Thursday, December 30, 2010

Lessons from the Amish

We watched an thought-provoking BBC documentary a few days ago called Trouble in Amish Paradise. It's in six-parts on You Tube. While it's sure to encourage you in your Christian faith, there are several take-away lessons I got from this series.
  1. What a privilege we have to be able to read and study our Bibles in English! In the documentary, families were being excommunicated for studying their Bibles (they are apparently told by the church elders not to read it in English, as their copies are in Old German, which many can no longer read), and holding prayer meetings outside of regular meeting times. To be fair, they were excommunicated for failing to obey church leadership on these matters; yet, as they said and the Bible teaches, one must obey God rather than man when the teaching doesn't line up.
  2. What hard workers the Amish are! They teach their children to work from the earliest age by having them work alongside the parents. As the father shared in the documentary, this is harder in the beginning--it's much easier to do the work oneself--but it makes the work go much more quickly in the long run.
  3. I picked up a mopping tip from watching the mom in the documentary. After a meal, she cleared the kitchen chairs, grabbed her mop, which looked like it had a large, sturdy pad that she covered with rags on the end of a stick. She took what looked like a bleach bottle (but maybe it was filled with soapy water instead), poured out a little water on the floor, and mopped it around. I think this approach would help me mop more consistently. It just seems easier than using soapy rags on hands and knees or getting a big bucket that you have to dip into, ring the mop out, and change the water several times.
  4. The Amish wake up early and get straight to work, which means they get dressed immediately upon rising. I, on the other hand, usually wake up, put my robe on, and either read my Bible if the kids are still asleep, or start breakfast if they're up and read the Bible to them after breakfast. The only problem with this is I don't feel ready to take charge of the day in my jammies and robe. It may be purely psychological, but as soon as I'm dressed, I feel like I can really start my day.
  5. Without electricity, the Amish do not have computers. How much more productive would I be if I stayed off the computer for a day? I may try it today (after I get this post up, of course!) :) (See my post, How the Internet Affects Our Contentment with the Ordinary)
  6. The Amish embody service and community. They help each other move, they bake meals and take care of each other's houses when unexpected events arise. Of course, the Amish are not the only ones to go the extra mile to help families in need (I see service all the time in my community), it's just a great reminder that we are called to serve.  
  7. Once the families learned that they were saved and justified before God because of what Christ had done for them on the Cross, and not the rules they kept on their own, it revolutionized their outlook on life. They had a strong, confident faith with great trust in God. Even when their daughter developed leukemia, their joy and trust in God through it all really encouraged me. "But when the kindness and love of God our Savior appeared, he saved us, not because of the righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit, whom he poured out on us generously through Jesus Christ our Savior, so that, having been justified by grace, we might become heirs having the hope of eternal life." (Titus 3:4-7)
  8. Although there may be cultural differences among us, as Christians we are united by our faith in Christ and love for the Scriptures. The same Holy Spirit is in us all, if we believe in Christ. It's really cool that we could share a meal with the Amish family in this video and feel like we have so much in common.
If you have time, I encourage to watch this series as a family. Tell me what you take away from it! Time now for me, in the tradition of the Amish, to get to work!


  1. hi there, I came across your blog and was delighted to find a post on the amish. I love reading books about them and devour novels by Wanda Brunstetter, Suzanne Woods Fisher and Beverly Lewis etc. I live in New Zealand and we have no Amish (that I have ever heard of) here. I will look forward to viewing the youtube clip link you sent.
    Your blog is so lovely and rich with encouragement. I look forward to visiting with you again.
    bless you Sandra nz

  2. Thanks so much, Sandra, for the kind words and encouragement! I will have to check out some of those books sometime. Thanks for the suggestion. Blessings,
    Cheryl :)