Spring 2017 list of Books & Resources

Compiled by Barb Draper, Books & Resources Editor,

Theology, Spirituality

Anabaptist Essentials: Ten Signs of a Unique Christian Faith. Palmer Becker. Herald Press, 2017, 182 pages.
Becker has written a concise explanation of the core values of the Mennonite/Anabaptist faith, using the three central points of Jesus, community and reconciliation. He provides a fresh look at what Mennonites believe, using clear and simple language. This book is very suitable for small-group study and Christian-education settings. The 12 chapters include discussion questions.

Dancing with Elephants: Mindfulness Training for Those Living With Dementia, Chronic Illness or an Aging Brain. Jarem Sawatsky. Privately published, 2017, 148 pages.
Facing his own degenerative disease, Sawatsky writes to encourage others facing a difficult prognosis. Rather than fighting the disease, he advises learning to dance with the fears and limitations. Using many examples from his own life, he encourages everyone to embrace life with love and compassion. The book is also available as an eBook on Amazon.

Is God a Scientist? Religious Views of Science. Daryl Culp. Privately published, 2016, 196 pages.
Culp explores a variety of questions about the intersection between religion and science, arguing that they approach reality from different perspectives. With a PhD in theology, Culp considers how history, biology, physics, psychology and sociology approach these questions. The book is available at createspace.com/6667298 in paperback or eBook format.

The Leviathan Factor. Lawrence E. Burkholder. Wipf and Stock, 2017, 368 pages.
Burkholder, a Mennonite pastor, has written about science and the paranormal. Using the term “Leviathan,” he argues that the origin of evil is a cosmic being, often referred to as Satan.

Living the Anabaptist Story: A Guide to Early Beginnings with Questions for Today. Lisa D. Weaver and J. Denny Weaver. Cascadia Publishing House, 2015, 114 pages.
Designed to be used in new-member classes or other congregational study groups, this book outlines the history of the early Anabaptists, inviting readers to reflect on what the story means for our lives today.

Philippians: Believers Church Bible Commentary. Gordon Zerbe. Herald Press, 351 pages.
This commentary provides detailed explanatory notes for Philippians, including the context in which the words were written. The introduction and essays at the end also provide helpful tools to understand the text. Zerbe is academic vice-president of Canadian Mennonite University (CMU) in Winnipeg.

Prayers for a Simpler Life: Meditations from the Heart of a Mennonite Mother. Faith Sommers. Herald Press, 2017, 200 pages.
This book offers 13 weeks of meditations based on Scripture to be used as daily devotions, primarily geared for women. Also included are short prayers and a daily question for personal reflection. The writer is from a plain/traditionalist Mennonite group.

Re-Imagining the Church: Implications of Being a People in the World. Robert J. Suderman. Wipf and Stock, 2016, 242 pages.
In this collection of essays, “Jack” Suderman reflects on what it means to be the church. He expresses some complex ideas, but also has some practical suggestions for congregations and leaders as they identify and carry out the mission of the church.

(Re)union: The Good News of Jesus for Seekers, Saints and Sinners. Bruxy Cavey. Herald Press, 2017, 228 pages.
Using lots of anecdotes and references to modern life, Cavey takes a fresh look at the gospel. Writing both to spiritual seekers and to Christians looking for deeper faith, he considers the true meaning of sin and salvation, and what it means to say “Jesus is Lord.”

Smart Compassion: How to Stop ‘Doing Outreach’ and Start Making Change. Wesley Furlong. Herald Press, 2017, 176 pages.
Using stories from his own experience, Furlong writes about how churches can change their neighbourhoods through “smart compassion.” He outlines the wise strategies that he believes Christians need to use to bring Jesus’ love to their neighbourhoods. Now working for the Evana network, Furlong was a Mennonite pastor in Florida for many years.

Still Daring to Hope. John Regehr. CMU Press, 2016, 164 pages.
Using sermons from his days as a Mennonite Brethren pastor, Regehr presents biblically based devotional material that reflects on situations where we need hope in our everyday lives. He includes some poems and reflections by his wife Mary. Regehr is a former professor at CMU.

A University of the Church for the World: Essays in Honour of Gerald Gerbrandt. Paul Dyck and Harry J. Huebner, eds. CMU Press, 2016, 290 pages.
The essays in this collection all ponder the question of what it means to be a Mennonite university. How does involvement with the academic world benefit religion and the church? The contributors do a good job of considering all aspects of these questions, making the case for an institution like Canadian Mennonite University.

Watershed Discipleship: Reinhabiting Bioregional Faith and Practice. Ched Myers, ed. Cascade Books, Wipf and Stock, 2016, 246 pages.
This collection of essays takes seriously the climate crisis facing human civilization, examining what Myers calls “ecological theology and practice.” The contributors write from a wide variety of perspectives, offering ideas on how to live in a way that is sustainable and promotes environmental justice.

History

A Book of Remembrance: Mennonites in Arkadak and Zentral, 1908-1941. Peter Letkemann. Privately published by Old Oak Publishing, 2016, 462 pages.
Letkemann has traced the history of Mennonite families and individuals who lived in specific settlements in Russia. These communities, established from 1908 to 1910, felt the effects of the 1917 revolution and were completely scattered after 1941. The book is available from the Mennonite Heritage Centre in Winnipeg.

Emmanuel, God With Us: As I Lived It. Robert Witmer. Privately published, 2016, 188 pages.
Witmer’s memoir tells of his growing-up years on a farm in Ontario, his struggle to afford college while supporting a family, and his years serving as a missionary in France and Quebec. To order, contact robwit@golden.net.

Recollections of a Sectarian Realist: A Mennonite Life in the Twentieth Century. J. Lawrence Burkholder. Institute of Mennonite Studies, 2017, 260 pages.
This memoir is based on interviews that C. Arnold Snyder conducted with Burkholder in 2005 and is edited by Burkholder’s daughter Myrna and Snyder. A former president of Goshen College, Burkholder passed away in 2010. As suggested by the title, Burkholder was known for his critique of the traditional Mennonite point of view.

A Vietnam Presence: Mennonites in Vietnam During the American War. Luke S. Martin. Masthof Press, Morgantown, Pa., 2016, 584 pages.
The author served as a Mennonite missionary in Saigon, South Vietnam, during the 1960s and writes a first-hand account of the development of a Mennonite church there. He also describes the challenges of distributing aid through Mennonite Central Committee while trying not to be identified with the U.S. military presence. The book can be ordered at orders@masthof.com or by calling 610-286-0258.

Other Books

Beloved Amish and Mennonite Quilts: A Coloring Book. Herald Press, 2016.
This meditative colouring book uses many traditional quilt designs with accompanying Scripture passages and information about the quilt patterns. It comes with perforated high-quality paper.

When Did Everybody Else Get So Old? Indignities, Compromises and the Unexpected Grace of Midlife. Jennifer Grant. Herald Press, 2017, 187 pages.
Exploring what it means to be in mid-life, the author uses personal experience to find some humour and insight into the chal-lenges of growing older.

Where the Truth Lies: Selected Essays. Rudy Wiebe. NeWest Press, 2016, 312 pages.
In these essays and speeches, Wiebe reflects on a variety of topics, including writing, the meaning of words and the controversy within the Mennonite Brethren Church sparked by his first novel, Peace Shall Destroy Many.

Yours, Mine, Ours: Unravelling the Doctrine of Discovery. Cheryl Woelk and Steve Heinrichs. Mennonite Church Canada, 2016, 165 pages.
This special issue of Intotemak, the publication of Mennonite Church Canada’s indigenous relations department, contains a wide variety of contributions reflecting on what it means to repudiate the Doctrine of Discovery. It also includes many photos, a study guide and suggestions for further reading.

Resources

Digging for Treasure: Parables Revealed. MennoMedia, 2017.
This year’s Vacation Bible School curriculum features the parables of Jesus. It is available as a starter kit or a full boxed set. Each day’s theme is centred on a Bible story and comes with suggested songs, stories, drama and children’s activities.

Upside Down Living: Sabbath by Anita Amstutz; Upside Down Living: Technology by Becca Lachman; Upside Down Living: Money by Leonard Dow; Upside Down Living: Identity and Aging by Eleanor Snyder. Herald Press, 2017.

These are the first four of a six-part Bible study series designed to get Christians thinking about important issues in their lives. They are intended for small-group Bible studies or adult Sunday school classes.

Video

The Last Objectors. Andrew Wall. Refuge 31 Films, 2016, 45-minute documentary.
This documentary tells the story of Canada’s conscientious objectors during the Second World War, primarily told through the voices of the COs themselves, who reflect on why they chose alternative service rather than going to war, and reminisce about what life was like 75 years ago. To arrange a screening, contact Conrad Stoesz at archives.mennonitechurch.ca.

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 toll-free 1-877-846-1593.

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