Author Murray Pura and Amish Writing

I did not grow up with the Amish but I grew up with the Mennonites and there are a lot of similarities between the two groups in certain areas. Both use German (the Mennonite low German is close to the Amish Pennsylvania Dutch), both are pacifists (though some Mennonite groups would be less so than others these days most still lean in that direction), both have strong ties to the land (Mennonites are in every occupation under the sun but a lot of them have rural or agricultural backgrounds), both revere the Bible as the Word of God (though some Mennonite groups would be less fervent about that), both enjoy strong family and church community relationships.

I’ve written four Amish books now and as I wrote them I reflected on my warm memories of Mennonite churches and friendships quite a bit. I found that just as the Mennonites I know often live their faith in the big world outside of Mennonite communities (which in Canada include places like Winkler, Manitoba and Abbotsford, BC) my Amish characters have a way of leaving their communities in Paradise or Elizabethtown or Bird-in-Hand and living their unique faith in the bigger world around them. Sometimes the year is 1861 or 1917 or 1875 or even 2011 but they engage and interact with and even transform the non-Amish people around them because they do not leave what they believe at home or at church or at the barnyard or in the horse-drawn buggy.

That is the fascination I have with the Amish right now and this fascination is reflected in the tales that come bubbling up from within me – how true are they to their vision of God and the Christian life if they are placed in settings where there are not always hundreds of similar-minded Amish around them for support? Does the non-Amish community mold them or do they bend the non-Amish world towards their approach to life in Christ? It creates an interesting dynamic which I’m still not tired of exploring.

I say I’ve written four books but the first two aren’t due to be published until January 1st, 2012, just a little over four months from now. The other two should be released in 2013, God willing. I have plans for many more and I hope my first ones bless, entertain and challenge in good ways that open the doors for the others to appear in their footsteps (or buggy tracks).

The titles of those first two books are The Wings of Morning (Harvest House) and A Bride’s Flight From Virginia City, Montana (Barbour).

God’s peace to you.

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