#1 How Do the Amish Live?
The Amish live a modest life that is more humble and traditionalistic than most Christians. With a similar theology to Baptists and lifestyle similar to Mennonites, the Amish are a unique society that are very distinct from any other denomination.
Distinctions about how the Amish live, and pillars at the core of their religion are:
- It is more than a religion; it is a lifestyle and culture.
- They have their own language (Pennsylvania Dutch).
- They follow the Ordnung, or ‘order’ in German – the basics of their faith.
- They live similarly to how they did at the origin of their denomination – in the 1700s.
- They live a life that is free of technology and modern advancements.
- They do not have cars, cell phones, or televisions.
- Children have dolls without faces, teaching modesty and a lack of vanity from a young age.
- They are mostly farmers, furniture carpenters, and merchants.
- Females are married between the age of 15-21
- Women have an average of seven children, raised to have babies, maintain the house, and keep the family in order while the male is the breadwinner.
- They avoid ostentatious temptations or belongings
- They do not wear jewelry or own fine things
- They wear black and neutral colors
- They drive black buggies with horses (not cars)
- They own white houses and barns (signifying purity)
- They go to Church every Sunday
- They never cut their hair
- They stop going to school after the eighth grade, not seeing education past this point as necessary or worthwhile
- Daily life involves work, family, and prayer
- “Whoever is slack in his work is a brother to him who destroys.” – Proverbs 18:9.
- “So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.” – 1 Corinthians 10:31.
- Discover Lancaster – The Amish Community; Published January 13th, 2015.
#2 How Do You Become Amish?
Becoming an Amish person as an outsider is not a common occurrence. Most people are born into the Amish religion by Amish parents because they do not evangelicalize or seek outside conversions.
Becoming Amish as an outsider could be compared to becoming a monk. Each are abandonments of the normal way of life for a humbler one, and each is quite rare.
To become Amish, you would have to:
- Give up your modern way of life (including your cell phone, car, and connection to non-Amish people/family members.
- Marry an Amish person or move onto the community with permission.
- Prove that you want to become a life-long member.
- Go to Church every Sunday and embrace the Amish way of life. Become a farmer, pick up a trade, and learn to live a modest and straightforward existence.
- After one year, the congregation/council of that community will vote.
Upon the vote:
- If you are accepted – You are immediately an official Amish person and will be so until your dying day. Your children will be Amish, and you will renounce your former life completely.
- If you are not accepted – You will be forced to leave the community and it is doubtful you would be offered a second chance. Although some exiled members and shunned disciples that are able to return if they can re-adjust with the required behaviors and guideline, you would not be a shunned member in this case, but rather, a rejected prospect. Due to this, it is unlikely they would change their mind once the rejection is finalized.
Again – It is highly uncommon for a non-member to seek to become a member. Outsiders do not attempt to penetrate the Amish areas. The vast majority of the time, Amish people are simply born into this religion, never given the opportunity to leave or experience the outside world.
- “And to aspire to live quietly, and to mind your own affairs, and to work with your hands, as we instructed you,” – 1 Thessalonians 4:11.
- Pennsylvania Amish Country; Smithsonian Channel; Published May 22nd, 2012.
#3 How Do The Amish Make Money?
Amish make money by becoming the following most popular Amish occupations (in alphabetical order):
- Factory work
- Farmers (the most common)
- Furniture manufacturer (also highly-common)
- Market stand owners
- Quilters (common for women)
Some communities also earn a percentage off of tourism. Quilts alone can cost $700.
They do not usually need to run large-scale businesses because they are:
- Supportive of one another
- Not reliant on government programs such as health insurance or social security
- Do not go into debt because they do not own credit cards
- “Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with your might, for there is no work or thought or knowledge or wisdom in Sheol, to which you are going.” – Ecclesiastes 9:10.
- Money Secrets of The Amish; Published June 20th, 2011.
#4 How Do the Amish Bathe?
Normally bathing once per week, hygiene is not a significant priority for the Amish.
Following a literal translation of the bible, even John 13:10 states;
“Jesus said to him, “The one who has bathed does not need to wash, except for his feet, but is completely clean. And you are clean, but not every one of you.”
In respect to how it is done, it can range from being quite normal compared to the average American, to also being much more involved and time-consuming.
Bathing is done in a large tub, normal tub within the home, washroom, or wash house. It will be relatively normal if they have running water, but if they do not have running water, it can involve heating the water and then dumping it out.
- “Jesus said to him, “The one who has bathed does not need to wash, except for his feet, but is completely clean. And you are clean, but not every one of you.” – John 13:10.
- Amish America – Inside a Lancaster Amish Home; Published December 30th, 2015.
#5 How Do the Amish Cook?
How an Amish family cooks will depend if they have running electricity to their homes. As progressive homes are accepting this more and more, some families are embracing mild luxuries such as running water, gas-powered generators, and even cell-phone chargers.
If the family is not as progressive, they may use wood-burning stoves and a more primordial method of cooking.
Amish people tend to grow and hunt for most of their own food, so their dishes will include items such as:
- Hearty vegetables
- Pork Roast
- Macaroni and Cheese
- Bread rolls
If a family does not have electricity, they will sometimes use a generator for certain appliances. If not, they can roast and cook these dishes by fire.
- “Every moving thing that lives shall be food for you. And as I gave you the green plants, I give you everything.” – Genesis 9:3.
- Amish Family Dinner; December 15th, 2016.
#6 How Do The Amish Dress?
The words to describe how the Amish dress are:
- Lacking vanity
- Fully covered
The items that they will typically wear are:
- For women:
- Long dresses
- Dresses with long-sleeves
- Bonnets over their hair
- Black socks or stockings
- Black shoes
- For Men:
- Simple button-down shirt
- Straw hat to protect from the sun
- Possibly a black formal hat for Church
- Suspenders to hold up pants for Church
The colors typically worn by Amish people are:
- Black (most common)
Women will wear very feminine clothes such as dresses, and generally not be seen in pants, which are viewed as men’s clothing. Extremely focused on gender roles, their clothing is an external symbol and daily-reminder of this aspect of their philosophy.
- “A woman shall not wear a man’s garment, nor shall a man put on a woman’s cloak, for whoever does these things is an abomination to the Lord your God.” – Deuteronomy 22:5.
- Amish Clothes; May 13th, 2012.
#7 How Do The Amish Buy Land?
As far as how the Amish buy land, it is done similarly to any other applicant, by:
- Seeing the rental sign on an area they are interested in
- Calling or reaching out to the contact without technology
- Making an offer
Lancaster County is a larger development and community of the Amish group, known to make these big deals and cultivate the land for the community. Likely using technology in the name of these advancements, they would be allowed to use phones, computers, and digital transactions to simplify the ease of these larger-scale deals.
If you do not think the Amish are making these large-scale deals, think again! Utilizing partners and real estate developers to make these deals on their behalf, the community is expanding rapidly.
In the interview with Sociologist, Conrad Kanagy, that has tacked the Amish’s Flourishing Land Ownership in recent years, he described:
“They gained 137 farms from 1984 to 1995. Everyone else is losing farms. Mainstream Mennonites are losing farms, the Church of the Brethren, another Anabaptist, kind of mainstream group, are losing farms.
So, the Amish are really the only Anabaptist group that’s gaining farmland.”
He describes that most people are gaining land in the booming territories of Lancaster County, which is one of the oldest areas in Amish County. Gaining over 11,500 acres in the past decade, this is around 950 acres annually.
Kanagy, an expert on the Amish style of land ownership, describes that the secret to their success is:
- Their cultural identity
- Their ethnic identity that attaches them to that land
- A connection that has kept them attached to the land for several centuries
He argues that mankind has lost this connection to the land by being so technologically-distracted. He also credits their success to not attending a formal education past the eighth grade, meaning that they are only focused on land and farms during their entire adult life.
- “Ask of me, and I will make the nations your heritage, and the ends of the earth your possession.” – Psalm 2:8.
- “You shall not pollute the land in which you live, for blood pollutes the land, and no atonement can be made for the land for the blood that is shed in it, except by the blood of the one who shed it.” – Numbers 35:33.
- Highland Realty Group – Lancaster County PA; Published June 26th, 2019; Mossy Oak Properties.
If you are interested in learning about other Religions in the world, then check out this book on World’s Religions on Amazon.