book review

Making believe together, participating in dialogue

Magdalene Redekop (right), a professor emerita of English at the University of Toronto who grew up in a conservative Mennonite community in Manitoba, argues in her new book that 'art provides a space where we can deal with the crisis of representation by making believe together and by participating in dialogue.'

Ancient cave drawings illustrate that artistic expression is endemic to humanity. And throughout history, artists have pushed boundaries and come into conflict with their communities.

Social media is distracting and can be harmful

(Photo courtesy of Instagram.com/edcyzewski)

Indiscriminate use of social media is bad for us, warns Ed Cyzewski. While technology is convenient and promises to make us more efficient and keep us in touch with more people, it actually harms our mental health and does little to foster true relationships. Smartphones and other devices also hinder our spirituality, mostly by consuming our time.

Conspicuous absences

"[T]he figure of the absent Christ is not invoked pessimistically with images of abandonment, but instead it is interpreted in continuity with the peaceful, non-possessive and uncoercive character of Jesus."

The Absent Christ is a clearly written and compelling exploration of Anabaptist-Mennonite theology that engages with both historical Anabaptist sources and contemporary political concerns, in order to advance a constructive argument centred on the figure of the empty tomb.

An overview of Christianity’s ideas about God

'Speaking of God' by Anthony G. Siegrist is an overview of how the Christian church has approached Scripture and humanity’s relationship to God over the past 2,000 years. (Photo by Aaron Epp)

Because we live in a time of change and upheaval in our culture, Anthony G. Siegrist argues that the church needs to improve its biblical and theological literacy, writing, “It’s important that Christian communities nurture their ability to speak about God, about Scripture, and about our lives with care and attention.”

Book explores healthy masculinity

Once upon a time, living in splendid isolation, Mennonite men were moulded differently from the rest of society. Worshipping in a traditional peace church with a different set of values, they didn’t fit the western stereotype of a male. But today, Mennonite men are diverse; as much urban as rural, as much men of colour as white, and they have diverse views on politics, religion and lifestyle.

The most important word

"With" may be the most important word in the Christian faith, Sam Wells argues in his book, "Incarnational Ministry." (Photo courtesy of stmartin-in-the-fields.org)

“With” may be the most important word in the Christian faith. So argues Sam Wells, an Anglican priest-theologian, in Incarnational Ministry, a book about being with the church.

Revisiting a third way

J. Lawrence Burkholder’s experiences as a relief worker in China in 1947 caused him to think about the nature of power. His dissertation, “The problem of social responsibility from the perspective of the Mennonite church,” was completed in 1958 but not published at the time because it challenged Mennonite teachings.

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