5 Things You Won't See in an Amish Church

Most Amish go to church every other Sunday.

Most Amish go to a member's home - or barn - for church service.

Most Amish rotate members' property for church service.

Now, let focus on the uber strict Swartzentruber Amish church service. In Deutch, it's called Gma (Gmaay).

Here's are 5 things you won't see in their Gma:


Amish Hit Songs

Ready to chuckle? If you've read many of my posts, you know they can be serious. Deep. Heavy. Informative. Even shocking! But this one is silly.

Most of my former-Amish family and friends have a quick wit and enjoy humor. They tell jokes and see the funny side of life. Josh loves to be quirky. Yah, there's one former-Amish I know who is solemn - lacks levity - but he's not the norm.

Today I share a humorous and hypothetical post that one of my ex-Amish pals posed in a group.


Rumspringa - a Perpetual Spring Break

Last week I answered curious question about the Amish - including Rumspringa - reminding readers that "my" Swartzentruber family and friends never heard the word until they left Amish. They did practice a "rite of adolescence" with more freedom, dating, smoking, and group sings but, they neither used the word nor left their settlement for a year of "running around."

This week I'm honored to host my friend Richard Stevick, former Messiah College psychology professor and avid researcher of Amish youth, in particular Rumspringa. His fascinating book is devoted to this famous - or infamous - period of Amish adolescence within higher orders.

Here's Richard  . . .  

Before the widely publicized 1998 drug bust in Lancaster County, PA, of young Amish men, virtually nobody but scholars (and some Amish) knew the word Rumspringa.

The word is electric. The publicized, stereotypical Rumspringa shows a perpetual spring breaklaced with hedonismrebellion, and license.
And some youth do follow this “fast track.”


Researching Rumspringa

A college student, preparing a paper about the Amish, read my blog and emailed me with questions. Thought I'd share some of her curiosity with you.

Her Question: What are the main types of Amish? From what I gather, there's the new order & the old order. Are the Old Order more traditional & the New Order more progressive? The Swartzentruber Amish (who u focus on in your blogs) are from the Old Order & are very conservative. Are they the biggest group? It's all very confusing to me. 

My Answer: There are more than 40 documented orders of Amish. Each with their own Ordnung and Bishop. Amish refer to their orders as "higher" to "lower" depending upon the strictness of rules. The Swartzentruber order is the lowest order - very punitive. Swartzentrubers are lower than OOA (old order Amish).

That led her to reiterating the rumspringa question . . .


More Amish Tidbits & Trivia

Last week's post was so popular with readers, who like brief facts, that I decided to add more this week. For those who want cultural literacy, here are tidbits about the strictest of the strict Amish orders - Swartzentruber. Remember, this is a diverse culture, my posts do not reflect all - or everything - Amish.

Here's one of my faves about them and some of the things I share went I'm speaking at libraries, churches, schools, and book clubs:
  • The Daudy [Dawdi] House
            A comforting tradition, I think, is the daudy (dawdi) house. To look after their aging parents, the oldest married child builds a house on the home property for the parents. The parents move into the newly-built house while the married son/daughter and family move into the family’s original home. 

            Driving by Amish property, you often see two homes in close proximity, and now know why. The nice things about this arrangement is that the aging parents are constantly around their grandchildren and visa versa. My husband and I tease Harvey (our son-in-law) that he must build us a daudy house on his property. *smile*


Amish Tidbits & Trivia Exposed

I compare the Amish culture to an onion—one familiar look but many layers. Each time I think I know a rule, hear a story, or understand a practice, I’ve only pulled away a thin cover. Here are miscellaneous insights gained from years of knowing Amish and living with former Amish from both Swartzentruber and Old Orders . . .


Breaking the Silence

Dear Readers,

Never have I enthusiastically recommended a project but, this one I do! 

My pal, former Amish preacher Lester, is breaking the silence on why he left the Amish. This new film is gripping and hopeful. I encourage you to read the information below and consider financially supporting this worthy project now. Get involved in helping to tell the truth. 


Don't Ask Me about the Amish!

I invited our former-Amish son-in-law Harvey to accompany me on a speaking engagement. He's a valid resource. Maybe I could defer an audience question to him.

"No!" he protested. "They'll put me in the question box."

I smiled. Understood. Dropped it. Many former Amish do not reveal their upbringing because they'll be cocooned in questions. Curiosity. Same interrogation.


Do the Amish use a Bible?

Readers and audiences always ask questions about the Amish -- this complex American sub-culture that intrigues people around the globe. My blog readers are in Canada, Australia, Central and South America, and European countries.

Most people believe all Amish are godly, conservative Christians. Most believe all Amish read, study, and live the words of the Bible.

I was speaking recently when an audience member raised her hand and asked, "Do the Amish use a Bible?"


Intimate View of Cloistered Culture

She was excited!

"We found a picture of a Swartzentruber buggy for our flier," exclaimed the library's adult program planner.

She'd wanted me to speak during her library's Brown Bag Chat - noon program - about my life with Amish and those who've gone beyond their buggies & bonnets.

Some have come through our home - Mosie, Josh, Monroe, Sarah, Noah, Levi, Dan, Andy, Marvin - some I do life with - our son-in-law Harvey, then there's Ida, and Emma. Some I know from a distance - Lester, Katie, Esther, Ed, and John.

Several times I was invited to bring my suitcase of Amish clothes and present a program at private and public venues. I posted about speaking and answering audience questions at the Twinsburg, Ohio public library.


Exposing Fake Amish

Could you identify an illusion?

Recently, this came to my inbox. Read and tell me if you think it's real.

I was writing to you because I came across your information pages. My son and I left Holmes County several months ago following my husbands death. I did not want to be his widow fathers new wife and as such we have been