With the global economy getting worse by the day, international conflict never ceasing and Carly Rae Jepsen dominating our airwaves, now seems like no better time than to shun the evils of the modern world and look back to simpler times. Last night's documentary on the Amish by the BBC, certainly makes simple living look like all kinds of fun.
Miriam and David Lapp are 'Old Order' Amish. They see electricity as a distraction, and therefore rarely use it. They travel in a horse-drawn buggy, even if it means a trip to the bank takes 3 hours. Miriam thinks it perfectly right for a wife to be submissive to her husband, and also finds that when it comes to disciplining her children, there are few better ways in achieving results than with the 'rod' (A wooden spoon with a smiley face drawn onto it used against her children's bottoms.)
However the Lapps have a secret. They mingle with excommunicated Amish (a big no-no in the Old Order rule book), and have re-baptized themselves (again, a serious misdemeanor though I'm not entirely sure why), they call themselves Amish-Christian and have chosen a more accepting, evangelical stance to their religion. This is why they agreed to being filmed, as technically the Amish should never be photographed.
The documentary was fantastically illuminating, and never judgmental. All too often essays (filmed or written) on somewhat extreme approaches to spirituality (especially American spirituality) have a sense of prejudice and bias that belittles the subjects. However, Lynn Alleway and her crew are determinedly respectful of the Lapps and seldom push them into probing corners.