Remembering the Holocaust

Apr 25, 2017 by

On a recent trip to Minnesota, I happened to stumble upon a second-hand toy and collectible store among the small shops in downtown Albert Lea. Upon entering the store, I was stunned by the amount of toys and...

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History: An antiwar conspiracy?

Apr 24, 2017 by

The president had squeaked by in the general election. A key plank in his platform had been opposition to foreign military intervention. But in a matter of months after his inauguration, he reversed...

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‘From death to life’

Mar 27, 2017 by

And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in the one body. — Col. 3:15 On Easter morning in April 1528 in Augsburg, Germany, almost 100 Anabaptists were rounded up by...

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Kraybill: Where truth confronted power

Mar 27, 2017 by

Today multiple versions of “truth” compete for attention in politics and media. We ask the same question Pontius Pilate famously put to Jesus: What is truth? (John 18:38). Truth already had been...

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Coming to terms with Nazi collaboration

Mar 21, 2017 by and

FILADELFIA, Paraguay — Violence tore through this traditionally pacifist community on the night of March 11, 1944. All the more remarkable, its perpetrators and victims were all Mennonites. And they all...

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History: Confessing a weakness for humor

Mar 13, 2017 by

S.G. (Samuel Grant) Shetler (1871-1942) of Johnstown, Pa., was known for moving his audiences to tears one moment and laughter the next. This was natural, he said, because “the well of tears and the fountain...

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History repeats?

Feb 27, 2017 by

Almost certainly there were many well-meaning conservatives (even Mennonites) among the throngs with arms extended in salutation when a racist, misogynist, xenophobic monster vomited his hateful rhetoric in...

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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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History: The ‘Anabaptists’ who weren’t

Jan 30, 2017 by

Before the Radical Reformation and before the Protestant Reformation were the Waldensians. While Protestant Christianity celebrates its 500th anniversary in 2017 and Anabaptists prepare to do likewise in eight...

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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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Reformation at 500

Jan 30, 2017 by

Mennonites have claimed to be a “third-way” movement, neither Catholic nor Protestant. Yet we descend from the Protestant Reformation. Anabaptism emerged from the religious and political protest Martin...

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What you might not know about Martin Luther King Jr.

Jan 16, 2017 by

I’ve recently been working through Martin Luther King Jr.’s A Testament of Hope. Here are some quick thoughts from my notes on this holiday honoring him. My overall thoughts are that King challenged...

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History: Stones of remembrance

Dec 19, 2016 by

I had my apple strudel and coffee — not to be missed if you’re visiting Innsbruck, Austria — in a café along Maria Theresa Street. I read again the brass plaque marking the 1536 execution of Jacob...

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Making sense of a presidential election in 1960

Dec 19, 2016 by

As a volunteer in the Brethren in Christ Church and Messiah College Archives, I am currently working on indexing Evangelical Visitor articles from the 1960s. I recently came across an editorial titled...

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Group hopes to save choral recordings

Oct 24, 2016 by and

The Mennonite Society of Musical Heritage is concerned recordings of choral music are being lost, so they’ve created a home for them. The Historical Library of Mennonite Church Choir Music was recently...

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Civil rights and leadership

Oct 17, 2016 by

My job requires me to spend a lot of time thinking about leadership. I oversee a ministry with programs, staff and board members in five states. Keeping everyone one the same page while providing the space to...

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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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History: No fires, no foes in Münster

Sep 26, 2016 by

It’s 300 steps from the street up the ancient spiral stone stairway to the tower keeper’s room of St. Lambert’s Church in Münster, Germany. The stone steps are worn from centuries-long use by the tower...

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The CO Mennonites once found objectionable

Aug 15, 2016 by

Nearly 50 years ago, the self-proclaimed greatest boxer of all time became the greatest religious conscientious objector to war of all time. Because of his Muslim faith, Muhammad Ali, the talented and...

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Scandal of nationalism

Jul 4, 2016 by

I remember it well, because the question was transformative. I was a first-year student at Hesston College, in the library studying to teach a lesson on eschatology to a junior high Bible study at Hess­ton...

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How I teach history differently

Apr 11, 2016 by

A student wanted to know: Why did I tell such negative stories about this country? Our country does good things, too. The purpose of teaching history, it seemed, was to produce proud, patriotic, unquestioning...

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Death and memory

Mar 28, 2016 by

“More Than a Memory” (Editorial, March 14) reflects deep thoughts about life and death and the implications of the memory of your father [former MWR editor Robert M. Schrag, who died Jan. 26]. When my...

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German history center continuing to preserve, analyze

Feb 9, 2016 by and

The next chapter for the German Mennonite Historical Society is chronicling steps to modernize the group’s research center while digging deeper into the past. In October, University of Regensburg history...

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What would MLK do?

Jan 18, 2016 by

It isn’t just on MLK Day that we watch it unfold. It happens with national race incidents. It happens in heated conversations. It happens in tweets and Facebook comments. If you are someone who regularly...

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Refuting false doctrine during Thanksgiving season

Nov 23, 2015 by and

Thanksgiving’s roots in an encounter between European settlers and indigenous people point to a dark side of that history. Mennonites who want to raise awareness of unjust treatment of indigenous people are...

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