Amish Push the Envelop

They have their rules. Infinite rules. Rules that don't make sense. Tradition. "It's our way," the elders say.

But many Amish I know creatively push the envelop! See what they can get away with before the line is crossed and the Bishop or Preacher comes calling. As some say, "before the black hat comes up the lane."

Mosie chuckled when he told me of homes where the no household electricity rule didn't include the barn, where Amish enjoyed lights and power tools. Harvey smiled when he told of the time he invented a buggy windshield by encasing it with clear plastic wrap.

I've met Swartzentruber Amish who've bought homes from English - with indoor plumbing - but kept promising the Bishop they'd remove that worldly convenience . . . or when they build a room addition they won't add electric and plumbing. Somehow that room addition is never built.

Others have boasted of their ingenuity in getting around the rules. I recently saw a picture of . . . well, I can hardly describe it; not a car, truck, motorcycle, nor a four wheeler but a mismatched combination of parts. The driver wasn't breaking a rule or committing a sin by using any one of those worldly conveniences. The contraption looked funny.

Among the teens, radios and cell phones are hid deep in the woods or inside the barn. Girls buy underwear at Victoria's Secret because, after all, nobody will SEE their worldly underwear. Others keep a sinful automobile tucked away in the woods; they ride buggies into the woods where they tie up the horse, change into English clothes, hop in the car, and cruise around town - without a driver's license! In the wee early-morning hours, they drive the vehicle back to the designated hide out, change back into the strict, plain Amish clothing, climb into the buggy and trot home before morning when parents arise.

Before he left, Harvey found an old, broken bicycle on a farmer's dump. He claimed the worldly (remember he's of the Swartzentruber Order that rejects bikes) prize,walked it over two miles home while his parents were away, and hid the thing in the barn. He laughed as he told me how he put the bicycle in his dad's (a Bishop) shop to make repairs.

I think Harvey is clever to repair something he's never owned. He pushed his "new" evil device over a hill and hid it in a culvert. Told his friends so they could all share in the community sin. "But," he added, "we rode at night so we wouldn't get caught."

What do YOU think? How'd you break rules growing up? Got comments to leave below?  ~ Brenda

(c)Copyright 2013, Brenda Nixon.


  1. This article made me laugh Brenda!! It also brought to memory an article that I wrote a while back about the many Amish believers who were being excommunicated due to their faith in Christ Jesus, see(http://ow.ly/kW6Ia).
    It's amazing how that the young people as you have shown have a desire for more freedom, and the church members that I show have found freedom in Christ.
    In both situations the youth end up leaving home, and in the other the church excommunicates them even when no ordinances have been broken.

    Thinking about this brings Joy and sorrow at the same time! Keep writing Brenda, and may God bless you :)

    1. You got it Andy! This post was meant to bring a grin to readers' faces, while my entire blog is to bring knowledge. But, as the Bible says in Ecclesiastes 1:18, "he that increases knowledge increases sorrow."

      Your article http://ow.ly/kW6Ia present a challenging thought.

  2. Hi Brenda,
    I loved this article, so funny! You really have such a special and enticing way to write your blog!
    Diane Horton

  3. LOL I thought this was very funny!!! love your blog!!!

    1. Thank you Julie. Feel free to forward it to your friends.