Growing up in the South, I have not had interaction with the Amish. I have visited “Amish Country” in Pennsylvania once. But I have not done a lot of research or reading about the Amish people. I guess you would call me a typical “English” person.
Well that changed this year. One of my favorite channels for reality television is the National Geographic Channel. The reason is be cause their programing seems to have more substance, story and humanity than other reality programing. I have enjoyed catching Alaska State Troopers or Frontier Force episodes now and then. But this year they have shown some of the specials they have done through the years on the ex-Amish and the Amish. I enjoyed the specials. So when Nat Geo announced they were doing a series around the Amish/ex-Amish, I decided to watch. The series is called “Amish: Out of Order” and I enjoyed watching it.
What keep me watching is the people. The show centers around Mose Gingerich,Mose Gingerich (from NatGeo’s site)
who is an ex-Amish and one of the first older adults to try to help other ex-Amish adapt to life in the “English” (non-Amish) world. He in his own ways is trying to build a community to support the ex-Amish and help them have the community, family, and sense of place that they lost when leaving the Amish.Esther Miller (from NatGeo’s site)
Esther Miller is another person who keeps me watching. She is one of the, smaller number, of women who left Amish. Her faith in Christ is inspiring. She took the faith in Christ she grew up hearing about and sought it out for herself. She has accepted Christ as Lord outside the rules and requirements placed on the Amish converts. She is genuine in her walk with Christ and desires to serve and honor Him. She also tries to respect her past and Amish heritage.
There are several other people I enjoy on the show but Mose and Esther are the ones whom I enjoy the most. Along with the people, another element that keeps me watching is honesty. These people come from a very strict upbringing. Some of that upbringing they cherish and other parts they do not. Some of that strictness lifestyle and religion were reasons they left the Amish. I do say religion here verses faith in/relationship with Christ. I say that because while I do believe that many Amish people have a saving relationship with and faith in Christ, but this is an universal rule. I think many have rules and tradition that they live by but do not have a relationship with the Lord of the universe.
The people we see on “Amish: Out of Order” are struggling to adapt to life, in all its’ aspects, outside the Amish community. We are getting to see their struggles with handling money, driving, use of alcohol, relationships, family, jobs, school, faith, and death. The show follows people taking hard looks at their lives and making big decisions. Looking at their past and to their future. They are struggling to take the good things and ways they grew up with and build a new life outside that community.
I am happy with how the show has shown Esther’s faith in Christ and her church. I am surprised and pleased about how the show has shown Mose’s honestly and directly examined churches and groups who are reaching out to the Amish & ex-Amish. I am encouraged to see Mose confront issues from his past and him seeing a need for faith in Christ (individually and for the community of ex-Amish). So many were turned of to Christ because of the religious nature of the community they grew up in and the shunning they received. I pray that they ex-Amish would find a relationship with Christ over religion and a church family to help them since they are separated from their own families.
Some of these same issues were addressed in the BBC/NatGeo special “Amish On Break“. This was a special about a group of teens on Rumspringa (running around), a break many old order Amish youth take before committing to the Amish way of life. These teens spent time in the U.K. and saw the differences and similarities between Amish and “English” people. Once again it was the people and real world issues that made me enjoy the special.
“Amish: Out of Order” is coming to a close on its’ season. I am not sure if we will see another season or not. I have not heard official word. I know that if the people were willing and would allow filming it would continue to be a good series. But I don’t want the format and the honest nature of the show to change. I would rather have the ex-Amish involved to say no if they did not want to continue or if the powers that be would force story lines.
UPDATE: The season has closed and it is up to National Geographic, Stick Figure Productions and the ex-Amish as to a second season. Please if you feel so lead contact Nat Geo and Stick Figure and let them know you want another season to follow the people we have grown to love. (see the links below)
I would highly recommend you watching the series on the National Geographic Channel when they air it or see it on Blu-ray and streaming. Mose has a website up and he is very honest in his blogging and tweeting. Esther has a Facebook Page as well. I would recommend connecting with them and sharing your thoughts.
If you have any questions please ask me and to any ex-Amish who read this please feel free to comment, correct, inform us all by commenting. Know that I value you and am praying for you.
(Note photos and images are property of National Geographic Channel, Stick Figure Productions, and the owners. I will remove them if asked.)
Stick Figure Productions: http://stickfigureproductions.com/
Amish: Out of Order http://channel.nationalgeographic.com/channel/amish-out-of-order
Mose’s website http://amishinthecitymose.com/
Mose took a long time to clearly write out and share so much of his life and thoughts in a blog post. I would highly encourage you all to read it thoroughly. It puts things in to perspective and shows Mose’s heart and life. I highly respect him and his priorities. We may not have a second season of Amish Out Of Order, but I think we learned much from one season. I am grateful for knowing more about the Amish & ex-Amish communities and I owe that to the hard work of Mose, Stick Figure Productions and the National Geographic Channel.
TLC’s Breaking Amish:
Please check out my thoughts about that series: http://www.geoffgentry.org/2012/09/10/breakingamish/
The way that it looks now there will be no Season 2 of Amish Out of Order. Which is fine, because to me Season 1 was well done and solid. Nothing felt “scripted” like so much of TLC’s stuff (like Breaking Amish) does. The fact comes down to Mose will not compromise his obligations to his family and work. They come first and if those would be compromised to make a new season of Amish Out of Order, I don’t want it. I think down the road Nat Geo can do some more Amish specials that catch up with the folks we have grown to like and introduce new folks. A special requires less commitments and can still share great info. As I mentioned above the BBC/Nat Geo special Amish on Break is a great example of this.