Book review: ‘Magpie’s Blanket’

May 9, 2016 by

The novel Magpie’s Blanket begins this way: “The sky swallowed the sun, wrapping the yellow orb’s brilliance in moody, slate-colored tones, pressing it down close to the earth and preventing it from...

[read more]

Book review: ‘Bearing Witness’

Apr 25, 2016 by

An elected public official who refuses to fulfill the responsibilities of her position is lauded as a martyr when she is briefly jailed. Businesses that discriminate against a class of people by denying them...

[read more]

Book review: ‘An Increase in Time’

Apr 11, 2016 by

This is not an average congregational history. But Germantown Mennonite Church is not an average congregation. Richard Lichty, the author of An Increase in Time: Story Lines of Germantown Mennonite Church...

[read more]

Book review: ‘Overplayed’

Mar 28, 2016 by

When my 13-year-old son announced last spring that he wanted to play baseball again, I cringed. I had hoped the days of watching tedious games in freezing Oregon springtime were far behind us, our son having...

[read more]

Book review: ‘Crossing the Loange’

Mar 14, 2016 by

One has to have one’s eyes open, one has to ask questions when they come to mind, or one finds oneself finished with a two-year term not knowing what kind of people you were amongst all the time. — John M....

[read more]

Book review: ‘Discovering Forgiveness’

Feb 29, 2016 by

Forgiveness is complicated. It is “an emerging, circular, interactive, complex process,” writes Larry A. Dunn in Discovering Forgiveness: Pathways Through Injury, Apology and Healing. Even if you feel...

[read more]

Book review: ‘Gather Around the Amish Table’

Feb 15, 2016 by

What other than an Amish-Mennonite cookbook describes how to feed 180 hungry men at a barn-raising, with a feast that includes 50 pounds of white potatoes, 20 plump chickens, 300 yeast rolls and 120 shoo-fly...

[read more]

Book review: ‘Abandoned Homeland’

Feb 1, 2016 by

In the title poem of Jeff Gundy’s Abandoned Homeland, the speaker begins with a question: “How else to describe this absurd, lovely world?” The rest of Gundy’s collection seems positioned to provide an...

[read more]

Book review: ‘Doing Good Better’

Jan 18, 2016 by

It goes without saying that nonprofit organizations of all types are important. But what does need to be stated repeatedly is the importance of good leadership for those organizations. That’s what Edgar...

[read more]

Book review: ‘The Sabbath Experiment’

Jan 4, 2016 by

The Sabbath Experiment: Spiritual Formation for Living in a Non-Stop World transports me back to childhood, when observing the Sabbath was unselfconscious and assumed. Those were the days when books on Sabbath...

[read more]

Book review: ‘Peace, Progress and the Professor’

Dec 21, 2015 by

Perry Bush’s Peace, Progress and the Professor is technically a biography of Mennonite historian C. Henry Smith. But it’s actually a timely time machine. It transports readers back to the late 19th and...

[read more]

Book review: ‘Mennonites Encounter Hinduism’

Dec 7, 2015 by

Fifty years ago there was little public discussion of interfaith or inter-religious dialogue in Mennonite circles or in the Christian community generally. Some academic specialists and missiologists were...

[read more]

Book review: ‘Nonviolent Action’

Nov 23, 2015 by

Most people know, at least generally, what Mohandas K. Gandhi and Martin Luther King Jr. did to effect change with nonviolence. But can you name four other times where nonviolence altered the course of a...

[read more]

Book review: ‘A Living Alternative’

Nov 9, 2015 by

Some of the brightest new voices in the Anabaptist tradition fill a recent anthology, A Living Alternative: Anabaptist Christianity in a Post-Christendom World. Twenty contributors offer their spiritual...

[read more]

Book review: ‘Between 2 Gods’

Oct 26, 2015 by

Trudy Harder Metzger is an author, speaker, trauma coach and survivor of long-standing patterns of abuse and incest — patterns inherent in some Old Colony Mennonite families in Mexico and then perpetuated...

[read more]

A pastor’s life, by one who loves it

Oct 12, 2015 by

Aw, shucks. Larry beat me to it. I’ve been dreaming of writing a memoir of pastoral life describing critical moments of formation and practice. But Hauder, a Mennonite Church USA pastor and retired area...

[read more]

Are Californians different?

Sep 28, 2015 by

This survey of Mennonite migrations and developments in California from 1850 to 1975 focuses on three groups — the Mennonite Breth­ren, the General Conference Mennonites and the Mennonite Church —...

[read more]

A father’s life, from a daughter’s view

Sep 14, 2015 by

“I never saw my father saunter,” says Katie Funk Wiebe as she introduces the hero of her latest book — her father, Jacob J. (Jake) Funk. These few words tell readers we are meeting a man of action — a...

[read more]

Killing God, finding God

Aug 31, 2015 by

The title of Emily Hedrick’s novel might initially seem problematic, even sacrilegious. What believer would wish to read the confessional work of someone who has killed God, even in fictional form? Yet...

[read more]

Moral failures of the ‘good war’

Aug 17, 2015 by

In The Good War That Wasn’t — And Why It Matters: World War II’s Moral Legacy, Ted Grimsrud attempts to prove that American involvement in the war was unnecessary and unjust, that tactics employed were...

[read more]

The Hutterite way to be plain

Aug 3, 2015 by

Linda Maendel is the first Hutterite to write and illustrate a children’s book. She blogs, writes news articles and teaches school. Hutterite Diaries is one of the Plainspoken series — insider stories by...

[read more]

Diverse Ontario a leader in unity

Jul 20, 2015 by

The “promised lands” of Sam Steiner’s comprehensive history of Mennonites in Ontario are both geographical and spiritual destinations. Ontario was a land of opportunity for Mennonites who came from...

[read more]

Calling shaped church in 20th century

Jul 6, 2015 by

Biographer John E. Sharp suggests most Mennonites younger than 60 are unacquainted with the life of Orie O. Miller. An extraordinarily influential lay leader in the Mennonite Church, Miller was an entrepreneur...

[read more]

God of ‘will’ or God of love?

Jun 22, 2015 by

The question of how to understand the peaceable message of Jesus in relation to less-than-peaceable pictures of God in the Bible and in the Christian tradition has challenged ethically concerned people of...

[read more]

The politics of the Bible

Jun 8, 2015 by

The authors of this book are friends of mine. I have long admired their commitment to the Christian task of peacemaking and vigorous activism for social justice. In this volume they invite us “to read the...

[read more]