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‘Slow living in fast times’ highlights 2021 issue of Mennonite Life

July 8th, 2021

Historic photo of Goerz House at Bethel College, ca. early 20th century

The annual issue of Bethel’s journal leads off with five essays by a senior who served as issue intern and four recent graduates, reflecting on the forced slow-down of a pandemic.

The current issue of the online-only journal can be viewed at ml.bethelks.edu

Leading off the issue is a collection of reflections by recent Bethel graduates about what it has meant to consider “slow time” over the past 12-18 months, forced by the realities of a global pandemic.

Bethel senior Bethany Powls, an English and history major, served as a student intern for this issue of Mennonite Life.

She was responsible for soliciting and editing the four essays, plus contributing one of her own, for a section titled “Scribing Slowness: An Ode to Slow Living in Fast Times.”

The writers in addition to Powls are two graduate students, Jacob Miller (Bethel, 2017) and Alec Loganbill (2019), and two students currently in the world of full-time employment, Nate Kroeker (2019) and Tara Schwartz (2020).

Also in the “Essays” section is Darrin Snyder-Belousek’s meditation on his lifelong love of hymns, in particular Christmas hymns, and how his understanding and attitude toward what makes a “theologically sound” hymn has changed as he has grown older.

Mark Jantzen, Bethel College professor of history, returns to a topic that has been one of his research favorites over the years, the 19th-century German novelist Theodor Fontane and his “Mennonite novel,” Quitt, a significant part of which is set among Mennonites at the Darlington mission station in Indian Territory (now the state of Oklahoma).

This essay looks at how C.H. Wedel, Bethel’s first president, reviewed the novel and unpacks why Wedel might have taken the decidedly negative tone he did.

Finally, Raylene Hinz-Penner muses on the phenomenon, and the necessity, of white “settler descendants” acknowledging the native peoples their ancestors displaced, and takes an extensive look at a new resource by Elaine Enns and Ched Myers, Healing Haunted Histories.

The 2021 issue also has reviews of eight recent books, comprising a volume of poetry, a collection of short fiction plus a novella, a novel, and nonfiction that ranges from Mennonites vis-à-vis the arts, to Mennonites, African Studies and colonialism, to “Mennocostals” (Mennonite and Pentecostal Christians).

A section of “Book Notes” briefly mentions seven others, also including, fiction, poetry and nonfiction.

Finally, the issue mentions four upcoming conferences, including a call for papers for two of them.

Bethel is a four-year liberal arts college founded in 1887 and is the oldest Mennonite college in North America. Known for academic excellence, Bethel ranks at #14 in the Washington Monthly list of “Best Bachelor’s Colleges” and #26 in U.S. News & World Report, Best Regional Colleges Midwest, and earned its third-straight NAIA Champions of Character Five-Star Gold Award, based on student service and academic achievement, all for 2020-21; is Zippia.com’s highest ranked Kansas small college with the highest earning graduates; has the #10 RN-to-BSN program in Kansas according to RNtoBSN.com; and is #57 among 829 U.S. colleges and universities named by lendEDU.com as “Best for Financial Aid,” as well as #23 “Safest College Towns in the U.S.,” ranked by lendEDU.com for 2020-21. For more information, see www.bethelks.edu

About Bethel

As the first Mennonite college founded in North America, Bethel College celebrates a tradition of progressive Christian liberal arts education, diversity within community, and lifelong learning.