Minimalists and the Amish


The past couple nights I’ve spent watching a PBS American Experience documentary on The Amish.  (Yes, I’m one of those PBS/BBC/Public Radio weirdo-s…)  Truth be told, I have a slight obsession with the Amish.  While I’m not ready to convert (okay, I’ve had a few moments where I wanted to) I do respect and desire to have some of their ways of life.

One interview really stood out in my mind.  It went something like this:

“Lots of people find our way of life restrictive; and in a lot of ways it is.  But I see the “restrictions” more as freedom.  We don’t drive cars so that arbitrarily restricts how far we can travel.  While most of America’s small towns are dying our small towns still thrive.   People with cars are happy to drive a few miles outside of town to go to Walmart but we aren’t going to do it because its too far.”

“Likewise don’t have electricity.  Think of all the departments in the store you can altogether skip if you don’t use electricity.”

And it’s true.  By arbitrarily cutting certain things out of your life you greatly simplify your life leaving room for the things that really matter to you.

For the Amish this would be their religion and their community/family.  Because they are not seeking after material wealth they have more time to focus on God and being good, service oriented people.

This really struck a cord with me and greatly reminded me of another on-again, off-again obsession I have: minimalism. In a lot of ways these two things have A LOT more in common than you’d think.

  1. They reject consumerism.
  2. They seek to simplify life.
    1. So they have more time for things they love.
    2. For less distractions
  3. It extends to all aspects of life
    1. Dress
    2. Uncluttered Home

Okay, so that may be where the similarities end but I believe there is a reason I’m drawn to both of these “cultures.”  I am constantly fighting a battle within myself between what our society tells me to want and what I really want: a simple life full of love, family and friends.

Hopefully, with time, it will be less of a struggle and more of just living my life in the way I am hoping to attain.  And for now I’ll admire those who believe in something so much that they can walk away from the way our culture tells us to live and be in the world not of the world.


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