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The Amish Culture Essay

2444 words - 10 pages

Often described as The Plain People or people that are stuck in time, the Amish are often misunderstood as a religious culture here in the United States. The Amish people are just one example of a fascinating religious community found in today's society. "Their lifestyle, based on religious beliefs, is a separate culture in today's contemporary society." (Kraybill-Enchant, 3). The Amish reside in more than 200 communities around the US and Canada. In the United States, Ohio has the largest settlement of Amish in the United States; with Pennsylvania ranking second and Indiana third. (Shenberger). "The Amish are not easy to get acquainted with because their religious beliefs require separation ...view middle of the document...

Both Amish and Mennonite cultures believe that the Bible is the inspired word of God and that as Christians they should live as brothers, and that the church is separate from the State, they are committed to peace and their faith calls for a lifestyle of discipleship and good work. The basic concepts of Amish culture can best be described by the Anabaptist theme of Gelassenheit, a concept that encompasses many aspects of Amish life to convey the idea of yielding to God's will with a dedicated heart. "There are numerous meanings to Gelassenheit including selfishness, long-suffering, silence of the soul, tranquility, inner surrender, yieldedness, detachment, and collectedness." (Hostetler-Society, 306). "Although the Amish rarely use the term in everyday speech, the principal of Gelassenheit orders their whole social system."(Kraybill-Riddle, 30).Each Amish community maintains a list of written or unwritten rules, called the Ordnung. "Since the Amish lack the central governing authority present in the many other Christian sects, all governance is local, as is the Ordnung." (Wise) The Ordnung regulates all aspects of Amish life including clothing, child bearing, weekend activities and occupational activities. "An Amish minister once said of the Ordnung: A respected Ordnung generates peace, love, contentment, equality, and unity. It creates a desire for togetherness and fellowship. It binds marriages; it strengthens family ties to live together, to work together, and to worship together and to commune secluded from the world." (Sharp). The rules of the Ordnung differ depending on the Amish community. Most importantly the rules are designed to maintain the concept of Gelassenheit in unifying the church community as well as maintaining a community from the outside world. The Amish do have their own community laws they do accept outside government and willingly pay taxes. "Problems arise when a government law is in direct contradiction to the Ordnung." (Wise).Family life is an important aspect of the Amish culture. "Procreation, nurture, and socialization are the major functions of the Amish family." (Hostetler-Society, 145). The family, among the Amish, is marked by stability and the major function of the family is child-rearing. "Amish women who have reached the age of 45 have given birth to an average 7.7 children, with 29 percent of those women having 10 or more children." (Griffith). It is not unusual for young married women to have several children by their mid-twenties.During life an Amish person goes through many stages. The five stages are little children, scholars, young folks, adults, and old folks. A baby or little child is considered to be a gift from God and are welcomed into the family. From the time when children are walking to when they enter school the children begin to learn respect and to obey those in authority. Respect for authority is shown through obedience. "For example, the relationship between authority and responsibility....

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