2018 Fall List of Books & Resources

Barb Draper | Books & Resources editor


Theology, Spirituality

The Bible Unwrapped: Making Sense of Scripture Today. Meghan Larissa Good. Herald Press, 2018, 312 pages.
This book is for readers with lots of questions about the Bible, especially young people. Good writes in a very down-to-earth and non-academic style, using lots of present-day images, and tackles tough questions with honesty. She gives brief descriptions of the origins of the Bible, the types of literature it contains and how to apply it to today. The author is pastor of Trinity Mennonite Church in Arizona.

The Challenge is in the Naming: A Theological Journey. Lydia Neufeld Harder. CMU Press, Winnipeg, 2018, 372 pages.
Lydia Harder intersperses the essays in this collection with personal reflections and anecdotes. In this way she ponders the changes in language and perspective in Mennonite theology over the years. She believes it is important to find new ways to express religious ideas.

Four Gifts: Seeking Self-Care for the Heart, Soul, Mind and Strength. April Yamasaki. Herald Press, 2018, 212 pages.
Using examples from her own life, this Mennonite pastor from British Columbia gives specific ideas on how to work on self-care for better spiritual and physical health. She brings together biblical insights and questions for reflection as well as practical ideas. She previously wrote the book Sacred Pauses, also dealing with spiritual growth.

God’s People in Mission: An Anabaptist Perspective. Stanley W. Green and Rafael Zaracho, eds. Mennonite World Conference, 2018, 161 pages.
The 10 essays in this collection, written by Anabaptist theologians from around the world, correspond with the 10 points of the missional statement of the Mission Commission of Mennonite World Conference. It is part of the Global Anabaptist Mennonite Shelf of Literature series.

Healing Justice: Stories of Wisdom and Love. Jarem Sawatsky. Privately published with Red Canoe Press, 2018, 199 pages.
After studying healing justice, Jarem Sawatsky set off to find concrete examples of healing justice in living communities. Among the places he researched were a Buddhist monastery in France, an Indigenous community in Canada and the Iona community in Scotland. These stories explore the healing that can comes from brokenness.

Lessons Learned on the Seat of my Truck. Paul Wagler. Privately published, 2017, 142 pages.
This is the third volume in a series of books by Wagler, using practical examples in life to illustrate lessons for the spiritual journey. This book is about his life as a driver for Erb Transport; the previous books are about lessons learned on the seat of his bus and the seat of his bike. For more information about Wagler’s ministry, visit arisenow.ca.

Messianic Political Theology and Diaspora Ethics: Essays in Exile. P. Travis Kroeker. Cascade Books, 2017, 280 pages.
Kroeker explores the complex ideas of some political theologians, including John Howard Yoder. In the later chapters he writes in a less academic style, reflecting on his own Mennonite past and the Mennonite church’s relationship with the Metis as well as other ethical challenges.

Post-Christendom: Church and Mission in a Strange New World, Second Edition. Stuart Murray. Cascade Books, 2018, 253 pages.
This is a revised and updated version of the first edition, published in 2003. Murray describes how the Christian church became a powerful political force, especially in Europe, and how the church’s influence in society has declined. He explores what a post-Christendom church that is true to Jesus’ teaching might look like.

The Scandal of Evangelism: A Biblical Study of the Ethics of Evangelism. Elmer John Thiessen. Cascade Books, 2018, 265 pages.
After reviewing the principles of evangelism as found in the New Testament, Thiessen goes on to consider the ethics of other topics, including evangelism of children, and evangelism and humanitarian aid. His target audience is the church.

Soul Force: Seven Pivots toward Courage, Community and Change. Reesheda Graham-Washington and Shawn Casselberry. Herald Press, 2018, 192 pages.
With the aim of building communities and churches that reflect love and justice, this book provides how-to suggestions for harnessing positive spiritual energy. The illustrating stories are mostly from U.S. cities.

Unsettling the Word: Biblical Experiments in Decolonization. Steve Heinrichs, ed. Mennonite Church Canada, 2018, 320 pages.
The 60 contributors in this collection examine Scripture to find new interpretations of the text as a response to the way the Bible was sometimes used by settler societies to dispossess Indigenous peoples. This hardcover book is illustrated by Jonathan Dyck.



The Ältester: Herman D.W. Friesen, A Mennonite Leader in Changing Times. Bruce L. Guenther. University of Regina Press, 2018, 308 pages.
While this book centres around the life of Herman Friesen, it also gives good insight into the Old Colony Mennonite commu-nity in the Hague-Osler part of Saskatchewan from its beginning to the time of Friesen’s death in 1969. A significant part of the book includes English translations of sermons written by this Old Colony leader.

Canadian Prairie Mennonite Ministers’ Use of Scripture: 1874-1977. Donald Stoesz, ed. Self-published with FriesenPress, 2018, 307 pages.
Donald Stoesz closely studied the Scripture texts used by unpaid Mennonite ministers on the Canadian Prairies for more than a century, and concludes that some of their texts followed an old Lutheran lectionary. This study provides new insight into sermons and worship patterns of Mennonites who once lived on the West Reserve in Manitoba.

Enchantment and Despair: Montana Childhood Stories 1925-1937. Calvin Wall Redekop. Self-published with FriesenPress, 2018, 180 pages.
Calvin Redekop was a mischie-vous lad when he was growing up in a small Mennonite community in rural Montana. He gives a vivid account of the challenges and joys involved in making a living on a remote homestead on the Prairies.

Flight: Mennonites Facing the Soviet Union 1929-1930, From the Pages of the Mennonitsche Rundschau. Harold Jantz, ed. Eden Echoes Publishing, 2018, 735 pages.
The Mennonitsche Rundschau, a German-language newspaper printed in Winnipeg, carried many writings from Mennonites in Russia. This book provides summaries and translations from some of these articles, providing first-hand accounts from these difficult years.

Journeys to Justice: Reflections on Canadian Christian Activism. Joe Gunn. Novalis Publishing, 2018, 175 pages.
Among the church leaders interviewed for this collection is Bill Janzen for the chapter “Canadian churches negotiate the private sponsorship of refugees.” Other interviews explore how churches in Canada have worked together on peace and justice issues.

Living our Prayer: A Four-Year African Adventure into Faith. Betty Enns. Privately published with Tellwell, 2018, 443 pages.
In the mid 1990s, Bill and Betty Enns served with Mennonite Central Committee during some turbulent years in Lesotho. She describes their constant need for prayer as they dealt with frequent break-ins, car-jackings and other dangerous experiences. Although they struggled to know how to respond to all the violence, they felt God led them to be there. Proceeds from book sales will go to support projects in Lesotho.

The Orie O. Miller Diary: 1920-21. Orie O. Miller. Institute of Anabaptist and Mennonite Studies and Pandora Press, 2018, 130 pages.
When Orie Miller sailed from New York in 1920, he kept a diary describing his six-month journey, as he explored how North Americans might assist Mennonites suffering in Russia. The ongoing civil war forced him to withdraw to Constantinople and meant that significant assistance had to be delayed. His diary gives an interesting perspective on the early work and origins of Mennonite Central Committee.

Rise and Shine! 45 Years in the Land of the Rising Sun. Mary Derksen. Privately published by David F. Loewen, 2018, 350 pages.
This book tells the story of Peter and Mary Derksen, who lived in Japan for 45 years, serving as missionaries with the Commission on Overseas Mission of the former General Conference Mennonite Church.

The Russian Mennonite Story: The Heritage Cruise Lectures. Paul Toews and Aileen Friesen. Centre for Transnational Mennonite Studies, 2018, 106 pages.
This coffee table-style book includes the lectures given by the late Paul Toews during Mennonite heritage cruises to Ukraine between 1995 and 2010. Aileen Friesen has edited the lectures and added lots of photographs. This is an overview of Russian Mennonite history that takes the story into the 21st century.

Slipping the Noose: Two Escape Stories. Helmut Lemke and Eva Daniel. Privately published with Authorhouse, 2018, 140 pages.
The two escape stories in this book deal with Mennonites at the end of the Second World War. In the first story, a Mennonite family flees from East Prussia pursued by the Russian army. In the second story, a young man goes from West Germany to East Prussia in search of his mother.

Surviving, Thriving and Multiplying: Three Decades of Growth in the Honduras Mennonite Church. James and Rhoda Sauder, with George and Lois Zimmerman. Masthof Press, 2018, 473 pages.
Using many photographs, this book tells of the early history of the Mennonite church in Honduras from 1950 to 1980. Grace and George Miller, the first missionaries serving in Honduras with Eastern Mennonite Missions, faced many challenges.


Other books

Bird-Bent Grass: A Memoir, in Pieces. Kathleen Venema. Wilfrid Laurier University Press, 2018, 340 pages.
Venema has put together a kind of memoir of her mother’s life, using her mother’s stories and lots of letters written during the 1980s, when the author served as a teacher in Uganda with Mennonite Central Committee. It is also an exploration of how a daughter copes with her mother’s progressing Alzheimer’s disease.

Nahayo: They Left Me for Dead. Dustin Unrau, as told by Jackson Nahayo. DeFehr Foundation, 2017, 144 pages.
As a child, Jackson Nahayo fled from civil war in Burundi, miraculously making his way from country to country. With some help from Canadians working with Mennonite Central Committee in Zambia, he was able to emigrate to Canada and achieve his goal of education. He eventually returned to Burundi, where he works in medicine and development.

Railquest: A Multi-Track Graphic Novel. Tim R. Dyck. Privately published, 2018, 32 pages.
This graphic novel explores the philosophical meaning of life using an allegorical train where the reader is faced with questions and choices. Dyck is a former graphic designer at Canadian Mennonite. For more information, email info@thecolourjar.ca.

Simply Amish: An Essential Guide from the Foremost Expert on Amish Life. Donald B. Kraybill. Herald Press, 2018, 100 pages.
Donald Kraybill is respected for his accurate knowledge about the Amish way of life. This book provides insight into their life, culture and faith. It includes maps and colour photographs.



Everyday Worship: Women’s Bible Study. Carol Penner. Mennonite Women Canada and Mennonite Women U.S.A., with MennoMedia, 2018.
This year’s women’s Bible study guide is again designed for individual study or for women’s groups. Penner is assistant professor of theological studies at Conrad Grebel University College.

Vision: A Journal for Church and Theology. Institute of Mennonite Studies at Anabaptist Mennonite Biblical Seminary and Canadian Mennonite University Centre for Faith and Life.
The Spring 2018 issue: “The Church and Young Adults.”


Many of the featured titles on the book list are available for purchase or to borrow from CommonWord Book Store and Resource Centre in Winnipeg. For more information, visit commonword.ca or call 1-877-846-1593.

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