Chapters 8, 9 and 10 {Almost Amish Final Review}



Many feelings, thoughts and convictions I had, prior to reading Almost Amish, have been reinforced.

More often then not, I found myself nodding in agreement, with Sleeth.  I truly feel this book came to me, at a time when I really needed it. God has a way of delivering things at just the right time.  He always does.

Because this could very well end up being the longest chapter review EVER {I love the topics discussed in these chapters} I've decided I'll share one key quote and thought from each chapter.

Chapter 8
"Instead of feeling content with what we have, we must always strive for the latest and greatest. We rank individualism above the welfare of the community.  The result: we have an anxious, easily distracted, and unsettled nation where the opinion of one person-espoused through Twitter, talk radio or blogs- is valued more than the collective wisdom of the community.  While some believe that blogs build community, the Amish would likely say that such community is shallow-a shadow of the real thing.  As Wheaton College Professor and former blogger Alan Jacobs aptly put it, blogging is the "friend of information but the enemy of thought."

I couldn't agree more and while I could talk about this subject for hours, day, months, I won't. I do believe that peoples dissatisfaction with online community is growing and I'm seeing the fatigue in many places. I believe that people everywhere are yearning for real connection, face-to-face relationships and community that they can feel.  In a safe place where there is more acknowledgment than a @ or hashtag shoutout.  People want it and wish for it. They need it.  So, why the addiction to an online presence?  What are we reaching out for and if we are having a very hard time being fulfilled, why do you think people are still involving themselves?  Is there a happy medium?  Is happy medium a term that we use to make ourselves feel better about this disillusionment?  Sure, there are good parts of involving ones self in social media {hello, I blog, obviously} but does the good outweigh the underlying exhaustion that is out there?  The constant battle people are playing, in their hearts and heads?

I appreciated this post on the topic {and the prior post as well}.

Chapter 9
"Unlike most modern Americans, the vast majority of Amish families have remained intact."

There is power in that statement. Facts and statistics don't lie {usually} and it makes you take a look at what we are, as a society, doing wrong.  Family is everything to me.  Both the family that I was born into and the friends we choose, who are like family to us.  Because of this, I am constantly tweaking our lives to make sure we are following the Lords will, in keeping family the priority.  Not being shaped by the culture we live in.  Which is extremely difficult.
It also caused me to further realize the societal norm of family being spread out and not as involved, in each others lives, as would be beneficial.  Perpetuated by busyness, activities and career, it seems family gatherings {generally surrounding a holiday} are the central time when people catch up, rather than using the everyday to be involved, with one another. This paradigm shift is sad to me but instead of being sad, I can choose to be different and let the change begin with my family and our expectations of involvement in each others lives.  Our friends purposefully see each other, weekly, talk often on the email, text and phone calls {April!} and share prayer requests, weekly.  Though it could seem these things are not essential and could be missed, if need be {and they are, occasionally, due to fatigue, sick children etc}, keeping them regular allows us to really know each other, what is going on in each others lives and give a true sense of community.  We aren't always playing catch up. We are present, informed and lifting each other up.

Chapter 10
"Church services reflect the simplicity of Amish life. There are no robes, pulpits, altars, candles, organs, stained glass, windows, or choirs-no power point talks or praise band. Young children sit with their parents throughout the service, and older youth sit in another section, boys on one side, girls on the other."

I felt like this simple and unexciting passage of the book summed it up for me.  it summed up this overwhelming impression that the reason I am drawn to the Amish {and still am, even after reading!} is because their equation to simplicty such a winning formula, to me.  In so many facets of their life, it is the simplicity of focus on God, family and community, that win.  It's not about the individual, all the time.  Think about how diffirent this is, from what our society preaches. EVERYthing is about the individual.  About MY dreams.  MY fitness.  MY fulfillment as a mother, wife, friend. MY style. MY happiness.
The Amish are opposite and I like that.
I like that very much.

9 comments:

  1. Chapter 8: The statement about blogs was like a lightening bolt in my brain. I go back and forth on this all the time. My whole blog experience hasn't been that great, honestly. I went in too hard and too fast and didn't look before I leaped and my recklessness did not serve me well. I stepped back from FB because, yes, the pseudoconnection that happens there was frustrating and the things people post...do we really need to go there? I have strengthened my friendships at work and at church, I am still trying. Oddly, those connections are a little more difficult for some reason. Establishing just what and who my community is has been tricky. Southern California is not the easiest place to figure all this out. It's not in our culture here but I am committed!
    Chapter 9: I work part time outside of my home so my husband and I have prioritized family above all and that's the only way it works. He is a stay at home dad 2 days a week and that meant he had to learn to cook to keep the family dinner at the table going. Also, my kids are active members in the home and teaching "life skills" is as important as what they learn at school. We are always explaining to them that this family is a living organism and we all must do our part. Also, joy is in service. My husband and I have decided too that our kids will probably decide that they can't afford to live in San Diego and we'll just buy a motorhome and follow them wherever they go.
    Chapter 10: Oh, faith...this was just good on all levels and I wrote "faith and way of life are inseparable" on a paper that is now on my fridge.

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  2. One more thing...her whole discussion on church membership provides a LOT to discuss. This is something I have thought about a lot in the last year and there could really be a whole book on that. I don't have the answers. I wish I did...

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    1. It's funny you say that-I debated on including a review of just that concept, alone. I decided not to, due to my heightened opinions/frustrations on the topic, but it gave me some great things to think about, too!

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  3. sounds like a fascinating book. :)

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    1. You would love it, friend! Do yourself a favor and read it!

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  4. I just picked up the book (I know, I'm coming to the party way late, lol) and I'm reading Ch. 4 now. So far I agree with pretty much everything she writes about, and I'm happy to say that our family has been living much of the same principles, particularly the ones about technology. We've never had television in our home, we don't have smart phones or ipads or anything like that; we regularly turn off not just our cell phones, but our home phone as well during meal times and other family affairs, etc. There are things she writes about that have got me thinking and pondering about my own life and our home, and if there are more things that we can do. I don't agree with everything, but so far it's an interesting read and I'm glad you started blogging about it - I may never have found it otherwise! :)

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    1. It sounds like you are already so ahead of the game and in tune with what she was challenging us with. Good for you, Shaela. I know you'll love some of the later chapters.

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  5. I recently stumbled across your blog and was so happy to find you again! I used to follow your old blog, and didn't realize you had started another. You have such a way with words and constantly inspire me so thank you for writing again! Anyway, I've been wanting to read this book for a while and can't wait to start it. I am totally drawn to the idea of simplicity in a world where we are constantly overwhelmed. Thanks for your review! I've read through most of it, now I just need to actually read the book... haha :)

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    1. Hi Amy! I'm so so glad you found me!
      Thank you for your kind words and I do hope you read the book. It's so challenging and wonderful and I feel it benefited me in many ways. If you read it, please let me know what you think of it!

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