I’ve been to Pennsylvania once. I was thirteen and my family went to Bird In Hand and ate chicken and dumplings in a tiny roadside cafe. I petted the horses hitched to buggies in the parking lot. I tried (and loved) Shoo Fly Pie.
Aside from that, I’ve spent very little time contemplating Amish culture, the Amish lifestyle and the Amish faith.
Until last week.
This is going to make me sound very unscholarly, but my unlikely foray into Amish culture came in the form of a novel. A fantastically interesting and really fun novel.
My friend Olivia Newport just released her latest book, Accidentally Amish. The book, set in Colorado of all places, explores the contrast between city-dwelling, technology-loving Annie and Amish-born cabinet-maker Rufus. The book is great– without spoiling the plot, let’s just say there’s a fantastically romantic love story, some danger, some suspense, some money, some tears, some laughter and a huge dose of hope.
But aside from a great story, I also got a glimpse into Amish culture that was so different from anything I’ve ever read or heard before. Like this: Do you know why the Amish people avoid modern technology like cell phones and computers? It’s not because they believe they are inherently evil but instead its because they don’t want anything to stand in the way of God, family and community. Before allowing anything to become a part of their lives, they ask “how is this _____ (fill in the blank with a modern contraption) helping me to become closer to God, family and community?”
And, while I’m admittedly a technology addict and I certainly am not feeling inclined to do without my iPhone, I also feel a bit drawn to this simple lifestyle. And I’m starting to think about how my choices affect my relationships with God, family and community. And so I’d like to ask you to join me this week (and beyond) in being just a little bit Amish.
– How can I reach out and connect with my friends and family members in a way that’s more meaningful than a simple text message or Facebook post?
– How can I escape from behind this screen to pursuit true interpersonal relationships?
– Does modern technology take away from the time I have to spend with my family? How can I get around that?