vol. 55 no. 4
Since 1991, the December issue of Mennonite Life has focused on the arts. This issue is the tenth in this December arts series, and the first on-line issue in the series. My joy in helping to get this issue together the past ten years has been in the willingness, even eagerness, of Mennonite artists and writers (of renown) to share their work with the broader Mennonite community in this format. My impression is that our artists and writers truly desire to be in dialogue with the broader community. In fact, I remember the hesitation expressed by Jeff Gundy, poet from Bluffton, about the idea of an arts issue. Ever a supporter of the arts and already a longtime contributor to this journal, he worried that only artists would read the December issue, and he liked the notion of a poem next to a philosophical debate, not separated out into its own issue. (Note that in this issue filled with arts materials there is also a debate over the Jubilee 2000 debt relief initiative!)
We have also tried to be a forum for new writers and artists of a certain quality. It's always a thrill to offer a broader readership to those who are not yet established. This new on-line format offers huge potential for submission, broader community participation in the arts (it's free; you need only go to the site!), and democratic access. The potential for dialogue and networking (necessities for artists and writers!) is great, as well as for new forms of presentation, as in the virtual poetry reading of Jean Janzen in this issue.
As our print journal was always highly visual, filled with photos, we want to continue the emphasis on the visual arts, and hope that upcoming issues can be a lush sensory experience! This issue comes along with gratitude to the many artists and writers who have helped us to be good reading in the last ten years, and also, for many years before that!
Below you will find: poetry by seven poets, including one on-line poetry reading by Jean Janzen; three works of visual art; and a study of a Mennonite folk art, clock painting, with extensive illustrations. Also a statement by Mennonite economists concerning the Jubilee 2000 international debt forgiveness initiative, with three responses. At the very end is a page of book reviews, including one of Jean Janzen's latest book of poetry.
|Jean Wiebe Janzen was born in Saskatchewan, was raised in the midwestern United States, and now lives in Fresno, California. She teaches poetry writing at Fresno Pacific University and at Eastern Mennonite University in Virginia.|
Answer Me: Reflections on the Book of Job
|Merrill Krabill is associate professor of art at Bethel College. Eric Massanari is pastor of Shalom Mennonite Church, Newton, Kansas.|
Keeping Faith and Keeping Time: Old Testament Images on Mennonite Clocks
Reinhild Kauenhoven Janzen
|Reinhild Kauenhoven Janzen is assistant professor of art history at Washburn University, Topeka, Kansas. Between 1983 and 1993 she was curator of cultural history at Kauffman Museun, North Newton, Kansas. In addition to studies in Mennonite material culture and art, her scholarly activity includes the Northern Renaissance in Europe and African arts. Most recently she was co-author, with John M. Janzen, of Do I Still Have a Life? Voices from the Aftermath of War in Rwanda and Burundi, University of Kansas Series in Anthropology vol. 20, June 2000.|
Reaching the bridge; Journey to Jerusalem; The children
Poetry by Sarah Klassen
|Sarah Klassen is a Winnipeg poet and fiction writer. Her first book of short fiction, The Peony Season was released in fall 2000. Her most recent poetry collections are Simone Weil: Songs of Hunger and Love (1999) and Dangerous Elements (1998). Klassen is a former English teacher and has taught in Lithuania and Ukraine. She is a member of the River East MB Church in Winnipeg.|
|Bob Regier is professor emeritus of art at Bethel College. He taught art at Bethel from 1965 to 1992.|
|Leonard Nolt is a photographer and writer living in Boise, Idaho. His poetry has been published in cold-drill, Rhubarb, and Mennonite Life. His photos have been in Idaho Wildlife, Frontier Times, and in books published by the Beautiful America Pub. Co. and American Geographic Pub. Co.|
Eagerly have I Desired to Eat; If I Die
Poetry by Cheryl Denise
|Cheryl Denise grew up in Elmira, Ontario. Now she lives in Philippi, West Virginia. She and her husband Mike Miller built their timber-frame home in the intentional community of Shepherds Field. They have a small flock of Jacob sheep. Cheryl works as a nurse doing cancer screenings for low income women. She has had a few poems published in Wild Sweet Notes: Fifty Years of West Virginia Poetry 1950-1999.|
I went up to the prairie but I couldn't go in
Poem by Kerry Saner
|Kerry Saner is currently studying Arabic in Amman, Jordan, in preparation for graduate school back in the United States.|
Poem by Janet Toews Berg
|Janet Toews Berg is a psychiatrist in Seattle, Washington, and part of a new writing group formed at Seattle Mennonite Church.|
William E. Dellinger
|William Dellinger is a farmer and a member of Mt. Pisgah Mennonite Church, Cherry Box, Missouri.|
What You Do after Someone Dies; Farm, Summer; Surrender
Poetry by Sarah Reinhard
|Sarah Reinhard is a senior at Grinnell College in Iowa and is originally from East Lansing, Michigan. Her home church is the MSU Mennonite Fellowship.|
During the past year, some Mennonites participated in a "Jubilee 2000" campaign for debt relief for third world countries. The campaign took shape as one part of a wider anti-globalization protest movement which is rooted in ideals of social justice and human rights. Late in the year, the United States Congress passed debt-relief legislation which marked a partial victory for the Jubilee 2000 campaign.
The four essays in this issue were written before Congress passed the debt-relief bill. In an unprecedented show of Mennonite disciplinary solidarity, twelve Mennonite economists published a manifesto supporting Jubilee 2000 in the July-August issue of The Marketplace, journal of Mennonite Economic Development Associates (MEDA). That document is republished here by permission, followed by a critique by Emil Kreider. The discussion continues with an essay from Melvin J. Loewen and a corresponding response by Rich Meyer.
The Jubilee 2000 debate may have revealed a mainstream Mennonite scholarly consensus, rooted in biblical images and understandings, on key globalization issues. But strong minority voices are also being heard. As a scholarly publication, Mennonite Life does not offer "chat room" space for informal exchange and elegant insults from competing sides of the question. But we would welcome for future issues substantive scholarly articles or reflections prompted by the debate. To explore intersections of faith and culture is central to our mission.
Mennonite Economists Support Jubilee 2000
Thoughts on Jubilee 2000
L. Emil Kreider
|L. Emil Kreider has taught at Beloit College in Wisconsin since 1970, and is the Allen-Bradley Professor of Economics there. He has specialized in labor economics and international development. He has worked on USAID funded projects in Paraguay, Bolivia, and Ecuador.|
Jubilee 2000 Debt Relief and Economic Development
Melvin J. Loewen
|Melvin J. Loewen is retired from a career in The World Bank (1970-1990). He worked on many assignments, including Loan Officer handling loans to Haiti and Panama, and Coordinator of the Africa program of the Economic Development Institute. In the 1950s and 1960s he served as a missionary in Congo (Zaire) with Africa Inter-Mennonite Mission (AIMM).|
For the Lives of the Poorest
|Rich Meyer worked with Mennonite Central Committee in Lesotho 1981-1987, and with Christian Peacemaker Teams from 1997 to the present. He calls square dances, farms near Millersburg, Indiana, and plays harmonica in church.|