Tyndale House Publishers, Inc. (March 16, 2012) 272 pages
I want to start out by making it clear that I in no way idolize the Amish. I admire certain things about them, but there is SO much about their lifestyle that I disagree with. I don't want to be Amish! I do enjoy the occasional Amish Fiction. I got burned out of them pretty quickly, so I don't read them much, though. I do think that there is a great deal that we could learn from their community, and those things are what Almost Amish highlights.
I knew(hoped) this was going to be a book I benefited from before I even started reading it. I've really been in a "simplifying" stage lately. I want to live better. I honestly didn't think I would learn anytihng new from reading Almost Amish, but I did think I needed a refresher to keep me headed in the right direction, as far as the simplifying goes. It actually ended up being so much more than I anticipated!
The author uses the following guidelines throughout the book:
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 bring financial peace.
4. Time spent with 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 nerighbors and supporting local businesses build community.
9. Family ties are lifelong; they change but never cease.
10. Faith life and way of life are inseparable.
Before I go any further, let me mention that I don't know exactly when it happened, but somewhere through the book, the author just rubbed me the wrong way. I found myself frequently getting annoyed or just plain mad at things she said. I want to give her the benefit of the doubt and say that more often than not, she's just guilty of bad wording. There are many things that I completely disagreed with. I could give you tons of examples, but I won't, because I DO recommend reading this book! Just know that my recommendation comes with me letting you know you might possibly be annoyed.....frequently!
All of that said, there is WAY more good in Almost Amish. There is a great deal of lessons to be learned in the pages, and there were things I really needed to hear! (that I didn't expect)
"Like marriages and so many other parts of modern life, however, churches have become disposable. If they no longer fit our needs, we move on. Many people approach church like a blind date: Which church has the best child care? Which church plays my favorite style of music? Which church has the strongest recreation program? Which church has the prettiest sanctuary?" (page 163)
"A friend of mine recently told me about a discussion between his pastor and a member of the congregation. The member told the pastor that he really enjoyed the sermon, but the songs that week weren't so great. 'The worship today just didn't do much for me.'
The pastor's response: 'I'm sorry to hear that, but the worship wasn't meant for you. It's for God.' That may sound harsh, but it's a message many of us need to hear." (page 162)
I got a great deal out of reading Almost Amish. It's a book that I will reference back to often. It has helped continue to push me in the direction I want to go, and in directions I didn't know I wanted to go. So, I do recommend you read it. But! Remember my warning! It was worth it, though.
*Thanks to Tyndale for my review copy in exchange for my honest opinion!