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June 2002
vol. 57 no. 2

This issue first explores themes related to women's negotiations of the visible signs of Mennonite cultural experiences in contemporary, often cross-cultural contexts. "Revising the Plainness of Whiteness" introduces poems by Rhoda Janzen and a personal essay by Laura Weaver, while considering a "redressing" of Mennonite identity.

Revising the Plainness of Whiteness
Ami Regier
Ami Regier is associate professor of English at Bethel College.

Rhoda Janzen
Rhoda Janzen held the California Poet Laureate Award in 1994 and 1997. Some of the journals in which she has appeared recently include The Yale Review, The Gettysburg Review, Poetry Midwest, Borderlands, The Malahat Review, Crazyhorse, The Ledge, and American Literary Review. In 2001 she appeared in the PBS television series Closer to Truth. Currently she teachers American literature and creative writing at Hope College in Holland, Michigan.

Plain Clothes Revisited: Empathy for Muslim Women
Laura H. Weaver
Laura H. Weaver is professor emerita of English, University of Evansville, Indiana.

Two further articles engage a wider range of issues:

  • Alan Kreider calls for a thoughtful reappropriation of an early church model of living as "resident aliens," in order to develop more adequate rituals with which to name and resist the troubling addictions, problematic values, and power structures of the contemporary world. This was originally one of Kreider's Menno Simons lectures presented at Bethel College in fall 2001.
  • William Keeney traces the historical and theological contexts informing the life of Donovan Smucker (1915-2001), an influential Mennonite thinker whose strong critique of "liberal pacifism" during the World War II era resulted in his "shift from radical activism to Anabaptist pacifism." Included with the article is an audio recording of Donovan Smucker from the time period discussed in the article. Although the recording is only partially identified, it is likely a talk at Mennonite Biblical Seminary in Chicago in the early or middle 1950s. Perhaps one of our readers can give more information.

Initiation: Becoming Resident Aliens
Alan Kreider
Alan Kreider served as a missionary in England with the Mennonite Board of Missions from 1974-2000 . He was the director of the Centre for the Study of Christianity and Culture, Regent's Park College, Oxford. He is the author of The Change of Conversion and the Origin of Christendom (1999). This article is his second lecture in the 2001 Menno Simons lectureship. The series was titled, "Listening to the Early Church: A Way Forward for Contemporary Anabaptists."

Donovan Smucker: Liberal Activist or Moderate-Conservative Anabaptist
William Keeney
William Keeney holds a PhD from Hartford Seminary in Connecticut. He has been assistant to the president and professor of Bible and religion at Bluffton College and provost and professor of Bible and religion at Bethel College. He has also taught peace and conflict studies at Kent State University. In addition to teaching, he has served pastorates in Connecticut, Kansas and Ohio.

Our annual bibliography continues the project of tracing Mennonite publications begun in 1947, and offers an international context of writings on Mennonite cultures, theologies, and thought. This year, for the first time, a few web links are included.

Mennonite Bibliography 2001
Barbara A. Thiesen
Barbara A. Thiesen is co-director of libraries and technical services librarian at Bethel College.

Additionally, this issue includes three book reviews exploring a wide sweep of Mennonitisms. The themes therein invite reflection on whether, in David Haury's review, "it is collective or common memory which creates identity," or, as observed in Ann Hostetler's review, it is a somewhat deconstructive tension between communal constructs of Mennonite being, and the individual imperative "to construct a complex embodied self that can would, suffer--and heal" which creates identity. Similarly, Rich Preheim surveys census-like results in a broadly inclusive new text studying the many "streams of faith" in Anabaptist World USA.

Book Reviews