In Praise of Older Schisms

Don’t you sometimes miss the good old schisms of yore? No, probably not. Most Mennonites are deeply embarrassed by our history of coming apart at the seams. We generally don’t like to talk about it and, when we do, we treat it as a regrettable vestige of past foolishness. But, phooey on that. I say … More In Praise of Older Schisms

Watch your Language

My parents liked to joke that theirs was a “mixed marriage” because she was a Russlander Mennonite and he was a Kanadier Mennonite. It was only funny to that tiny subset of the population who was both in the community enough to know the difference and out of the community enough to think it a … More Watch your Language

About that Mennonite Cocktail Book

Remember when you said I should write a Mennonite cocktail book? No? Huh. I’m pretty sure you said that. In fact, you were pretty insistent. When people in the future ask what Mennonites did during the first great pandemic of the twenty-first century, the answer for most of us will be things like baking, virtual … More About that Mennonite Cocktail Book

Something Amish

I have come to the conclusion that in every minute of every day, there is someone, somewhere trying (and failing) to explain the difference between Mennonites and the Amish. These are people with a little bit of knowledge but not a lot. People who might have Mennonite (or Amish) ancestry. Maybe they lived once in … More Something Amish

Books

Writing the Drunken Menno blog has changed me as a writer. When I started the blog, I had a novel that was close to finished. I am now shopping the manuscript around for an agent and/or publisher. I’ve tinkered with it a bit over the last few years. It’s now called Sheltered. It’s still a … More Books

Bechtel panel: Making Schputt of Mennonites on the Internet

Yesterday I participated in the Bechtel Panel at Conrad Grebel University College on Mennonites in the Media. The organizers asked us to talk about what it is like to be a creator of Mennonite content on the media today, to comment on our audience and challenges etc. Several of the other participants followed their instructions … More Bechtel panel: Making Schputt of Mennonites on the Internet

Dogs or Cats – which are more Mennonite?

When I was eight years old, my older brother was baptized and joined our Mennonite Church. Moved by the ceremony, I went home and baptized the family dog. Mine was a shorter ceremony and I can’t say much about our pooch’s appreciation of the doctrine. But he was happy enough to participate in the rite. … More Dogs or Cats – which are more Mennonite?

Bread of Contention

I was recently perusing the internet and discovered an appalling number of errors in Mennonite bread making. I know there were errors in the past – the historical record is replete with disputes over baking. Not, it is true, in the “mainstream” historical literature, but they’re there if you know how to look. They were … More Bread of Contention

Was Opa a Nazi?

Imagine this: it’s 1941 and a Mennonite farm worker is sitting by his shortwave radio in Canada listening in rapt attention to the news coming out of Nazi Germany, contemplating immigration. Cut to Eastern Europe at approximately the same time, and see Heinrich Himmler touring the land of that farm worker’s youth and cooking up … More Was Opa a Nazi?