Book review: Light from Distant Stars

Nov 13, 2019 by

Probably because I teach English at a Christian university, I get wrangled into conversations about what defines Christian literature. Does the content need to be explicitly Christian? Can a work be Christian...

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Book review: On the Banks of Jacobs Creek

Oct 28, 2019 by

For more than a century, Scottdale was known for the printed word. The southwestern Pennsylvania city was the location of the (Old) Mennonite Church’s Mennonite Publishing House, which produced books,...

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Book review: Finding Father

Oct 14, 2019 by

The essays in Finding Father are both tender and troubled. Some are loving, elegiac tributes to men who nurtured their daughters. Others seem almost confused: “How do I love a man I don’t really...

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Book review: Mennonite daughter

Sep 30, 2019 by

Mennonite daughters through the years have lived very different lives depending on where their ancestors came from. Regardless of cultural and ethnic backgrounds, whether urban or rural, rich or poor, old or...

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Book review: Crash Landing

Sep 16, 2019 by

In the summer of 2014, Liz Jansen set out on a solo cross-country motorcycle trip, hoping to trace her ancestors’ migration across Canada nearly a century earlier. But a serious accident cut her journey...

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Book review: Nature and the Environment in Amish Life

Sep 2, 2019 by

Even before climate change emerged as an existential threat, the Amish were lauded for their environmentally friendly, off-the-grid lifestyle. Horse-drawn transportation, huge vegetable gardens, emphasis on...

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Book review: Without a Plea

Aug 19, 2019 by

Jeff Gundy’s new book of  poems is described on the cover as “sprawling,” “ambitious,” “probing and expansive.” I would add “roving and restless,” as Gundy ranges over a myriad of...

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Book review: From Risk to Resilience

Aug 5, 2019 by

Growing up as a girl in the 1980s was not a positive experience for me. I often felt ostracized because I didn’t fit cultural expectations for what it meant to be female. I hated dresses and dressing up. My...

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Book review: Unraptured

Jul 22, 2019 by

The first thing you notice when you pick up Unraptured: How End Times Theology Gets It Wrong, is that Rachel Held Evans wrote the foreword. Her recent death, and the hole that leaves in the Christian...

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Book review: Beating Guns

Jul 8, 2019 by

What do you get when you cross a Mennonite pastor with a blacksmith? Someone who forges weapons into plowshares! But this is no joke. A new movement is afoot in the United States to turn guns into garden...

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Book review: Flee, Be Silent, Pray

Jun 24, 2019 by

Twenty years ago, Ed Cyzewski left his Roman Catholic faith to become an evangelical. This led him to a hard-driving way of faith that required doing good things for God but left him stressed and anxious. Then...

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Book review: Captive

Jun 10, 2019 by

Captive is a coming-of-age novel about friendship and self-discovery in the context of war, pacifism and the little-known story of German prisoners of war in the United States during World War II. About...

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Book review: The God Who Sees

May 27, 2019 by

This winter, as I read Karen González’s excellent new book on immigration, troubling news continued to unfold about events at the United States’ southern border. Governmental policy, fueled by xenophobic...

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Book review: Fire by Night

May 13, 2019 by

When I started reading Fire by Night, I expected the usual Old Testament topics: gore, war and law, with the author’s new insights. Or, might it be a book-by-book review from an Anabaptist perspective....

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Book review: ‘German Language: Cradle of our Heritage’

Apr 29, 2019 by

How is it that Old Order Amish and some Old Order Mennonites remain bilingual more than 10 generations after their arrival in North America? Most immigrants give up their native tongue after the third...

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Book review: ‘Daddy Hold’

Apr 15, 2019 by

In 1999, the David and Debbie Landis family of Green Lane, Pa., pulled up stakes, leaving a thriving small business as well as loving relatives and friends, to settle some 1,000 miles southwest in Atmore, Ala....

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Book review: ‘Women Talking’

Apr 1, 2019 by

At first blush, the plot and setting of Miriam Toews’ new novel, Women Talking, might appear too limited in scope to be compelling. The book’s primary action takes place over the span of two days, as eight...

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Book review: ‘Gathering of Sisters’

Mar 18, 2019 by

Tuesdays. Not a standout on most calendars. But for Darla Weaver and her four sisters, her mother and 18 nieces and nephews, Tuesday is the pivot on which the week turns. It’s the day they leave behind the...

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Book review: The new gods of technology

Mar 4, 2019 by

It’s staggering to think how human communication technologies have changed from the time of the telegraph to the internet. What’s more staggering is to consider how things will change over the next 150...

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Book review: Spiritual cousins not so distant

Feb 18, 2019 by

For many Mennonites, the Brethren in Christ are distant spiritual cousins. The BIC, while firmly Anabaptist, have also drawn deeply from the wells of pietism and Wesley­anism, which has created some...

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Book review: ‘Flight: Mennonites facing the Soviet Empire in 1929-30’

Feb 4, 2019 by

We live in an era of human flight and displacement. The United Nations Refugee Agency says there are more than 68 million refu­gees throughout the world. A top political issue in North America and Europe is...

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Book review: ‘From James Joyce to Organic Farming’

Jan 21, 2019 by

Maynard Kaufman is a South Dakota farm boy, a Joycian scholar and post-Christian theologian, a multidisciplinary professor in religious and environmental studies, an organic farmer, a communitarian and...

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Book review: ‘The Four Gifts’

Jan 7, 2019 by

The Four Gifts by April Yamasaki evokes for me Jesus’ search for solitude after his work of healing among the crowds. It seems that some of the most oft-told stories of Jesus are of his crossing the sea to...

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Book review: ‘Surviving Failure’

Dec 17, 2018 by

Forty years ago, Merle and Phyllis Pellman Good already were among the highest-profile entrepreneurs in the Mennonite church. Their Good Enterprises, based in Intercourse, Pa., included book publishing,...

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Book review: ‘The Great Reckoning’

Dec 3, 2018 by

In October, the longtime evangelical leader Pat Rob­ertson weighed in on the murder of journalist Jamal Kashoggi in a Saudi consulate. According to Robertson, the United States needed to tread lightly with...

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