Last month, I had the opportunity to visit an Amish family in their home. Talk about fascinating! I was filled with some major inspiration, and I’ve got a lot of posts planned to share what I learned and saw.
But today, I want to get to the foundation of how my time with them changed me. You see, I had a lot of opinions about the Amish that came from lots of different sources–family members, media, books, and word-of-mouth. (I grew up in an Amish-centric town, so word of mouth was always plentiful.)
The couple I visited was around 70 years old, I’d guess. Their 16-year-old granddaughter was there that day to help her grandmother with canning. The couple’s youngest son also lived on the property in a separate house with his wife and children, but they weren’t able to join us for the conversation. For purposes of this post and future posts, I’m going to refer to the older couple as Eli and Esther (Names are changed to protect their wish for privacy).
One of the questions on my list was fairly personal. But I knew I’d regret it if I didn’t ask. “What drives you or propels you to live the way you do?” They both thought for a moment. Then they mentioned the following things.
- The community spirit and love gives them the security that they will always be cared for.
- By separating themselves from the world, their faith is clearer to others. They used the example of going to the store. When someone sees them, they know immediately what they believe…or at least a basic understanding.
- Avoiding modern technology keeps them further from temptation. I think anyone who has a TV in their home can appreciate this. The traps are everywhere, aren’t they?
Then after they’d said all these things, Eli said in his soft-spoken voice, “But it all stems back to salvation in Jesus Christ.”
Now to the average listener, this may not be all that shocking. But for me, it turned my thinking on its axis. For some reason, I’d thought that the Amish faith was driven by works alone…I can’t tell you where I picked up that thought…It was just there. So to see this couple express their faith and the reasons for it built in me a whole new respect.
I understand that there are many, many different groups of Amish who live out their faith in different ways and for different reasons. (And isn’t this true in the modern Christian church as well?) But in this particular family, I saw a genuine desire to please Christ and living the Amish faith was the best way they knew to do it.
So what about you? What have been your initial perceptions of the Amish faith? What sources have fed those perceptions? Does this post change your view of them at all? (And if you have any specific questions about my visit with this family, leave them in a comment and I’ll try to address what I can in future posts.)
On a completely unrelated note, have you visited Krista Phillips’s blog today?! She’s sharing some super exciting news!!! Be sure to hop on over there!