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December 2001
vol. 56 no. 4

A common thread of "stories on the landscape" runs through this issue. The first part of the issue focuses on the arts, as we have usually done in December issues of Mennonite Life over the last several years. Lora Jost offers us a unique set of visual responses to the difficulties of family farmers in the current economy.

The Experience of Farmers
Lora Jost
Lora Jost has a studio in Lawrence, Kansas, and works as an artist, illustrator, muralist, community arts organizer, and educator. She grew up in North Newton, Kansas.

Midwestern poet David Wright offers us a commentary on the relationship of poetry to Christian life, followed by four of his poems.

     Poetry as Argued Seduction; Beethoven's Romance in G; Prayer and Fugue for Two Hands, In Ordinary Time; Lydia's Song; A Map of the Kingdom
Poetry by David Wright
A native of the Midwest, David Wright teaches writing and literature in the Chicago area. His first poetry collection, Lines from the Provinces, appeared in 2000. His second book, A Liturgy for Stones, will be published in 2002 by Pandora Press US.

Lori Bontrager gives us an informal history of the Cincinnati Mennonite Arts Weekend, probably the leading Mennonite arts event in the country, which has brought together a wide variety of Mennonite artists for the past ten years.

Cincinnati Mennonite Arts Weekend
Lori Bontrager
Lori's favorite job is trying valiantly to balance with faith the joys and challenges of a full life at home. She is wife of Phil, mother of Andrea, Rachel, David, Darin (ages 20-12). Her BSN from Goshen College has served her well through the years, though very indirectly since 1984. She hopes to return to nursing eventually, but thoroughly enjoys the immense diversity she finds at home. She is a member of Cincinnati Mennonite Fellowship.

Christopher Dick offers us two poems on Kansas and seasonal images.

At the Fireworks Stand, July 4, 9:00 P.M.; Kansas: Fall in Wartime
Poetry by Christopher M. Dick
Christopher Dick teaches composition and literature at Tabor College, Hillsboro, Kansas.

The second part of this issue takes up Native American themes. First, Mennonite and Cheyenne elder statesman Lawrence Hart offers a meditation on the theme of axis mundi, the place(s) around which the world revolves and places where we might say God is specially present. This was originally the Bethel College commencement address in 1998. Lawrence Hart also can be found in each of the two articles which follow his.

Connections Past, Present, and Future
Lawrence Hart
Lawrence Hart, a Cheyenne Peace Chief from Clinton, Oklahoma, is a prominent local, regional and national leader in American Indian education and cultural preservation. He is an ordained Mennonite minister and an active leader in a variety of church-wide Mennonite programs and Mennonite institutions.

James Juhnke argues that the peace traditions of Native Americans have been obscured by the celebration of warrior images. He asks who is more responsible for the cultural survival of Native Americans - the warriors or the peaceful?

The Original Peacemakers: Native America
James C. Juhnke
James C. Juhnke has taught history at Bethel College since 1967. Most of his research and writing has been on American Mennonite history, but his most recent book is a revisionist peace-minded survey of main themes in general United States history. Carol M. Hunter of Earlham College joined Jim as co-author. The book is titled The Missing Peace: The Search for Nonviolent Alternatives in United States History. It was published last summer by Pandora Press Canada. "The Original Peacemakers," the first chapter of the book, is presented here with permission from the publisher.

Another Mennonite elder statesman, Robert Kreider, brings a meditation on a recent trip through Kansas and Oklahoma hearing stories of the Cheyenne.

Along the Cheyenne Heritage Trail: Travel Notes, Musings, Reflections
Robert Kreider
Robert Kreider of North Newton, Kansas, is an accomplished writer, scholar, leader, journaler, chronicler, traveler.

As usual we close with several book reviews.

Book Reviews