Guide Our People: The Amish and Mennonites of Ohio

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  1. Our People: The Amish and Mennonites of Ohio
  2. About This Item
  3. Calvary Chapel (Louisville, Ohio, USA)
  4. What's a Mennonite to do?

Whenever Jan would go to an Amish family's house, she would watch them closely: the way they cooked their food, the way they raised chickens, the way they chopped timber. But once I am there, drinking her freshly brewed coffee and enjoying some out-of-this-world strawberry crumble, she seems to enjoy being faced with some tough questions, and can, like Alex, talk about the appeal of Amish life without reducing it to a starry-eyed romanticism, or, in her case, leaning solely on bitterness or soppy nostalgia. In person, Jan gives off a host of contradictory vibes: spry and world-weary, wise and undiscerning, forthcoming and guarded.

Her house is dimly lit and decorated with the odd tchotchke; some of her paintings of Amish life — equal parts charming and eerie, like a lot of art brut — lean against the walls. She has a gaggle of grandkids and great-grandkids who spend a lot of time with her and wreak happy havoc on the place.


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But for now, she talks of her life with the Amish, and she sounds like she's been to war. I saw too much and heard too much. I became aware. Her children attended Amish schools, and the family participated in barn raisings, funerals and quilting circles. Eventually, she and her husband formally joined the church. Most of her children at this point were still too young to be baptized, as Amish don't usually accept a baptism before the age of Mostly, she joined because she feared that she would never be fully accepted as one of them unless she did.

She did her best to tow the line and "reject everything that could be possibly rejected," like toasters and windows on her buggy and the news. She could chat in Pennsylvania Dutch to the ladies after church. The Amish were Christian, and they didn't do "bad stuff," and that was common enough ground for her.

Most of the Amish people she knew, particularly the women, couldn't point to the scriptural passages that were the basis for their customs; they just did as they had always done. But this resigned attitude didn't disturb Jan too much at the time.

Our People: The Amish and Mennonites of Ohio

Because the day-to-day life is so engulfing. You're just trying to keep warm and get enough to eat and all the social interaction in a settlement," she says. After she joined the church, she remained in the zone for only a year or so. Like a frog in a pot of boiling water, she realized that the heat had been turning up while she'd been distracted.

Her older children were teenagers now and spending more times with their friends. Jan and her husband hadn't ever considered that this happened in the Amish world; they thought maybe the other parents didn't know, and they should all get together and talk about how to solve the problem. As even-keeled as she is in person, Jan had never really forsaken the independent part of herself that spoke out when she deemed it necessary.

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The Spread of the Anabaptists -The Story of the Amish, Mennonites, and Hutterites

Staff Pick Events Staff Pick. In his day and among many of his peers, the personal conversion stories and Bible studies of conservative Protestantism held a great deal more appeal than the buggies, broadfall pants and other world-rejecting gestures of conservative Anabaptism. With few exceptions, the novels are written by evangelical Christian authors and published by evangelical publishing houses. The top three authors of Amish fiction have sold more than 24 million books, and Amish romance novels regularly appear on the New York Times bestseller lists.

The Amish-fiction phenomenon has been covered by the Wall Street Journal, Bloomberg Businessweek, Time and Newsweek, among other venues, and full-page ads for Amish-themed novels regularly appear in the pages of this magazine. That the Amish, whom he left, would become so popular among the evangelicals, to whom he fled, might have appeared to my grandfather the ultimate irony. From his early and midth-century vantage point, the Amish likely appeared in the rearview mirror of history, and the engines of industrialization, urbanization and evangelicalism would have confirmed for him their marginal place in both his story and the larger American one.

As I researched the blockbuster popularity of Amish fiction for my book Thrill of the Chaste: The Allure of Amish Romance Novels, I thought a lot about my grandfather and about how my connection to him might flavor my consideration of the genre. So I wrote myself and my Mennonite identity into the book.

Calvary Chapel (Louisville, Ohio, USA)

I needed readers to know that I had some skin in the game, so to speak, and that I felt a strange blend of flattery and revulsion as I watched the burgeoning size and commercial strength of the genre. This is likely truer of Swiss-German Mennonites who share ethnic bonds with the Amish than of Mennonites of other ethnic backgrounds; still, a shared Anabaptist genotype with the Amish makes all Mennonites, regardless of ethnicity, ecclesial cousins if not actual ones. Maybe all the Amish hoopla in popular Christian and secular cultures signals that there really is something excellent about this faith to which we belong.

Indeed, telling Amish-fiction readers I interviewed that my grandpa grew up Amish, or that I had visited with Amish people in their homes, never failed to impress them. Yet as I read Amish novel after Amish novel, I felt a niggling sense of annoyance, too. It had something to do with the borrowing and benefiting at work in the fact that 60 non-Anabaptist novelists are advancing careers by locating their stories in Amish country.

First Edition. Ships from the UK. Former Library book. Shows some signs of wear, and may have some markings on the inside. Seller Inventory GRP More information about this seller Contact this seller. Book Description Herald Press.

What's a Mennonite to do?

Condition: Fair. A readable copy. All pages are intact, and the cover is intact.