Amish Beliefs

Letting your light shine

I have a friend here in the Amish settlement at Holmes County.  He’s relied on a wheelchair for some years. Whenever I stop by ‘Aden’s’,I get a fresh dose of perspective. I don’t think I know a more positive person. ‘We have so much’ Aden tells me. ‘You can’t walk’, I think to myself. ‘How can you be this upbeat about life?’ Aden makes a…

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Amish Autism

A recent blog post on Amish and autism I stumbled across takes on the controversial view that childhood vaccines and autism are linked. Many have pointed to the Amish, who often forgo vaccination, and according to some have low-to-nonexistent rates of autism, as evidence of the link. Seems like much of the attention has focused on Lancaster County, with those in the know saying the…

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A quick look at shunning

Shunning is controversial, but helps uphold Amish society For the Amish, shunning only happens among baptized members. Youth may bend or break rules during Rumspringa, though Amish parents do not necessarily condone or encourage such behavior.   But in practice, some Amish youth buy cars, wear ‘English’ clothes, and so on. If they cross the line too blatantly, they may get a ‘talking-to’, but they won’t…

Amish Easter and other holidays

Just came back from the 6 am Easter mass as I visit Grandma here in very Catholic Warsaw, Poland.  It began with a procession whereby the priest, followed by the congregation, circumnavigated the church three times, all the while a series of explosions going off in the background to punctuate the event. Tomorrow is Lany Poniedzialek, Wet Monday, which is basically an excuse for the…

So you want to join the Amish

So you want to join the Amish

One thing that sets the Amish apart from many Mennonite groups, and for that matter most other religious bodies:  they don’t recruit. Amish typically neither condemn nor encourage attempts to join.  They may seem a bit discouraging towards the idea.  If the subject comes up, usually you hear something like ‘if you don’t grow up Amish, it’s really hard to do it.’ Occasionally, you run…

The people or the building?

The people or the building?

The Roman Catholic Church has one of the largest holdings of real estate of any organization in the world. Over the last two millenia it has build thousands of churches around the globe, some humble, some resembling lavish storehouses of art and artefacts. The multi-million dollar Crystal Cathedral, often called ‘the most spectacular religious edifice in the world’ was built in 1980 by the Reformed…

Sunday Morning

Sunday morning means church for the Amish. Amish services are held in members’ homes.  There can be a couple hundred people in attendance. The Amish group themselves into church districts of anywhere from 20 to 50 families, though they typically have around 25 to 35.  Each has a bishop, two or three ministers, and a deacon. Service lasts around three hours and includes sermons, Scripture…

No, I Won’t Say Cheese

No, I Won’t Say Cheese

Amish resistance to photography is fairly well-known. But not by everyone.  Or at least it’s not respected by everyone.  Tourists can still be a problem, frustrating the Amish and even causing accidents. The Amish believe posing for photographs is a form of pride. Reporters dealt with the issue, some tactfully, others less so, while covering the Nickel Mines incident last year. There are exceptions to…

Amish and happiness

People sometimes pity the Amish, thinking that since they do not have a chance to go to university, they must live miserable lives.  Not to mention:  no car, no internet, no makeup, no golf. But maybe it depends a bit on what you value. If you value things like unrestricted choice, education, wealth, and consumption above all else, then yes, Amish life might not look…