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What the Amish Teach Us

Plain Living in a Busy World

Donald B. Kraybill

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What do the traditional plain-living Amish have to teach twenty-first-century Americans in our hyper-everything world? As it turns out, quite a lot!

It sounds audacious, but it's true: the Amish have much to teach us. It may seem surreal to turn to one of America's most traditional groups for lessons about living in a hyper-tech world—especially a horse-driving people who resist "progress" by snubbing cars, public grid power, and high school education. Still, their wisdom confirms that even when they seem so far behind, they're out ahead of the rest of us.

Having spent four decades researching…

What do the traditional plain-living Amish have to teach twenty-first-century Americans in our hyper-everything world? As it turns out, quite a lot!

It sounds audacious, but it's true: the Amish have much to teach us. It may seem surreal to turn to one of America's most traditional groups for lessons about living in a hyper-tech world—especially a horse-driving people who resist "progress" by snubbing cars, public grid power, and high school education. Still, their wisdom confirms that even when they seem so far behind, they're out ahead of the rest of us.

Having spent four decades researching Amish communities, Donald B. Kraybill is in a unique position to share important lessons from these fascinating Plain people. In this inspiring book, we learn intriguing truths about community, family, education, faith, forgiveness, aging, and death from real Amish men and women. The Amish are ahead of us, for example, in relying on apprenticeship education. They have also out-Ubered Uber for nearly a century, hiring cars owned and operated by their neighbors. Kraybill also explains how the Amish function in modern society by rejecting new developments that harm their community, accepting those that enhance it, and adapting others to fit their values.

Pairing storytelling with informative and reflective passages, these twenty-two essays offer a critique of modern culture that is provocative yet practical. In a time when civil discourse is raw and coarse and our social fabric seems torn asunder, What the Amish Teach Us uproots our assumptions about progress and prods us to question why we do what we do.

Essays include:

1. Riddles: Negotiating with Modernity
2. Villages: Webs of Well-Being
3. Community: Taming the Big "I"
4. Smallness: Bigness Ruins Everything
5. Tolerance: A Light on a Hill
6. Spirituality: A Back Road to Heaven
7. Family: A Deep and Durable Bond
8. Children: At Worship, Work, and Play
9. Parenting: Raising Sturdy Children
10. Education: The Way It Should Be
11. Apprenticeship: An Old New Idea
12. Technology: Taming the Beast
13. Hacking: Creative Bypasses
14. Entrepreneurs: Starting Stuff
15. Patience: Slow Down and Listen
16. Limits: Less Choice, More Joy
17. Rituals: A Natural Detox
18. Retirement: Aging in Place
19. Forgiveness: Pathway to Healing
20. Suffering: A Higher Plan
21. Nonresistance: No Pushback
22. Death: A Good Farewell

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What the Amish Teach Us

Donald B. Kraybill

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Reviews

For those who know little about the Amish, this gentle but highly intelligent view is all that is needed to get a firm grasp. And for those who know much about these special people, including the Amish themselves, Kraybill has composed a paean to their best qualities that belongs even on the plainest of bookshelves.

Donald Kraybill remains the unrivalled master of scholarly works on the Amish. This book—full of tightly constructed writing and well-defined content—demonstrates his authority to speak on Amish culture as a recognized expert. Each essay offers an intriguing compare-and-contrast of Amish life with the hypermodern approaches of mainstream culture.

A sound and timely reframing of Amish practices for a general audience. What the Amish Teach Us provides us with comforting storytelling and insights from a senior scholar in the field and a friend to many Amish.

About

Book Details

Publication Date
Status
Available
Trim Size
5
x
7
Pages
200
ISBN
9781421442174
Table of Contents

Preface: When Old Is New Again
Acknowledgments
Essays
Chapter 1. Riddles: Negotiating with Modernity
Chapter 2. Villages: Webs of Well-Being
Chapter 3. Community: Taming the Big I
Chapter 4. Smallness

Preface: When Old Is New Again
Acknowledgments
Essays
Chapter 1. Riddles: Negotiating with Modernity
Chapter 2. Villages: Webs of Well-Being
Chapter 3. Community: Taming the Big I
Chapter 4. Smallness: Bigness Ruins Everything
Chapter 5. Tolerance: A Light on a Hill
Chapter 6. Spirituality: A Back Road to Heaven
Chapter 7. Family: A Deep and Durable Bond
Chapter 8. Children: At Worship, Work, and Play
Chapter 9. Parenting: Raising Sturdy Children
Chapter 10. Education: The Way It Should Be
Chapter 11. Apprenticeship: An Old New Idea
Chapter 12. Technology: Taming the Beast
Chapter 13. Hacking: Creative Bypasses
Chapter 14. Entrepreneurs: Starting Stuff
Chapter 15. Patience: Slow Down and Listen
Chapter 16. Limits: Less Choice, More Joy
Chapter 17. Rituals: A Natural Detox
Chapter 18. Retirement: Aging in Place
Chapter 19. Forgiveness: Pathway to Healing
Chapter 20. Suffering: A Higher Plan
Chapter 21. Nonresistance: No Pushback
Chapter 22. Death: A Good Farewell
Epilogue: Negotiation Never Ends
Notes
For Further Reading
Index
Author

Author Bio
Donald B. Kraybill
Featured Contributor

Donald B. Kraybill

Donald B. Kraybill is a Distinguished College Professor and senior fellow emeritus at Elizabethtown College's Young Center for Anabaptist and Pietist Studies.