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Amish Living

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Amish Living - Page Text Content

BC: Amish Living

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2: Beliefs | The Pennsylvania Amish believe that community harmony is threatened by secular values such as individualism and pride, which permeate the modern world. Thus, the Amish of Pennsylvania curb interaction with outsiders and insulate themselves from modern technology and mass media. They also prohibit habits that feed individualism and greed, as displayed through their plain dress style and prohibition of personal photographs. Personal Bible study and devotions are discouraged because individual interpretations may challenge traditional doctrine. Buggies are a dark gray color so they can blend into their surroundings rather than stand out. Although the Pennsylvania Amish resist cultural influences, they are willing to strike compromises with the modern world, tapping its benefits while still preserving the Amish identity. They are willing to use modern technology to live, work and communicate - as long as they do not disrupt family and community stability.

3: Humility is the hallmark of Amish beliefs. Mild and modest personalities are esteemed. Patience, waiting and yielding to others are marks of maturity. Obedience, conformity to goals and community activities are encouraged. To preserve the Amish identity and maintain spiritual harmony, members are encouraged to surrender their personal aspirations for the sake of community purity. | These ideals are maintained by keeping all work, play, worship, commerce and friendship within the Amish orbit. | There is no single governing body for the entire Old Order Amish population; rather, each church district decides for itself what it will and will not accept. However, all districts base their regulations on a literal interpretation of the Bible and an unwritten set of rules called the Ordnung. And the population as a whole stresses humility, family, community and separation from the modern world.

4: The Amish practice adult baptism, rather than infant baptism, believing that only adults can make informed decisions about their own salvation and commitment to the church. Prior to baptism, Amish teenagers are encouraged to sample life in the outside world, in a period referred to as rumspringa, Pennsylvania Deutsch for "running around." They are still bound by the beliefs and rules of their parents, but a certain amount of disregard and experimentation is permitted or overlooked. During this time many Amish teenagers use the relaxed rules for a chance at courting and other wholesome fun, but some may dress "English," smoke, talk on cell phones or drive around in automobiles. Rumspringa ends when the youth requests baptism into the church or chooses to permanently leave Amish society. Most choose to remain Amish. | Baptism

5: Amish church leadership is primarily congregational, lacking the extensive hierarchical structure found in many other religious bodies. The Amish congregation is led by a bishop, two to three ministers, and a deacon. Each member of the ministry plays an important role in the spiritual life of the Amish church. | Church Leaders | The Amish bishop is the head of the individual church district, and is responsible for administering discipline, ordaining new ministry, baptizing, and marrying new members. The bishop also is responsible, to a degree, for regulating the pace of change in his church district The Amish minister, or preacher, assists the bishop in duties mentioned above, and primarily is responsible for preaching in church on Sundays

6: Traditionally, Amish husbands and fathers are the breadwinners of their household. The Amish strive to keep their communities financially independent, which allows them to be self-sustained. Men typically run the household finances and earn money through farming or through other businesses that require manual labor, such as furniture production. | The woman's main task in her day-to-day life is to be the caregiver to her young children as well as to tend the garden, maintain the family's clothing -- Amish clothing is handmade -- and keep the household clean and efficient. In recent years, some women whose children are grown have started their own small businesses. These businesses typically involve tasks that are considered women's skills in the Amish community, such as quilt making.

7: Gender Roles | Overall, the Amish follow traditional gender roles, in which the man earns the lion's share of household income through manual labor and the woman takes care of the children, sewing and cleaning. However, within each household, the dynamic is unique. Amish men are not above helping with the children when necessary or allowing their wife's business to be the primary source of income. Men will help in the garden when necessary and when asked, and women will help in the barn or the shop when necessary, regardless of their other household or financial responsibilities. Much like in the modern world, as time continues, women are taking larger roles in providing household income, especially if they are without young children to care for.

8: Amish women typically wear solid-color dresses with long sleeves and a full skirt, covered with a cape and an apron. They never cut their hair, and wear it in a braid or bun on the back of the head concealed with a small white cap or black bonnet. Clothing is fastened with straight pins or snaps, stockings are black cotton and shoes are also black. Amish women are not permitted to wear patterned clothing or jewelry. The Ordnung of the specific Amish order may dictate matters of dress as explicit as the length of a skirt or the width of a seam. | Amish men in general wear straight-cut suits and coats without collars, lapels or pockets. Trousers never have creases or cuffs and are worn with suspenders. Belts are forbidden, as are sweaters, neckties and gloves. Men's shirts fasten with traditional buttons in most orders, while suit coats and vests fasten with hooks and eyes. Young men are clean shaven prior to marriage, while married men are required to let their beards grow. Mustaches are forbidden. | Men | Women

9: Overall, traditional Amish clothing for men and women tends to serve utilitarian purposes and is not designed to accentuate physical attributes The Amish feel that wearing clothes that emphasize one's attractive qualities will not only create competition and sinful thoughts, but will also create division within the community by emphasizing the self over the church and community | Dress / Clothing

10: The Amish believe strongly in education, but only provide formal education through the eighth grade and only in their own private schools. The Amish are exempt from state compulsory attendance beyond the eighth grade based on religious principles, the result of a 1972 U.S. Supreme Court ruling. One-room Amish schools are private institutions, operated by Amish parents. Schooling concentrates on the basic reading, writing, math and geography, along with vocational training and socialization in Amish history and values. Education is also a big part of home life, with farming and homemaking skills considered an important part of an Amish child's upbringing. | Education

11: Shunning, or meidung means expulsion from the Amish community for breaching religious guidelines -- including marrying outside the faith. The practice of shunning is the main reason that the Amish broke away from the Mennonites in 1693. When an individual is subject to meidung, it means they have to leave their friends, family and lives behind. All communication and contact is cut off, even among family members. Shunning is serious, and usually considered a last resort after repeated warnings | The Shunned

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  • By: Sarah C.
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  • Title: Amish Living
  • By: Sarah Cook
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  • Published: almost 4 years ago

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