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  1. #1

    leejo's Avatar

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    Amish In The City

    There have been recent threads bemoaning the loss of cultures and also the stupidity and arrogance of Christian thought. Thought I'd share this article.

    http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/o...,3581508.story

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  3. #2

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    Re: Amish In The City

    pstttt...Leej...copy and paste it here ...I'm not registering with another site

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  5. #3

    leejo's Avatar

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    Re: Amish In The City

    `Amish' TV show may deliver reality of Christian bias

    By Scott Savage
    Published July 25, 2004

    My wife and I are Conservative Friends, choosing a long-standing tradition within Christianity that values a "plain and simple" life. Our family manages to exist without a media diet of television or radio; we light our quiet evenings with oil lamps and do our nearby traveling by horse power.

    An outsider might lump us together with our Amish neighbors, but unlike the Amish, we stayed in school beyond the 8th grade and have college degrees. Along with farming, I do some teaching and writing, spending plenty of time in two very different worlds: the small, protected world of horse-and-buggy "plain" people and the big, worldly world of American society.

    It is no surprise then, that I would know about the new UPN "reality" television series, "Amish in the City," coming to a little screen near you beginning Wednesday. What might be unexpected, however, is that quite a few Amish people also are aware of the series, although they won't be tuning it in.

    To update those who have missed the hype: According to UPN, the series puts "five Amish young adults" into an extended sleepover in a Hollywood mansion with "a handsome swim teacher, a fashion-forward party girl, a colorful club promoter, a busboy/musician, an inner-city student and a strict vegan." The purpose being to peep at religiously raised children sampling the "delights and challenges of modern metropolitan life."

    In other words, the joke is to get these innocents to sin (pardon my pre-postmodern language) on camera. Each episode will follow the young people as they are tempted to behave in ways that erase their purity, leading up to the finale, where they will "decide whether or not they want to join the Amish church ... or stay in the outside world."

    The Budget, one of two newspapers published specifically for the Amish, has closely covered "Amish in the City" developments as they have unfolded, noting for instance when "scouts" for the series fanned out to Amish communities in Pennsylvania and the Midwest. In our area of Ohio, camera crews traveled the back roads, and some Amish families are reported to have allowed filming of their daily life without being fully apprised of the program's intentions.

    Since the Amish believe Christians should not resist "evildoers" (that outdated language, again!), they haven't sued UPN's parent network, CBS, or petitioned advertisers to pull out of the series. UPN said back in February that while similar television programs using other social minorities might spark an uproar, "the Amish don't have as good a lobbying group." That's certainly true, but it would be wrong to assume they also don't have objections.

    Last week I spoke with a close friend who is a member of an Amish community where the series' production company did some heavy recruiting. Word on "the Amish Street" (or buggy path, I guess) is that one troubled teenager of Amish parentage was offered $20,000 to take part. "She's still off in California somewhere," he said softly and sadly. This young person was described as being thoroughly untypical.

    In a National Public Radio interview about the series, Amish-watching sociologist Donald Kraybill concurred: "The only Amish young people that I think would be willing to participate are going to be Amish young people who have already dropped out of Amish society or who are planning to leave it."

    Alas, there's no such thing as bad publicity. Despite the inherent distortion and exploitation of Amish beliefs, the show must go on, drawing many curious onlookers, some undoubtedly hoping to see Amish boys and girls publicly seduced and debauched and made fools of for the sake of entertainment. On the other hand, UPN's prelaunch patter hints that the show's wayward "Amish youth" do muster some inner strength while facing the camera's grinning mug: "... The Amish kids give their city counterparts insights into their beliefs, values and a lifestyle dedicated to faith, modesty and unadorned means."

    Whichever way it ends up playing, "Amish in the City" has already left its mark on the "reality programming" of American culture, at least from the viewpoint of Amish and other plain Christians, who are definitely watching this bigger show. It reinforces our perception that there is an emerging spirit in America of open ridicule and hostility to Christian faith. This is of special concern to the Amish and Mennonite plain folk, whose early history is bound up with the horrible persecution they suffered in Europe before fleeing to freedom in America. They remain perpetually on guard.

    What plain people see now is television using Christians for the purpose of amusement. This seems ominous--even the Amish apprehend that in the 21st Century's pop culture milieu, violence often alternates with the laugh track.

    The basic laughter-generating premise for "Amish in the City" is false. These people who are supposed to be confounded by indoor plumbing and Victoria's Secret catalogs know much more about your culture than you do about theirs. They've seen the Cosmo covers in the grocery store checkout line, and although you've never read their newspaper, they have at least occasionally read yours. The busloads of tourists in "Amish country" might want to ponder whether the plain people they stare at aren't maybe staring back.

    How would the tourists feel if they discovered that plain living is not merely the lifestyle choice of a picturesque community of Rip Van Winkles, but a (gently applied) critique of American culture?

    My emancipation from television frees my evenings for reading. Right now I'm deep into "The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire," at the part where Edward Gibbon describes treatment of Christians by ultra-decadent pagan rulers in the 2nd Century.

    Believers back then were regarded as criminals just for being Christians, all the more so because they would not submit to the religious "values" of hedonistic Rome: "It was not so much the past offence, as the actual resistance, which excited the indignation of the magistrate. He was persuaded that he offered them an easy pardon, since, if they consented to cast a few grains of incense upon the [pagan] altar, they were dismissed from the tribunal in safety and with applause. It was esteemed the duty of a humane judge to endeavor to reclaim, rather than to punish, those deluded enthusiasts." Torture and death came later, after the commercial break.

    In these times when use of the term "culture war" has begun to alternate with "civil war," the reality is that some of us are wondering how soon the cruel laughter aimed at the devout will turn to cruelty itself, plain and simple.

    ----------

    Scott Savage is the author of "A Plain Life: Walking My Belief."


    Copyright 2004, Chicago Tribune

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  7. #4

    Fait_Maker's Avatar

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    Re: Amish In The City

    As an Atheist, let me be the first to say, that show sounds very sad. While I chuckle internally at what I consider the foolishness of the religious, I still respect their beliefs. I don't feel the need to poke fun at someone because of the way they think they should live their life.

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    Re: Amish In The City

    Quote Originally Posted by Fait_Maker
    While I chuckle internally at what I consider the foolishness of the religious
    About like I chuckle at the foolishness of ones disbelief




    Quote Originally Posted by Fait_Maker
    I still respect their beliefs. I don't feel the need to poke fun at someone because of the way they think they should live their life.
    You wouldn't believe the funny looks the wife and I get when we go to town sometimes...and it's usually from the kids with multi-colored hair, multiple tattoos/piercings etc...and they think we look funny

    We work with the Amish on occasion...the come over from the Bern, Indiana area...you wouldn't believe some of them
    One of the younger ones had gotton inna bit of trouble with the local bishop...see...their buggies have 12v battery powered lights for at night, and this youngin' had mounted an auto radio/casette deck and 2 6x9 speakers under the buggy seat....he got caught

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    Re: Amish In The City

    Ah the Jadikis blaring from the buggy must have been a dead giveaway.

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    CingularDuality's Avatar

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    Re: Amish In The City

    While the reason for a show like this (to make money while entertaining simpleminded morons) disgusts me, some of the premise is very interesting and worth studying.

    Depending on how mature the subjects of this show are, it will be interesting to see how their faith stands up in the face of modern society. You see, a great percentage of people (I don't have numbers, but I'd be willing to guess that it's higher than 90%) belong to a certain religion simply because that was the way they were raised. You are a baptist or a lutheren or an orthodox jew or a buddhist because your parents told you that's what you were. People rarely change their religions, and when they do, it's usually due to an education of sorts. The young adults are going to be educated in a new lifestyle and it will be interesting to see which path they choose when presented with a choice like this. If I wasn't so certain that the producers of this show will be trying to grab "ratings" at the expense of the Amish lifestyle, I'd probably try to watch this show.

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    Re: Amish In The City

    Hey if a serious show like this were on, it would bore everyone to tears. PBS in the slow lane. This is Kingpin goes to TV. Let's all laugh at the little amish.

    All young Amish go through a period living like every other teenager and then choose which path to follow.

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    Fait_Maker's Avatar

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    Re: Amish In The City

    Quote Originally Posted by CingularDuality
    You see, a great percentage of people (I don't have numbers, but I'd be willing to guess that it's higher than 90%) belong to a certain religion simply because that was the way they were raised. You are a baptist or a lutheren or an orthodox jew or a buddhist because your parents told you that's what you were. People rarely change their religions, and when they do, it's usually due to an education of sorts.
    I call that adopting your religion. You were given it rather than making it your own. You are probably right on the high 90% though. Most people just go with what they know.

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    Re: Amish In The City

    Hehe, the old conformity thing. No doubt it plays a part. But one thing I KNOW is that, if you are a young person today, living outside of the bible belt, there is much more pressure to conform to being anti-religious then there is to being religious.

    There's just as much conformity (ie - "adopting" your lifestyle) in sub-culture as there is in culture. I went through a hell of a lot of sub-cultures before realizing that. It was the punks that finally convinced me.

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    CingularDuality's Avatar

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    Re: Amish In The City

    Quote Originally Posted by H-Hour
    Hehe, the old conformity thing. No doubt it plays a part. But one thing I KNOW is that, if you are a young person today, living outside of the bible belt, there is much more pressure to conform to being anti-religious then there is to being religious.

    There's just as much conformity (ie - "adopting" your lifestyle) in sub-culture as there is in culture. I went through a hell of a lot of sub-cultures before realizing that. It was the punks that finally convinced me.
    Yes, but the desire to be like one's parents is much stronger than any other "pressures", IMO. And it comes back to my comment on education: if Southern Baptist is the only faith you are exposed to, then you'll be Southern Baptist. As you learn more about alternative ways of believing (or not believing), you're more likely to change your faith. If you're born into a community that believes technology is evil, you're going have those beliefs ingrained in your mind as being the truth until you're presented with information that you accept as being true that contradicts those beliefs.

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  23. #12

    H-Hour's Avatar

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    Re: Amish In The City

    Yes, but the desire to be like one's parents is much stronger than any other "pressures", IMO
    My point is that it is the same if your parents are Atheists, Nudists, Republicans, Democrats, Sadists, Angry, Violent, Strong, Weak, Dysfunctional, Successful, Pragmatic, Idealistic, Critical, Over-bearing... should I go on? Do we really want to get into a discussion about the existence of original thought? Or even truely independent, individual ideology?

    People like to use the conformity issue because Religion is usually a traditional value. You can criticise Christians of conformity, because there is certainly plenty of conformity going on, but there is just as much conformity in non-traditional values.

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  25. #13

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    Re: Amish In The City

    Quote Originally Posted by H-Hour
    My point is that it is the same if your parents are Atheists, Nudists, Republicans, Democrats, Sadists, Angry, Violent, Strong, Weak, Dysfunctional, Successful, Pragmatic, Idealistic, Critical, Over-bearing... should I go on? Do we really want to get into a discussion about the existence of original thought? Or even truely independent, individual ideology?
    I don't know. I think you're confusing habits and preferences with beliefs. Obviously religion isn't the only belief that is usually inherited from parents, but it is the only one that is so organized outside the home. People that hold these beliefs form support groups called churches to reinforce their beliefs in greater numbers. And yet still, which support group you belong to is almost entirely dependent on which one your parents belong to. It's not like that with any of the other traits you mentioned above...

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    Re: Amish In The City

    Sometimes confusion enters in due the perception that christianity is orginization of sorts....when it reality its a relationship based upon the "person" Christ. A Christ follower or believer.

    We tend to get caught up in this or that "formalized" group which in fact a parent can play a significant role in forming the childs desire to or not to belong to. What ultimately happens is that some day a child most likely young adult will simply decide that the group they have known is worth following and/or if the aforementioned "relationship" is worth having. Parents can't force the relationship to happen...every one will make that choice in their own ultimately.

    They may follow a group from their youth or a new group but never have the relationship, or they have the relationship and never choose a formalized "religious group". Christianity can't be inherited, its a relationship and only forms when an individual pursues it.

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    Re: Amish In The City

    television using Christians for the purpose of amusement
    This guy should watch public asccess cable sometime, they've been doing that to themselves for years there.

    While I can't stand the latest reality TV craze I don't see where this is any worse than any other. If people want to believe a certain way they should be ready for people to laugh at them and challenge them. The ol' skin needs to thicken up a bit. Christian missonary's have subverted other religions in underdeveloped nations for years (Native Americans, Africans) and played upon their fears and "ignorance" to influence the way they believe and convert them to their views, turn about is fair play in my book.

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