Monday, October 5, 2009

"Amish Peace" Book Review

Amish Wisdom for Modern Life:
Author shares the real-life stories of the Amish,
with insights to find lasting peace in our lives.

Take a look around you. Everyone is rushing around with endless to-do lists and back-to-back deadlines, barely able to catch a breath. Everyone, that is, except the Amish. Living on the outskirts of modernity, the Amish are icons for a simpler life and a slower pace. It’s this allure—something of a sanctuary, suspended in time—that draws millions of tourists to travel to Amish country every year.
“The Amish are the only people I have ever known who seem to have a handle on inner peace,” says Suzanne Woods Fisher. Fisher recently published Amish Peace: Simple Wisdom for a Complicated World, in which she explores the tranquility that marks their lives.
“It’s easy to get distracted by the buggies and beards and bonnets,” she says. “From the outside, the Amish can seem quaint and old-fashioned. But there’s much we can learn from them.” She would know because she’s spent most of her life alongside these people: Her relatives are members of the Old Order German Baptist Brethren Church, which shares similar values to the Amish.

Interviewing dozens of Amish for her book to gain a deeper understanding of their steadfast peace, Fisher got a closer look into the daily struggles and triumphs of the Amish. She shares these touching, real-life stories in the pages of Amish Peace.
For example, she got to know some of the Amish families who lost children in the West Nickel Mines School shooting. Even in the face of that kind of tragedy, she saw how the Amish community found calm by trusting in God’s sovereignty. “We just have to keep going on,” remarked one Amish woman whose family members were among the victims. “People think we’re perfect, but we’re not. Yet we can’t dwell on what happened. We have to leave it in God’s hands.” That fundamental belief also enabled them to extend incredible, almost immediate forgiveness to the gunman and his family.

Through her conversations and interactions with the Amish, she looks at how their enduring peace is rooted in their appreciation for five key elements: simplicity, time, community, forgiveness and their faith. Whether it’s living with only necessities, spending time with family or learning that the world is larger than our feeble understanding, those attitudes provide the framework that allows them to find solace in spite of life’s unpredictable circumstances.
“We don’t have to ‘go Amish’ to find true peace,” Fisher says. “Instead, we can learn from the example they’ve set and incorporate some of their lessons into our own lives. That’s what Amish Peace is all about—being inspired by the best of the Amish way of life.”

Peace. Does anyone really have true peace? The Amish seem to have it, but is it peace or just a lack of things? I was curious to read this book and see what Suzanne found out in her research, visits and interviews with the Amish. What I didn't expect was the peace I would get just from reading the book. I'm not a huge non-fiction fan just because it usually takes me a lot longer to read non-fiction than it does to read fiction. Suzanne has such a captivating writing style, short chapters and wonderful people to write about that I just zipped right through this book. At the end of each chapter she has a little section "Reflections on..." and a "Plain Living" box that both give you things to think about and how what was discussed in that chapter may or may not relate to your life.
This book would be such a blessing to any fan of Wanda Brunstetter, Beverly Lewis, Beth Wiseman or Shelley Shepherd Gray. It will give the reader a deeper insight into the culture they have loved reading about and may just give them a deeper insight into how to obtain more peace in their own life.

"Suzanne has captured the calm spirit of the Amish community.
She offers us a glimpse into a world of peace, serenity, and
total commitment to family and God.
This book just might change the
way you live your life."
— Glenda Lehman Ervin, vice president, marketing, Lehman’s

"Fisher plants the reader inside Amish living rooms,
barns, kitchens, and schoolhouses while distilling
the best of what Plain life has to offer.
Heartening and helpful."
— Erik Wesner, author, Simple Success: How the Amish Do Business and Amish America blog

"As one who has experienced peace firsthand from a wonderful Amish family, I see the recent flurry of writing about the Amish as welcome to our hurting nation. Read Amish Peace and you will not only learn about this unique subculture,
but you will also be inspired to live a life of peace."
— Joel Kime, pastor, Faith Church, Lancaster, PA

Suzanne Woods Fisher’s interest in the Anabaptist cultures can be directly traced to her grandfather, W. D. Benedict, who was raised in the Old Order German Baptist Brethren Church in Franklin County, Pennsylvania. Benedict left the colony, amicably, and eventually became publisher of Christianity Today magazine. Suzanne’s work has appeared in many magazines, including Today’s Christian Woman, Worldwide Challenge, ParentLife, Christian Parenting Today, Marriage Partnership, and many others. She has contributed to several nonfiction books and is the author of three novels. Fisher lives in California.

Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group, offers practical books that bring the Christian faith to everyday life. They publish resources from a variety of well-known brands and authors, including their partnership with MOPS (Mothers of Preschoolers) and Hungry Planet.