The Amish continue to be a source of curiosity for millions of people who are fascinated by, and sometimes attracted to, their steadfast ways. The 2006 shootings at the schoolhouse in Nickel Mines, Pennsylvania, heightened public interest in this unique people, and their extraordinary acts of compassion in the wake of that tragedy both inspired and puzzled many observers. The Amish themselves do little to satisfy this curiosity, and they trust very few outsiders to do it for them.
In this follow-up to the bestselling Amish Grace: How Forgiveness Transcended Tragedy,Donald Kraybill, Steven Nolt, and DavidWeaver-Zercher shed further light on Amish life, this time on their faith and spiritual practices. The Amish Way interprets the distinctive practices of Amish spirituality in their cultural context and explores their relevance for the wider world. Drawing on interviews with Amish people, Amish publications, and firsthand experience in Amish communities, the authors tell the story of Amish religious experience with Amish voices and through their cultural lenses.
In this thoughtful and sensitive book, the authors explain how Amish faith is intertwined with community and commitment, child rearing, home life, material possessions, the natural world, evil, and sorrow. The authors explore the complicated question, "Is there anything the Amish can teach the rest of us about living meaningfully in the modern world?"
Written in a lively and engaging style, The Amish Way holds appeal for anyone who wants to learn more about the spiritual and religious impulse that energizes the Amish way of life.
Kraybill, Nolt, and Weaver-Zercher (Amish Grace) team up once more to offer insight into the often misunderstood world of the Amish. Refreshingly, this study makes a point of focusing on the spiritual and theological aspects of their world rather than simply cataloguing the outward cultural characteristics. Horse-drawn transportation and simple clothing do make their appearances, but they are revealed to be simply incidental to a deeply felt faith rather than something to gawk at. Focusing on a triumvirate of religious beliefs, practices, and affections, the authors weave the spirituality of the Amish through the everyday fibers of existence. Chapters are organized by broad themes including "nature," "sorrow," and "family," then further subdivided into short vignettes featuring a particular practice or belief. The final chapter contains the broadest appeal. It includes a candid appraisal of the costs of living the Amish way, but, more importantly, also suggests how American culture could greatly benefit from the patient faith of this proudly "peculiar" people. All together, the book reads quickly and provides a fine and appropriately simple introduction to the Amish faith. (Oct.)