Mennonite Life – summer 2011, vol. 65

Editor's Note

This year’s edition of Mennonite Life is the second issue in a new annual online format but the 65th volume of this journal of Mennonite history, theology and culture overall. Some intriguing continuities and changes are apparent. From its beginnings, Mennonite Life has been interested in documenting and analyzing diversity in the Mennonite world. Early on in the immediate post-World War II era that meant tracking Germanic Mennonites in the older and newly created diasporas.

This issue features the history of another type of Mennonite diversity among racial and ethnic minorities in the United States. As our three lead articles by Regina Shands Stoltzfus, Felipe Hinojosa and Tobin Miller Shearer demonstrate, this story goes back even further than the origins of Mennonite Life, but only recently has the wider Mennonite community of European heritage begun to understand and grapple with the significance of these histories.

In the 10th year of America’s self-proclaimed “global war on terror,” André Gingerich Stoner’s article on American GIs and the German peace movement in the 1980s provides a healthy reminder of the complexities of long-term conflicts of ideologies and that GIs do not neatly fit into media-driven binary categories.

We are pleased to be able to deliver on one promised new feature of this version of Mennonite Life, an increased emphasis on publishing student research work. Austin McCabe-Juhnke’s paper on the history and current status of the Swiss-Volhynian dialect also renews a tradition going back to our first issue of occasionally publishing articles in German. Nathaniel Yoder’s analysis of the document “Agreeing and Disagreeing in Love” provides critical feedback and suggestions for a process much praised in theory that appears to be more difficult to implement on the ground. Justin Wiebe’s paper was the top high-school entry in the John Horsch Mennonite History Essay Contest sponsored by the Historical Committee of Mennonite Church USA.

An extended collective review of recent Mennonite women’s memoirs by Melanie Springer Mock and a book review by James Regier complete this year’s book review section.

The 2010 “Mennonite Bibliography” of titles on Mennonite history, life and thought acquired by participating libraries concludes this year’s issue. A belated welcome to the Columbia Bible College Library of Abbotsford, British Columbia, and participating librarian Richard D. Thiessen, who joined this project last year.

A past contributor has alerted us to the fact that Laura Weaver’s June 2002 article “Plain Clothes Revisited: Empathy for Muslim Women” is now one of two sources listed in Wikipedia’s article on Plain Dress.

Mark Jantzen, associate professor of history, chaired the editorial committee for this issue. Other members included Nathan Bartel, assistant professor of literary studies; Rachel Epp Buller, adjunct assistant professor of art; Rachel Pannabecker, director of Kauffman Museum; Barbara Thiesen, co-director of libraries; John D. Thiesen, archivist and co-director of libraries; and Lisa Thimm, assistant professor of mathematics. John also serves as book review editor for Mennonite Life. Layout was done by Krista Graber and copyediting by Melanie Zuercher, both staff of Bethel College Institutional Communications. Contact Mennonite Life at

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