I used to be Amish. I had to stay a lot with my grandparents or aunts and uncles who are Amish, so I was sort of partially Amish. When I go back there now I still get into that culture. I can drive a horse and buggy because they don't use cars. And, of course, there's no electricity. I respect them a lot. The Amish like to live a very plain lifestyle, the way they think God intended. It sort of brings you back to like Little House on the Prairie days or something.
Our culture promotes individuality, while the Amish are deeply entrenched in community. To us, if someone stands out, it's no big deal because diversity is respected and expected. To the Amish, there's no room for deviation from the norm. It's important to fit in, because that similarity of identity is what defines the society. If you don't fit in, the consequences are psychological tragic, you stand alone when all you've ever known is being part of the group.
Well, part of it is the general fascination with the Amish. It's an extremely popular genre and Beverly Lewis just happens to have the market cornered. She is the bestselling author in this genre. We had actually optioned another one of her Amish books, The Redemption of Sarah Cain. We retitled it Saving Sarah Cain and it did extremely well for Lifetime so we pursued more of her novels.
If you're a good Amish girl, you're courting, you have three or four different beaus, and you go out and stay out all night. That's just their tradition. They date under the covering of night. No one knows who they're dating or seeing until two weeks before they're going to be married. It's how they've done it for 300 years.
I grew up Protestant. My dad was a Charismatic pastor of the Families of God denomination. Often, we noticed that - during a lot of his evangelistic-type services - that some of the Amish and Old Order Mennonite couples would come and stand across the street from the church and look in the door.
Properly speaking, global thinking is not possible... Look at one of those photographs of half the earth taken from outer space, and see if you recognize your neighborhood. The right local questions and answers will be the right global ones. The Amish question, what will this do to our community? tends toward the right answer for the world.
I got a sense of the amazingness of ordinary life, and I became aware of the marvel that we're around to begin with. I visited a lot of extreme communities, like the Amish, Hasidic Jews, and serpent-handlers. And I was proud, because I think I'm the first person to ever out-Bible-talk a Jehovah's Witness. After four hours, he said, "Okay, I have to go."
A. J. Jacobs
On the farm, I had chores. I had a calf. We had a herd of cattle in the pasture. We'd go and get me a calf at a cow auction with Amish people, which I would raise. I gave it a bottle every day, in this cute little coop, like a giant dog coop almost. I've always been a big animal person.
The English judged a person so that they'd be justified in casting her out. The Amish judged a person so that they'd be justified in welcoming her back. Where I'm from, if someone is accused of sinning, it's not so that others can place blame. It's so that the person can make amends and move on.
I drive out to this quail farm, where I get a lot of these incredible quail eggs, which I eat all day long. And I eat a lot of superfoods like goji, cacao and chia seeds, things like that. And I like unpasteurised milk of the goat and the sheep. They send it once a week from Pennsylvania, from the Amish farms, and I get it in Los Angeles.
If there's a group like Amish people, that want to live their own lifestyle "" they don't want to live in our city "" they want to live out in the country, with their own projects. We'll put up the buildings for them, design the buildings for them, design the food production systems for them "" if they want us to. But we don't control them.
Now, as a non-Amish person in the twentieth century who is not a part of the aging and thus noncoveted seventy-five-plus marketing demographic that views things like cell phones and iPads with that quaint, old-people mixture of astonishment, fascination, confusion, and abject fear, I spend as much time pawing my cell phone as members of the postpubescent marketing demographic spend pawing each other and themselves.
After driving 30-minutes East of Seattle, I expect to see a great bowling alley. But, as we pull into the parking lot, all I see are pot holes, a horse and Amish buggy, and no cars to speak of- broken down or otherwise. Even the building is in shambles, needs painted and looks a bit haunted. The old road sign reading- Flicker Lanes- is half-burnt out. Seeing the building's interior lights on, I'm reassured that the place is open- but then again, maybe they've been left on by mistake. "There's LOTS of NICE bowling alleys in SEATTLE, " I said. "Why did we come ALL THIS WAY to go BOWLING?" "I take it that you've never BEEN here before." "I don't think ANYONE HAS. I don't even KNOW what PLANET we're on." "I don't know what PLANET you're on either... but the rest of us are on your ANUS." I half-smile, marveling at his wittiness.