The Unwritten Rules

Limitations on Amish life are dictated by the Ordnung, which is what the Amish call the unwritten set of rules and regulations that dictates their day-to-day life. The Ordnung deals with a wide variety of topics, such as clothing, transportation, technology, education, and much more.

Passed along through an oral tradition, the Ordnung by necessity changes and evolves with every new issue that arises and every new technology that presents itself for consideration. When deciding whether something should be allowed, church leaders focus on key questions like these:

Will this force us to be more connected to the outside world?

Will this create division in our families?

Will this take us too far from home?

For example, members of some Old Order communities do not have bicycles. After all, if one has a bicycle, he or she may take too much time away from home and family or venture into the outside world too fully. Thus, with an eye toward the “what-ifs” of the situation, a decision is made for the district and becomes a part of the Ordnung.

Thanks to Mindy Starns Clark and A Pocket Guide to Amish Life for this insight into Amish living.

Last 5 posts by

Leave a Reply