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Sunday Focus

 

Dear Lord and Father of mankind,

Forgive our foolish ways;

Reclothe us in our rightful mind;

In purer lives Thy service find,

In deeper reverence, praise,

In deeper reverence reverence, praise

 

In simple trust like theirs who heard,

Beside the Syrian sea,

The gracious calling of the Lord,

Let us, like them, without a word,

Rise up and follow Thee,

Rise up and follow Thee.

 

O Sabbath rest by Galilee!

O calm of hills above,

Where Jesus knelt to share with Thee

The silence of eternity,

Interpreted by love,

Interpreted by love.

 

With that deep hush subduing all

Our words and works that drown

The tender whisper of Thy call,

As noiseless let Thy blessing fall

As fell Thy manna down,

As fell Thy manna down.

 

Drop Thy still dews of quietness

Till all our strivings cease;

Take from our souls the strain and stress,

And let our ordered lives confess

The beauty of Thy peace,

The beauty of Thy peace.

 

Breathe trough the heats of our desire

Thy coolness and Thy balm;

Let sense be dumb, let flesh retire;

Speak through the earthquake, wind and fire,

O still small voice of calm,

O still small voice of calm.

 

by American Quaker poet John Greenleaf Whittier

Why ‘almost Amish’?

This blog is about why people (and I in particular) wish to be ‘almost Amish’, what the Amish and I have in common and how my interest in the Amish came about.

There is a book on the market by the name, ‘Almost Amish’, by Nancy Sleeth. She and her husband decided it wasn’t good enough just to talk about saving the planet – they decided to do something about it too. That included moving to a smaller house, reducing their energy consumption and cutting their waste by 90%. She wrote ‘Almost Amish’ to show people just what we can learn from these simple religious people; how we can incorporate more peacefulness and reduce stress in our own lives, by adopting a more simple lifestyle.

On ‘Sojourners – faith in action for social justice,’ Nancy has written an article which offers comments on the book’s ten most important things the Amish can teach us in our fast paced 21st Century lives:
  1. Homes are simple, uncluttered, and clean; the outside reflects the inside.
  2. Technology serves as a tool and does not rule as a master.
  3. Saving more and spending less brings financial peace.
  4. Time spent in God’s creation reveals the face of God.
  5. Small and local leads to saner lives.
  6. Service to others reduces loneliness and isolation.
  7. The only true security comes from God.
  8. Knowing neighbors and supporting local businesses builds community.
  9. Family ties are lifelong; they change but never cease.
  10. Faith life and way of life are inseparable

http://sojo.net/blogs/2012/08/03/tips-achieving-almost-amish-lifestyle

To me, this list distils the essence of what people find attractive about the Amish. They live simple, uncluttered lives, mixed with a faith on which everything else in the universe depends. Technology does not rule their lives; in fact, they manage quite well without it. They have strong family values. Their simple lifestyle gives them stability, an inner peace and a sense of purpose towards both God and man. Isn’t this really what most of us are looking for in life? Could it be that the Amish have an understanding of life that has eluded the rest of us? Or are they a culture that is outdated and has little if anything to say to us today?