Swartzentruber Amish | Karen Johnson-Weiner

Swartzentruber house, dup 024

I was asked once to talk about the Amish to members of a local church, and, as I debated how to help them make sense of what Don Kraybill has called “the Riddle of Amish Culture”[i], the answer hit me. The Amish don’t study their religion, read learned texts, or debate biblical scholarship. Theirs is… Read More

How to Organize Your Priorities and Keep God First

Close-up of written homework with gold star and pencil

It’s a simple thing, really, yet I have to admit it’s the #2 thing that makes me productive. It’s writing things down, five things a day. They are the top five things that I’d like to achieve in a day. If possible I put the hardest thing first. Once that’s out of the way then… Read More

New York City—Surprised!


It’s not what you think. How many times have you been surprised by a stereotype? You hold a preconceived notion and it is contradicted by the reality in front of you. On the Fourth of July, my husband and I landed at JFK airport in New York. We watched the fireworks from our new (though… Read More

Past, Present, & Future

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  “What advice or tip would you give to your past-self, present-self, and/or future-self?” Most of us at one time or another have said, “I wish I knew then what I know now.” Ah, it’s true: Hindsight is usually 20/20. So if I had the chance to go back and give myself advice what would… Read More

On not taking religious freedom for granted


The Amish are never far from my mind—even atop a double-decker bus in Paris. In late June, I was sitting above the streets of the City of Lights next to a woman from the Netherlands. She asked me what I did and when I told her I was a novelist who wrote about the Anabaptists,… Read More

A Bit About The Budget


Most anyone who knows about the Amish knows about their newspaper Die Botschaft, or The Budget. And I’m sure many of you have had the opportunity to take a look at an edition. If you haven’t, you are missing out! I love this charming newspaper. Charming. That’s the best word to describe it. Where English… Read More

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