Blending Amish and 21st Century…

Posted by on Jan 23, 2022 in Blog | 6 comments

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OK, so I accept some will think this is one of my sillier blog posts, but I recently wondered if it might be possible to navigate life part Amish, part 21st century. Of course a whole lot of qualifiers need to be thrown in, and I realise the thesis would never stand up to serious scrutiny, and those in the know will want to correct me on endless aspects of Amish life. But I am a big picture person and I really just want to explore if its possible to opt out of our overly complicated 21st century lives periodically and travel back to a simpler time – and in doing so to find sufficient refreshment and renewal to live back in our very complicated world.

The idea struck me during a recent conversation when a friend said that he didn’t think people need church as much as they need Sabbath, and he went on to elaborate that for him church was an exhausting experience of busy activities that left him frustrated and disappointed and desperate for a genuine experience of Sabbath – a day to lay everything down and to remember God and friends and to do simple but life serving things. A day for conversation and contemplation and Christ. Note that one of the C’s was not church, simply because for him church has become a demanding part of an already over-demanding life which is leaving him near to burnout.

So what’s the appeal of opting to be Amish for a while – and yes, of course we can’t really do that properly – you can’t suddenly have a long beard and ride a horse and buggy and be in an electricity free world. But could we take a little step in that direction on a semi-regular basis, making sure that we are unshaven and technology free at least a day a week, and perhaps we could be car free and limit ourselves to travel only as far as we can walk – well, at least one day a week. Perhaps we could be even more ambitious, and drop all cynicism for a day a week, and assume that people mean what they say and that we don’t have to be clever or outdo anyone – but that we simply offer what we can, grateful that we have something to offer.

Why not do a permanent Amish? Well – I’m not really into shunning people even if they have crossed a line I consider too far, nor am I into naive readings of scripture nor am I opposed to the new and the innovative. And actually the possibilities of the metaverse and the use of augmented reality and artificial intelligence intrigue and often excite me.

But I have three grandchildren – all under 7. One is under 1, and he thinks that peek a boo is hilarious. And being silly together with the 3 and 6 year old is always renewing – and so, so easy. And when I watch them I am reminded of Isaiah 11:6 and its insight that a young child will lead us, and of Jesus’ statement in Matthew 18:3 that unless we become like little children we will not enter the kingdom of heaven. There has to be space and time to step back and reclaim what the years with its successes and disappointments and too much sophistication has done to us.

I’m not sure if that means we must do an Amish or reclaim Sabbath or find another way, but it feels to me that a shift is needed to renew and refresh our souls. What do you think?

As always, nice chatting…

Do feel free to share, repost or comment.

Photo by Simon Hurry on


  1. A time to disentangle replenishes our minds, souls and spirits. It seems that the lack of taking time out has made life more complicated and contributed towards other emotional and mental problems. Taking time out for a family to have a screen-free day is a great start.

    • Totally agree Ruth. It’s about setting key priorities in place before they can be overrun by lesser demands.

  2. I think that this is not a silly post at all. I don’t think I could go as far back as the Amish but I can remember a time when I first encountered Jesus, came to faith, jumped in to serve- often with fear and trepidation- and managed without a mobile, MacBook or social media! I think it may be another way. And after all we are people of ‘the Way’! Thanks Brian

    • And I well remember how wonderfully you served. Those were great years. Good to hear from you Carl.

  3. What’s church anyway Brian? Sometimes we need to reassess what we’re doing to ensure it’s the same as what God’s doing and what He needs us to be doing. Being hands on in Church services can become tiring, but in Romans 12: 6-8 Paul exhorts us to use our gifts and then in verse 9 he says, Let love be sincere, and because there is no punctuation in his writings, it could be taken that the exercising of our gifts in church is actually being sincere in love. What can be tiring is doing church insincerely, but recognising that when we love sincerely and do church sincerely as an expression of our love, then doing church seems rather uplifting.

    • Thanks Greg. Church can indeed be very wonderful and uplifting, especially when grounded in love and when what is offered is sincere. I think what my friend was lamenting was that it seemed (to him at any rate) that it was about making Sunday happen, rather than the richness of encounter with God and one another.


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