Having been blessed and nurtured by the Amish family and community in which I grew up, I appreciated the focus on these Anabaptist cousins in your Oct. 14 issue. As your editorial suggests, we do ourselves a disservice by distancing ourselves from our seemingly “weird” spiritual kin. I think we should affirm them as a form of Anabaptist monasticism.
Monastic orders don’t expect large numbers of people to join them or become like them, but they can have a disproportionate impact by reminding us that not everything modern is necessarily better and not every form of amusement, convenience or adornment makes life richer or more beautiful. Like other monastic communities, the Amish are not free of problems or even scandals, but they should be celebrated and appreciated for whatever wisdom they offer.
We should also remember that a large percentage of Mennonite Church USA conferences and congregations have Amish roots and that we are all “Amish-minded” when it comes to resisting certain changes and wanting to hold on to an existing “old order” of beliefs and practices.
Harvey Yoder, Harrisonburg, Va.