Rumspringa

|

Sunday driving?

Just got back from my leisurely Sunday walk through downtown historic Strasburg, the borough where I’m living this summer.  Amish buggies go past my window on a regular basis;  horse manure lines the streets of stone and brick homes, many of which date from the 1700’s and 1800’s. One of the buggies rolling down main street today was a bit different though–from far off, it…

Do Amish Drink Alcohol?

Do Amish Drink Alcohol?

The Amish & alcohol When I was first learning about the Amish, I was kind of surprised to discover that some Amish people drink alcohol. As I met more and more Amish people, I kept running across examples of this. That’s not to say that alcohol is a big part of Amish society across-the-board. But neither is it completely absent from Amish culture, as outsiders…

One of my biggest nightmares

Accidents between Amish buggies and cars happen.  Way too often. This summer during a three-month stay in northern Indiana, three fatal accidents occurred.  One happened when a distracted driver hit an Amish man and two sons riding in a pony cart, killing all three.  Another was caused by an Amish Rumspringa-age youth, who attempted to pass in a no-passing zone.  He and the driver he…

|

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 in the penalty box

Taxes, puppy mills, cream-cheese muffins–I just looked down the list of posts for the last couple weeks and realized that the Amish have been the subject of a good bit of controversy recently. Most of it fairly tame. But this one made me do a double-take. Apparently tempers got hot at the championship game of the Regency Hockey League in Lancaster County last night. According…

The Amish and drugs, continued

The Amish and drugs–it’s another one of those things that grab our attention because it seems so out-of-place.  Recall the media reaction to two young Amish men busted for dealing coke among Lancaster Amish “gangs” (ie, youth groups) in 1998. But following up yesterday’s post, it’s worth remembering that ‘heavy’,  as the Lagrange meth problem was described, may be relative. Meth has clearly been a…

What Are Amish “Gangs”?
|

What Are Amish “Gangs”?

In The Riddle of Amish Culture, Donald Kraybill explains Amish “gangs” in Lancaster County: By the age of ten, an Amish child will be able to name some of the groups—Bluebirds, Canaries, Pine Cones, Drifters, Shotguns, Rockys, and Quakers—and even describe some of their activities. Youth are free to join the gang of their choice…Parents worry about which groups their teens will join because they…

Thinking Ahead

‘We didn’t get out soon enough.’ In an article (no longer online) from the Toledo Blade, an Amish patriarch talks about moving from a liberal settlement to a more conservative one. This grandfather of 82 laments losing his two oldest boys to the world.  Had the family moved sooner, they may have avoided the influences that caused his sons to leave the faith. The Amish…