Nancy Sleeth is the co-founder and Managing Director of Blessed Earth and in her latest book Almost Amish she combines her years of insight in practical creation care into a must read for anyone who is trying to answer the question, “How can Christians live more faithfully day to day?”
So why Almost Amish? As Nancy puts it she was talking about hanging her cloths on the line with the reasons and personal and spiritual benefits of simplicity. When in the back of the room some spoke up, what are you almost Amish or something? Her eventual answer was yes in a way there’s something important we can learn from the Amish. While most of us can’t be Amish, most of us can become Almost Amish.
The book quickly gets into one of the biggest hot button topics in our day to day lives, what is the role technology ought to play? The principle Nancy takes from the Amish is that it should be used as a tool but it ought not to rule us. Having boundaries and rules are helpful to cultivating the sort of spiritual disciplines and life that brings fullness into our day to day and into family life. Nancy asks what would happen if you were to take a 48 hour fast from social media and television? The results? According to Blessed Earth, people who actually practice this find that they have more time to spend with God and others.
The book takes the reader through several questions that help us ask how we can better align biblical principles with our day to day. The book is immensely practical even on something as big on how can I de-clutter my home? Nancy suggests that you should take one corner of one room or one closet making the connection that when we can clean out our homes we can help de-clutter our hearts so that we can more fully serve God and others.
Nancy is a big advocate of the Sabbath, but she is not a strictest. She urges readers to have specific small goals on things that you think will help you draw closer to Christ.
One of the really compelling elements of this book is how personal and accessible Nancy makes her work. She talks about the practices the Sleeths take to slow down, connect with others, and enjoy the good gifts that God provides. For the Sleeths there shared meal is every Friday night, friends are welcome and the focus is one fellowship and simplicity. This act is one of great hospitality. The focus on the meals isn’t entertainment it’s about sharing an authentic and whole family experience. The focus is on the conversations and on inviting Jesus to the table.
What’s so significant about this book is that it help reorient us to many of the fundamental challenges and barriers we face to fellowship with God, family, our neighbors, and the rest of God’s creation. Should we have a sense of place and orientation in our lives? In Almost Amish the answer is in an inviting yes, let Jesus show you the way.