Last night ABC showed an interesting British produced documentary about two Amish families in Pennsylvania who were shunned by their church (/community/ family) after they started studying the Bible (in English rather than old German) and questioning some of the rules of the community.
It was a well made documentary, which showed faith in a positive light. Even though the sort of faith they came to was the sort of simplistic evangelicalism which usually makes me cringe, they had such an earnestness and integrity that I was excited for them.
It’s a pity the program didn’t make clearer the historical irony of the current events – that the Anabaptis from whom the Amish are descended were a people persecuted originally for reading their Bibles and finding that what Jesus said was at odds with what they saw around them.
The hard working, honest simplicity of their lives also seems valuable to me. Whatever I would disagree with in Amish theology (or lack thereof), they have truly lived as a peculiar people in a consumer country.
You can watch it online, at least for a little while – http://www.abc.net.au/compass/s2606271.htm