Joshua Judges Ruth: Maybe the Amish got it right


Perhaps the besetting sin of our modern culture is escapism. If that’s true, take me to church. I want out of here. This morning I woke up, remembered the recent COVID update bulletin and immediately started researching carriage options.

Let’s put aside theological differences and questionable fashion choices for a moment. The Amish know something we don’t. Remember the internet’s weird obsession with linen fabrics and bread baking? The Alsatian Anabaptists residing in middle America had that figured out ages ago. The average cottagecore Tumblr post is virtually indistinguishable from a day in the life of Johann Svendensendisvendinsen of Holmes County, Ohio.

I’ve never been quite convinced by the Benedict Option, but let me tell you, I don’t want to live in this century anymore. And last time I went to JOANN, that pink gingham fabric looked mighty appetizing. Sew me a bonnet. I’m heading out.

If you aren’t convinced, I understand. Would it help if I called it an extended mission trip? We can do it in the name of ecumenism. We convert them to the True Faith; they convert our language to Low German.

I didn’t want to start the semester off this way. I wanted to open with a cogent and comedic reflection on contemporary culture in the form of an off-brand news article. You know, like a satirist. But now it’s 11:52 p.m., my column was due approximately three hours and fifty-two minutes ago, and I’ve spent every free moment of my day trying not to let the immense weight of ‘Life in 2021’ grind me to a pulp. The only way that I can force a smile to my drooping and freshly-masked face is by thinking about fleeing to the green pastures of Amish country.

You know what sounds really nice right now? Churning butter with a woman whose name is comprised mostly of hard consonants on a hillside in rural Pennsylvania. You know what doesn’t sound nice? Waking up in the middle of the night to the CDC’s secret police burning my house down because I didn’t want my heart to explode due to an experimental treatment.

Let’s defect! Let’s just get the heck out. Nowhere is safe except Johann’s farm down the road. His neckbeard may be ill-placed, but his heart is not. Someday, you can marry your daughters off to his sons. Their names correspond with the 12 tribes of Israel. His wife is lovely. Makes a darn good peach cobbler. Flaky, buttery, the slightest hint of tang. What was I talking about?

If I were to be holding a rope — bear with me for a moment — were I to possess a thick fisherman’s cord, I would not be holding very much of it. Because, as you may have gathered from the content and flow of this piece, I am at the end of it. The rope. Is what I’m talking about.

And you can bet that Johann’s strapping son Ephraim is holding a much longer rope that is just out of my reach.