Could You Be Amish?

Now and then I have wondered how I would make out as an Amish convert. After all, the movement is growing and not just by means of childbirth.

While my wife loves using power tools I have a number of tools that came down to me from my father and his father. It’s amazing how these saws and drills and hammers of wood and steel have retained not only their functionality but their rugged beauty. The wood takes on that special aged hue. I love using them. So that’s one point for being comfortable with being Amish.

I like horses too and have owned and cared for quarter horses. It’s true I haven’t worked with Percherons or the other large work horses but I’d be willing to learn. Just as I’d be willing to learn how to handle a buggy properly. And pick up some of the farrier’s trade. So that’s another point.

Chopping wood? Do that already for my wood stove. Candles and oil lamps? Love ’em. Lived up north for two years where that’s all some people had for light at night. (Electricity hadn’t reached a number of remote locations.) Quilts? Well, who doesn’t like snuggling up under a well-made quilt on a cold winter’s night?

And then I also share the Christian faith with them. And I have a smattering of German picked up from my mother’s side of the family I can start out with.

Ah, but then there are the challenges. I like photography and I like art. The Amish consider those the forbidden making of graven images. I like lively worship music but the Amish hymns are hundreds of years old and often focus on themes of suffering in Christ set to slow tunes. I don’t always want to dress plain but dressing plain is what I’d have to do. I’d rather not be a farmer 24/7 but farming is the preferred profession unless I can excel as a blacksmith, farrier or furniture maker.

But wait! Suppose I want to be a pastor. Well, that is chosen by lot and no remuneration is offered to those chosen – you still must work at something else. So can I make a living as a writer? What if I wrote adventures and romances about the Amish people? Hmmm . . .

What if I want to fly the flag? The Amish don’t do that. Suppose, in 1942, I thought it was right to resist the Nazis in Europe? No, the Amish do not enlist and they do not fight. Can I have a picnic and let off fireworks on July 4th? Nay, the Amish do not celebrate Independence Day.

So converting to the Amish Way is perhaps not so easily done even though I admire and respect the Amish culture and faith. If I was serious about it much prayer would be required on my part as well as a willingness to lay down a number of my desires and preferences.

Also, I don’t like wearing a beard. What would I do about that? And would my wife like to put on a prayer kapp and kiss a man with a beard for the rest of her life? I know she wouldn’t mind all the 19th century Little House on the Prairie ways but she’d have to give up her power tools. What about that? And probably stop being an RN.

You see, it’s not so easy for me to be Amish. How about you?

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2 Responses to “Could You Be Amish?”

  1. Having been around Amish all my life, in Virginia, I’ve often thought I’d like to try “the simple life.” But actually, it’s not simple, it’s much harder!
    I was raised in the city and don’t think I could adapt to not having a washer/dryer, electric stove/oven or mostly without my camera! Additionally, from a woman’s point of view, I wouldn’t like the long dresses in summer nor hanging clothes on the line in winter. We, too, have oil lamps and burn wood in the winter with no other source of heat in the house. Although we don’t have cable or satellite for TV we do enjoy watching movies from the library and being on the computer. Think I’ll stay English!!


  2. Actually withiin all the books I have read. And…
    being at the end of my age closing now, I look back and say if I had know about the Amish back then. And they would accept an outsider (which they probably didn’t back then) I think that quiet, peaceful, and to be that close to God and try to please God more than anything in life I would have probably considered it very much.


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