By Kevin Williams
YouTube is full of interesting Amish-themed videos. Some are really interesting, authentic, and fun to watch, others are more dubious.
AMISH FAMILY DINNER
This is a video entitled Amish family dinner and it's quite fascinating. The poster of the video doesn't give a lot of information as to where this video was shot. And I found myself scratching my head. He says this is an Amish place where they go for dinner once a year and he makes it sound like they are old family friends or something. But then when you look at the video this looks like a cross between an Amish restaurant and a home. There are components that you would find in a restaurant, like an Amish person pushing around coffee cups on a cart. But it doesn't appear that this is a formal restaurant, looks like an Amish family serving a large meal for a lot of people in an outbuilding of some sort.
The food looks amazing. I scanned the comments and other than some people complaining about the carb content of the food, there's no information as to where this was. I'd love to know, heck I'd go!
Shunning has captured the imagination of many outsiders for years. Shunning works like this: an Amish person breaks a church rule or tries to leave the church and they are retaliated against by being shunned. You are ignored by your brethren, you have to sit at a separate table if you visit to eat. The Amish view the act of shunning less as punitive and more as an act of love, a way to "purify the church", etc. But here's the issue: there are not a ton of Amish churches, in my experience, that really practice shunning much anymore. Yes, some definitely do.
The sprawling Amish community in northern Indiana has generally abandoned shunning, especially for leaving the church. As long as you leave and join another Christian church, you are not shunned. Shunning is more of an individual act because even in more strict communities sometimes the ties of family and love are simply too strong to allow for a formal shunning.
Anyway, there is a new documentary out by the BBC...I think, keeping in mind what I just explained about shunning, that the premise is a bit flawed. Still, the documentary is respectful (I have not watched the whole thing, it clocks in at almost two hours...but I watched the beginning and swaths throughout), provides some great imagery and insight, just keep in mind if you watch this that it is only representative of the people featured in it, I'm not sure you can draw a ton of conclusions about the Amish as a whole from it.