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13 March 2005

What do you know about the Amish?

Knowledge leads to pride, says the Amish church, but my knowledge-base until last night about the Amish faith consisted of having watched Harrison Ford in Witness (1985) and having driven through Indiana last year.

amish

Devil’s Playground (2002), a documentary brought to our DVD player by E and G (our neighbors, the New York artist transplants) opened eyes, ears, and the mind.

Every society has their rites of teenage passage more or less formalized. In America, it is mostly accepted that college-aged kids will sow their wild oats; likewise, rumspringa, Pennsylvania-dutch for "run around," is what the Amish community calls the no-rules period when 16 years olds leave the community and explore the outside world.
It’s what comes after the fun where the “English” (everybody who is not Amish) and the Amish part ways.

After rumspringa, which can last an indefinite amount of time, each member of the flock must decide whether or not to return to the fold. When one decides to return, he or she is baptized into the church, and to leave the community after baptism results in the bann, the shunning from the community.
playground

The Amish way dictates that people must live their lives for God and leave modern technology behind because it tears apart the community. The Amish faith preaches that the evolution of the mind is a distraction which serves to emphasize the individual instead of the community. Amish parents encourage children to stop school after 8th grade, for they believe too much knowledge leads to pride.

The film depicted the question of belief for the ones who join; a struggle for the ones who stand on the outside. A person is either in or out, and that is precisely the question that each Amish teen has to figure out while in rumspringa.

In the "English" world, only priests and nuns and monks have to make such conscientious decisions about whether they are in or out of their religious society, as there is no such thing as being a part-time religious.

It’s not easy to be Amish; you actually have to choose it.

4 Comments:

Blogger Toni said...

I'm surprised that not more of these Amish kids get tempted by the outside world and choose to stay in it. But I guess leaving the community means also leaving their families, which is something not too many of them want to give up.

BTW, I tried commenting on your site the other day but I guess Blogger was having issues (I noticed that on several Blogger blogs). To answer your questions , I got my tagboard from Tag-board.com. The free version has popups, so I paid for mine. As far as the gmail account, I don't know how I got 49 invites- I used to have only 6 (then I gave away a couple), but for some reason Gmail gave me a whole lot more. I heard it's because they're about to release Gmail to the general public and so are advertising it like crazy, giving away tons of invites.

4:32 pm  
Blogger Toni said...

I'm surprised that not more of these Amish kids get tempted by the outside world and choose to stay in it. But I guess leaving the community means also leaving their families, which is something not too many of them want to give up.

BTW, I tried commenting on your site the other day but I guess Blogger was having issues (I noticed that on several Blogger blogs). To answer your questions , I got my tagboard from Tag-board.com. The free version has popups, so I paid for mine. As far as the gmail account, I don't know how I got 49 invites- I used to have only 6 (then I gave away a couple), but for some reason Gmail gave me a whole lot more. I heard it's because they're about to release Gmail to the general public and so are advertising it like crazy, giving away tons of invites.

4:32 pm  
Blogger Maureen said...

Thanks for your post, Toni. Yes, I agree. I think the severity of being shunned compels many to stay.

Thanks for theinfo about the tagboard and about the Gmail invites, too!
Maureen

6:25 pm  
Blogger Raúl! said...

I guess the main reason many do not leave is simply because there is no where to go. If they choose to leave where will they go? Who would take them in? They grew up with certain beliefs and the outside world might seem like an alien planet to them. Must be hard for them.

12:12 am  

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