vol. 57 no. 1
The stripped-down, numerical phrase "9/11" has come to function
nationally as an awkward synecdoche of the crises of events and crises
of understanding unfolding from that date forward. As a synecdoche, its
minimalist reference to a date is a 'part' representing a growing
'whole': a range of emotions and rhetoric so potentially explosive in
political and religious terms that the minimalist phrase becomes a mute
term of reference until broader conversations and research offer more
articulate rhetoric. A heightened concern over language and articulation
exists in Mennonite-related contexts because of the potential for the
marginalizing of pacifist rhetoric, history, and thought during a time of
international military crisis. Mennonite Life therefore may offer one
important site among others for emerging discourses.
In this issue, we begin to offer early articles asking questions about
the meanings of "9/11" from within sites of significant conversation.
The first article, by Duane Shank, was developed in part in relation to the vibrancy and
intensity of inter-Mennonite conversation through MennoLink, an email
discussion list. For a complementary debate over just war theory and
the public role of pacifism between Stanley Hauerwas of Duke University
and the Editors of First Things, see
this link. The second, by Heidi Regier Kreider, is a sermon preached the Sunday
immediately following, on 9/16/01. While an excerpt of this sermon was
published as part of a book (reviewed in this issue), we offer the
complete sermon here, in text as well as in audio format, to reflect the
context of a sermon existing in a particular church, in its place and
time. We hope that future issues of Mennonite Life will engage related
issues: we include here as a hopeful sign of future developments an
image of a world flag developed by artist Mary Lou Goertzen in response
to the Gulf War. She and others held up world flags as "wordless
posters" as part of a demonstration along the coastal Highway 101 in
On another topic, our final article in this issue offers an examination
of visual and verbal meanings through the history of postcards
representing Bethel College, including images dating from 1908 to the
present. Interweaving the study of postcard research as social history
with the history of the college, the co-authors Keith and David Sprunger examine how a
"grass-roots view of history" can offer an inclusive range of angles
upon "the flow of ordinary life."
Additionally, a wide range of issues across Mennonite worlds of
thought and experience, from post 9-11 concerns to concerns about the
environment, are explored in book reviews in this issue by James C.
Juhnke, Rachel Waltner Goossen, Gerlof D. Homan, Raylene Hinz-Penner,
John M. Janzen, Thomas Heilke, and Jon K. Piper.
War in Afghanistan: Was It Just?
|Duane Shank is Issues and
Policy Advisor for Sojourners and Call
to Renewal. He has been on the staff since 1995. He has been active
as an organizer and administrator in the peace and justice movement
for 30 years. He has worked as a community organizer in the rural
south, in interfaith coalitions, and in the nuclear weapons freeze
and Central America solidarity movements of the 1980s. He is
Mennonite, and currently an active member of the Community of Christ
ecumenical congregation in the Mt. Pleasant neighborhood of Washington,
D. C. Duane is married to Ellen Kennel and they have an 18-year-old
daughter, Celeste, who is a student at Goshen College.
Sermon - September 16, 2001
Heidi Regier Kreider
|Since August 2000, Heidi Regier
Kreider has been the lead pastor at Bethel College
Mennonite Church, North Newton, Kansas. For the previous nine years,
she was pastor of Emmanuel Mennonite Church in Gainesville, Florida, and
has spent five years as an organist for Episcopal churches. She
graduated from Bethel College with a B. A. in Bible and Religion in
1983, and from Yale with her Master's of Divinity in 1991. She is
married to David Kreider, and her two sons Benjamin and Mark, are 7 and
9. She suggests that her identity was strongly shaped by growing up
overseas in Zaire/Congo.
Postcards from Bethel
Keith Sprunger and
|Keith Sprunger is emeritus
professor of history at Bethel College. He taught at Bethel 1963-2001.
His main publications are in the area of English Puritanism and Mennonite
history. He is currently working on the history of printing and Puritan
and Mennonite church architecture. The three Sprunger children are David,
Mary, and Philip, all Bethel graduates, and all are now college teachers.|
David Sprunger, a Bethel alumnus of 1982, is chair of the English
Department at Concordia College, Moorhead, MN. Although his training
is in medieval studies, he remains interested in all aspects of modern
popular culture, including postcards and the stories they tell. David's
most recent publication is co-editing a collection of essays,
Monsters, Marvels and Miracles (Medieval Institute Publicaionts,
Call for Submissions: Upcoming Issues of Mennonite Life
What is the state of anti-war literature? Is there a great anti-war
novel since Catch-22? Is there a dearth of anti-war novels?