I am not Amish; but then you get that by the title of this blog. Lately however, I am noticing more and more books, TV shows, articles in the news concerning the Amish. The National Geographic channel sports a new series called "Out of Order" which features those who are leaving the Amish, and profiles ex-Amishman Mose Gingerich. (You can read more about it at http://amishamerica.com/ Erik Wesner does an excellent job of sharing many articles about the Amish.
This interest in the Amish, including those who leave, has caused me to ponder what is really at stake here. Could it be that many in our society seek a simpler life? I seriously doubt that many of us would like to go back to the days of no electricity, trips to the out door privvy (although many Amish have indoor plumbing, and I seriously doubt we would do with out our cars. What I think people are hungering for is relationships--the kind that are born out of a simpler life.
The appetite for things Amish seems almost insatiable. Is it the life-style, the values, that speak to us? Or is it something deeper? If it is something deeper I highly recommend The Naked Anabaptist by Stuart Murray. It is not about undressing the Amish or Mennonite; it is however a frank look at Anabaptism in a post-Christian world. It was Brian McLaren who paired Anabaptism and Anglicanism (Episcopal Church)--in his book A Generous Orthodoxy--I continue to be grateful.
I am one who hungers for a simpler life. I believe that we can learn from one another--not that we have to be like one another. I cherish the handwritten letters from my Amish pen-pal, and hope to visit her again one day. In the meantime, I'll continue to study about the Amish, dream about dairy goats (in my retirement I hope it will be a reality), and thank God for the gift of work as I seek a simpler life.