The Amish WayPatient Faith in a Perilous World
A sensitive and realistic look at the spiritual life and practices of the Amish This second book by the authors of the award-winning Amish Grace sheds further light on the Amish, this time on their faith, spirituality, and spiritual practices. They interpret the distinctive practices of the Amish way of life and spirituality in their cultural context and explore their applicability for the wider world. Using a holistic perspective, the book tells the story of Amish religious experience in the words of the Amish themselves. Due to their long-standing friendships and relationships with Amish people, this author team may be the only set of interpreters able to provide an outsider-insider perspective. Provides a behind-the-scenes examination of Amish spiritual life Shows how the Amish practices can be applied to the wider world Written by authors with unprecedented access to the Amish community Written in a lively and engaging style, The Amish Way holds appeal for anyone who has wanted to know more about the inner workings of the Amish way of life.
Preface xi Part One Searching for Amish Spirituality 1 1 A Peculiar Way 3 2 Spiritual Headwaters 17 Part Two The Amish Way of Community 29 3 Losing Self 31 4 Joining Church 45 5 Worshiping God 59 6 Living Together 75 Part Three The Amish Way in Everyday Life 91 7 Children 93 8 Family 107 9 Possessions 123 10 Nature 137 11 Evil 151 12 Sorrow 165 Part Four Amish Faith and the Rest of Us 179 13 The Things That Matter 181 Acknowledgments 193 Appendix I. The Amish of North America 195 Appendix II. Amish Lectionary 205 Appendix III. Rules of a Godly Life 209 Notes 223 References 239 The Authors 247 Index 249
In their second book together after their best-selling Amish Grace: How Forgiveness Transcended Tragedy, Kraybill (senior fellow, Young Ctr. of Elizabethtown Coll.), Steven M. Nolt (history, Goshen Coll.), and David L. Weaver-Zercher (American religious history, Messiah Coll.) go further in depth into Amish spirituality.Filled with Amish voices, the book is a compelling weave of anecdotes of Amish religious beliefs, practices, and affections, divided into four parts: spirituality, community, everyday life, and the things that matter. Describing the Amish faithful as secure, serene, and content, the authors further explore ways in which the non-Amish, or "English," can learn from Amish spirituality. Their inclusion of a short history of Anabaptists (the antecessors of the Amish), a sample lectionary, and the "Rules of a Godly Life" makes this insightful work even more delightful. VERDICT Adding to the growing body of literature on the Amish, this book will be a welcome addition to academic religion collections and of interest to readers at public libraries as well. (Library Journal, October 2010) 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.) (Publishers Weekly, September 14, 2010)
Donald B. Kraybill, Ph.D., is senior fellow at the Young Center of Elizabethtown College in Elizabethtown, Pennsylvania. Steven M. Nolt, Ph.D., is professor of history at Goshen College in Goshen, Indiana. David L. Weaver-Zercher, Ph.D., is professor of American religious history at Messiah College in Grantham, Pennsylvania. They are the coauthors of the bestselling book Amish Grace: How Forgiveness Transcended Tragedy, which served as the basis for the most-viewed Lifetime movie of all time.
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.
Praise for The Amish Way "The Amish Way is enlightening, practical, and well-researched. A wonderful read!" —Beverly Lewis, New York Times bestselling author of Amish fiction "With detailed personal anecdotes and explanations straight from the Amish themselves, The Amish Way illustrates the simplicity and grace with which the Amish live their lives, and proves that those of us who have our own questions with faith might well learn from their example."—Jodi Picoult, author, Plain Truth and House Rules "The Amish Way is a treasure—educating as it enlightens, inspiring as it informs. The authors' vast access to Amish life and use of Amish voices makes The Amish Way unparalleled in its authenticity and accuracy."—Erik Wesner, author, Amish America blog and Success Made Simple: An Inside Look at Why Amish Businesses Thrive "Kraybill, Nolt, and Weaver-Zercher bring a rare combination of expertise and understanding to the religious beliefs and practices that shape Amish life. The Amish Way is a fascinating exploration of the spirituality of a people who live their faith."—Karen Johnson-Weiner, professor of anthropology, SUNY Potsdam; author, New York Amish "In this beautifully written book, a Christian community that is often viewed as a curiosity emerges as a thoughtful, complicated body of believers. The authors' appreciative and nuanced portrait helps us understand the Amish way of life—and challenges us to reflect on our own." —Dorothy C. Bass, editor, Practicing Our Faith: A Way of Life for a Searching People
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