Episode Two – Culture Clash
Episode Two recap:
I remember exactly where I was when my cell phone screen lit up with a ‘private number’. I held my breath as the voice on the other end asked for a “Mose Gingerich.,” followed by introducing himself as a highway patrol. When I get a call like that, my heart drops right out of my bottom. Someone is in serious trouble, or dead. But, instead of panicking, I remember, in a clear voice, asking the dreaded question: “Is he alive?” I listened as the patrol recounted the events that led to Jonas’s car accident. Jonas had been thrown out through the moonroof of his car, landed on the shoulder of the road, and his car had sailed over the top of him and landed in the field beyond. Jonas was responsive when the paramedics arrived, but now, on his way to the hospital, he had become unresponsive.
As I had suspected, I was in the air, on my way to Anderson Cooper, when episode two aired. While I was unable to tweet, I did watch the episode. Obviously, one of the most talked about topics was the slaying of a chicken, by a seemingly quiet Amish girl from Kansas. I was neither for, nor against airing the bloody scene. Mainly, I grew up on a farm where beheading chickens was as normal a thing as milking a cow by hand, or, if you need a bloodier scene for comparison, delivering calves from a birthing cow. In short, if the chicken beheading scene was in some way educational to Michaela, or to the viewers, then do the thing already.
Speaking of Michaela… When she contacted me through Facebook in early 2011, her story about wanting to join the Amish garnered much blunt criticism from me. Michaela however, refused to leave me alone, messaging me several times a day, stating her case in different and more determined terms with each message. After a month of back and forth communication, I agreed to meet with her in person. I think the reason I was drawn to Michaela and wanted to help her is because something about her reminded me of myself, from about ten years ago. Back then, I was the kid who needed help, needed change, and I was the one reaching out for understanding. After talking to Michaela, it became clear. If she was miserable in the outside world, and if she could be happier among the Amish, then I would help her, even if it contradicted how I felt about the matter. Never mind that I spent half of my life trying to get away from exactly what she now wished to join. I would set aside my biased opinion and give her the shot she was looking for.
Many, many viewers have emailed and asked whether Michaela joined the Amish. I suppose the end to episode two made it seem like Michaela’s story is over, but, her story continues. Making a transition that important is one that shouldn’t be made overnight. But tsk, tsk, let’s not go and blast spoilers all over the place…
Cephas and I have had long, heated, debates on things like credit, or a college education, and do you need it to get anywhere in life. All in good fun of course. (The note he showed to the camera, the one I still have a copy of, a perfect example of our sort of friendship). Cephas is a very opinionated kid with huge aspirations, and I’ve pushed him the entire way. He was so elated when he got the ‘good faith’ loan to buy his house, that he promptly called me to ‘rub it in’ that he succeeded without established credit.
My birthday party came after a very long and stressful day at the dealership. My wife asked me out on a dinner date, after which she wanted to go dance at Whiskey Wild, the largest country bar in Columbia. I halfway suspected that she was up to something, and wasn't sure I had the energy required if she had a surprise planned. However, my fifth wind kicked in as soon as I walked through that door and saw a roomful of close friends.
Episode Three preview:
Jonas Stutzman's accident, and the difficulty when, already struggling mightily, he finds doors in his past closer even harder.
We see people from all over the country coming into Columbia and trying to convince the Ex-Amish kids to join their various churches and faiths. I have had thousands of people contact me, asking for these kids’ cell numbers or emails because “they seem so innocent and vulnerable.” Allow me to state for the record, that I have never, and never will, given out any of their personal contact information to strangers. While they agreed to be on a TV show, they deserve privacy, and I will help them keep that.
In episode three I will be LIVE tweeting once again. You can follow me at @AmishNCity.
8 thoughts on “Episode Two – Culture Clash”
Really enjoying the episodes. Very interesting. I am glad the young people have a support system (you) to help them transition.
This is SO awesome to have someone on the other side of the camera to explain to many of us “English” folk what certain things mean when we do not understand. You do a great job at telling us in a way that explains what you are speaking of but there are times, for me especially, when I would like to know more specific information or more detail about the subject talked about. Thank you SO much Mr. Mose. :)
I’m still wondering about the girl that wanted to be amish? did she find a good home. did she change her mind when couldn’t see her family.
Stick around. Her story continues.
Moses, you have nothing to be embarrassed about. You were charming, your speach cadence is perfect. So many folks today speak much to fast and use to much slang that they are the ones who are hard to understand. I am enjoying your show very much, as well as your blog. It’s so wonderful to see young people with a great work ethic and the willingness to work hard for the things they want. All the kids are to be encouraged. My prayer is that more of our countries youth were as willing to make an effort and put in the time needed to reap the rewards honest work brings! God Bless!
My wife and I are “English” people living in the midst of the largest Amish community in the world – eastern Holmes County, Ohio. We happened onto the first episode and loved it, but we felt a little weird about it. At one point my wife said, “Here we are living with Amish people, but we are spending an hour of our lives watching them on TV!” We probably know more about the Amish than 99.9% of the rest of the world does, yet your program has grabbed us.
I think the fact that some of the Amish practices that you are portraying are different than the ones we are familiar with here has something to do with the intrigue. For example, if what we would call “an Old Order Amish kid” who hasn’t joined the church wants to get a car and dress English, then he does it – but he lives at home. Having to run away to get away from the Amish rules would be something we only see in the very “low” groups like the Swartzentrubers – which we do not have a lot of in the immediate area.
I have one concern about Amish Out Of Order, and that would be that people who are not very knowledgeable about the Amish could get the impression that the abuses and harsh tactics that you and the ex-Amish have experienced apply to all Amish. Using the term “ the Amish” is very much like someone saying that they are “Baptist”. It doesn’t necessarily tell you much about how the person practices their faith or what they believe. There are many different varieties/grades/flavors of Amish, and practices vary widely between the different groups, within the same group from church district to church district, and in different regions of the country. The way the New Order Amish in our area look, how they relate to people, what they profess to believe, and how they live life is radically different from, say, how the Swartzentruber Amish do those things. That said, the stories of the young folks who you bring to us make Amish Out of Order very compelling television. Thanks!
Very wise post. I agree with you about the different levels and different practices. The Amish are no different than any other part of society. We’re all people and while the same in many ways, also different in many ways. We should never generalize about any group of people.
I enjoyed seeing you and the others on Anderson Cooper. I’m glad you found out he wasn’t a brand of window! LOL! He’s a great guy, as are you, Mose. I may have missed this from an earlier episode, but did you get any further education after your 8th grade Amish education? I’m enjoying “Out of Order.” Thank you for all you have to do with getting this information out there for us Englishers!