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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Book review: ‘The Gospel Next Door’

Sep 26, 2016 by

Seeking the peace of the city in Houston, Texas, is no small task for a minister with a heart big enough to reach out to everyone in his urban community. But Pastor Marty Troyer of Houston Mennonite Church, in...

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Book review: ‘Simple Pleasures’

Sep 12, 2016 by

In the creative nonfiction course I teach every spring, I talk about a memoirist’s ability to both convey personal experience and also make connections with an audience. This interplay between the individual...

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Book review: ‘In Pursuit of Faithfulness’

Aug 29, 2016 by

In 1957 in Indiana-Michigan Mennonite Conference, communion was only served when a bishop was present. The bread and cup were reserved for church members who were deemed in good standing. This practice of...

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Book review: ‘For His Sake’

Aug 15, 2016 by

A loud rap on the door interrupts the mealtime of Mennonites Johann and Barbara Strausz and their children in June 1815. They live in Polish Austria, where they farm the land and live in peace, exempted from...

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Book review: ‘Mennonite on the Edge’

Aug 1, 2016 by

In 2004, Cynthia Yoder broke new ground in Mennonite letters with Crazy Quilt: Pieces of a Mennonite Life. The memoir, one of the first of its kind written by a Mennonite, detailed the debilitating depression...

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Book review: ‘To and From Nowhere’

Jul 18, 2016 by

This refugee tale is an imaginative work of biography, dedicated to “the disenfranchised and deported everywhere.” Based on the life story of Greta Enns (1902-1985), it is a timely contribution as...

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Book review: ‘Horse-and-Buggy Genius’

Jul 4, 2016 by

Royden Loewen’s new book examines how Old Colony and Old Order Mennonites try to maintain religious and cultural changelessness in a world that celebrates change. But Horse-and-Buggy Genius also provides a...

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Book review: ‘Breakaway Amish’

Jun 20, 2016 by

As a distinct religious and social group, the Amish have grown used to having their lives reported and interpreted by outsiders. Scholars study them. Novelists and “reality” television shows tell stories...

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Book review: ‘The Patient Ferment of the Early Church’

Jun 6, 2016 by

Alan Kreider, emeritus professor of church history and mission at Anabaptist Mennonite Biblical Seminary, has capped his career with a masterwork on the rise of the early church. All future scholars of the...

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Book review: ‘Lord Willing?’

May 23, 2016 by

People who have experienced devastating loss, like the death of a child or a terminal diagnosis, are familiar with the Christian clichés offered with loving intent but that do little to assuage their...

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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...

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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...

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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...

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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...

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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....

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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...

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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...

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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...

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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...

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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...

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