2013 Fall List of Books & Resources

October 23, 2013 | Focus On | Number 21

Theology, spirituality

Flowing with the River: Soundings from my Life and Journey. Sue Clemmer Steiner. Self-published, 2013, 174 pages.

Using images connected to rivers, the author uses vignettes of her life to reflect on how she grew into her role as an early Mennonite female pastor in Ontario. This is a spiritual autobiography that explores how God has worked in her life and how the Mennonite church has changed since the 1950s. Available at scsteiner@sympatico.ca.

Instead of Atonement: The Bible’s Salvation Story and Our Hope for Wholeness. Ted Grimsrud. Cascade Books, 2013, 270 pages.

With this book, Ted Grimsrud, Professor of Theology and Peace Studies at Eastern Mennonite University, joins the theological discussion about the meaning of atonement. He argues that the biblical idea of salvation does not focus on Jesus’ death as the basis for reconciliation with God and that the salvation story is based on the logic of mercy rather than the logic of retribution.

Muslim, Christian, Jew: The Oneness of God and the Unity of Our Faith…A Personal Journey in the Three Abrahamic Religions. Arthur G. Gish. Cascade Books, 2012, 210 pages.

Writing from a personal perspective, Gish reviews the history and relationship of the Muslim, Christian and Jewish faiths. Using lots of anecdotes, he compares similarities and differences and argues that Christians should respect and dialogue rather than demonize Muslims and Jews.

History

According to the Grace Given to Her: The Ministry of Emma Sommers Richards. James E. Horsch, John D. Rempel, Eldon d. Nafziger, eds. AMBS Institute of Mennonite Studies, 2013, 150 pages.

This collection of 10 essays documents the life of Emma Sommers Richards, the first woman ordained to ministry in a Mennonite Church in North America in 1973. Among the contributors are her family members. Some of the essays also explore the process that brought the Illinois Mennonite Conference to take this step.

Bridging Mind and Spirit: Conrad Grebel University College, 1963-2013. Marlene Epp. Conrad Grebel University College, 2013, 96 pages.

This 50-year history of Conrad Grebel has lots photos, many of them in colour. The many sidebars include interesting anecdotes, snapshots of presidents, popular Grebel recipes, and other items of interest. Laureen Harder-Gissing and Jennifer Konkle made important contributions in collecting interesting photos with a pleasing layout.

Daughters in the City: Mennonite Maids in Vancouver, 1931-61. Ruth Derksen Siemens. Fernwood Press, 2013, 104 pages.

Through first-person stories, photographs and text, this book presents the history of the Bethel Home and the later Mary Martha Home. It explains why Mennonites were in demand as domestic workers and the social changes that led to the closure of both homes in the early 1960s. Available at www.daughtersinthecity.com.

Mennonites in Ukraine Amid Civil War and Anarchy (1917-1920). John B. Toews, ed. Center for Mennonite Brethren Studies, Fresno, Calif. 2013, 200 pages.

This is a collection of documents, many not previously translated, that reflect the turbulent years that Mennonites experienced in Russia following the revolution. Copies are available at archives@mhsbc.com.

No Strings Attached: A History of Warren Street/Pleasant Oaks Mennonite Church. Rachel Nafziger Hartzler. Resource Publications (Wipf and Stock), 2013, 322 pages.

In northern Indiana in the 1920s, bonnets with strings became a symbol of faithfulness in a traditionalist/progressive church struggle. Using lots of anecdotes, Hartzler describes the circumstances that led to the division of this congregation, their separate histories, and how they re-united in 2009.

The Military Service Exemption of the Mennonites of Provincial Prussia. Wilhelm Mannhardt, translated by Anthony Epp. Mennonite Library and Archives, North Newton, Kansas, 2013, 395 pages.

First published in the German language in 1863 when Prussian militarism was growing in popularity, this book was designed to explain why the Mennonites of the Vistula Delta (now northern Poland) were historically unwilling to serve in the military. This edition includes an essay by Mannhardt in which he argues that exemption from military service is no longer relevant.

Other books

Born of Courage. Walfried Jansen. Friesen Press, 2013, 165 pages.

This story, set in a remote part of Paraguay, is classed as Action and Adventure fiction. After their father is kidnapped, Martin and Tomas set out to find him, depending on their own skills to deal with the danger and adventure they encounter. The author now lives in Manitoba, but lived in Paraguay for the first eight years of his life. The book is available in paperbook or ebook format at FriesenPress.com.

Fifty Shades of Grace: Stories of Inspiration and Promise. Melodie Davis, compiler. Herald Press, 2013, 237 pages.

Call for volunteers

The 50 vignettes about grace and hope in this collection are designed to provide a contrast to Fifty Shades of Grey, the salacious bestseller. The contributors are from Canada and the U.S. and provide a wide variety of everyday situations where individuals felt the grace of God in their lives.

Holy Mackerel! A Quiz Book of Christian Themes. George W. Friesen. Self-published, Friesen Press, 2013, 213 pages.

This book contains many hundreds of trivia questions on a wide variety of subjects, some of them biblical. The questions are multiple choice with three possible answers.

Mennonite Girls Can Cook: Celebrations. Lovella Schellenberg et al. Herald Press, 2013, 320 pages.

Like the original Mennonite Girls Can Cook, this collection of recipes is accompanied with lots of colour photographs, not only of what the food should look like as it is being prepared, but also beautiful table settings and family groupings. The cooks have also added a variety of faith reflections about food and the importance of family celebrations. Many recipes are identified as gluten free.

Mothering Mennonite. Rachel Epp Buller and Kerry Fast, eds. Demeter Press, Bradford, Ont., 2013, 312 pages.

This collection of 16 essays deals with a variety of facets of Mennonite motherhood. Canadians are well represented among the contributors who are primarily female academics. Included in the collection are autobiographical essays as well as some more formal studies of a wide variety of women’s roles mostly in North America, but also Latin America. Also include are topics of singleness and infertility.

Rewriting the Break Event: Mennonites and Migration in Canadian Literature. Robert Zacharias. University of Manitoba Press, 2013, 227 pages.

Zacharias examines several novels that retell the story of the Mennonite migration from Russia in the 1920s, the “break event” that is central to much of what is known as “Mennonite literature.” He asks big questions about Mennonite identity and its connection to the Russian Mennonite story.

Rhythms of Poverty: Reconsidering our Affluent Approach to the Poor. Murray Nickel. Self-published, 2013, 280 pages.

Nickel, a physician from Abbotsford, B.C., has experience with overseas mission work. His book critically examines what it means for affluent North Americans to “help” the poor, especially in places like Haiti and Congo. He says that aid will only have a long-term effect if we listen to the rhythms of poverty and dance to their beat.

Resources

Courageous Women of the Bible. Linda Gehman Peachey. Faith & Life Resources, 2013.

This is the 12-session Bible study commissioned by Mennonite Women Canada and Mennonite Women U.S.A. Among the women featured are the midwives who stood up to Pharaoh and a wife who refused to dishonour herself. Each session includes worship and discussion ideas.

Creating a Scene in Corinth: A Simulation. Reta Halteman Finger and George D. McClain. Herald Press, 2013, 260 pages.

This book provides group role play opportunities based on I Corinthians. Important background information about life in ancient Corinth is provided so that a group can role play how the Corinthian house church might have responded various issues in Paul’s letter. Each role play has a debriefing and application section.

God’s Story, Our Story: Exploring Christian Faith and Life. Michele Hershberger. Herald Press, 2013, 183 pages.

This book outlines the basics of the Confession of Faith in a Mennonite Perspective in a way that is accessible and that invites questions and comments. It could be a helpful resource for baptismal instruction. The various sidebars invite readers to think about their own lives and how they fit into the story of salvation. This is a revised edition, originally published in 2003.

Jesus on Justice: Living Lives of Compassion and Conviction. Don Posterski. World Vision Canada, 2013, 194 pages.

The 12 chapters of this book show how Jesus was a radical advocate for justice. The book encourages readers to think of current challenges to justice and how to respond in today’s world.

Living Ecological Justice: A Biblical Response to the Environmental Crisis. Mishka Lysack and Marri Munn-Venn, eds. Citizens for Public Justice, 2013, 122 pages.

This worship and action guide is designed for groups advocating for creation care. It includes prayers, discussion questions and suggested activities. Willard Metzger is one of the contributors.

Vision: A Journal for Church and Theology focuses on Upside-down Church in the spring 2013 issue and on Peace in the fall issue. The journal is published by the Institute for Mennonite Studies (Anabaptist Mennonite Biblical Seminary) and the Institute for Theology and the Church (Canadian Mennonite University). To subscribe go to www.MennoVision.org.

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trying to find a old textbook (book) on the reading list of Mennonite studies course about a young girl who told the story of the Russian war in 1917 through her choir practices. She eventually emigrated to Canada.

Hello, Susan. It's possible that one of our readers will see your request and respond with more information. You could also check with the staff at Mennonite Heritage Centre in Winnipeg: www.mennonitechurch.ca/programs/archives/ 

We hope you find what you are looking for.

Ginny Hostetler, web editor for Canadian Mennonite

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