Sunday, November 7, 2010

Week 44: The Amish Way: Patient Faith in a Perilous World

Three authors (Donald B. Kraybill, Steven M. Nolt, David L. Weaver-Zercher) studied a number of Amish communities in order to get a fresh look at their customs and practices.

Although I have always had a curiosity about the Amish culture, I struggled to get through this book. I don't think it had anything to do with the style of writing. The challenge was to stay interested while the authors discussed farming practices, forgiveness, and Amish Sunday services (nobody leads, men get picked at random to preach, and it lasts five hours). I guess I led myself to believe that a book about the Amish would be more interesting.

We have some Amish neighbors down the road and in the areas surrounding Dover. I see Amish families in buggies heading to the eye doctor next to my office. They're very quiet, and generally have not interacted much more than offering a nod in hello and being very cordial when my children ask if they can pet their horses. They do woodworking with local construction crews in the area and from time to time we see them catching a ride from one site to the other. So it stands to reason that part of my curiosity stemmed from wanting to know more about my neighbors.

I haven't read any other books on the Amish before, but I felt like this book was a little different because the three authors did their best to include the perspectives of Amish people. It brought the picture more clearly into focus.

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