I think it is safe to assume that many people have a fascination with “Plain People”. Most people know very little about them and treat them as oddities that make good fudge. Maybe that’s why shows that seek to reveal abuses or go “behind the scenes” are so popular. Go to any bookseller specializing in Christian books and you are assured to see an aisle devoted to romance novels centered around Amish protagonists. That is as far most people are acquainted with “Plain People”.
In Anything But Simple Lucinda J. Miller does not pull back the curtain on Mennonite life. Instead, she shows us through her honest, simple writing that those who adhere to the Mennonite faith are people, just like us in the modern world. Miller talks openly about her family life and history. She describes her upbringing along with her evolution in faith as she embraces her heritage of belief. But most interestingly, she let’s us see a glimpse into her friendship with an older, atheist woman and how that friendship has impacted her dream of becoming an author.
There is much to relate to in Anything But Simple. Particularly for fellow Christians, her poignant account of her personal relationship with God and faith. Miller comes from a rich heritage of faith with generations of ministers ahead of her, but a personal faith does not come easily. It requires thought and effort and discipline of ones self. These lessons are recounted beautifully from her childhood. But wrestling with faith is not just for children. Miller talks of two sides of her. One side that is in total devotion to Jesus Christ and another that desires nothing more than to be like the world. This raw honesty obviously took a great deal to be able to reveal so publicly, and Miller should be applauded. All Christians, if they were honest, would probably say something very similar to what Miller writes.
This is why her relationship with an older, atheist woman is so interesting. I will not go into much detail here because I do not want to spoil one of the most enjoyable part of Anything But Simple. But I will say this, friendship is a beautiful thing that brings out both the best and worst in people. Perhaps, in the middle of her wrestling what Miller needed was to be challenged and be forced to defend her faith. This challenging and defending is a powerful and integral process for the Christian life. Miller is blessed that she was able to encounter this in friendship.
Bottom Line: Anything But Simple is a quick read that shows the pleasant reality of Mennonite family life. Miller is an eloquent and thoughtful author who writes with beautiful honesty. Anything But Simple is a must read for anyone who is interested in the lives of “Plain People”.
Purchase Anything But Simple
See More from the Publisher: Herald Press
Follow the Author: Properties of Light