Spring 2016 List of Books & Resources

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Theology, Spirituality

Deuteronomy: Believers Church Bible Commentary. Gerald E. Gerbrandt. Herald Press, 2015, 600 pages.
This is the 29th volume in the Believers Church Bible Commentary series. Deuteronomy, a collection of speeches by Moses that reflect on Israel’s past and future, explores the meaning of faithfulness. Each section of text has explanatory notes, comments about the biblical context and what the text has to say in the life of the church.

Disarming Conflict: Why Peace Cannot be Won on the Battlefield. Ernie Regehr. Between the Lines Books, 2015, 217 pages.
Reflecting on the wars of the past 25 years, Ernie Regehr concludes that wars do not bring peace and stability. While wars bring destruction, security is built around the negotiating table with the consent of the local population. While Regehr does not argue that Christians should be peacemakers, he presents an argument about the futility of war.

The Meaning of Sunday: The Practice of Belief in a Secular Age. Joel Thiessen. McGill-Queen’s University Press, 2015, 228 pages.
Joel Thiessen has researched Canadian Christian religious beliefs and behaviours using in-depth interviews. As well as interviewing the non-religious, he interviewed those actively affiliated with Christian churches and marginal affiliates. One of his conclusions is that we should stop blaming churches for dwindling demand.

Rooted and Grounded: Essays on Land and Christian Discipleship. Ryan D. Harker and Janeen Bertsche Johnson, eds. Pickwick Publications, 2016, 282 pages.
The essays in this collection were presented at a conference hosted by Anabaptist Mennonite Biblical Seminary in September 2014. Contributors reflect on the theological implications of how we use the land God has given. This book is part of the Peace and Scripture series of the Institute of Mennonite Studies.

Spiritual Companioning: A Guide to Protestant Theology and Practice. Angela H. Reed, Richard R. Osmer and Marcus G. Smucker. Baker Academic, 2015, 186 pages.
The seven chapters of this book include lots of case studies and suggestions on how Christians can help each other be in tune with God. Each chapter concludes with practical exercises for cultivating spiritual relationships.

Trouble I’ve Seen: Changing the Way the Church Views Racism. Drew G. I. Hart. Herald Press, 2015.
Hart argues that white Christians don’t understand how racism works because white privilege has shaped their perceptions. He offers some ideas on how churches can work at racial justice and stand with those who are oppressed.

Words that Enlighten. Hugo Neufeld. Privately published by Millrise Publishing, 2015, 198 pages.
Using lots of anecdotes and reflections from his own experiences, Neufeld examines how we use words to communicate faith. He writes that we must speak authentically and engage those around us. Each of the 19 chapters ends with a few questions to ponder. Books can be ordered by calling 403-201-4358 or by e-mail at hugoanddoreen.com.

History

An Increase in Time: Story Lines of Germantown Mennonite Church and its Historic Trust, 1683-2005. Richard J. Lichty. Institute of Mennonite Studies (AMBS), 2015, 428 pages.
Germantown Mennonite Church, the oldest Mennonite Church in North America, has had its share of challenges and conflict. This history explains those times as well as times of spiritual renewal. To order, e-mail ims@ambs.edu.  

Martyrs Mirror: A Social History. David L. Weaver-Zercher. Johns Hopkins University Press, 2016, 440 pages.
This book tells the story of how Martyrs Mirror was created in the Netherlands in the 1600s, how it came to be adopted by other Anabaptist groups and eventually was translated into German and English. Weaver-Zercher also traces the story of how this book has shaped the Mennonite church over the centuries.

My Loyalist Origins. Herb Swartz. Self-published through Friesen Press, 2015, 273 pages.
With a mixture of historical fact and imagination, Swartz reflects on the journey of early Mennonite immigrants to Waterloo Region.

Peace, Progress and the Professor: The Mennonite History of C. Henry Smith. Perry Bush. Herald Press, 2015, 457 pages.
C. Henry Smith, who grew up in a rural Amish congregation, went on to become an important early Mennonite historian. Smith taught at Bluffton College, Ohio, for many years and helped the church to recognize the importance of teaching its history. By the mid-20th century, Mennonites had mostly rejected his progressive approach.

Pennsylvania Dutch: The Story of an American Language. Mark L. Louden. Johns Hopkins University Press, 2015, 473 pages.
Louden takes an academic approach to the Pennsylvania Dutch language, still spoken by Old Order Amish and Mennonites today. He argues that it is more than a German dialect. This hardcover book includes stories and poems in Pennsylvania Dutch.

Other Books

Mandy. Sarah. Mary Christner Borntrager. Herald Press, 2016.
These are two more books from the Ellie’s People series about Amish young people that have been updated and re-published. They are designed for readers 10 years of age and up.

Mennonite Cobbler: Balancing Faith and Tradition in a Turbulent World. Kenneth David Brubacher. Privately published, 2015, 257 pages.
Ken Brubacher, who grew up in Elmira, Ont., reflects on his life with whimsy and insight. Although not a Mennonite by faith, he writes a critique of an old-fashioned Mennonite view of the world. Copies of this hardcover book are available at mennonitecobbler.com.

Overplayed: A Parents’ Guide to Sanity in the World of Youth Sports. David King and Margot Starbuck. Herald Press, 2015, 230 pages.
Parents often find it challenging to balance family time, church commitments and their children’s involvement in competitive sports. This book provides some down-to-earth advice as it explores seven myths about youth and sports. King is athletic director at Eastern Mennonite University in Harrisonburg, Va. (See a review here.)

Simple Pleasures: Stories From my Life as an Amish Mother. Marianne Jantzi. Herald Press, 2016.
Marianne Jantzi, from the Amish community near Milverton, Ont., writes about her life with four young children. She is a former teacher in an Amish parochial school. As part of the Plainspoken series, this book provides a glimpse into the everyday life of an Amish mother.

To and From Nowhere. Hedy Leonora Martens. Canadian Mennonite University Press, 2015, 503 pages.
This biographical novel concludes the story told in Martens’s earlier book, Favoured Among Women. In this story, Greta and her family are among those displaced by Stalin in the Soviet Union and struggle to survive. It covers the 1940s to the 1970s.

Children’s Books

The Toymaker’s Dream: An Allegory for Young Hearts. Christopher Shennan, illustrated by Anita K. Willms Stephen. Xulon Press, 2015, 110 pages.
This story is an allegory designed to help children understand the biblical story of God’s plan of redemption from creation to Christ’s death on the cross. Copies are available from the illustrator by calling 905-685-4974 or e-mailing christophershennan@gmail.com.

Resources

Abundant Faith Women’s Bible Study Series: Courageous Women. Wonderfully Made. Bountiful Hearts. Generous Gifts. Herald Press, 2016.
This series of Bible studies is designed to relate the Bible to the everyday lives of women. Each of these four titles includes 12 Bible study sessions and one closing worship service.

“God of all Comfort: Mental Health Resources for Church Worship.” Communitas Supportive Care Society, Abbotsford, B.C., 2015, 40 pages.
This worship resource includes a variety of prayers, stories and readings, as well as sermon suggestions to make the church more aware of how to support everyone towards mental wellness.

Minister’s Handbook of Reproductive Loss: A Guide to Care Following Loss at the Beginning of Life. Alicia Buhler. Privately published, 2016, 110 pages.
This short book offers very specific suggestions for providing pastoral care to those struggling with reproductive loss. It includes prayers and rituals for situations such as miscarriage, stillbirth and infertility. It is available as an e-book or hard copy at commonword.ca.

Surprise! Stories of Discovering Jesus. MennoMedia. 2016.
This year’s Vacation Bible School material focusses on Jesus and his teachings. It is designed for children aged 4 through Grade 5 with options for junior youth available online at mennomedia.org/vbs. The package, written by a team from Ontario, includes material for worship, drama and a variety of activities relating to the story. Items are also available separately.

Vision: A Journal for Church and Theology. Karl Koop, ed. Jointly published by Canadian Mennonite University and Anabaptist Mennonite Biblical Seminary, Spring, 2016.
The editorial and 12 articles of this issue of Vision centre around discernment and how the church comes to a decision when there is disagreement. Rather than trying to resolve a specific issue, the writers reflect on how to discern and how to live faithfully when we don’t agree.

Compiled by Barb Draper, Books & Resources editor

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