Book review: ‘Two Weeks Every Summer’

Nov 20, 2017 by

Now and then a person comes upon a book that is hard to read precisely because it disturbs the comfort zones of his or her thinking. And yet while entering into the first few pages, a small voice says: You...

[read more]

Book review: ‘When the English Fall’

Nov 6, 2017 by

Iwill not soon forget an image David Williams creates in the opening chapters of his excellent novel, When the English Fall. The image is searing in its horror and in what it portends. Some kind of solar storm...

[read more]

Book review: ‘Recollections of a Sectarian Realist’

Oct 23, 2017 by

College president, relief administrator and theologian J. Lawrence Burkholder died in Goshen, Ind., in 2010 at age 93. Shortly afterward, his daughter Myrna began editing oral interviews that historian Arnold...

[read more]

Book review: ‘God’s Country’

Oct 9, 2017 by

Does God love the rural church? Does God love the rural communities that the rural church is rooted in? Do we love the rural church and its communities? Not the church as it once was or someday might be. Not...

[read more]

Book review: ‘Anything But Simple’

Sep 25, 2017 by

On one Christian publisher’s site, Amish romance books are characterized as stories about Christian people following the “simple life.” Other books, offered by other publishers, announce right in the...

[read more]

Book review: ‘The Radical Muslim and Mennonite’

Sep 11, 2017 by

During a Muslim-Christian peacemaking meeting in Indonesia in 2003, Mesach Krisetya, president of Mennonite World Conference, made a speech. Seeking to dismantle negative stereotypes of Christians —...

[read more]

Book review: ‘A Vietnam Presence’

Aug 28, 2017 by

Beyond the history books, articles, memoirs and novels published about the U.S. war in Vietnam, Luke S. Martin’s A Vietnam Presence stands apart, presenting an entirely new context. Martin takes a forceful...

[read more]

Book review: ‘Rebel Mother’

Aug 14, 2017 by

The Mennonite layer of Peter Andreas’ unconventional childhood story is at first glance rather thin. More than anything, Rebel Mother is a story of the 1960s and 1970s, when American culture was impacted by...

[read more]

Book review: ‘Re-Envisioning Service’

Jul 31, 2017 by

The greatest success of the Civilian Public Service era is not the effect it had on the church during World War II, as significant as that was. Rather, its crowning achievement was the resulting ethos of...

[read more]

Book review: ‘Chosen Nation’

Jul 17, 2017 by

In 1941, as German armies advanced across Europe, C. Henry Smith, a historian at Bluffton College, expressed his dismay at the enthusiastic support many German Mennonites had given to Adolf Hitler and the...

[read more]

Book review: ‘What is the Bible?’

Jul 3, 2017 by

I wonder if Rob Bell went to Hesston College. Actually, I know he didn’t, but his new book, What Is the Bible? How an Ancient Library of Poems, Letters and Stories Can Transform the Way You Think and Feel...

[read more]

Book review: ‘Unexpected Invitations’

Jun 19, 2017 by

In Unexpected Invitations, Angela and Erwin Rempel tell of serving together in Mennonite ministries for four decades. From Brazil to Botswa­na and Pennsylvania to Kansas, they heeded God’s calls with a...

[read more]

Book review: ‘When Did Everybody Else Get So Old?’

Jun 5, 2017 by

In the next few years, I will celebrate my 50th birthday. My sons will graduate from high school (if we’re lucky!) and we will be empty nesters. My parents will turn 80, an age that strikes me as much older...

[read more]

Book review: ‘Smart Compassion’

May 22, 2017 by

How radical should radical hospitality get? If you are open to having foster children in your home, is one enough, or should you have two or four or maybe eight? At what point do you set a boundary? A foster...

[read more]

Book review: ‘God Without Violence’

May 8, 2017 by

J. Denny Weaver’s latest book is popular theology written in response to a question asked by a child: Why did God kill his own son? The target audience for God Without Violence is those troubled by a...

[read more]

Book review: ‘Simple Life Fretz’

Apr 24, 2017 by

During the early 1980s, while a senior at Bethel College, I participated in a monthlong interterm travel course to Washington, D.C., focused on peace issues and Mennonite social justice engagement. Faculty...

[read more]

Book review: ‘A Doubter’s Guide to God’

Apr 10, 2017 by

When I was young, I had no idea normal people doubted God. So when I doubted, I was ashamed. Normal people believed. They flourished as Christians and at church. I wasn’t normal. I was bad. Roger Martin’s...

[read more]

Book review: ‘Wholly, Holey, Holy’

Mar 27, 2017 by

In his self-published memoir, Melvin D. Schmidt reflects on his life and nearly 50 years as a Mennonite pastor. It is a page-turner, wonderfully written with hundreds of anecdotes, picturesque language (beware...

[read more]

Book review: ‘A People of Two Kingdoms II’

Mar 13, 2017 by

Half a century ago, James C. Juhnke was a graduate student in history at Indiana University, completing a dissertation on his people, Kansas Mennonites, and their experiences in politics from the 1870s to...

[read more]

Book review: ‘Martyrs Mirror: A Social History’

Feb 27, 2017 by

Martyrs Mirror has shaped the Anabaptist tradition more powerfully than any book besides the Bible. That is the premise of David L. Weaver-Zercher’s masterful new history of Thieleman J. van Braght’s...

[read more]

Book review: ‘Both My Sons’

Feb 13, 2017 by

I’m not one of those folks who reads historical fiction and longs for the past, for a more bucolic way of life and the wonder that might accompany the discovery of new frontiers. Indeed, I know a work of...

[read more]

Book review: ‘A Witness in Times of War and Peace’

Jan 30, 2017 by

The subtitle of this memoir, “The Story of Gerhard Hein, a Mennonite Pastor Who Served in the Wehrmacht During World War II,” suggests why it was published now in English 35 years after it was first...

[read more]

Book review: ‘Righting America at the Creation Museum’

Jan 16, 2017 by

Susan L. Trollinger and Wil­liam Vance Trollinger Jr. describe the Creation Museum as an arsenal for the Christian Right’s culture wars. It’s an apt analogy, but perhaps a better comparison would be a...

[read more]

Book review: ‘Daughters in the House of Jacob’

Jan 2, 2017 by

Who am I? Where am I going? How did I get here? Those are common questions for anyone looking into their family history and their place in the generations. Fortunately for the descendants of Jacob J. and Anna...

[read more]

Book review: ‘Enchantment and Despair’

Dec 19, 2016 by

The writer Flannery O’Connor once said, “Anybody who has survived his childhood has enough information about life to last him the rest of his days. If you can’t make something out of a little experience,...

[read more]