This article was originally published by Mennonite World Review

Bethel’s 2015 issue of ‘Mennonite Life’ available now

NORTH NEWTON, Kan. — Two major sections of articles in the annual issue of Mennonite Life, now live, deal with the life and legacy of Vincent Harding and with ongoing issues surrounding theologian John How­ard Yoder.

The journal is produced at Bethel College and can be viewed at ml.bethelks.edu.

The journal’s first section is titled “Vincent Harding, In Memoriam.” The civil rights activist, speechwriter for Martin Luther King Jr. and former Mennonite pastor died May 19, 2014.

“The recent passing of Vincent Harding offers scholars an opportunity to reflect on his contributions to, and conflicted relationship with, the Mennonite church,” said editor Rachel Epp Buller, also associate professor of visual arts and design.

Mark Jantzen, professor of history, coordinated the Harding section.

“From his sojourn with Mennonites, [Harding] went on to be a key civil rights leader and important collaborator with Martin Luther King Jr. Shortly before his death, after decades of distance, he reconnected with a new generation of young Mennonites and Anabaptists.

“We decided to gather reflections from among that new generation, and from the elders among us who remembered [Harding’s] time in Mennonite churches and leadership, to see what traces of his footprints remain with us.”

The section includes contributions by Tobin Miller Shearer, Drew Hart and Harold Regier, along with a new preface by John A. Lapp to a reprint of Harding’s address to the 1967 Mennonite World Conference assembly in Amsterdam.

In the second section, “Yoder in Context,” Epp Buller notes that “the legacy of John Howard Yoder’s abuses continues to inform discussions of gender, sexuality and power within Mennonite circles. Building on her larger historical scholarship for Mennonite Church USA, Rachel Waltner Goossen here examines three instances of protests against Yoder on Mennonite college campuses [Goshen College, Bethel and what was then Eastern Mennonite College].

“Ada Schmidt-Tieszen’s piece offers context for Bethel College’s 1992 dis-invitation of Yoder, while Stephanie Krehbiel’s lengthy interview with Ruth Krall addresses not only Yoder’s abuses but also the larger contexts of sexual violence and oppression within the church.”

The third section, “Contemporary Mennonite Scholarship,” includes topics ranging from a Mennonite church bombing in the 1960s, to Mennonite Brethren and the Temperance movement, to Mennonite women’s fiction writing on family mental illness, to maple syrup urine disease in Mennonite and non-Mennonite populations.

The fourth section, “Book Matter,” includes reviews of three memoirs, six novels and three books of nonfiction.

Also included is a call for papers for the 2017 conference at Eastern Mennonite University, “Crossing the Line: Women of Anabaptist Traditions Encounter Borders and Boundaries.”

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