The Amish & What We Can Learn From Them [Watch]
I recently stumbled on a series of documentaries about the Amish. Random right? Somewhat anyway. When I was a kid growing up in Iowa, we visited a New Order (modern) Amish community. Their houses looked like our suburban houses, toy cars could be seen in driveways, everything looked pretty much normal except the church. The church looked like it belonged to centuries far gone. It was almost if not completely bare with nothing but hard, wooden pews, and a gender divide down the middle. It reminded me of all the movies and I’d ever seen about Jesus and the local synagogues of His day. It wasn’t until I watched these documentaries that I realised the Old Order Amish don’t even believe in a church building! Talk about taking liberties!
There are many things that we “freer” Christians could nitpick about regarding the Amish faith, and some of those items truly are worthy of an honest, loving discourse in theology. Yet if we only stop at noting the points of disagreement, we would be remiss. There is so much more to gain from observing the Amish if we could see it. Things such as:
- Steadfastness of faith
- The importance of Bible study, prayer, and praise/worship
- Family values
- Entrepreneurship and so forth
I learned many things I never intended to watching these documentaries on this American sub-culture. I also never expected to hear such power in such a simple prayer from an Amish man. That may sound foolish or even prejudiced, but it’s true. I was struck by how well they knew--and believed--the Word of God.
But I think what struck me the most, in the first documentary, was that as someone who knows and recognizes the Holy Spirit, I could sense Him sweetly wooing the young family at the center of the documentary. When BBC was filming them, they were in the midst of a struggle between holding to the religious tradition they knew and pursuing the leading of the Holy Spirit into something more.
In Shunned, you can see how many of those who were once a part of the Old Order Amish communities are now members of evangelical congregations and are on fire for God! Some even have homes that they use as transition houses for former Amish youth and young adults. It’s a beautiful, wonderful thing!
Amish: A Secret Life (BBC)
The Amish, Part I (PBS)
The Amish, Part II (PBS)
The Amish: Shunned (PBS)