who want to live simpler lives in close community as I share those sentiments. But you are wiser to simplify your own present lives, perhaps look to moving to a rural area, and attending a conservative Mennonite church where you can find the peace you are seeking.

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    Romancing the Amish (July 24th, 2011 at 11:10)

    Romancing the Amish

    You have a wonderful blog, and great book. I hope you write another book one. Maybe a practical comparison contrasts of Amish and English life.

    To answer your question, we would gain the joys & struggles of a Godly life on the path of humility & yielding. Your friend Dr Kraybill covers it well in many writings; “Gelassenheit”; yielding fully to God’s will, with a dedicated heat, forsaking selfishness. It WILL be much harder for English because we are usually raised the opposite; training the individual for self fulfillment and individual success.

    What I don’t understand is many leave because of an Amish lack of spirituality. Apparently the individuality of a growing a deep spiritual life creates conflicts. What is interesting is Amish culture & governance is built and maintained on the Bible.

    In my honest opinion, peace <


    • Dave thank you, and I hope to be able to write a few more yet :)

      On spirituality, an interesting point, which may rest on what “spirituality” really means. I think there is a certain popular conception of spirituality but which may not be the only way to look at it. I also am not sure that being Amish would preclude individualism; in fact I have friends who would argue the opposite.

      Appreciate you sharing here.

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        Susan Gill
        Amish religion (September 2nd, 2011 at 12:11)

        Amish religion

        “I also am not sure that being Amish would preclude individualism; in fact I have friends who would argue the opposite.”

        Thank you for creating such an interesting blog. I wanted to respond to this thread regarding joining the Amish and the accompanying concern that there is a lack of spirituality in their faith practice. ALthough, most of my experience is with Old Order Mennonites, I think there is a similarity in their faith practices with those of the Amish. Members of the church are encouraged to reflect on their personal walk with Christ, but it is always in submission to the church community. I think what has most evangelical Christians confused is that they, the evangelicals, are used to the kind of pietistic and overtly evangelicaland proselytizing practices that were instituted in the Protestant church of the 19th century. These included methods that were never embraced by the Amish or O.O. Mennonites like the Sunday School movement or the wednesday night Bible study. Evangelicals assume that all believers, particularly those who like the Amish or O.O. Mennonites have biblical proscriptions for daily living, welcome these facets of Christian practice and are taken aback when they realize that they are not. For example, the first time I attended an Old Order Mennonite service in Lancaster County, PA, I had my Bible with me as I am wont to carry to church every Sunday to read and to make notes. My Mennonite friend, Erma, informed me that they did not ever bring Bibles to church and certainly never took notes, although she did say that there were some conservative Mennonite churches who did just that. It is interesting to note that my reaction to this initial visit was that the service, despite the overtly plain interior and egalatarian aspects of minister placement, had more the feeling of a liturgical Anglican service than it did a contemporary Baptist one. I thought a lot about this and came to the conclusion that the O.O. Mennonite service was unchanged since the 16th century and that the chanting of hymns and the use of the Gesangbuch was more akin to the ancient liturgical mass than it was the more individual and expository preaching services of the evangelical churches.After all, German is the language of the service as was Latin the preferred language of the liturgy. It is as if the plain church here in America skipped all the inroads of evangelical and pietist movements that the centuries of industrialization made in the Christian churches. Anyhow,I felt that the Christian walk was not something discussed or studied among members of the O.O. Mennonite church rather it was a path already laid out for them in the ordnung of the church. Because they are committed to the Church and truly believe that it is the bride of Christ, there is no hesitation or questioning the ways of it. That is why leaving the church or deviating away from it are such serious matters.
        Great topic!

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          If you “left the English”, what would you gain? (August 21st, 2012 at 11:45)

          Nice post Susan, very true. In answer to the critics who raise the points you listed, I would like to give more flippant answers in addition to what you gave, if I may. Thank you.

          The strangest thing about the non-Plain churches is how they actually believe that they have a right to an opinion about scripture, about how they should follow it. It’s simple, God gave His opinion, we obey and follow, we do not have Bible studies in order to find out if we can find a better way of fulfilling scripture according to our opinion and in opposition to God’s opinion.

          Ours not to question why, ours not to wonder why, ours just to do or die. Simple enough, thats what submission to the yoke of heaven as servants of the Most High King is all about. Obedience to the written Word as is, not how we believe it should have been written if we were to have writ it.

          As to taking a Bible to Sunday service. We trust that the preacher is able to read scripture from his Bible without making a mistake. As to writing notes, we already have the Bible, we are forbidden to add to it, so what is there to write down? If hearing the live preaching is unable to move ones soul to repentance, writing it down certainly won’t help. Not so.

          The Amish who leave the community on account of having found a personal Jesus, lie. It’s just a cover up to justify to themselves a more worldly technologically advanced lifestyle. Having a personal faith in Jesus does not exclude one from being separated from worldly technology, which seems to be what they think it means. Why can’t they just be honest and say “I can’t live this primitive technological lifestyle anymore” instead of hiding behind religion to justify their leaving.

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          If you “left the English”, what would you gain? (September 3rd, 2012 at 14:09)

          Susan, I did not consider the impact of 18th & 19th Century piest and evalgelical movements. Your point on German to O.O. as Latin to Catholic is right on the mark.

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    If you “left the English”, what would you gain? (August 7th, 2011 at 18:31)

    Even though I am not living among the Amish, I believe that their way of life is the only way I can live. I am so much like them, it almost seems like I grew up with the Amish. I went to a public school after the second grade. No one understood me or was my friend. I didn’t laugh at their jokes, I didn’t speak like they did, I didn’t talk about people behind their backs, I didn’t want to dress like they did, I helped those who everyone else ignored, and I was always respectful to my parents and teachers. So I just focused on becoming smarter and smarter. Until I was a freshman in college. In highschool I had been at the top of my class. My parents had encouraged me to go to college. I didn’t think there was anything else to do with my life. The only good thing I saw in myself was intelligence. I had grown up around Asian culture. The influence of international students that had come to America to study PhDs in engineering had great influence on me. I wanted to be smart like them. The thought of being a mother and having a family was put out of my mind, as I couldn’t understand how to put a family and a modern job together. But shortly before I went to college, I became a fervent follower of Jesus. I knew that I had to give up my pride and love for knowledge, and look to Jesus to help me choose His will. Conflicted between the will of my parents and the will of God, I couldn’t share my heart with anyone out of fear of the conflict that would come and already existed in my family. I had grown up around many different cultures and ways of thinking. Being exposed to that made some in my family confused and they drifted towards hindu beliefs. I think that if we children would have only been protected from these other cultures, my family would not have been torn to shreds. The land mine that my family went through sent me reeling with a wound that I don’t think will ever heal. I had been raised in a traditional Christian home. Much of my family’s beliefs are shared by the Amish. But one thing isn’t: our desire to see the nations see the love of God in Jesus. That is one main reason why I went to public school. My dad is a farmer. We could have stayed with him and learned how to harvest hay and care for animals. But he valued our modern education more than he did value us learning skills of a farmer. Throughout my school years I would hear my dad warn us about the things the teachers would be saying, that we had to learn to distinguish the truth from lies. I took him very seriously. I wanted to know the truth. Because I am gifted with articulating the sounds and grammar of foreign languages, I decided that a foreign missionary could be the only way that I could do what the Lord wanted. So when I went to college I studied Spanish. I dropped out after one semester from not knowing how to obey the Lord and didn’t tell anybody for a year. I didn’t know what to do. Really scared, I decided I would try it again. I then began to study nursing. It was a little while after that I understood, from the opposition I had experienced my whole life from Western women,from reading the Bible, and from my church, that I was meant to be a mother. Western women are opposed to the concept that women are a treasure because of one main reason: for being a wife and a mother. Though Muslim women like to say that they value being a wife/mother, they really do envy the lives of Western women. About 7 months ago, I realized the onset of a much worser version of feminism was coming to America and the world. I knew that I wanted to get as far away as possible from it. Because I read the scripture on the head covering for women, I thought about wearing the Muslim abaya and hijab. I thought about becoming a nun. I wanted to quit school and go home to my parents, but they wouldn’t allow me to. I thought about becoming a seamstress and starting a school to teach the homeless to sew, cook, midwife, grow their own food, raise their own animals, build houses, and do all the things that American people had chosen to leave behind and have poorer countries do for them. I wanted to give the homeless a new way of life. I saw that Christian families were being made defective as a witness for Jesus because of modern jobs and the influence of strangers and other cultures on their children. Reading “A Chance to Die” about Amy Carmichael helped me to see that I could not have a family that would be effective as a bearer of light for the nations, if I couldn’t protect my children from the world’s influences- I want them to grow up knowing about only one culture. When they are old enough then they can decide whether or not to believe something else. I have a disdain for American culture in general. Perhaps it is the Asian influence on me, but I have a high value for family, for clean, joyful celebration, am very careful with my words, conscientious, able to laugh easily at simple, clean humor, disdain laziness/sloppiness/short cuts, and have a high value for politeness, quietness, and kindness. I have come to the conclusion that technology destroys culture, home-based skills for knitting the family together, and ultimately the home itself. Maybe what is going to happen is a global culture of technology. There will be no more separate families, trades, or cultures. Everybody will know one culture. Maybe there will be separate trades of technology. People might say, “I live on XYZ300″, indicating a type of technology that they live on. They will grow up with the idea that a type of technology is where they live.

    So, “if I left the English, what would I lose?” The only thing is the memory of my family as it was before it was destroyed. And I won’t really lose that because it is a memory. I have already lost the cohesiveness of my family. I feel that there is nothing left. The way of life I have now- pretending to enjoy and admire the beauty and pride of this world while I am in nursing school- it is absolutely worthless and futile to me…and to those generations who may follow me. If I would give anything to my children, it would be a love for the Lord Jesus. I can only do this by making sure that my hands are fruitful by working with my husband and children and so that our children can learn from us and work with us. This is the only way to be effective for Jesus as a family. In any other way and any family will fall apart. “If I left the English, what would I gain?” I would gain the support of people who are fervent to protect their children from the influences of the world, so that they might be rooted securely in the truth and love of Jesus. The Amish may not be “evangelistic” but their families are proof in itself of the life and testimony of the Lord Jesus that is waiting in heaven for His church. I have nothing but the Lord. All is laid waste. There is no one to redeem us but You, O Lord.

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      Susan Gill
      If you “left the English”, what would you gain? (September 3rd, 2011 at 06:56)

      It seems to me that you have been doing a lot of seeking your entire life and that you claim to be a follower of Jesus without really having any of the peace that accompanies that walk. Your comment indicates that you are jumping all over the place because you are looking for what you think for that moment is what you are being called to do and not seeing that God does not instigage such freneticism in His people. The Amish are a people who believe in being quiet and obedient and the means they do not assert their individual selves very much. Perhaps Catherine, you should join a biblically sound Church and find edification and strength with other believers.

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      Valerie McMaster
      Sharing in your pain (September 4th, 2011 at 17:58)

      Sharing in your pain

      I was really touched by your comment. I can personally identify with some of the pain you share with family falling apart. It could even be, why I was originally drawn to the Amish so much even as a Born Again Christian. You sound like your sharing so many observations of so many needs in the culture we live. And the culture, has infected the church. I agree with Susan, a good sound church, Bible teaching, with women’s study would be good, yet they’re getting harder to find that haven’t been influenced by the confusing culture, slowly departing from the way of the Cross.

      I believe you would find alot of peace in this message by Alister Begg, parts A & B (9/1/11 & 9/2/11)”The Biblical Role for Women”
      Interestingly enough, this pastor points out we could draw alot from the Amish regarding women’s roles, in light of the book of Titus.

      Also, there is a single woman, Nancy Leigh DeMoss who is so counter-cultural with regard’s to the direction for Christian women, I praise God for her radio ministry & books.
      2 books to recommend to regain what the church has lost when we bought into the lies of the Women’s Lib Movement
      1. Lies Women Believe 2. Lies Young Women Believe (for teens)
      Her radio show, can be heard by www.reviveourhearts.com so just a note of encouragement, many Christian women are experiencing a time of trying to find our way back to God’s intentions for us.

      Blessings to you.

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      If you “left the English”, what would you gain? (July 26th, 2014 at 22:52)

      sounds to me like you took up your cross and are following Jesus…anyone who thinks it’s a peaceful easy walk, doesn’t know the scriptures. narrow is the way and few find it.

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    dis-heartened by the "world" (March 4th, 2012 at 00:37)

    dis-heartened by the "world"

    My primary physician is a Mennonite and i had the pleasure of staying with his family for a few days several years ago. I believe they are conservatives.

    I reflect often on thier aversion to the culture of the world and in recent months have been spending a lot of time, due to illness, on the net looking at many things, and imparticular conspiracy theories.

    It does appear as if there is a conspiracy that emanates through the catholic church all the way to hollywood that is, at the highest levels covertly and on the lowest reaches flagrantly, satanic.

    I am not here to preach or enlighten, I wept for days over the catholic church and and still punch drunk from these realizations.
    But in the past several days I did remember Doc saying to me “just remember if you get too beat up out there you can always come out here to be with us”

    I never dreamed I would see something so pervasively evil in our culture that I would consider it, but I do now, I really do.

    Knowledge of this conspiracy has changed my views on music, art and
    entertainment…I have heard of this band or that band worshipping
    satan, but the whole industry?? Check it , don’t take my word. For all you know I could be some paranoid conspiracy theorist! Which is exactly what I used to think when i heard someone rambling on about this stuff.

    What i would gain is purity, A knowing that I was really striving toward holiness and among those who were not tainted, in any way, by this pollution.

    I can’t believe I just said that. God certainly has done a work in me.

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    If you “left the English”, what would you gain? (March 4th, 2012 at 09:47)

    Vicki: Actually, you should pray for them, do without “Hollywood” in your life, if that is The Lord’s will, but pray for them, forgive them. Let yourself do what The Lord wills for you to do.

    Just a thought.

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      thank you (March 4th, 2012 at 23:42)

      thank you

      WHY THANK YOU FOR THE KIND ADVICE. Praying for the deceived is a good idea in any case.

      I do not feel it is my position to forgive or not forgive; in any event I feel sorry for the countless mis-led and grateful for the miracle of my salvation.

      I am praying for our Lord to reveal his plans for my life after a long illness and I welcome your prayers for me also brother. thank you.

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    Please clarify your comments on Catholic church (March 5th, 2012 at 10:37)

    Please clarify your comments on Catholic church

    Vicky: Can you clarify your ocmments on the conspiracy in the Catholic church? I, too, am catholic and have my own concerns over the church becoming far too liberal on many things. So, I’m interested in your clarification of the satanic influence within the Catholic church. Thanks!

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    here are some key words for you to research (March 5th, 2012 at 15:07)

    here are some key words for you to research

    Reformation, jesuits, illuminati, nwo, black pope, president central bank of europe (a jesuit), rothschild, rockefeller, bildenberg…all connected to each other. try searching i.e. jesuits and bildenberg or jesuits and illuminati etc. mix it up.

    try to sort through fanatic haters and concerned observers of history.

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    further info (March 6th, 2012 at 00:52)

    further info

    Brother rob,

    found this today on youtube most holy family monastery.

    I would start with a video called abortion, rock music and freemasonry. be prepared to take in a lot of info.

    lmk what you think and what you find

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    Greg Wright
    A different "look" at why we seek amish values/Culture (September 3rd, 2012 at 04:17)

    A different "look" at why we seek amish values/Culture

    I have read with interest and pleasure all of my fellow Christian friends here at this site and many other sites about the subject of becoming Amish,being Amish,Amish religion and beliefs. It occurs to me that it’s our human infalabilities of our sort of “on the fence” religious upbringings that has lead us here to these Amish pages and subjects. We are all looking for answers and on the other hand we still have questions. Its sounds weird but hear me out.

    Most of us have been taught to lead a Christian life. Most of us have been taught as someone said earlier to achieve a “self-fulfilling role” in our modern Industrial nations. ALL of our churches have struggled with trying to use scripture to help with moderating the ever changing world we live in which by the way includes our greedy thoughts and pleasures. The Amish have seemed to define the answer we seek. Although we have found flaws in their beliefs, in genereral, I feel that they have been one of the few religions that have accomodated the values and work ethics that we want to live with. They have taken the “static” as it were out of the signal. For us we just can’t seem to sacrifice some ingredients in our “Bread of Life” in order to make a better loaf. We are weak and there in lies our struggle.

    We are bombarded with commercials everywhere in books,magazines,T.V.,radio,etc. The pressure to buy our material goods to bring us pleasure is never ending. Look to our amish friends examples to show us what little we need in our lives to be happy-no big church : but a stronger following envied by millions. no big egos-no big sprots stars-no big anything. We must get over this buying to succeed/big churches/big everything ! Until we see ourselves as the Amish see them selves we will never move onto what they show us every day. The real way to live our lives-Faith,smallness of ones self and ego-God and Family and community above all else.

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    If you “left the English”, what would you gain? (September 3rd, 2012 at 09:57)

    I don’t feel I would gain anything….I would lose a lot……not about to give up my car, and water in the house…..been there, done that…..now I want the easy things….why would I want to get up @ 4:am to start milking the cows…..or start my day using a gas powered washing machine and having to hang the wash outside….been there,done that….I feel I have earned the easy life now and I would want it no other way….I admire the Amish if that is what they want to do…..I don’t feel you have to make life hard for you to serve the Lord……I’ve had things hard growing up and appreciate what I have now,so I will admire the Amish and read about them and visit them, but never would I leave the English…..just sayin :)

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    If you “left the English”, what would you gain? (April 27th, 2013 at 02:44)

    If I left the Englisch, the main (possibly only) thing I would gain would be fitting in. Even just visiting Amish country for a couple of days, I felt easy acceptance by a lot of the Amish and Mennonites I spoke to (after the initial “Are you Mennonite? Are you Brethren? Are you sure you’re not Mennonite?” phase). I guess modest dresses and prayer coverings just don’t seem normal in Australia…

    Apart from that, I don’t think there’s much I would gain from leaving the Englisch and joining the Amish that I couldn’t gain whilst remaining “Englisch”. A lot of their lifestyle, faith, and clothing can be a personal choice for anyone, Amish or not. The only difference is that they don’t consider it strange!

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      Susan Gill
      No individuality (April 27th, 2013 at 06:09)

      No individuality

      One of the points about Amish living that no one seems to recognize is the fact that their lifestyle is one of very restrictive conformity, something nearly all of us would balk at. The hallmark of the Amish persepective is something called gelassenheit which means a letting go. You let go of your sense of “rugged individualism” in favor of suppressed ego that is secondary to the community. You just don’t “join the Amish” because so much of what it means to be Amish has to be instilled into you from birth including understanding German. There are no lone ranger Amish,that would be a contradiction of terms. The Amish are fascinating and their unadorned Christianity inspiring but despite your “back to nature” outlook, converts to their community almost never exist.

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    If you “left the English”, what would you gain? (April 27th, 2013 at 15:16)

    People not born into the Amish culture — and many who are born into it — may nearly all view Amish culture as mind-numbingly conformist and dull, a culture full of submissive followers.

    After all, nearly from birth, most English are raised with praise for being just the opposite; English culture ( in the US and for the most part ) values individuality, independence, excitement, leadership, and I believe, dominance. Express yourself! Be yourself! Don’t be a follower, be a leader! Leadership awards abound in public schools — do you really think there would be praise for wisdom for something like wise discipleship ( no religious connotation )? *grins*

    The two cultures seem just about at odds as to what they value.

    Just as there are quite a fair number of Amish people whose personalities, and wills, in the end will drive them from their communities and even families, it seems safe to say there would also be a fair number of those born English whose natures would seem to fit better with Amish principles.

    It doesn’t seem to me that either culture is 100% either way, though. There are many opportunities for English people — who, had they been Amish-born, been likely to be quite content — to thrive while not being Amish. Though opportunities for those people inclined to express individuality among the Amish may be far fewer, I would truly not say there are none; they seem to me to be more inclined to be instances where expressing one’s special talents, ideas, and individuality will be valued more for the beneficial effect upon the whole — rather than on financial gain, fame, or pride. For example, a man among the Amish whose talents and inclinations lean toward teaching or leather working may be more likely to end up in an occupation like those, rather than making a living as a farmer. To most English, that may seem an exceedingly dull choice. But not to all — and I think that for a very small number of non-Amish who recognize the subtlety of such discrepancies, who can also not only tolerate, but find happiness and contentment within the multitude of incredibly foreign boundaries and expectations of Amish culture, then it’d not necessarily be impossible for one to leave the English — and thrive without giving up who they are, but finding their place there.

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      Susan Gill
      If you “left the English”, what would you gain? (April 27th, 2013 at 17:26)

      To be Amish means that you are a German speaking, Christian whose beliefs are not evangelistic but proscribed from 16th century texts. You may have a talented craft and make money at it, but it is not to express yourself rather it is to earn money for your family. Your education is 8th grade because anything beyond that does not comply with the criteria of plain living . You are ever mindful of how you are perceived by others. It means your behavior and your family’s behavior is scrutinized by your neighbor. In the Amish world (not the Old Order Mennonite) you can still be shunned if you do something that the community prohibits. The Amish do not welcome converts because they know you just don’t convert to being Amish. It is not like living in a Hippie commune nor is it like living in a 19th century museum village. They do not churn their own butter or cook on a fireplace. They embrace modern technology rather passionately if it is allowed by the Bishops for earning money like cell phones or computers in the workplace. I have seen teens texting . So, although we can certainly learn from the Amish, I don’t see many “English” entering their lifestyles for very long.

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        Notes (November 5th, 2013 at 18:22)


        I have scoured the net for writings on adult converts to Amish living. There are a few, I have no real scholarly data. It is an uphill change; individuals who marry in for love, a family who see it as more Godly living, or individuals who want to break from the worldly English ways. Threads they seem to share is deep conviction about simplicity, subordination of self, importance of community, and devotion to God. They all say learning the German is hard, and conforming to ordnung are a big challenge.

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    If you “left the English”, what would you gain? (November 3rd, 2013 at 15:14)

    I think we all can agree that our admiration for the Amish is bc we truly feel they live a God-centered life. I read a lot of the comments..and have soul searched within myself. For I fear I might fall into this category of being the Pharisee as well..Last week the gospel was about the Pharisee and what we all MUST remember is to never be Like the Pharisee…giving thanks to The Lord that we are NOT like the others.(sinners) …and look upon them with disdain. May we all pray” Lord, I am a sinner…have Mercy on ME!” Which is how I see the Amish…never judging us,.Englischers, just living Their faith based, God centered life. And for the record, that is Pope Francis’ exact message…May our love for Christ be a beacon of hope and a place that sinners can come and lay down their burdens..not be judged but find MERCY!

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    Derek J.
    Observations (February 6th, 2014 at 21:32)


    Last night, PBS ran a show from the American Experience series titled “The Amish, Shunned”. I watched it and I was mesmerized. I immediately downloaded “The Amish” and watched that. I spent the last two day re-watching each and going to several web sites for more information. Having read all the comments on almost all of the bogs on this site I’ve come to some realizations. First, what is attractive to the “English” is the simple, structured, uncomplicated way of life and the strong family and community fellowship. These, fundamentally American attributes, especially for older baby boomers, has a very strong attraction. I think this is because many “boomers” may remember a time at Dad’s or Grandpa’s farm, I know I do. But, what most fail to recognize is that are strings attached to being Amish. Listening carefully to the commentary by the Amish speakers in the films and you will discover that there is a deep, unwavering belief and conviction that their “ways” are the narrow path to salvation. They are convinced that the time on earth is but a second of eternity and worldly items are a deterrent to living a Christ like life. This belief and conviction is instilled in them from birth. Call it indoctrination, whatever, it works, well for about 90% of them. There is no questioning or negotiating with the church. You must be totally subservient and be committed totally to it. All decisions on how to run your life are essentially made for you by the community, the church. As long as you are obedient to the ordnung, the rules, all is good. And that, in my honest opinion, is an extremely hard line for outsiders “English” to understand and even harder to accept. This is why so few have successfully joined the Amish. One must be totally committed to leaving their “English” ways and world. And I’m not talking about your beliefs here. The other thing is when born into the Amish life you have a home and family, lots of family you’ve grow up with. So there is an existing fellowship and structure there already. And that is very powerful. You won’t have that for a long time if your an outsider coming in because with your commitment you will have left your English family behind. Learning the language is very had, not impossible, but very hard. Still, the yearning for strong family, community fellowship, living by Christ focused church, simple, humble, self sufficient life stile appeals to me. But I couldn’t become Amish and I’d be better off buying my own farm, emulating the Amish ways and then focus on living a Christ like life.

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    I don't want to join, just learn (February 22nd, 2014 at 14:29)

    I don't want to join, just learn

    I live surrounded by Amish and enjoy being around them. BUT, while I admire their simple lifestyle and would like to simplify my own, I do not wish to join them. I am a born-again Christian, and I realize what a huge difference living an Amish lifestyle would make even to this. What I would like to do is simply learn from them……my husband and I are aiming for self-sufficiency, and I would love to learn how they go about doing some things. However, even though I’ve been around them my whole life, I’ve never felt it was proper to just go up and ask them to teach me, no matter how much I want to!

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    If you “left the English”, what would you gain? (February 22nd, 2014 at 19:50)

    Great thread Erik! How about a book; Amish –> English, English –> Amish

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    If you “left the English”, what would you gain? (March 4th, 2014 at 17:51)

    If I went back to the Amish way, I would lose my husband. I would keep my children.

    I would gain a community of experienced, talented, intelligent people that I could learn from. I would be free to love God without persecution or ridicule, unlike now. I would be allowed to Thank God whenever something wonderful happens. I would be allowed to pray and got to church. I would be free from the burden of acting like someone I am not anymore.

    If I went back, I could focus on just my children.

    I would also have a lot more housework. Laundry alone would be daunting. I would still cook on a woodstove. I would still make herbal medicine, but I would have other women to expand my knowledge. I wouldn’t have air conditioning or a freezer, so everything would need to be canned which is a huge job. I would have a bigger garden. I would need to get reading lamps. I already sew by hand, so little would change except perhaps what I sew.

    My children could finally got to school. They would learn English and German. They would taste the sweet cakes I did as a child during sermons. My daughter might finally find a young man she can love and that shares her values and will accept a young woman that wears dresses and avoids make up. I home school because I am afraid they will pick up some of the nasty habits I see other children which were not raised as I have been do.

    My work load would double, but my children would have more opportunities to be a part of a community. Currently we are not accepted as part of any community. We stick out like sore thumbs. We don’t try to, but just following what is best for your children and the family does that in this modern world.

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      Matt, England
      whole families joining Amish (March 13th, 2014 at 06:23)

      whole families joining Amish

      I’m on this thread because I’m trying to contact english families who are genuinely interested in joining a plain Mennonite community for a filmed TV project that would be an honest portrayal of joining a community and starting a new plain life.

      I’m with a television company in England that has made several series with Amish / Mennonite communities in the USA for Channel 4 TV here in the UK, and have maintained good relations with the churches we filmed.

      It interests me that most of the posts about joining Amish are written by individuals who want to leave their family or their current life. Is it possible an entire family could make the switch – together?

      Our new filmed project will document the authentic experience, by following a family joining the community we are working with on this. Its a great opportunity for a family that is open to taking part. Of course the family may end up staying beyond our short filming period, if it all works out as everyone hopes.

      We want to find people who are genuine in their faith and who have some real skills to bring – perhaps in carpentry or farming or similar.

      Let me know if you know families that may be interested

      Thanks , MATT

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        Susan Gill
        Joining Mennonites (March 13th, 2014 at 07:41)

        Joining Mennonites

        There are many versions of the Mennonite faith in the United States. They range from the fairly liberal Mennonite Church to the ultra conservative and plain dressing, Old Order Mennonite. I assume that your project is focusing on Old Order Mennonites since their lifestyle is the most different than that of the “English”. Similar to Amish, the O.O. Mennonites usually have access to modern conveniences like electricity and indoor phones. However, like the Amish anyone seriously considering joining their community would have to speak “Dutch” and know German . If you do not have these skills, you will never really be part of the group. IN addition, the Christian faith of the O.O. Mennonites is similar to the Amish. IT is based on NON RESISTANCE which does not simply mean pacifism in war , it means you are non resistant in every aspect of your life. It is connected to the concept of gelassenheit which means in essence, “Let go”. You subsume your individual personality into the Church as it is the Church, the body of believers, that you are upholding and edifying. Nearly every non O.O. Mennonite or Amish , has an extremely difficult time embracing this as we are raised exclusively with the rugged individualist mind set. In addition, O.O. Mennonites do not like themselves photographed, let alone filmed for t.v which they do not watch and are skeptical of. Certainly, if some “English” person was trying to join them, and brought in a television crew, their chance at acceptance would pretty much be nil.

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    Absolutely Nothing (August 31st, 2014 at 22:51)

    Absolutely Nothing

    My family and I recently visited the Amish settlements for a weekend trip. We had a wonderful time seeing the sights, eating the food, talking to the locals, etc. We, too, caught ourselves daydreaming in the thought of being one of those hard-working, selfless people who must be better off than us, right??
    Hmmm…. Although I know just enough about their culture to fill up a thimble, I do know this: I believe in Jesus Christ, I believe that you would be better off if you didn’t depend on your government, I believe that technology can give you a false sense of control, and I believe that chasing the almighty dollar can lead to nine kinds of hell. I also believe that a person should have a personal relationship with God, should always question authority when it’s needed, and should be free to put his/her two cents in the pot. With that being said, the lifestyle of the Amish appeals to me, but I can choose to live a simpler life right here where I am. Do I disagree with the Amish? Of course not. I learned a lot just in our little weekend jaunt that I plan to put into action in my own life! I think they are wonderful people, and we have many things in common with each other…. But, I think Mexicans are wonderful people too. Get my drift??? Other cultures can be celebrated and respected without being invaded. I grew up in a rural Appalachian coal county. A New Yorker couldn’t come down here and “turn country”, it just can’t happen…. not successfully anyway. I’m totally okay with being the visitor in the Amish world, as long as they keep letting us visit. That’s the beauty of different cultures…So what would I gain by leaving? Absolutely nothing.

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