2/19/13

Don't See It or Hear It? Then It Doesn't Exist!


Thanks for reading or subscribing to my blog. Evidently you've learned a bit about the complex Amish culture and discovered that I'm sharing my experiences with ex-Amish to help others see a truer picture of the culture than the rosy, everything-is-perfect Amish fiction books.

Although truth is better than fiction, many people choose to absorb themselves in the fantasy, half-truth that EVERYTHING Amish is splendid, they cannibalize romance books, and seek to emulate these most "Christian" people.

No truth please
When presented with truth that doesn't fit their image, these people remind me of the see no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil monkeys. Although non-fiction books and programs like AMERICAN EXPERIENCE "The Amish" or National Geographic provide a lens by which to learn more, it doesn't feed most publishers' ravenous demand for money via Amish romance. Consequently, I'm trudging uphill as an author trying to get my non-fiction Amish book published.

Unless I've not made it clear:
The Amish culture consists of many different strata. Each strata - Order - has different rules. Any author worth her salt will be professional enough to write accurately and refrain from painting the culture with broad strokes indicating all Amish are happy, contented, simple people. Those who believe that, need to turn a light on in their darkened cavernous mind.

WARNING: if you're one who believes in utopia, cover your eyes and ears 'cause here's some truth: there are Amish who are miserable, in bondage to rules, empty, robotic. There is rape, incest, infant mortality due to neglect, bullying, spousal and child abuse. Human rights violations exists within particular orders. Not all Amish are Christians. There are sects that see you (non-Amish) with dollar signs in your eyes; they want your money, not your friendship.

Do me a favor? Tell others to avoid assuming, because I provide a lens to look closer and seek to understand this misunderstood culture, that I'm anti-Amish. They produced a very fine and much loved son-in-law to our family. They can be resourceful, industrious, and good-humored. There are also lazy Amish. Oops, I forgot to warn people to cover their ears.

You who are compassionate, brave enough to go against the trend, and like to learn have my respect. Continue reading my blog for more true stories . . . some might be funny. Those who want to entertain a utopia where no evil exists need to move on to an Amish Romance book.

7 comments:

  1. Well said, Brenda! There are positive and negative things in every culture, and it's delusional to believe the Amish life is a utopian one.

    In high school I worked at a store frequented by tourists. So many of them would look at the beautiful Amish farms surrounding the store and sigh, "Oh...I'd love to be Amish. I could just stay here." ...As if it was an easy and perfect life. If they only knew...

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  2. As I try to remind both my Amish, ex-Amish, and non-Amish friends: there is evil everywhere. There are good and bad people in every culture, class, race, color, ethnicity. We are human beings living in a fallen world.

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  3. Thanks Brenda K. & Blue Eyes. As I've said before, fiction is fine as long as people remember it's fiction - made up, pretend - and don't take it as a sweeping truth on Amish life. The game Monopoly made it's fame & fortune during the Great Depression when people needed an escape. I wonder if now people use Amish Romance as their escape.

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  4. So maybe the Amish Mafia and similar shows are the pendulum swinging way too far the other way. Then there is Brenda Nixon right in the middle trying to stop the momentum and just be realistic. But the pendulum is too heavy. Maybe together we can slow it down. :)

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  5. True, there are positives and negatives in every society - especially with the Amish. I have lived near Amish most of my life, but didn't really come into close contact with the Amish culture until I was in high school - late 60's and early 70's. My father owned some acreage in northern part of our county. An Amish family rented and farmed the land for us. We always enjoyed visiting with the local Amish families - as they were awesome cooks and bakers!! I became friends with an Amish boy who was my age. We always spent our time just talking - he would ask me about my life and I would ask him about his life. One story that he told me was how he, his dad and several other Amish men in the area would go out drinking until the wee hours of the morning then come home - change clothes and start doing chores for the day. We were both only 15-16 years old - so I thought that it was strange that he, being under age, was allowed to partake in drinking. So, if we think that the Amish are a "Christian" order - think again!! As I have gotten to know more Amish and have studied their religious beliefs I have learned that the Amish orders tend to "make up the rules as the Bishops see fit" and are not Biblically based, as most Amish have never read the Bible and only believe what their Bishops tell them. Currently we live near a new Amish community - who recently purchased a couple of farms and have built 6 CAFO -size chicken houses for a well known poultry company. These Amish, use their horse and buggies rarely. They have 2 large ford tractors, w/cabs and air conditioning so they use those tractors to do ALL of their traveling - grocery shopping, to Wal-Mart and CVS in Mt. Vernon and everywhere! These tractors do not have license plates, so therefore they pay no road taxes! They have figured out how to beat the system! Our English system of law and order! Well, I could tell more stories relating to how the Amish don't pay any attention to our laws, but I'm sure everyone will get my point! There are good and bad, negative and positive in the Amish communities, too! Thanks Brenda for your thought provoking blogs!!

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  6. Interesting thoughts. We're far removed from this culture here in Texas, but we see simliar misconceptions about our state. Everyone thinks we wear cowboy boots and ride horses to check on our oil wells. The truth, as you say, lies somewhere in the middle. Not all Amish hide drinking habits or launder money. Nor do they all ride buggies and wander peacefully in their fields each day. I do think that opening a dialogue on this and other issues is critical--for their well-being and ours.

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  7. Since Jesus came full of grace and truth, the Apostle Paul's encouragement and goals for us are so on target:

    Ephesians 4:15

    “We will in all things grow up into him who is the Head, that is, the Christ.” (NIV)

    “God wants us to grow up, to know the whole truth and tell it in love—like Christ in everything.
    (The Message)

    Thank you, Brenda. Your courage and passion shine in these posts.

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