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Evangelizing and the Amish....

Oh geez, there probably is no way I can tackle this topic without offending someone...but...SIGH...Okay, here goes:

Story in today's Quincy Herald-Whig about a former Amish woman who left the church.  She's now written a book about her experiences and is doing a couple of book-signings in Quincy, Illinois.  Religious freedom is a wonderful thing and people are free to pick and choose their faith as they please, hopefully finding a religion that makes sense to them and their values.  The Amish don't evangelize, that is one of the bedrocks of their faith.  You won't see Amish people standing in LaGuardia Airport handing out pamphlets.  They just live their faith and that is fine.  This formerly Amish author and her family left after the seeds of a different religion were planted by one of the "non-Amish" drivers that often transport the Amish.  I've seen this happen so many times: non-Amish person meets Amish.  Non-Amish person views them as lost sheep and feels it is their duty to lead them back.  I guess I just have a more cynical view :" Lady, the Amish hired you to DRIVE them, not convert them. " I just get annoyed sometimes with overly assertive evangelicism.  Tell me your church is really cool and I should attend is fine, but leave it at that.  If I want a different religion, I will pray about it, research it MYSELF, seek it out MYSELF and if I want guidance, I will ask someone....I don't need someone trying to "save" me...I shall save myself, or God will, or whatever.  I just view religion as a very personal, very private matter and get annoyed when people of various religious stripes think its their job to somehow "bring the Amish home."  Okay, now that I have probably offended 2/3 of my audience, click here to read the article in the Quincy Herald-Whig.  Do you agree that it seemed a bit like an evagelical ambush?  Now, that said, there are a lot of unanswered questions in this article....

Dos and Dont's of Visiting the Amish....

I had an enjoyable interview this morning on KFRU radio in Columbia, Missouri.  We touched on many topics, one of them was about visiting the Amish.   This is something I love to do: find a rural Amish settlement, drive around and look for their "micro-businesses."  These are tiny businesses usually operated out of a home and only advertised with small handwritten signs: bakery, quilts for sale, bulk foods, fresh eggs, etc.   The Amish are, at their core, entrepreneurs, they love visitors if they are coming to engage in commerce.  And if you're coming to engage in commerce, then a little conversation is usually welcome also!  What you don't want to do is drop in to some busy Amish man's harness shop and just stand around peppering him with questions when you have no intention of buying something. Time is money and you're wasting both of his when you do that.  And, when you are visiting an Amish settlement, do NOT do what these two idiots in Pennsylvania did recently:

An Amish school was evacuated Nov. 27 after two men were seen peeking in its windows, police said. According to East Lampeter Township police, a white minivan with a New Jersey license plate pulled into the driveway of the school on Clearview Road, between Leaman Avenue and Rockvale Road, around 1:20 p.m.Two men got out of the vehicle, approached the school and looked in the windows. Startled, the teacher and students fled the building.Police said they believe the two men were tourists.   Amish schools are still on edge after the October 2006 incident when Charles Carl Roberts IV entered an Amish school in the village of Nickel Mines, where he shot and killed five young girls and wounded five more before killing himself

Sheesh.  I ALWAYS make sure a schoolmaster knows what my business is if I am going to be near an Amish school.  Recently I was visiting a small plain settlment in Tennessee and I wanted to see the school, but I made sure the schoolmaster knew ahead of time who I was, what I was doing, etc.    So, yes, visit Amish settlements, but use common sense and courtesy!

Minor Annoyances

I hope everyone is having a good day today.  This evening I'm preparing to for a trip the week after next.  I'll be on KARE-TV in Minneapolis, Minnesota on December 15 on "Showcase Minnesota", a daily, local talk show.  So I'm practicing whipping up some good recipes for that show.  On Dec 14, I'll be on WTMJ in Milwaukee, on their show called "The Morning Blend."  On each program, I'll be talking about the baking book.  SIGH, speaking of which, I read someone's blog this evening.  The blogger reviewed our new book.  I must say, it's not everyday someone calls my narrative style "dull" and that "Williams' prose reads like 6th grade history textbook, despite some fascinating back story." Click here to read her full review.  Now, lest anyone think I am thin-skinnedSmile...I'm not..her review wasn't all bad and, sincerely, I just don't really care much what anyone says about our books. We try to do the best we can, put out the best product possible, and then let people judge for themselves.  Some people will like it, some won't, that's just life.

What DID get under my skin a little bit more was a random person's posting at the end of Lovina's column as it appeared on the Tacoma News-Tribune's website. Check it out here.

If the poster has the higher education that he/she craves then he/she would know that the world is full of thousands of rich, different cultures who do things in different ways.  And, besides, I'd put Elizabeth Eicher up against about any 15-year-old in terms of intelligence, common-sense, etc.  She seems perfectly happy and capable to me.



Another Holiday Favorite Recipe Among the Amish: Homemade Butterscotch Pudding

Pennsylvania Dutch Butterscotch Pudding
1 c. brown sugar
2 tbsp. butter
1 tbsp. flour
1 egg yolk
1 c. milk
1 tsp. vanilla
1/4 tsp. salt

(Best done in a cast iron skillet.) Boil sugar and butter together until soft. Beat the egg yolk well and add it to the flour, milk, vanilla, and salt. Carefully stir a little at a time into the sugar mixture. Cook, stirring constantly, until thick and bubbly

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