Spring 2014 List of Books & Resources

April 23, 2014 | Focus On | Volume 18 Issue 9
Compiled by Barb Draper | Books & Resources Editor

Theology, Spirituality

Discerning God’s Will Together: Biblical Interpretation in the Free Church Tradition. Ervin R. Stutzman. Cascadia Publishing House, 2013, 175 pages.

Stutzman explores the practical implications of discernment in today’s congregations, including a thorough investigation of how Anabaptists historically interpreted the Bible. This book is Part 7 of the Living Issues Discussion Series, and is published in association with the Eastern Mennonite Seminary School for Leadership Training and Mennonite Church U.S.A.

Living Gift: John’s Jesus in Meditation and Poetry, Art and Song. Willard Swartley. Evangel Publishing House, 2013, 183 pages.

This hardcover book is a collection of meditations, poetry and art designed to complement the Believers Church Bible Commentary on John’s Gospel, also written by Swartley. The worship and prayer resources are organized by the scripture passages they relate to.

The Nonviolent God. J. Denny Weaver. Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., 2013, 304 pages.

Weaver argues that since the character of God is revealed in Jesus, we can know that God is nonviolent, and he challenges the assumptions of divine violence found in atonement theology. As followers of Jesus, we are called to nonviolent living and to practise justice. Weaver is professor emeritus of religion at Bluffton University.

On Being Human: Essays from the Fifth Shi’i Muslim Mennonite Christian Dialogue. Harry J. Huebner and Hajj Muhammad Legenhausen, eds. Canadian Mennonite University Press, 2013, 270 pages.

The essays in this collection were delivered at the fifth Mennonite-Shi’ite dialogue held at Canadian Mennonite University in 2011. Participants included visiting scholars from Iran and Mennonites Gordon Zerbe, Jo-Ann Brant, Harry Huebner, David Shenk, Peter Dula, Derek Suderman and Jeremy Bergen. The topics under discussion included the nature of man, perfection, culture, human rights, gender and the self.

Revolutionary Christian Citizenship. John Howard Yoder, edited by John C. Nugent, Branson Parler and Andy Alexis-Baker. Herald Press, 2013, 172 pages.

Here is another collection of previously unpublished sermons and articles from church papers by John Howard Yoder. Among the topics he explores are voting, civil religion, conscientious objection and self-defence. This is the second volume of the Yoder for Everyone Series by these editors.

Theology of Mission: A Believers Church Perspective. John Howard Yoder with eds. Gayle Gerber Koontz and Andy Alexis-Baker. Intervarsity Press, 2014, hardcover, 432 pages.

The chapters in this book are taken from Yoder’s lectures from a course on the theology of mission he taught at Associated Mennonite Biblical Seminary from 1964-83. Yoder explores the mission of the church biblically and historically, challenging some traditional evangelical attitudes.

Worrying About Evolution: Proceedings of the Eleventh Annual Goshen Conference on Religion and Science. Owen Gingerich. Pandora Press, 2013, 131 pages.

Gingerich, the speaker for this 2012 conference at Goshen College, is professor emeritus of astronomy and the history of science at Harvard University. As a man of faith, he wrestles with hard questions about evolution that raise questions about the role of God in creation. It includes his presentations and the ensuing discussion.

History

Amish Quilts: Crafting an American Icon. Janneken Smucker. Johns Hopkins University Press, 2013, 270 pages.

Smucker traces the history of Amish quilt-making since its beginning in the 19th century. She describes how collectors first became interested in the old, dark quilts and how quilts grew to be very fashionable, especially through the 1970s and ’80s. This hardcover book with many full-colour photos is part of the Young Center Books in Anabaptist and Pietist Studies edited by Donald Kraybill.

Blush: A Mennonite Girl Meets a Glittering World. Shirley Hershey Showalter. Herald Press, 2013, 272 pages.

This memoir by a former president of Goshen College explores the thoughts and feelings of a plain Mennonite farm girl growing up in Lancaster County, Pa. As a teenager in a congregation of the Lancaster Conference in the 1960s, she resented some of the expectations, but also learned to value her Mennonite community.

For God and Country [in that order]: Faith and Service for Ordinary Radicals. Logan Mehl-Laituri. Herald Press, 2013, 225 pages.

This collection of 44 stories includes vignettes of a wide variety of Christian soldiers and pacifists from ancient times to the present. The objective is to invite dialogue about whether—or in what circumstances—Christians can serve their country through military service.

A History of Mennonite Youth Ministry, 1885-2005. Bob Yoder, ed., Institute of Mennonite Studies, 2013, 337 pages.

This collection of essays explores Mennonite youth ministry in the U.S. and Canada, both historically and in today’s context. Among the topics explored are early experiences of youth ministry, Bible quizzing, camping, short-term service trips and CMU’s Outtatown program. Contributors from Canada include Susan Allison-Jones, Dana (Honderich) Penner, Anna Rehan and Barb Draper.

I Remember: The Story of Otto Klassen. Otto Klassen, translated by Jakob Klassen. Privately published, 2013, 235 pages.

Otto Klassen was born in Ukraine and remembers how difficult the 1930s were for Mennonites there. He tells the story of his family as refugees fleeing from Russia to Germany, and their desperate plight after the war. With help from MCC, they sailed to Paraguay on the Volendam. In 1955, he emigrated to Canada and eventually became widely known as a filmmaker who documented stories of Mennonite history. The book and several of his films are available at the Mennonite Heritage Centre in Winnipeg (204-888-6781).

Mennonite Central Committee in Canada: A History. Esther Epp-Tiessen. Canadian Mennonite University Press, 2013, 328 pages.

Epp-Tiessen not only tells the story of the many accomplishments of MCC Canada in the last 50 years, she also analyses how and why the organization has changed over the years. She identifies many of the criticisms and challenges that have made MCC Canada’s on-going work seem like something of a miracle. (See a review here.)

Call for volunteers

Pacifists in Chains: The Persecution of Hutterites during the Great War. Duane C. S. Stoltzfus. Johns Hopkins University Press, 2013, 272 pages.

This book deals with the experience of pacifists in the U.S. during the First World War. The story focuses on Hutterites because they were more apt to categorically refuse to do any type of work connected to the military and they experienced more torture. This is part of a series by the Young Center Books in Anabaptist and Pietist Studies.

Path of Thorns: Soviet Mennonite Life under Communist and Nazi Rule. Jacob A. Neufeld, translated by Harvey L. Dyck and Sarah Dyck. University of Toronto Press, 2014, 445 pages.

This memoir by Jacob Neufeld provides insight into the horrifying experiences of Mennonites living in the Soviet Union in the 1930s and ’40s. Neufeld and his family eventually emigrated to Canada, where he wrote his memoirs before his death in 1960. This book includes an introduction by Harvey L. Dyck, who also served as editor and translator.

Village Among Nations: “Canadian” Mennonites in a Transnational World, 1916-2006. Royden Loewen. University of Toronto Press, 2013, 301 pages.

Loewen traces the migration of Low German-speaking Mennonites from Canada to Mexico and Paraguay in the 1920s and describes further migrations of these traditionalist Mennonites, some back to Canada and others to other Latin American countries. He says they see themselves as resident aliens in whatever country they find themselves, but keep a sense of “village” through a strong sense of family by visiting each other and by reading letters in Die Mennonitische Post.

Other books

Deepening Community: Finding Joy Together in Chaotic Times. Paul Born. Berrett-Koehler Publishers Inc., 2014, 169 pages.

Using stories from his own experience and the stories of others, Born explains our need for community and how our life choices can help or hinder our search for deep commu-nity. He identifies sharing our stories, enjoying one another, caring for one another and working together for a better world as the paths to deeper communities.

Jacob’s Choice. Ervin R. Stutzman. Herald Press, 2014, 303 pages.

This historical novel, set in Pennsylvania during pioneer days, is based on the story of an Amish family who endured hardship because of their belief in non-resistance. This is Book 1 in a series of three novels that will explore different viewpoints of what was known as the “Hochstetler massacre.”

On My Way: The View from the Ninth Decade. Daniel Hertzler. Cascadia Publishing House, 2013, 102 pages.

Daniel Hertzler, a former editor of Gospel Herald, reflects on his life with humour and simplicity.

Ordinary Miracles: Awakening to the Holy Work of Parenting. Rachel S. Gerber. Herald Press, 2014, 145 pages.

The author speaks frankly about the joys and challenges of parenting while always considering how God is present with her. She provides discussion questions for each of the nine chapters so that it can also be used by small groups.

Radical Jesus: A Graphic History of Faith. Paul Buhle, ed., Sabrina Jones, Gary Dumm, Nick Thorkelson, artists. Herald Press, 2013, 128 pages.

This graphic novel uses a comic-book style to tell the stories of Jesus, stories from the Radical Reformation and Mennonite history, and stories of radical resistance from the 20th century. The three parts have three distinct styles of drawings.

Songs from an Empty Cage: Poetry, Mystery, Anabaptism and Peace. Jeff Gundy. Cascadia Publishing House, 2013, 294 pages.

Jeff Gundy brings together theology and poetry in a new genre he calls theopoetics. Although he includes some poetry, this book considers various aspects of Anabaptist theology from a poetic point of view. Gundy teaches English at Bluffton University in Ohio. This is Volume 10 in the C. Henry Smith series edited by J. Denny Weaver.

The Wittenbergs. Sarah Klassen. Turnstone Press, 2013, 405 pages.

This is the first novel for Sarah Klassen, who is known for her poetry collections. Without being overtly Mennonite, the book explores how a teenager experiences the challenges of modern life while she investigates some painful stories from her family’s past. Klassen writes that the novel became a receptacle for stories told by her mother.

Resources

Children’s Ministry in the Way of Jesus. David M. Csinos and Ivy Beckwith. InterVarsity Press, 2013, 208 pages.

Using their church experiences working with children, the writers present an up-to-date approach to developing spiritual formation in the children of today. They explore theories of how children learn, and provide practical suggestions for effective children’s ministry.

Claim(ing) Faith: Youth Discover the Confession of Faith. MennoMedia, 2013, 71 pages and DVD.

This leader’s guide with a DVD is designed to help youth explore their faith and to introduce them to the Confession of Faith in a Mennonite Perspective. The 10 sessions provide step-by-step suggestions for leading youth with a video clip for each session.

Connections: Parables for Today. Jane Ann McLachlan. Pandora Press, 2013, 142 pages.

This collection of 10 stories with discussion questions and corresponding biblical stories will stimulate thought-provoking discussion for book clubs or other small group settings. The stories are set in Canada and relate to issues that challenge us in our day-to-day lives.

Living Faith: Embracing God’s Callings. Keith Graber Miller. Cascadia Publishing House, 2012, 126 pages.

In this little book, Graber Miller explores the idea of Christian vocation and how we find meaning in our life’s work. He compares today’s Mennonite professionalism with the early Anabaptist idea of appropriate vocations. The nine chapters conclude with questions for discussion so that it could be used by a small group or Sunday school class.

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