NBC Left Field has produced a video report on the Amish relationship with technology. They interview Sherry Gore as the main contributor to the piece.

You might remember Sherry as the author of Taste of Pinecraft among other publications. She is a member of an Amish Mennonite church, and lives part-time in the Pinecraft Amish & Mennonite community of Sarasota, Florida.

In the clip below, Sherry discusses the challenges Amish face regarding technology, spiritual “seekers”, and other topics. We get footage from an Amish settlement at Newburg, Pennsylvania, and Pinecraft as well.

So the issue of the Amish and technology is a lot greater than a 6-minute video can do full justice to. That said, there are some interesting things in this video:

  • Sherry mentions automatic washing machines which some Amish in the more materially progressive churches are now using (vs. the classic wringer washers)
  • An Amish woman, Wilma Fisher, also appears briefly. She has some frank comments on the danger of online access (to men especially)
  • The video notes a projection we’ve looked at here before – that on current trajectory the Amish population will hit 1,000,000 by 2050.  That date is not too far off. Pretty impressive growth when you consider there were only about 5,000 Amish souls on the planet in 1900. Of course, certain factors could slow that growth.
  • Sherry notes that Amish in some communities forbid visits to Pinecraft, seeing the community as “a playground”

This topic seems to be of particular interest in the media recently (the NYT did a piece on the topic last autumn), perhaps due to our own struggles with the pitfalls of technology.

And at the end of this video, the interviewer raises this question: “There’s always more and more, and more is always better. But here’s this community that says ‘no, we’re going to take this, but not that.’ And I wonder if we don’t all crave that kind of control sometimes?”

What do you think?

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