Though the Amish are known to prefer to stay within their own circles, there are times when they must interact with professionals in a non-Amish context – law enforcement, medical workers, counselors, and others.

Serving the Amish James CatesServing the Amish: A Cultural Guide for Professionals, a new book by James A. Cates, is meant to help those professionals understand Amish beliefs and culture to help those interactions succeed.

Jim is a friend of mine whose private psychology practice helps Amish in northern Indiana. I read a pre-publication version of this book and found that it covers difficult topics with great sensitivity. Jim drew on his experience with the Amish in both a personal and professional setting to write Serving the Amish, which comes out next month.

We’ll have some more on the book at that time. In the meantime, Jim has recorded a series of interviews for the Serving the Amish website which you might appreciate. These are lightly edited, longer video interviews, with both Amish and non-Amish expert voices discussing a wide range of topics.

A Young Adult Amish Male

In this first interview, a young adult Amish male discusses his own life and Amish life in general.

This is part 1 of 3, covering topics including whether he thinks in German or English, the difference between parties and singings, and his mother’s reaction when he asked whether he should join church.

You can find the other parts here.

Tom Fitch, Shipshewana Town Marshall

In the second interview (part 1 of 4), Tom Fitch, Town Marshall of Shipshewana, Indiana, discusses his background with the Amish, dealing with fallout and parental reaction following the Devil’s Playground film, and drug issues.

The rest of the Tom Fitch interview is here.

Senior Amish Bishop

In Part 1 of this third interview, a senior Amish bishop reflects on service, why being Amish is a “passion”, and how living a simpler life is different today than 60 years ago.

It is a bit harder to hear this soft-spoken man. You will also hear some chimes of a clock in the background, including a tune I wasn’t expecting. Part 2 is here.

You can view the rest of the videos at the Serving the Amish website.