The Amish: Change and Technology

Figure 1.--The scooter seems to be a boyhood favorite and has passed the Mennonite technology test, at least for this community. This photo, taken in Lancaster County Pennsylvania shows an Amish boy going to the town with his push-scooter. By his feet we can assume that he is used going barefoot everywhere.

Although the Amish look like they stepped out of the rural 19th century, in fact they do change. Remember that Mennonites began arriving in America during the late-17th century so a 19th century image shows considerabke change from the 17th and 18th centuries. Their lives move more slowly than ours, but they definitely are not stuck anywhere. They choose to examine change carefully before they accept it. If the new idea or gadget does not assist in keeping their lives simple and their families together, they probably will reject it. Each church district makes such decesions for itself, what it will and will not accept. There is no single governing body for the entire Old Order Amish population, but all follow a literal interpretation of the Bible and an unwritten set of rules called the Ordnung. Old Order groups all drive horses and buggies rather than cars. Electricity is an interesting example as to how the Amish approach these issues. There is considerable variation. Quite a number do not have electricity in the homes, but among these many have electric milking machines in the barns. The practicality and efficency of the milking machines led to their acceptance.


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Created: 9:15 PM 3/13/2011
Last updated: 9:15 PM 3/13/2011