Review: The Amish Way–Patient Faith in a Perilous World

5 Star, Complexity & Resilience, Consciousness & Social IQ, Culture, Research, Economics, Environment (Solutions), Nature, Diet, Memetics, Design, Peace, Poverty, & Middle Class, Religion & Politics of Religion, Values, Ethics, Sustainable Evolution

5.0 out of 5 stars Three World-Class Authors on Amish Create Single Distillation

November 28, 2010

I bought this book because two colleagues, Howard Rheingold and Kevin Kelly, are both working on books about the Amish in relation to technology, with the key thought being that when the Amish adopt or accept any technology, they do so with deep reflection on how the technology will impact on them and their community for generations into the future.

One of a several books I went through on a trip to Chile and back, this book is immediately of distinction because it is a distillation of the experience and insights of three world-class authors on the Amish with fourteen books specifically on the Amish among them.

I agree with the first reviewer, this is a really excellent work. As I went through it, I learned, I was inspired, and I was grounded in both the grace and the hardship of being Amish.

The authors have organized the book, and the publishers have presented the book, in a very pleasing, easy-to-read, easy-to-appreciate manner.

In four parts (Spirituality, Community, Everyday Life, and Amish Faith and the Rest of Us), the authors achieve–without a single false note–both a synthesis of their broad and deep understanding of the minutia as well as the “big picture” of Amish reality, *and* a communication of what we who are not Amish can take from this practicum.

Most who strive to be converts do not make it. It is simply too hard a life for those who have not been bred to it from birth. It has many blessings, including family held close for generations, and it demands many sacrifices, some of which would assuredly be good for us, such as the refusal to accept industrialization of agriculture with all of its chemical poisons.

To emphasize the big picture importance of the Amish, I would observe that in other words I have read it is made clear that there are only two sustainable models of agriculture in the world today (beyond subsistence): the Amish and the Cuban. The latter developed because of the US embargo, demonstrating that the greatest gift we can bestow on other nations is to keep our chemical garbage away from them.

Permaculture is the third way.

This was an excellent read, and certainly a book that could fruitfully be read more than once. An excellent gift to anyone.

I am loath to waste the ten links allowed by Amazon, so here are some other books, generally centered on faith, that I consider most interesting.

Surrender to Kindness (One Man’s Epic Journey for Love and Peace)
Reflections on Evolutionary Activism: Essays, poems and prayers from an emerging field of sacred social change
Global Shift: How A New Worldview Is Transforming Humanity (New Harbinger/Noetic Books) (co-published with the Institute of Noetic Sciences)
Nonzero: The Logic of Human Destiny
Faith- Based Diplomacy Trumping Realpolitik
Nelson’s Complete Book of BIble Maps and Charts, 3rd Edition
Reconciliation: Islam, Democracy, and the West
God’s Politics: Why the Right Gets It Wrong and the Left Doesn’t Get It
Left Hand of God, The: Healing America’s Political and Spiritual Crisis
The Bhagavad Gita: A Walkthrough for Westerners

See Also: Worth a Look: Book Reviews on Religion, at Phi Beta Iota the Public Intelligence Blog.