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Amish: Out of Order

June 4, 2012

The National Geographic channel has a show, Amish: Out of Order, which brings attention to what I address a great deal in this blog; religious pride, using shame as a form of control, legalism, and disunity.

While the Amish seem to suffer more extreme shame and fear than most Christians do, what makes their struggle relevant for all people is that the same use of rejection, abandonment, and intimidation as a form of control is still experienced by many in the world and in the Church today.

Click on the link, below, to take a look at this short video of this interesting television program.

I really enjoy this series. It depicts the journey of a former Amish gentleman, Mose Gingerich, as he tries to support young men and women on their journeys to freedom while living outside of the Amish community.  It is easy to detect the humble and genuine heart of Gingerich as he works through the issues facing these people once they leave home. Unfortunately, when they do, they get shunned, rejected and abandoned by their families and community. They are also told they are going to go to hell for leaving the Amish.  As he helps these youngsters adapt, you get to witness Mose’s own struggle as he comes to grips with the scars of rejection that he faced when he left the Amish.

This form of control by fear is a favorite tactic used among many individuals and groups. Yet this is not a uniquely Christian phenomenon. For example, this strategy is often used by children on the playground against their peers when they threaten abandonment or rejection those they want to control do not comply with a group norm or individual expectation. Additionally, it is used by parents and teachers who send kids into “time out.” Islamic governments use it to force Islam upon their citizens.

Fear through rejection and abandonment seeks to control us by capitalizing upon our psychological dependence upon others for our significance and self-esteem. As a matter of fact, rejection, abandonment, shame, and intimidation were the main tools used by the Communists in both China and the former Soviet Union to brainwash prisoners of war and unruly citizens. Their brainwashing was so effective that soldiers who had made it safely home after being imprisoned and tortured still confessed to false crimes months and years later. (I write about that quite a bit in my book, Accelerated Transformation: Maturity, Intimacy, and Unity through Emotional Healing).

Thank God, Christ sets us free from the brainwashing of this world. Jesus abolished our need to get our identities and significance from others when He happily adopted us into His family (Romans 8; Isaiah 61). You see, acceptance and adoption are the opposites of rejection and abandonment. This is why Jesus gave us the free gift of Grace to break us free from fear and bondage to lie-based thinking. He did this when He exchanged report cards with us. He chose to take our F’s and give us His A’s so we could have free access to our Heavenly Father. We were told to come boldly to the Throne of Grace in time of need… so we never again have to fear abandonment.

There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves punishment, and the one who fears is not perfected in love (I John 4:18 ).

For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life. For God did not send the Son into the world to punish the world, but that the world might be saved through Him (John 3:16-17).

We don’t need to look at the scornful eyes of others in order to find out who we are any longer. We are told to look into Jesus’ loving eyes, as if in a mirror, to see who we are… for we are made in His image.

But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as from the Lord, the Spirit (2 Corinthians 3:18).

Gingerich stated that even after having been away from the Amish for nine years that it is still hard for him to believe he will ever get into the Kingdom of Heaven despite receiving a great deal of encouragement from the viewers of the show, as follows,

I have for many years been at a place in my life where I, like the Amish taught me, hoped that if I tried very hard all my life, there is a slight hope that I can enter the kingdom of God. However, when I left the Amish in 2002, although I still prayed quite a bit, it seemed a very long shot for me to have a chance anymore.[1]

Gingerich’s statement demonstrated that the Amish have a works-based salvation rather than a faith/grace-based salvation. Gingerich said until you have lived with this, it is hard for anyone to really understand why it is so hard to feel secure in the assurance of salvation promised in Scripture. Hopefully this understanding of brainwashing can provide the Amish with a better idea why. The only remedy for a situation like this is emotional healing and renewing the mind. The good news is, Gingerich has begun to pursue this type of healing, as you will see in this episode.

I have really enjoyed watching the evolution of Gingerich and the ex-Amish in this series. Be sure to set your DVRs to catch Amish: Out of Order on NatGeo (National Geographic Channel) at 9:00 PM Eastern on Tuesday nights. They also feature reruns from time to time.

1.  Mose Gingerich on Amish: Out of Order. Retrieved May 30, 2012 from


© Tracey Nelson, M.Ed. June 4, 2012

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Please include the following statement on any distributed copy: By Tracey Nelson, M.Ed., author Accelerated Transformation , © June 4, 2012 Website: The Spotless Bride Blog; (Some images, songs, & videos not owned by author).

4 Comments leave one →
  1. June 7, 2012 4:11 am

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    • July 8, 2012 7:30 am

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    • July 20, 2013 4:33 pm

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