On Amish

I came into contact with a term called “Amish” when I read a headline news on Amish School shooting that occurred in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania in 2006 on the newspaper. Since then I have been captivated by this community and the faith that underpins it. It is a fascinating case study on humanities – I’ve been so absorbed reading The Amish by Donald B. Kraybill. I hope someday soon I could gain more-in-depth knowledge and have my own observations on it.

I am now reading up to Chapter 12 of the book about adolescence and Rumspringa, in which I had learned that almost 85% of the Amish youth would return to the community and be baptised. It is phenomenal to see how the Amish still has the resoluteness and determination to keep the population expanding and withstanding strong in the midst of modernity.

There are aspects of humanities I can explore and study about the Amish, for example, the religion and family histories – from the development of the religious reform of Martin Luther, the gradual emerging of another religious form of Anabaptism (Mennonites), the founding of the Amish religion by Jakob Ammann in the 17th century, and finally to the immigration of the Amish and their ancestors from Europe to the North America. Not without mentioning, Amish ways of living is actually reflecting their religious faith, their traditions, and the pride related to the the ancestral history (observed in the Ordnung and Gelassenheit). The part on the nomination and selection of the bishop is interesting, as it is not all brought forward by humans’ decisions but kind of including some part of God’s will too!

Amish ways also concern sociolinguistic aspect that originate from their ancestors as a result of the mass immigration during the 18th century, and there is a dialect is called Pennsylvania Dutch. The communities including the Amish still preciously value it as a form of intimate communication among church members.

I am also amazed to have found so many antonym in this book. Not just old and new, plain and fancy, but also low and high and slow to fast. I like learning new technical terms and vocabularies describing the Amish communities. I will keep on reading this book.