The ‘Amish House’ of Millersburg, Ohio
Amish people tend not to be too comfortable in the big institutional medical setting (come to think of it, who ever really is comfortable in a hospital? Shots, flourescent lighting, strange smelling hallways, poking and prodding doctors, ugh). This has influenced the Amish approach to obtaining medical services.
Midwifery centers and home births are popular among the Amish, as are the services of country doctors who make home visits (see Dorcas Sharp Hoover’s House Calls and Hitching Posts).
Pomerene Hospital in Millersburg, Ohio, even provides an ‘Amish House’ for Amish visitors to stay at, free of charge, right in the middle of town next to the hospital.
If it’s meant to replicate an Amish environment as closely as possible, some things on the Amish House don’t exactly add up–at least not on a quick inspection of the place–including the public power lines it seems to be attached to. A quick glance around back also reveals two satellite dishes. Hmmm. Maybe we’re talking the New New New Order Amish House here.
I think most Amish(Old Order) adapt well to the “English” world, when they need or wish to use it. I’ve seen them in hospitals in Pittsburgh and in restaurants and other various places. I’ve seen them in Niagara Falls, at Hershey Park and (when it was still around) Sea World of Ohio. They shop at WalMart and use banks and other “English” shops and institutions. Now whether or not they turn the TV on when staying somewhere away from home is unknown to me, but I’d think they’d switch on a lightswitch when light is needed. 🙂
I used to regularly drive for the Amish in Holmes/coshocton county. Many of them have used the Amish House. They have no problem with the use of electricity, and simply do not turn on the TV set. They adapt quiet well. I think the Amish of my area are quiet different than in some other areas, especially Lancaster County. They seem more accepting of English ways. I even know of 3 different young couples who have moved into English homes, and use the electric rather than converting to gas! That makes me uneasy for the Amish ways.
This seems like a nice blog. I hope to explore it more later.
Do Amish watch TV in hotels and motels?
Bill and Tamy, thanks for your insights. Bill nice points on the Amish engaging in ‘English’ aspects of life. The question of whether they turn on the set is an interesting one. Some Amish probably do, say when staying in motels and so on, or when visiting non-Amish relatives–I’ve had a few talks over the past few years on the subject, and a few have mentioned occasional TV watching in such situations, but to what degree Amish do so I wouldn’t know.
When the TV topic comes up, I usually soon hear disparaging remarks about the amount of violence/sexual content they find on there, so I think it’s safe to say that typical network programming ‘turns off’ the typical Amish person pretty quickly.
Tamy your comments on using the electric are interesting–I wonder if these were situations where they have a ‘grace period’ of maybe 6 months to a year to convert to non-electric? I have run into this situation in communities in Indiana, for example. Driving the Amish I imagine you have collected a lot of stories!
Recently I have been reading books by Beverly Lewis and Wanda Brunstetter. They have much experience with the Amish people, Old and New Order/Mennonite. I have also had my own experiences with the Amish as I work in the hospitality/lodging industry. The Amish live in our world, but they are not “of our world.” Yet they make use of computers t sell their products. They use the telephones and cars of others when they need them, but it’s not allowed for them to own them. They deal with “Englishers” (anyone who is not Amish) to benefit themselves financially, but they shun them in all other ways. They refuse any picture taking on the grounds the commandament “Thou Shalt Not Have Any Graven Images”. The man is the last word and law in the home. The wife and children are submissive to his word. What I see and question is their attitude about any injustices done to them. While they are willing to forgive outsiders, they shun their own within their religion for wrong doing and not repenting or asking for the forgiveness of the community. And then there is the “running around” period where the young pretty much do as they please while deciding if they want to join the church. Shunning does not apply there and there is no time limit in deciding about the church. They are a curiosity and a law unto themselves. The religion they practice is man-made based on the laws set down by the original founder of the Amish religion. They don’t believe that they need to be saved and washed in the Blood of the Lamb to attain heavenly reward. In some ways they are hypocrites in thier religion and practices. The Amish could be likened to a cult.
The Amish are unique, but not a cult
We are so blessed to be in this country where we have the freedom of religion. Our Supreme Court says that religion is something that compels a sincere believer to do or say things in a specific way in accordance with their belief. However, whenever someone is compelled by religion to act or speak differently and there aren’t too many believers of that religion, the label “cult” is often thrown around.
The Amish have existed for around 500 years. They have existed before the founding of this country. They came to this country because they wanted the freedom to practice their religion, much like everyone else in America does. Not surprisingly, this is why a lot of people came to America. To throw around labels like “cult” whenever someone is different because of their religion destroys what America stands for. It destroys the beauty that created this country and slanders a lovely set of believers.
I am not Christian anymore. When I was however, I saw plenty of un-Christ like behaviour from Christians. It is because of this I left the faith. Now, I realize it was ignorance on the part of the believer. Those un-Christian like behaviours were done by people that “knew not what they did” and thus I forgave them. I will never call myself a Christian, because I fall far short of being able to represent Christ to others. I think it is a very proud thing to call oneself Christian, be Christian literally means Christ like. You will not find many people in the world that believe as I do, would you call me a member of some cult? Or must I act and dress “strange” for that label to be attached?
Barb, Read your comment with interest. I too have read Lewis and Brunstetter and I also have a lot of contact with the Amish in my community. I think you will find the Amish in different settlements different in many subtle ways. Lewis and Brunstetter are fiction writers and although they may write about the Amish much of what they write does not apply to all settlements. Amish friends have made comments about the accuracy of both of these authors as to how accurately the stories reflect Amsih life when I have asked about things I have read in those novels.Lancaster Pa customs differ to some degree from Ohio customs and so on with other communities. Also the Amish of 30-40 years ago are different from the Amish of today as they cope with changes in the world. Among the families I know the head of the house is the father (that is biblical) but the wives have a great deal of influence in decisions about the running of the house and family. I have found that putting labels on any church group is difficult because we are all imperfect and as individuals do not live 100% to the teachings of the Master.
I like your comment. Yes, you cannot go on what authors write as they are novel writters and cannot vouch for all Amish communities. Some Amish communities are more open than others about everything. We should never judge others.
I agree with your thoughts about putting labels on church groups. Again that is judging others. We all have the right to choose any religion to follow and believe. The Amish believe in God and try hard to live in the way he would want them to live. None of us are perfect, and we are all human and make mistakes from time to time.
I admire the Amish for trying not to be of the world and keep their lives more pure.