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 —...

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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...

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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...

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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...

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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...

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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...

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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...

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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...

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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...

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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...

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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...

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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...

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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...

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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...

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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...

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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...

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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...

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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...

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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...

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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,...

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Book review: ‘Becoming Amish’

Dec 5, 2016 by

The same desire and longing I identified in the rock/rebellion anti-establishment culture during my early 20s I have found in Christian culture and especially in Anabaptist groups who believe in living out...

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Book review: ‘European Mennonites and the Challenge of Modernity Over Five Centuries’

Nov 21, 2016 by

Have Mennonites influenced the course of modern history? That is the question taken up in a new book on Anabaptists in Europe over the past 500 years. In contemporary North America, where Old Order Amish and...

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Book review: ‘Sick Religion or Healthy Faith?’

Nov 7, 2016 by

I look forward to reading the work of pastors. Pastors live close to the ground, in the muck and mire, vulnerable to the minutiae of birth, death and all the life in between. Pastors quickly learn everything...

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Book review: ‘Very Married’

Oct 24, 2016 by

In July, my parents celebrated their 53rd anniversary. This seems a miracle of sorts to me, not because their marriage was especially contentious but because they spent very little time together before...

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Book review: ‘Pennsylvania Dutch’

Oct 10, 2016 by

What are the roles of language in forming and maintaining religious identity? This fascinating volume explores Pennsylvania Dutch, a language that, nowadays, is “neither explicitly taught nor read nor...

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