Amish Simplicity

Best-selling author Beverly Lewis discusses why Amish fiction is so appealing—and what we learn from it.

Simplicity is probably best exemplified in the Amish culture, and the Amish culture is clearly seen in the novels of Beverly Lewis. Lewis, whose first novel (1997), The Shunning, was set in Pennsylvania Amish country, talks about this beautiful, simple culture and what we can learn from it.

You obviously love the Amish culture, as we see in your fiction. What's the allure?

Lewis: We get to experience vicariously an exotic, cloistered community. The Amish are bombarded by the temptations of the 21st century, yet they choose to live set apart. We can also peer into the past and see history fleshed out in real life through today's Amish communities.

Why is the Amish lifestyle so appealing to us "English" readers?

It reminds us of the times we've heard about from our parents and grandparents. The Amish are also shining examples of frugality, something we're all learning in this economy. Modern society is getting back to that frugal lifestyle as we learn to make do instead of buy new, as we rediscover the joys of simple living.

The Amish practice simplicity well. How does faith inform their lives with regard to simplicity?

The Amish learn from childhood on to be content with what they have, not to want more. Their theology is uncomplicated; they embrace and follow Christ's teachings in the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5-7), as well as the Ten Commandments. Living those teachings eliminates voices from the world.

Living simply also contributes to intentional time in prayer, doing good works, times of solitude. The Amish have time and space to hear the still, small voice of God.

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Ann Byle
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Busyness; Rest; Simplicity; Slowing Down
Today's Christian Woman, January/February , 2011
Posted January 1, 2011

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