By Kevin Williams
Okay, newbies (and old regulars), this is our weekly whirl through the headlines to find anything and everything in the news that has to do with the Amish.
MY AMISH HOME - CHERRY DESSERT - Millie Otto is an Amish woman in Illinois who has a weekly column in the Champaign newspaper. She is not affiliated with our website in any way I just occasionally feature her work here. There are many Amish writers out there now, some good, some bad, and I like showcase them. In this week's installment, Millie serves up a recipe for cherry dessert. Many of her recipes are packed with processed and prepared foods that are typical of post Great Depression Amish cooking. Click here to read and get the recipe.`
HUTTERITE HOCKEY: Hutterites are in the same Anabaptist tradition as the Amish and Mennonites, but far lesser known. The Hutterites live in colonies and communally unlike the Amish whoa re very individualistic/capitalist. But I love, love, love this article about the annual Hutterite vs. English hockey game in Canada. I'm imagining all of these, girls dressed in Plain clothing swinging around hockey sticks. Click here to read this really fun piece. There are, by the way, similar activities in places like Holmes County, Ohio where there are "Amish vs. English" softball games. Such activities are great fun and really help build bridges between the Plain and non-plain.
AMISH AND THE SNOW: Really, this piece sums up so much of what myself (and others) find endearing about the Amish. There's this sense of "can do" resourcefulness that seems to be missing from so many other segments of society. And also the bonds of church and family are so strong that many Amish will move mountains (of snow) so that they can spend Sunday worshiping with their God, family and friends. Just a fun, thought-provoking read, check it out here.
LEAVING THE AMISH: SIGH, there have been so many pieces and books written over the years of "I left the Amish and here's what happened..."....I don't know, I don't want to disparage this young lady, Emma Gingerich, but people leave churches all the time. The Amish are just another church. People leave. The Atlantic's article adopts an interesting (but flawed, in my opinion) premise: how has technology impacted the transition of Amish who leave to become English? The reality is, though, that the transition may not be as big as advertised. Plenty of Amish youth are exposed to the internet and even have their own Facebook and social media outlets. The Amish don't live in a bubble. An Amish young person "barely speaking English" (as the young woman in the article says) would be very rare, even in the most cloistered communities. I'm not casting doubt on this young woman's story, just context. The story she is telling is her story tailored to her unique family and community experiences and, in my opinion, is not reflective at all of the general Amish experience. Click here to read the Atlantic piece.
AMISH GENETICS: Okay, I have to admit that for this piece you really have to set aside a good 15 minutes or so...it's not a quick read, but this article from the Lancaster paper brings us up to speed on some of the groundbreaking medical breakthroughs occurring in the study of rare genetic diseases among the Amish. Their insular nature makes them a Petri dish of genetic mutations and noted doctor Holmes Morton's clinic has been at the front-lines. Read more here.