Spring 2021 Book List of Books & Resources

Barb Draper | Books & Resources Editor
(Photo composition by Betty Avery)

Theology, Spirituality

    

The End of Religion: Encountering the Subversive Spirituality of Jesus, Expanded Edition. Bruxy Cavey. Herald Press, 2020, 375 pages.
Cavey has updated and added five new chapters to his original book by this title, published in 2007. Jesus challenged the religious institutions of his day, says Cavey, and our spiritual connection with God needs to based on the radical teachings of Jesus. 

Faithful in Small Things: How to Serve the Needy When You’re One of Them. Kevin Wiebe. Herald Press, 2021, 208 pages.
Wiebe explores how Christians can relate to others who struggle with poverty. Using examples from his own life, he suggests that we can make a difference if we recognize the importance of dignity and relationships. Wiebe is Canadian with roots in La Crete, Alta.

Healing Haunted Histories: A Settler Discipleship of Decolonization. Elaine Enns and Ched Myers. Wipf and Stock Publishers, 2021, 420 pages.
Enns and Myers examine Indigenous justice issues, including how Mennonite settlers in Canada and the United States have been part of this history of violation. As they explore the family history that has shaped their lives, Enns and Myers invite readers to join them in a journey of working for decolonization.

Marriage, Scripture and the Church: Theological Discernment on the Question of Same-Sex Union. Darrin W. Snyder Belousek. Baker Academic, 2021, 330 pages.
Blessing same-sex marriage damages the church’s traditional view of marriage, says Snyder Belousek, gently arguing that the church should respect the biblical prophets. He teaches philosophy and religion at Ohio Northern University; his wife is a pastor at Salem Mennonite Church in Elida, Ohio.

Resurrection Peacemaking: Plowsharing the Tools of War. Clifford Kindy. Wipf and Stock Publishers, 2020, 176 pages.
Cliff Kindy reflects on his personal experiences with Christian Peacemaker Teams and what it means to live peacefully in daily life as well as in the world’s conflict zones. He is an organic market gardener from Indiana and part of the Church of the Brethren.

 

History

   

Be It Resolved: Anabaptist and Partner Coalitions Advocate for Indigenous Justice, 1966-2020. Steve Heinrichs and Esther Epp-Tiessen, eds. Mennonite Church Canada and Mennonite Central Committee (MCC), 2020, 449 pages.

This collection brings together 90 documents, including such things as public statements, conference resolutions and parliamentary submissions relating to Indigenous justice and decolonization. It also includes a study guide.

Colonizing Russia’s Promised Land: Orthodoxy and Community on the Siberian Steppe. Aileen E. Friesen. University of Toronto Press, 2020, 240 pages.
In the early 20th century, tsarist Russia organized the movement of many settlers to Siberia. Friesen examines the role of the Orthodox church, especially in the diocese of Omsk. Friesen teaches history at the University of Winnipeg and is executive director of the Plett Foundation.

European Mennonites and the Holocaust. Mark Jantzen and John D. Thiesen, eds. University of Toronto Press, 2021, 352 pages.
The essays in this collection probe the difficult question of the role of Mennonites in the Holocaust, building on the conference held at Bethel College in Kansas in 2018. Many of the contributors are Canadian, but there are also essays from American and European historians.

Finding Refuge in Canada: Narratives of Dislocation. George Melnyk and Cynthia Parker, eds. Athabaska University Press, 2021, 196 pages.
This collection includes personal stories of refugees and reflections from those who work to help them, as well as an overview of refugee policy in Canada. Among the contributors are William Janzen, a former worker with MCC, and Shelley Campagnola from the Mennonite Coalition of Refugee Support. 

   

Horse Lake Chronicles. Aldred Neufeldt. Your Nickel’s Worth Publishing, 2020, 192 pages.
In this delightful and engaging memoir, Neufeldt describes his growing-up years on a subsistence farm in northern Saskatchewan in the 1940s. He writes from the perspective of a child, but also with the wit and insight of someone looking back after years of experience. 

Landscape of Migration: Mobility and Environmental Change on Bolivia’s Tropical Frontier, 1952 to the Present. Ben Nobbs-Thiessen. University of North Carolina Press, 2020, 342 pages.
This scholarly book explores the changes that came to eastern Bolivia as migrants, including Mennonites, began farming this tropical frontier. Ben Nobbs-Thiessen is the chair of Mennonite studies at the University of Winnipeg.

The Mennonites of Backnang, Germany: From Galicia, Prussia and Russia to Württemberg. Horst Klaassen, translated by Ervin Glick and Mario Wenger. Privately published, 2020, 161 pages.
This English translation describes how Mennonites arrived in Backnang, Germany, after the Second World War, and the role of Mennonite Central Committee in helping the refugees find housing. The PAX volunteers also played a role in this story.

Service and Ministry of Reconciliation: A Missiological History of Mennonite Central Committee. Alain Epp Weaver. Bethel College, North Newton, Kan.; 2020, 146 pages.
Epp Weaver discusses how the mission of MCC has changed over the last century. He explores various debates, such as helping everyone in need versus “those in the household of faith,” and the role of evangelism. MCC volunteers tried to move beyond colonialism in the 1960s and ’70s, and today they emphasize partnerships with local groups.

 

Other books

   

Come By Here, My Lord: Seen in a Mirror Dimly. Robert Proudfoot. Privately published with FriesenPress, 2020, 546 pages.
This novel is set in Zambia, where a young Canadian is living with his family, struggling to overcome cultural hurdles. The author is from Alberta but spent many years in Africa, including four years as a student in Zambia. 

The Confession. Richard Toews. Privately published, 2020, 328 pages.
This novel describes Mennonite collusion with Nazis in Ukraine and explores the theology of suffering. Toews portrays the Mennonite Church of Ukraine in the early 1940s as pro-Nazi and filled with anti-Semitism. Historians may well dispute some of his assumptions.

Essential Tremor: Poems. Barbara Nickel. Caitlin Press Inc., 2021.
This is Nickel’s third collection of poems. It takes its title from the nervous system disorder that causes involuntary shaking, and explores bodies of all kinds, spiritually as well as physically.

Once a Wizard: A Story About Finding a Way Through Loss. Curtis L. Wiebe. Achieve Publishing, 2021, 38 pages.
This wordless children’s book is intended to be a resource for children to find a way to talk about loss. The many drawings are an invitation to shape the story around personal experiences of loss and hope for the future for adults as well as children. Wiebe attends Hope Mennonite Church in Winnipeg.

A Sword Shall Pierce Your Soul: The Story of Jesus’ Mother. Lorne Brandt. Privately published with FriesenPress, 2020, 210 pages.
Using the biblical story as a base, Brandt tells the story of Mary, the mother of Jesus, as it might have happened. This fictional account is informed by Brandt’s years of study, visits to the Holy Land and his work as a psychiatrist.

Thy Geekdom Come (Vol. 2): 42 Science Fiction-Inspired Devotionals. Various authors. Mythos & Ink Publishing, 2021, 292 pages.
This collection of Christian devotionals is written by a group of authors and pastors from a variety of denominations, including Mennonite. They explore questions of faith using well-loved science fiction stories and themes. 

 

Resources

  

Lamenting Racism: A Christian Response to Racial Injustice. Rob Muthiah. MennoMedia, 2021.
This streaming video series, with a leader’s guide and participant journal, is designed to help churches talk about racial injustice. The six videos are conversations by multiracial pastors and theologians, and provide a guide to using lament for anti-racism practice.

What Is God’s Kingdom and What Does Citizenship Look Like? César García. Herald Press, 2021, 88 pages. Who Was Jesus and What Does It Mean to Follow Him? Nancy Elizabeth Bedford. Herald Press, 2021, 92 pages.
These booklets are part of The Jesus Way: Small Books of Radical Faith series and have discussion questions for each of six chapters. García asks how Christians should interact with the state, while Bedford explores Jesus’ humanity and divinity.

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 204-594-0527 or 1-877-846-1593 (toll-free).

Further reading from our Spring 2021 Focus on Books & Resources:
Recommended reads: Fourteen Mennonites talk about the books that have impacted them
Digital corner
What happens when we read together? 

Previous resource lists:
Fall 2020 List of Books & Resources
Spring 2020 List of Books & Resources
Fall 2019 List of Books & Resources
Spring 2019 List of Books & Resources

(Photo composition by Betty Avery)

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