Recent history invites an ongoing discussion of the relationship of early narratives of martyrdom to current issues and concerns in hybrid, twenty-first century Mennonite lives. Stephanie Krehbiel analyzes the personal and cultural impacts of martyr stories in the context of lived experiences as an activist pacifist. Respondent Melvin Goeringwhose December 1992 Mennonite Life article on martyr themes was one of our most widely-read articles of the past 20 yearsreviews Krehbiel's article and offers a provocative proposal for the creation of narratives grounded in Mennonite histories that offer hope and agency.
In October 2006, the Amish response of forgiveness to the murderer of five girls in a one-room Lancaster County schoolhouse struck a chord that reverberated around the world. In this issue four Mennonite scholars reflect on that event. Mennonite Life posed three questions: Did the Amish in fact model Christianity in their forgiveness? Did the event reveal theological tensions between forgiveness and justice? Are there some acts and attitudes of forgiveness and grace that cannot be offered apart from God’s enabling power and love?
Not long before his death on November 12, 2006, William Keeney wrote an autobiographical account for Mennonite Life of his life and work as a Christian peacemaker. Keeney made a significant contribution as a scholar of Anabaptism, a college teacher and administrator, and as a writer of peace literature. Over the years he contributed many articles to Mennonite Life. We will miss his steady and insightful voice. We are pleased to publish his final publication as a tribute to his life and witness among us.
In early September, 2006, Tom Finger, Mennonite theologian, attended a conference in Teheran, Iran, that addressed religious eschatological doctrines regarding the End of the Age. Finger presented a paper on the Christian hope for Jesus’ coming. Muslim scholars presented papers on the Return of the Mahdi, a Savior that many Muslims expect to come at the End of the Age. President of Iran Mahmud Ahmadinejad presented the opening conference address. Later in September, Finger again met Ahmadinejad along with other religious leaders at a meeting in New York.
Mennonite dialogue with Muslims at this level is controversial, not least because of Ahmadinejad’s alleged denial of the Holocaust. Does such dialogue lend status and legitimacy to Iran’s leaders' advocacy of such claims? Mennonite Life would welcome responses about both the substance and the process of these exchanges.
As always, the editors thank our book reviewers. The first review refers back to the "Journey from Darlington" conference held in Clinton, Oklahoma, in spring 2006, covered in our June and September 2006 issues. Clyde Ellis, co-author of The Jesus Road, was a plenary speaker at the conference. Reviewer James Krabill was a respondent.
The second review highlights recent work on World War II Civilian Public Service written in the current war-time perspective.