Magazine article The Christian Century

Postmodern Amish. (M.E.M.O.)

Magazine article The Christian Century

Postmodern Amish. (M.E.M.O.)

Article excerpt

THE UNITED States Supreme Court in Wisconsin v. Yoder (1972) went on record in effect endorsing a particular religious group--the one time in its history that I am aware of its having done so. At the same time, the court advanced postmodernism, deconstructionism and relativism with this sentence: "There can be no assumption that today's majority is `right' and the Amish and others are `wrong.'" I've often pondered that "others": who in the world is excluded? Commenting further, the court added: "A way of life that is odd or even erratic but interferes with no rights or interests of others is not to be condemned because it is different." In other words, let him who is without oddness or erraticism throw the first stone.

Lately I've been reading up on the Amish, while busy writing a foreword to a new edition of Donald B. Kraybill's The Amish and the State. I can also commend his revised The Riddle of Amish Culture and, with Carl F. Bowman, On the Backroad to Heaven. They all ponder the paradoxes and riddles of Amish (and their king) life. One of these paradoxes, on which I've commented earlier, hit me on the Indiana Toll Road, where at rest stops one can pick up folders on the tourist excitements of Mishawaka and Kokomo, plus a folder advertising Amish Acres, a recommendable tourist stop. We learn that the Amish preserve the simple, nontechnological ways of the past--and can then find out more about them by logging on to www.amishacres.com.

During this time of visiting, researching and writing, I picked up the Wall Street Journal (April 15) where Timothy Aeppel's story from, of course, Intercourse, Pennsylvania, discussed riddles and paradoxes of Amish economic life. While everyone else's investments, in stocks and bonds, nose-dived, the Amish economy boomed, thanks to their concentration on real estate, some of it at the edges of developing cities. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.