In this issue
For 2007, the Mennonite Life editors have decided to publish two larger issues rather than our usual quarterly publication. Thus, this spring 2007 issue constitutes what would have usually been our March and June issues.
For this issue we invited three scholars to comment on a new book by Raylene Hinz-Penner, with special attention to the topic of genre. The book, Searching for Sacred Ground: The Journey of Chief Lawrence Hart, Mennonite, was co-published by Cascadia Publishing House and Herald Press. It appeared as number seven in the C. Henry Smith Series, edited by J. Denny Weaver. For a number of years, Hinz-Penner served as arts editor for Mennonite Life. While doing research and writing for this book, she was a key planner and organizer of the conference "Cheyenne, Arapaho, Mennonite: Journey From Darlington," hosted by Lawrence and Betty Hart in Clinton, Oklahoma. Papers from that conference appeared in the June and September 2006 issues of Mennonite Life.
In the foreword to Searching for Sacred Ground, Native American scholar Donald Fixico praises the book as "a biography that… reveals the powerful presence of traditionalism in a historical figure who still works in the present." But the book, while surely a tribute to the life and ministries of Lawrence Hart, is both more and less than a conventional biography. Reviewers Susan Huxman, Phyllis Bixler, and Jeanine Hathaway, writing in this issue of Mennonite Life, all agree that Hinz-Penner crosses conventional genre boundaries. This is a book that deserves attention for its distinctive literary qualities as well as for its narrative of the life of a remarkable Cheyenne Mennonite leader.