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Monday, October 4, 2010

I love the idea of simple living.  In spite of my busy and complicated life, there are simple habits I try and build into my  family's day.   Mostly they center around our home as a gathering place for meals and times with friends. Yet I sense there's greater simplicity I could incorporate into my life. 

That's why I'm drawn to some of the Amish practices.  I'm not alone.  At the most recent She Speaks, an agent and a publishing representative both said that "bonnet fiction" is the best-selling fiction in the Christian market.  Maybe in our information-overloaded society, many of us are longing for the simplicity of family, home and community.

Which is why, when Revell sent me a preview copy of "Amish Peace" by Suzanne Woods Fisher, I was happy to read it.  In each chapter, the author selects a nugget of Amish wisdom to explore.  Then there are questions at the end, and a fact of Amish life.

The chapter on scooters intrigued me.  I didn't know Amish use scooters.  They can't ride bicycles because that could potentially take them too far away from home.  But scooters are okay. How did this happen?

The Amish use something called "selective modernization."  When something new enters the Amish community, the elders give it a period of probation, weighing out its long-term effects on the community.  "Church leaders consider where a change could lead the younger generation.  They try to see beyond the immediate benefits of change to the effects it could have down the road," Fisher writes. 

I really like this way of thinking.  But I'm sad to say I've had a severe lack of discrimination when it comes to new technology.  I've seldom considered how it would affect my family, or my community, in the long-run.  I've only seen the convenience or the entertainment value. As a result, my life is greatly complicated by new things to learn, equipment to break, replacement items to buy, and mediating fights over who gets to play what game and when.

Probably the only decision I've  made where I've disregarded technology is in not getting an electric can opener.  I realized that if we ever lost power, I would be frustrated.  Plus, I figured opening a can might burn a few extra calories (spoken like a true non-athlete).

I'm not saying I would ever get rid of my computer; I'm called to a life of outreach to this generation.  But I am challenged in the very best way to consider how to incorporate simpler habits, simpler processes and simpler equipment into my life. 

Can I live a simple life?  Probably not.  But I can take my time and consider the impact of something new before I invite it into my home and family's life.

Trickles tend to become streams, and streams become torrents.
Amish Proverb

In His Love,


karen said...

Your post makes me kind of sad, sullen to say the least. Oh how I too wish for more simplicity in life I fear we are raising a generation of non-communicative teens and young adults. My daughter is attached to her Ipod and obcessed with her cell phone fights us when we try to explain restrictions on both. I find it rude and very disturbing.Our techo world has benefits for sure but I really wonder if the good out weighs the negative. Blessings! karen

Amber Ford said...

Our home is so quiet when the TV and other gadgets are off. I am thinking of bringing up at our family meeting that we should have one day without electronics a week. Just one. Maybe Sundays. It probably won't be received well, but I'll bring it to my prayer closet first so that hearts might be open to it. :-)

Allison Morrison said...

I love amish fiction and never really thought about why until I read your post...it's the simplicity of it!! The peacefulness of a material-free (for the most part) life!

Amy Lively said...

Glynnis - you'd love "Sisters on the Fly," a group of women who travel in little vintage trailers all over the country. Better than a horse and buggy, yes?? You can see pictures in their book at this link: http://books.google.com/books?id=M-1eUWPkWkoC&lpg=PP1&dq=%22sisters%20on%20the%20fly%22&pg=PP1#v=onepage&q&f=false