Saturday, July 29, 2006

Thoughts On The Amish

My vacation is nearing an end but I have thoroughly enjoyed it. It's felt like the longest week-long vacation I've ever taken and that's not in a bad way. I've had a blast. My sister and I took the five little ones on a 3 mile canoe trip today. Though that deserves a post of it's own I'll pass. But I did want to go ahead and share some thoughts about the Amish as I hope to blog my River Hills experience with tomorrow's post.

To bring you up to speed, the first part of my vacation was spent in Smithville. And if you've never been to that part of the country, there are times in which you feel as if you've gone back in time. To see farmers using antiquated equipment to work their crops and to see families using horse and buggy as their primary source of transportation is a sight to behold. I actually saw hitching posts at the Wooster Super Walmart!

I've always admired the Amish - their simplistic lifestyle, their work ethic, their refusal to conform, and of course I love their home cooking. However, I'm a little confused about some inconsistencies I see within their rather stringent belief system. Let me give you an example. This past Tuesday, Emrie and I ate dinner with the Piatts at CiCi's Pizza in Wooster. As we were leaving, an Amish family of 13 was getting out of a van and heading for the buffet line. Now, if you know anything about the Amish, you know that it is against their belief system to own or operate a motor vehicle, yet they have no problem hiring a chauffer to transport them by the van load.

Here are some other "loop holes" I've identified. If I'm in error, please correct me [but really, how many Amish read An Open Doerr].

  • They can't have a land line telephone but a cell phone is totally acceptable
  • They can't use electricity in their home useless that electricity is produced from a gas generator OR that particular home is being rented. If it's a rented farm house and not one that you own, you can utilize the electricity.

I love my Amish but it just seems a bit odd that they have created these loop holes. Either phones and motorized cars are wrong or they're not, there's no middle ground. My hope is that an Amish reader will read this post and clarify these apparent inconsistencies or even correct my erroneous comments but then again, can you access An Open Doerr from a gas powered generator?


Jana said...

Holmes County, Ohio is one of my favorite places to visit. I'm intrigued by the Amish too...the family in the van may have actually been Mennonites. The Old Order Amish are more the horse, buggy, no electricity type of people.

Anonymous said...

I was happy to read your thoughts on the Amish...I as well have noticed some of those inconsistencies and wondered, as some movies suggest, if they were from a different ordnung? So I got to poking around and found this website you might be interested I was.
I frequent an area (when fishing) that is populated with Amish and have noticed several, who have over the years, moved into homes I knew had electricity and wondered how and why they were using it too if it was not their belief. SO you cleared some things up for me today..thanks Chad!
Glad you enjoyed your vacation!Although I was sure hoping for some fish pics! Maybe next time~

keith said...

My understanding of the Amish from spending a night in an Amish bed and breakfast which meant no television and nothing to do but read the lifestory of Tobias that was left in the nightstand, they are just like denominations. There are, I believe, 3 levels of belief. Some believe nothing of modern convenience, some believe some modern conveniences and some are moving towards more acceptance.

Just like some denominations believe in no musical instruments, some believe in just an piano and others ask, Where's the drums???

Jen said...

Where I'm from in Pekin, IN the Amish would put phones in their barns. This way they could say they didn't have one in the home. Something to think about.

Anonymous said...

There are also some taxes they don't have to pay. And.. for the kicker some get a big break on healthcare costs. Some hospitals have a barn where they can house the Amish while they are having surgery. They get a break on the cost because the group of them goes together and pays cash at a discounted rate. The Hospitals are not worried about being sued because that is against their ways, and they take very good care of their own. Being self employed I am well aware of the conditions of health care costs. What ever happened to "What's good for the goose is good for the gander?"

Robin said...

Found this website, and it may or may not answer some of your questions. I found it to be interesting. My parents are going to "Amish Country" at the end of this week...seems to be a good topic of interest.

gretchenhs said...

I've always loved the Amish as well...are you sure these people were Amish and not Mennonites? I know the later group have conformed a bit more than the Amish. We have a few that looked at our house to buy and eventually moved down the street from us.

Sara said...

The Amish actually spun from the mennonite and not the other way around - most people think that the mennonites broke from the Amish...not so. The Amish believed that the mennonites were becoming to worldly...thus they split and began what we know of the Amish today...