Last night the NatGeo channel debuted a 10 part series called “Amish: Out of Order.” Obviously, having spent many years visiting Amish settlements I have my opinions but they are just that: my opinions. So with that out of the way, I watched the first installment last night and found it to be worth watching. It’s a 10-part series so I kind of have to reserve full judgment until the end. Last night’s episode zeroed in on the Columbia, Missouri community of ex-Amish. I hope the series visits the Amish settlements in Lancaster County, PA; Holmes County, Ohio; Nappanee, Indiana, etc and gives a very textured view of ex-Amish, but we’ll see. If the whole thing just focuses on Columbia, Missouri I’ll be a little disappointed. There are plenty of ex-Amish who leave without all the drama. And some leave with drama, but go on to live very full, enriched lives (Saloma Furlong, left the Amish…it was a riveting ride for her but she went on and graduated from Smith College and is a speaker and author today). So I guess what I am saying is among ex-Amish you have such a wide spectrum of experiences. Not everyone sneaks away in the dead of night and becomes a cage-fighter (last night’s episode). BUT, last night’s episode spotlights a very valid corner of the ex-Amish community. There are just so many different people, communities, and experiences, I hope this show captures as much as possible over the next 10 weeks. Shunning, for instance, varies greatly in its application from church to church. In some settlements, shunning is imposed swiftly and severely, in other Amish communities you aren’t shunned at all if you leave the Amish so long as you join another Christian church. And in some cases, keep in mind, that the Amish teens leaving in the dead of night are reacting more to a family dynamic than an “Amish dynamic.” For instance, non-Amish teens do run away from home. Sometimes the blame may rest with a dysfunctional family more than with the Amish itself. Here is an episode guide to the upcoming series, And here is a video clip of last night’s episode. What did you think? Are you watching it?