This week on H’s school, we were learning about Ohio. In a couple of the books we looked at, there were pictures of the Amish and their buggies since there is a large Amish population in Ohio (at least according to the books, I’ve never been there).
I was explaining to H what Amish people are like and what they believe. H declared that she doesn’t want us to ever become Amish because she likes colorful clothes too much! Lol.
In one of the books we read, America the Beautiful: Ohio, I found a number of facts about the Amish interesting and it made me start to wonder if maybe they do a lot more right then we realize.
- They base their lifestyles on Romans 12:2 “Be not conformed to the world.”
- Simplicity is more important than convenience.
- Amish men stop shaving their beards after they’re married (I never knew this. This explains the long beards! And I’m glad we don’t follow this tradition, although it might cut down on infidelity. No just slipping a ring off, you’d have to shave your beard off and that would be a bit more obvious! Although pity the man who can’t grow a beard…)
- Self-reliance and neighborly assistance are valued strongly. (I like this a lot!)
- They believe if they are faithful to their religious values, their needs will be met.
- They don’t expect the government to take care of them. They don’t collect social security, medicare or medicaid benefits. They take care of their own elderly and needy members of their community.
- They still seek modern medical care, but they don’t have health insurance. Instead, they pay members’ medical expenses out of a community fund (sounds a lot like the sharing ministry we’re a part of).
- They help each other build their houses (think barn raising!) and harvest their crops.
I really like their values with taking care of each other, not relying on the government for handouts (or anything else!), and their simple way of life. While I am super thankful for modern technology and conveniences (hello grocery stores, hot water and electricity), I can also understand the reasons that they choose to live without those things.
I don’t really believe that those things are sinful in and of themselves, though. Preaching that they are isn’t truthful and is in essence putting extra hedges around God’s Word. Hedges that while meant to protect, also ends up limiting the freedom that God’s grace provides. All that being said, I don’t think that God intended for us to live life in such a fast pace either.
The American way of life leaves a lot to be desired. The fast paced, always busy, mom-is-a-taxi way of life isn’t best. I am personally so glad that I get to stay home with my kids. I am glad that we aren’t both working although having two paychecks would be nice, its not worth it to be so busy and stressed and never spending enough time with the kids. Who am I kidding? I don’t feel like I spend enough time with them when I’m home all day with them. How in the world would I get to spend any time with them if I worked outside the home? But that’s a whole other discussion.
Seth and I have talked on multiple occasions about whether we should have our kids (obviously just H at this point, K is way too young) in outside activities like sports, dance or music lessons. We’ve both agreed that we honestly don’t think its ideal at least in this stage of life. We feel like we’re busy enough as it is. We don’t want to commit to any more time spent outside the home. Our budget can’t really afford it either.
I say all this to express that I think the Amish get a number of things right. They band together and help support each other. Isn’t that what the Body of Christ is meant to do? How much more could we get accomplished if we lived in unity, selflessness and generosity? Wouldn’t we have much more time to serve each other and to spend with our families if we lived simpler lifestyles? Just a thought.