We got your questions over to Loren last week, and on Friday I got a fax back.
“This is what I’ve got so far,” Loren writes. “I plan to give the other questions some attention, too.” You’ll find about a dozen-and-a-half responses below.
I’ll get the rest up when I get them in from Loren. Until then, I hope you enjoy.
Win a copy of Chasing the Amish Dream
To enter to win a copy of Loren’s book Chasing the Amish Dream: My Life as a Young Amish Bachelor, just leave a comment below.
I’ll combine these entries with those from the previous post. If you asked a question already, you can enter again with another comment here. We’ll draw a random winner to post along with the rest of Loren’s answers.
Loren Answers Your Questions
Trish in Indiana: Sometimes, I wonder what it must be like to be so “visible” to the community around you, and to know that there are tourists who actually travel from miles around to see Amish people.
Can you tell me if you believe many Amish feel a “burden” of responsibility at being so identifiable to the public?
Thanks, Trish. Jesus calls us to be a “city on a hill”. Yes, that’s a burden, but an opportunity, as well. We are conscious of the scrutiny you mentioned (we even hear it in sermons occasionally), and it is probably good for us.
Bill Rushby: What don’t you like about being Old Order Amish? (Please forgive the impertinent question!)
Nothing major comes to mind. You’re forgiven, go and sin no more.
Slightly-Handled-Order-Man: We’ve read through different Amish America posts that the farm life is not as lucrative as it once was for many Amish (and non-Amish alike) and that many Amish people seek out careers outside of the home / farm, for instance the biographical information provided for your book states that you are both a school teacher and an auctioneer in addition to author and columnist. Acknowledging that, have you ever found resistance among your community toward your career paths as perceived to be immodest, very much unconventional or against community rules, or perhaps just against the personal opinions of other people?
Amish communities across America vary widely in how conservative we choose to be. In more conservative communities my auctioneer career would not work. In our community, as in most large communities, it is accepted. I have encountered very little resistance and much encouragement from my community members in my careers.
Al in KY: Two questions:
How many Amish auctioneers are there in the U.S.?
Are there other training schools (like Reppert Auction school) for
other occupations that are OK with Amish districts for Amish men and women to attend?
Lots. Probably hundreds.
My dad attended a farrier school when he was young. There are probably others, like tax clinics for bookkeepers and so forth, though it’s not exceedingly common for Amish to go.
Kim Shinn: This sounds like a very unique book to be written by an Old Order Amish gentleman…can’t wait to partake in the humor! I am interested in knowing what percentage of the teachers are male, as Loren is, compared to the customary young females that are teachers.
Thank you, Kim. In the past decade or so, the percentage of male teachers in our community has risen to perhaps 20 percent (my guess). In Pennsylvania, there are almost no male teachers.
HDL: As a school teacher, are you concerned with the federal government interfering with what and how you teach?
Theresa H: We have Amish friends in New York and one of their boys wants to be an Auctioneer when he grows up. Is their any books that we could get for him to read about Auctioneering?
Sorry, I don’t know of any.
lincolnlady1121: I would love to read your book. Seeing you are a bachelor I was wondering if there was a certain age that Amish men and women are expected to be married by? Are there many Amish who remain single all their life? If you were too marry, could you retain your job as a teacher or would you have to get another occupation?
Not really, though I think the average is something like 22 years old for men and 20 for the ladies. There are some who remain single–I’m going to guess between 5 and 10 percent.
I could keep my job as a teacher, though some men quit upon marrying because of financial considerations.
tjk: I was wondering how far you travel for auctions, and is this your first book?
I have been blessed to travel to New York, Pennsylvania, Ohio, North Carolina, Michigan, and as far west as Montana to conduct auctions. Sometimes I take public transportation such as a bus or train. Sometimes I hire a driver or ride with someone who is going anyway.
Chasing the Amish Dream is my first book.
mb welch: I work in an elementary school also. I am curious about how you think Amish scholars and “Englisch” students are the same and how they are different.
Your question/statement intrigues me. I imagine children from around the whole world have a remarkable amount of similarities.
Differences, I suppose, include our scholars having less exposure to an auditory vocabulary through television and radio, and consequently, more time to read and perhaps a greater chance at a visual vocabulary.
Celeste: What made you decide to write a book?
Why do you have a job? Someone pays you to do it right? Chuckle.
Patsy H: Is Loren the oldest in his family? How old is he now?
I am the eldest at twenty-seven years.
Osiah Horst: Is it just coincidence that your name is also Leroy? Have you ever been compared to Leroy Van Dyke?
I am assuming you are more than twenty two or twenty three, which in our old order Mennonite society is the “right” age for men to marry. Do your mother, aunts or sisters ever ask you when you are going to “grow up, settle down and get married”? Or do they just assume that no girl would want a “character like Leroy”?
How do you manage to do justice to all of these occupations and interests?
I guess my reading comprehension or memory work is not the best – sorry I got your name wrong.
No problem about getting my name wrong, Josiah. Are you that Josiah that’s running for president?
All jokes aside, you obviously know how it is, being single in a community like this. Lot sof people want to play matchmaker. In fact, when people offer to help, I started telling them to “get in line.”
I have no girlfriend at this point. The book does touch on some of the true values of life.
Doing justice to all those interests…perhaps I don’t. But, just like any other job, I don’t put in as much overtime at school here in my seventh year as I did in my first. Also, I have no chores to do, no laundry, etc. My mother and sisters take good care of me, for a small rent payment, of course.
Rich Stevick: Loren’s book is a witty, fun, and well-written read–I recommend it to all. My question: Loren, How often, if ever, have you seen a N IND rumspringa boy with a tattoo? How about an ear ring or two? Just curious.
Wow. Thanks for your kind words. I truly appreciate this endorsement from a well-known writer.
Rich, why are you asking questions about a group that is in the distinct minority–perhaps 15%? I’d love to sit down with you over coffee and discuss it in depth.
Linda: This is a delightful, lighthearted glimpse of Amish life, with laugh out loud moments sprinkled in. I especially enjoyed it, because it was written by someone who is Amish. I wish you well with this new book, Loren.
I’m much obliged.
Christy: My question for you Loren is when you are teaching history at school for your scholars are they learning your Anabaptist history or basic history you would find in public school or a little of both.
We teach basically the same history found in public schools though I would love to see us add some Anabaptist history to the school curriculum.
Mark – Holmes County: No question, but I did get a copy of the book just yesterday and here it is on Amish America today. I read the first 5 chapters & enjoyed it.
Brenda Baker: Will your book be available in a Family Christian Book Store? There is one in Battle Creek, MI where I do my shopping. Sounds like a book I would enjoy.
I think my publisher, Herald Press, sells to the store you mentioned. That’s a chain, right?