This spring, I attended the seventh iteration of the Mennonite/s Writing conference, held this year at Fresno Pacific University. The days included workshops for poetry and creative writing and presentations based in literature, history, theology, art, medicine, and music. In short, it reminded me of the multi-disciplinary offerings we publish through Mennonite Life, and this year’s issue is no exception.
The recent passing of Vincent Harding offers scholars an opportunity to reflect on his contributions to, and conflicted relationship with, the Mennonite Church. Thanks to Mark Jantzen for coordinating this section of writing, with contributions by Tobin Miller Shearer, Drew Hart, Harold Regier, and a new preface by John Lapp to a reprint of Harding’s address to the 1967 Mennonite World Conference in Amsterdam.
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. 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.
Contemporary Mennonite Scholarship includes pieces from several disciplines with various methodological approaches. While the literary and historical pieces by Brad Born, Walter Sawatsky, Melanie Zuercher, and Tabor College students Rachael Wedel and Benjamin Schmidt might be expected by our regular readership, we are also particularly pleased to include a seminar paper by Bethel College biology student Karina Ortman, whose excellent study of Maple Syrup Urine Disease in Mennonite populations offers a disciplinary perspective not often found in our journal.
As is our tradition, we again include a large section reviewing recent publications. Colleagues from around the United States and Canada offer spirited reviews of several fiction and non-fiction additions to Mennonite writing. Barb Thiesen also shares her annual bibliographic compilation.
Finally, I draw your attention to a Call for Papers included at the end of our issue. In June 2017, Eastern Mennonite University in Harrisonburg, Virginia, will host an international conference titled Crossing the Line: Women of Anabaptist Traditions Encounter Borders and Boundaries. The program committee looks forward to considering proposals for both scholarly and creative presentations.
I thank my colleagues at Mennonite Life for their assistance and dedication over the course of this year. Our inter-collegiate editorial committee has included Christopher Dick (Tabor College), Karen Sheriff LeVan (Hesston College), and several members of the Bethel College faculty and staff: Mark Jantzen, Christine Crouse-Dick, John Thiesen, Brad Born, and Melanie Zuercher. Particular thanks go to Jesse Kaufman, Web Developer, for his many hours of (on-going) work upgrading the Mennonite Life website.