Where did that title come from?
Well… Sometimes, I feel a bit out of my element as I try to operate in the ‘English’ world when all I’ve been taught is the Amish ways. And sometimes I find it kinda humorous. I think the person who quoted “You can take a person out of the amish, but you can’t take the amish out of a person.” pretty much hit the nail on the head. 🙂
This post is being written simply for the sake of humor and isn’t meant in any way to educate anyone on anything. 🙂
Disclaimer: This is simply my experience and while many may agree on many of these points, I’m sure it doesn’t all apply to all ex-amish
We often feel like fish out of water.
When you’re Amish theres a system in place for every situation (and I mean every situation!) you face. So no matter what comes up you automatically know whats expected of you and what behavior is appropriate.
Once you leave the Amish environment, however, these expectations are either different or completely missing which leaves us floundering like fish out of water with absolutely no idea what to say or do.
2. We miss the community.
The Amish and mennonite have a community that stands together no matter what, and I have not yet experienced community in a church outside of them that even comes close to what they have.
If you’re Amish, you’re one of them. It doesn’t matter where you come from or where you’re going. It doesn’t matter if you’re someones best friend or you’ve never met the person, you are one of them, therefore you are family and they will serve you if you’re ill, they will stand beside you if you lose a loved one, they will rebuild your buildings if they burn down. Your trial is their mission ground.
They have a strong community that is to be envied.
3. They are still our people.
Maybe I’ll change my mind on this one as time goes on, but almost 6 years after leaving the amish church, my defenses still rise if someone dares trash talk the amish church.
Do I agree with what they stand for? Absolutely not!
Do I believe there’s true Christ seeking individuals in the amish church? Absolutely!
Do I believe there’s individuals in the amish church who are more about religion then following Jesus? Absolutely!
But none of that changes the fact the fact that we know many of these people personally. They are our people. Our families, our friends and we still love them no matter how much pain or confusion they’ve caused us. So if you’re not one of them and you dare share your negative opinion of them we will probably defend them. And if we don’t, we will probably change the subject or at least wish you would change it.
However, a group of ex-amish can get together and hash out all the problems we see in the amish church all day long, because we are all coming from the same place. We all get it on a level that no outsider ever will.
4. We still identify as Amish.
If someone asks if I’m amish, I will say no. (this never happens anymore, I believe I may be a bit too far gone anymore for that one.) 🙂 But back when I still looked faintly amish (I was mennonite.) and someone asked, I would say no. But I would leave that conversation feeling a bit like a liar, because I am amish! Or was. Or what? I grew up amish and many of the things I still value are amish values so does that make me amish? Or am I not amish because I don’t go to their church?
What makes a person amish anyway?
If its the dress, church and beliefs, then I definitely don’t qualify, but if its the morals, values and upbringing then I qualify just fine!
Ok, so I don’t at all consider myself amish anymore but at the core of who I am, I think I will always in some way still identify as amish.
5. We get each other, us ex-amish, in a way that no one else does.
It doesn’t matter where we go or how ‘english’ we look, we can almost always pick our fellow ‘ex-amishers’ out of the crowd and we tend to connect with them almost immediately, because we have so much in common. We are after all the odd ones out, we no longer fit in the amish culture, but because of our ‘amish awkwardness’ we don’t quite fit into the non amish world either. 🙂
6. We don’t like to be recognized as heros.
Most of us had a desire to follow Christ wherever he leads. We had a desire to be free to worship God and not be restricted by rules and regulations, that’s why we left the church and we are confident in the decision we made, but that doesn’t change the fact that when we left, we hurt people, people that we loved and valued and by hurting them it left a scar on our hearts as well.
Therefore we have no desire to be called out or recognized for the step we took. We only wish to be accepted into the ‘english’ circles with love. Not because we are ex-amish or because we ‘bravely’ took a stand for our faith but simply because we worship the same God, because we are all on a journey with a desire to see his kingdom come. No matter where we came from… wether thats amish, mennonite, muslim, catholic, baptist…
7. We have 2 first languages.
From the time started talking we were learning two languages. We also have our very own ‘amish slang.’ So to this day I find myself having a conversation with someone and suddenly in the back of my mind I wonder if what I just said made sense or if I just used a phrase or word that only an amish person would understand.
Oh the confusion! :p
8. We can share many stories of what its like growing up in a culture thats either mocked or worshipped.
But for some reason is rarely recognized as simply human.
In public workplaces, we were often asked where we bought our ‘costumes?’ Our answer of: “I made this dress, and its not a costume, I wear these everyday.” was often met with a look that said: “I won’t comment on that but I don’t really believe that anyone would actually choose to dress like that.”
Or I could tell you about the astounded look on the faces of tourists who would attempt to take pictures of us from like 3 feet away only to have my dad tell them in no uncertain terms that: “That’s rude!!” I don’t know if they thought the amish can’t talk or can’t have opinions or what. 🙂
Or maybe I could tell you how much fun it was to give totally ‘out of this world’ answers to some of the pathetic questions that tourists would ask, then we would walk away while they stood their with their mouths hanging open, not really sure if they should believe us or not. I know, how dishonest but sometimes their questions were just too bizarre!
And there you have it. Just a bit of entertainment on this rainy Sunday afternoon. 🙂