I always welcome and enjoy discussions on the subject of the Amish way of life. After receiving questions about what it’s like to be a young Amish woman and whether I’d like to have a less strict way of life or not, I was motivated to grab my pen and write in response to that subject.
So who really are the Amish? Is it what is read in Beverly Lewis’ popular fiction books about the Amish? The far-out Amish Mafia stories? Or a strict group of people who refuse to socialize with the rest of the world?
In reality, you could ask almost any question and find someone, somewhere who believes the Amish to be this way. Yes, there really is that huge a variation of the types of Amish. For some, it’s a religion; and for others, like our community, we view it more as a culture.
While we choose a more laid-back way of life, we do not claim this to be what it takes to be joyful or to get to Heaven. Instead, we believe that Jesus came to earth to show love to mankind by teaching and healing the sick and ultimately by giving his life so we can be forgiven of our sins as we turn to God in repentance (see 1 John 1:7).
Our goal is to live in radical obedience to the Bible. To us, this includes that of non-resistance, whether it be when someone misuses us or when asked to partake in war or fighting. Our goal is to show love rather than defending ourselves. Our convictions on this are based on passages such as Matthew 5:38-42 and Romans 12:19-21.
Horses and buggies, as well as bicycles, are our mode of transportation. It’s not because we believe that other vehicles are sinful. We view the trend of life that the vehicle brings along with it breaks down the family unit, making it easier to constantly be on the “go,” rather than spending time together at home.
The computer, cellphones and Internet are other more modern conveniences we choose to not have. Not that these items are all bad, yet to us it’s a protection for us to stay away from them due to the evil and corruption that is available at one’s fingertips when having those items in the home.
As you may know, us ladies and girls choose to not cut our hair. We twist our hair up into a bun and cover it with a white cap. That is according to our understanding and 1 Corinthians 11.
We also don’t wear any make-up or jewelry. Sounds rather plain, doesn’t it? Now, one of you asked if I’d like to live a less strict lifestyle? Good question. Even though I was raised in an Amish circle, I do have the liberty to choose whether or not that is where I want to stay. For me to make that decision isn’t tough at all.
We are not perfect, neither do I view ours as the only true church. Yet I do find it to be a blessing to be a part of it. I simply don’t have a desire to raise my children with modern-day technology readily available for them. Even though we don’t have many of the modern-day conveniences, you don’t have to feel sorry for us. The deepest blessings in my life I have found to be a daughter of God filled with his peace and love.
As well as there are major differences among various Amish groups, there are also some who are similar to ours with only minor things differing. For example, while our men and boys wear suspenders, there are other churches who don’t. In some communities, the men wear hats more than others or the ladies’ dresses vary slightly. Some of these fine details aren’t a big issue to us while the principle behind it, such as modesty, is a greater issue.
Do you have more questions of any kind? If so, I’d be happy to answer them to the best of my ability.
Meanwhile, it is apple season, so how about making an old-fashioned Amish apple pie? My grandma used to make these when my mother was a little girl. In fact, in the autumn, she would occasionally bake some and sell them at a local Amish store to earn some extra money.
The amount of apples will depend on their size. You’ll want the crust to be nicely rounded, full with apple slices.
1 9-inch unbaked pie crust with a top pastry
4 apples, peeled and sliced
2/3 cup sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
¼ cup butter
1 egg white, beaten
Icing: ½ cup powdered sugar, 2 teaspoons water, ¼ teaspoon vanilla.
Mix sugar and cinnamon into apples.
Spoon into unbaked crust.
Cut butter into slivers and place on top.
Transfer top pastry to top of pie.
Trim off excess dough.
Lightly press outer edges together and flute rim.
Cut decorative slits on top to allow steam to escape.
Spread desired amount of beaten egg white into top crust, forming little peaks.
Bake on bottom rack at 425 for 15 minutes.
Turn oven to 350 for an additional 30 minutes.
Readers with culinary or cultural questions or stories can write to Gloria Yoder, 10568 E. 350th Ave., Flat Rock, IL 62427-2019. To see more on the Amish, go to www.amish365.com.