What can we learn from the Amish?

                                                  What can we learn from the Amish?

On a recent trip to lovely Lancaster County, Pa., there was an opportunity to take an Amish tour, and learn more about this remarkable group of people.  Most people know the Amish choose to live differently from the non-Amish people around them.  If you're not Amish, by the way, you're considered "English".  The Amish people don't marry outsiders, they make their own clothes, and they don't own automobiles.  They don't use electricity and don't own computers or video games.

This blog won't romanticize them.  Their lifestyle is not for the faint of heart or the rebellious at heart.  These are pros and cons, like anything else.  But the fact that they strive to live out their understanding of being "in the world but not of the world," (John 15:19, 17:14-16) is something for all of us followers of Christ to contemplate.

Here are some "take-aways" we might want to think about:

1)  There are no church buildings.  Have you ever been to an Amish church, the guide asked us?  The answer is no.  They take turns meeting in each others' houses.  This is similar to the New Testament pattern of house churches (Acts 1:3, 1Corinthians 16:19).  As a church who has worshiped and served, and set up, and had praise team practice and youth group, in a public school cafetorium for eleven years, I can relate to the Amish understanding the people are the church!  Not a building.
2)  They gather at each others' homes for a worship service (no musical instruments allowed and up to four hours long!) every other Sunday!  The opposite Sunday is when they simply gather for food and fellowship.  Each family is invited to bring a covered dish.  And by the way, their food is simply scrumptious!  What's not to love about farm fresh ingredients and homemade food with no preservatives, and recipes passed down for generations!
3)  The children go to one-room schoolhouses through 8th grade.  Recess often finds them all, both boys and girls, playing baseball.  The Amish do not play golf or tennis, only team sports.  They are "team players."
4)  They have strong work ethics and take excellent care of their homes, gardens and farms.  There are no visible weeds or junk in the front yard or on the porch.  They keep up with fresh paint and clean windows and cared for lawns.
5)  They pay taxes, but don't take social security, etc when the time comes.  They don't want to be dependent on the government.  They also take care of their aging parents.  They're very committed to their families.  When older parents retire, they move into a small house built for them called a "Dawdi-Haus".  (Dah-Dee-Hahs), or the grandparents' house.
6)  There is no divorce.
7)  Photos are prohibited because they might lead to personal vanity, leading to pride.

What aspects of this lifestyle do you find intriguing?  Inviting?  With what would you struggle?  Whatever your answers, let's contemplate our own lifestyles and see how they line up with Biblical standards.  Let's keep striving for lives pleasing to Christ...even with electricity!