I often tell my wife my dislike for things labeled “Amish This” or “Amish That”. Currently there is a wave of labels of goods, services, and philosophies that have the word “Amish” attached to them. There are “Amish Goods”, “Amish Wisdom”, “Amish Books”, “Amish Furniture”, “Amish Heaters”, “Amish Proverbs”, “Amish Cheese”, “Amish America”, etc. The funniest one I ever saw was “Amish Meat". I'm still looking for the first Amish cow!
Why are businesses and people, in many cases “English” people, attaching the word Amish to their wares? Are Amish made products and Amish wisdom better than other products and wisdom?
I’m from Holmes County, Ohio, so I know that tourism there has brought great prosperity. Holmes County is touted as having the largest Amish population in the world, and has grown from a sleepy community with one motel/hotel in the entire county to having hotels, restaurants, bed & breakfasts, and tourist stores at every turn.
Is what happened to Holmes County a good thing? I’m not sure. I’m guilty of the same pride when I return and take friends and relatives through there and let them know where everything is located.
I also proudly tell my wife that if I ever start a business I’m not going to use the name Amish in the title, but will use the name “Yoder”. But by association almost everyone knows that Yoder is usually attached to having an Amish heritage. I would then vicariously be using my Amish roots to get gain.
I recently watched a video of Jim Cymbala, the pastor of the Brooklyn Tabernacle Church, where he preached to a group of pastors and missionaries about Jesus driving out the money changers. He said that Jesus drove them out on two separate occasions. My question is, can the use of the Amish label to products be compared to the money changers of the temple, or am I way off base? The money changers and sellers of animals to be sacrificed used the religious traditions of the Jewish nation to make money, usually at inflated prices. They let themselves believe they were doing a service, and they may have told themselves they were entitled to make a little extra money on the side.
Can the same be said of the use of the Amish name and traditions? I don’t have all the answers. I love my relatives that have grown up Amish. I love and am proud of my Amish roots. But I don’t want to be so infatuated with them that I forget a more important equation: Salvation by faith in Jesus Christ.
"For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast." Ephesians 2:8-10
See you next time,