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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Mennonite editor charged with sedition

Aug 14, 2017 by

In the middle of World War I, on June 15, 1917, the highly controversial Espionage Act was passed by Congress and signed into law by U.S. President Woodrow Wilson. The Act provided for a penalty of up to 20...

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History: Bethlehem ’83: coming together and apart

Jul 17, 2017 by

When the General Conference Mennonite Church and Mennonite Church met in Bethlehem, Pa., in 1983 for their first joint convention, MC moderator Ross Bender and his GC counterpart, Jacob Tilitzky, placed their...

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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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Would we stand strong?

Jul 13, 2017 by and

Six Brethren were arrested 300 years ago in Solingen, Germany. What was their crime? In 1716, the six men, ages 22 to 33, had been baptized as adults. This crime was a capital offense, the punishment could be...

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Where did we get vacation Bible school?

Jun 22, 2017 by

If your church is anything like mine, it’s currently hosting hundreds of children for vacation Bible school: a week-long program of Bible stories, worship, missions projects, crafts and games. And if...

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‘Something like the grace of God’

May 1, 2017 by

Whenever I drive through the reserve, I’m always struck by how little seems to have changed over the past 30 years. I remember coming to play hockey here as a kid, remember how it seemed like a different...

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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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