After studying the Amish so intensively this past year, I know there’s a lot more that separates us than it might seem on the surface. It’s easy to get distracted by the bonnets and the beards. And…with the Amish (unlike the Dunkards and most Mennonites), add in the buggies.
But I have a tremendous admiration for these dedicated people. They are living out their faith in the best way they know how…and their simple lifestyle is a choice they make as an adult.
They don’t just accept every new bell and whistle as a good thing…but they give it very serious consideration and ask the question: where it will lead?
Things like….video games. And gigantic houses. And credit card debt. And dependency (on foreign oil, on grocery stores for food, on public utilities).
Their goal is to live “plain and simple.” They grow their own food. They dress “plain” to avoid temptations of modern fashions.
The Old Order Amish take it even farther…they reject cars, telephones in the home (they see it as interrupting family time, which they cherish), and create their own independent sources of energy, avoiding the public utility grid.
There’s another layer to the Anabaptist onion…they live the way they do because they take very seriously Jesus’ words in The Sermon on the Mount (“blessed are the poor, for they shall inherit the kingdom of heaven”) and in The Lord’s Prayer (“forgive as you have been forgiven”).
Lately, with news about nationalizing banks, about a steadily declining stock market, and a gloomy economic outlook for our country…well, it makes me wonder if we all may be living more like the Plain people in the future.
Living with less. Prioritizing what’s truly important. Caring for the earth with an awareness of limited resources.
And, hopefully, living as an example to others of what our faith means to us.
Simpler might be better.