How did Christianity become so tame?

News release
August 26, 2015

How did Christianity become so tame?RewildingTheWay

Todd Wynward rewilds Christianity by investigating Scripture as inspiration for redemptive rebellion

HARRISONBURG, Va. and KITCHENER, Ontario—God’s dream for human society is far wilder than we can imagine, so when did we become addicted to the North American way of overconsumption, status-seeking, gadgetry, and fossil fuels, and how might we break free? Wilderness guide and author Todd Wynward addresses these questions in his latest book, Rewilding Faith: Breaking Free to Follow an Untamed God (Herald Press, September 1, 2015).

Wynward, who has spent more than one thousand nights outdoors, writes in the wilderness tradition of John the Baptist and Kurt Hahn (founder of Outward Bound) to discover meaning in self-denial and hope in uncolonized spaces. Wynward and his family have lived in a 30-foot yurt; they milk their own goats, collect rainwater, and use a composting toilet, yet as Wynward is clear to point out, they are still very much part of culture.

Todd photo (3)“If you’re daunted by our example, don’t be: we’re pretenders,” says Wynward. “Yes, we’ve cultivated a slightly parallel existence, but we’re still solidly embedded in consumer culture.” He points out that his family owns one laptop per person, too many cars, a cappuccino maker, and cell phones, and claims they have a voracious appetite for Netflix. “We daily take our son to soccer practice in a Prius and monthly drive a hundred miles to shop at the nearest Trader Joe’s.” He feels that even though they dabble with homesteading in the high desert, “we’re still entangled in empire, deeply part of the system.”

In other words, Wynward and his family are part of a group of Christians who live between worlds, striving to follow the Jesus Way while still being shackled to Caesar and enthralled by empire. But he says there is hope for these “half-disciples.”

“I pin my hopes on the fact that God is extravagant, mercy within mercy within mercy,” says Wynward. “God knows our hearts. He created us, inconsistent and imperfect, to be just as we are. God expects us to love our families and seek to walk the Way.”

Drawing from the work of writers like Bill McKibben and Joanna Macy and groups like New Monastic communities and nonviolent Anabaptists, Wynward offers concrete ideas—such as re-skilling, local food covenants, relational tithes, cohousing, transition towns, and watershed discipleship—for living faithfully in an era of climate change. If some of these words and concepts feel new, they are amply explained in the book.

How can we recover from our affluenza? How can we raise families and be radical disciples? How can we engage in society without being allegiant to it? Rewilding the Way shows how to break free from the empire of Christendom and “become the wild people God wants us to be” says Wynward.

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Todd Wynward is fanatic about reframing public education and re-envisioning the North American way of life, starting with his own. He has been engaged in experiential education and social change movements for 20 years. He is the founder of a wilderness-based public charter school, leads backpacking and river trips for adult seekers, and is an animating force behind TiLT, an intentional cohousing community in Taos, New Mexico. Author Richard Rohr calls his novel, The Secrets of Leaven, “a spiritual roller coaster that skewers everything we think we know about organized religion, social change, and human potential.”

Rewilding the Way: Break Free to Follow an Untamed God is available in paperback for $15.99 USD from MennoMedia at 800-245-7894 or www.MennoMedia.org, as well as at bookstores. To contact Wynward to schedule speaking events, wilderness treks, or weekend workshops, go to www.rewildingtheway.com, or the Facebook page for Rewilding the Way.

MennoMedia Staff

High resolution photos available.
for more information on press release:
Melodie Davis
News manager
MennoMedia
540-574-4874
MelodieD@mennomedia.org

Gather around the Amish Table shares recipes and stories from Plain life

GatherAroundTheAmishTableNews release
August 19, 2015

Updated Herald Press cookbook adds recipe photography

HARRISONBURG, Va. and KITCHENER, Ontario.—“It’s one of the blessings of life to share ourselves with each other.” So writes Old Order Mennonite compiler Lucy Leid in her introduction to Gather around the Amish Table, a cookbook released by Herald Press in August.

Gather around the Amish Table is an updated edition of Leid’s previous compilation, Countryside Cooking & Chatting released by Herald Press back in 2006. In light of the perennial popularity of Amish and Mennonite cookbooks, editors updated and retitled Countryside Cooking & Chatting, added new full color photography, and retested and revised recipes.

Originally Leid gathered recipe submissions and stories for the book project via Die Botschaft, a weekly periodical popular in her community as well as other Mennonite and Amish communities across the United States. In the book’s introduction, she describes her goal in the creation of the book: “There are so many cookbooks around, but I wanted a cookbook with stories in it, too, with the kinds of sharing I enjoy from Die Botschaft.”

Recipes vary from family sized dishes to the 120 pies and 50 pounds of roast beef required for a barn-raising. Accompanying the recipes and simple step-by-step instructions are stories submitted by the same cooks who shared their recipes.

14-07-10 Amish Cookbook-65 14-07-10 Amish Cookbook-57Leid has included her own kitchen tips spread throughout Gather around the Amish Table, from adding wheat germ to make peanut butter and jelly sandwiches healthier to suggestions about how to use water left over from boiling eggs.

Melissa Engle was food photographer with Cherise Harper serving as food stylist. The two women also worked on recent Herald Press cookbook updates: Mennonite Community Cookbook 65th Anniversary Edition, Extending the Table Revised Edition, and Simply in Season 10th Anniversary Edition.

Leid lives in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, where she and her husband run an evergreen nursery and belong to a local Old Order Mennonite church community, the Groffdale Conference, and use horse and buggy transportation.

“As I paged through the recipes and poured over the photos in Gather around the Amish Table, I found myself thinking again and again, I’ve just got to try this! There are so many recipes in here just waiting to become new family favorites,” says Georgia Varozza, author of Homestyle Amish Kitchen Cookbook.

Midwest Book Reviews says the book is a “prized and thoroughly ‘kitchen cook friendly’ addition to the family cookbook shelf.”

Lovella Schellenberg, one of the authors of Mennonite Girls Can Cook, says of Leid’s compilation: “Reading through the treasure of recipes allows a glimpse into the home life of a community that gathers around the table for fellowship, with thankfulness for the bounty that God has provided them.”

Gather around the Amish Table is available in paperback for $19.99 USD from MennoMedia at 800-245-7894 or www.MennoMedia.org, as well as at bookstores everywhere.

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MennoMedia Staff
High resolution photos available.

for more information on press release:
Melodie Davis
News manager
MennoMedia
540-574-4874
MelodieD@mennomedia.org

 

 

 

 

Third Way Website Gets New Look and Fresh Support (By Steve Carpenter)

Perhaps you’ve already noticed that MennoMedia’s premier website ThirdWay.com has a new look – http://thirdway.com  The website has been around since the late 1990s under the name Third Way Café. Some thought the coffee motif was getting a bit stale.1999 HomePage

(Just for fun, here’s a screen grab of the old home page. To read the print go to the Way Back Machine web archives, a great place you can find and reference most old websites.)

Over the past year we worked to freshen up Third Way and improve it’s functionality on smart phones and tablets, renaming it simply Third Way. Earlier in June, a news release announced some of the new sections and features.

ScreenShotHomePageJune3LaunchThe site engages those looking for information online about Mennonites, and serves as a portal for those seeking to live out their Christian faith through Anabaptist values such as simple living, acts of service, and an emphasis on community, justice and peace. Those five values, plus the broad topics “Mennonites” and “Jesus” are reflected in the seven sub-sections of the website.

For the first time, Third Way is offering Mennonite agencies and businesses the opportunity to become sponsors. Sponsorship of this website supports efforts to provide Anabaptist Christian values and information to a worldwide audience, and will also increase an agency’s or business’s exposure. We are thrilled that seven organizations or agencies have stepped up so far to support Third Way by becoming sponsors. There are three levels available: Site Sponsors, Section Sponsors and one Home Page Sponsor.

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Everence and Mennonite Mission Network have become Site Sponsors

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For their gift we include their logo with a hyperlink back to their agency’s home page on every page of the Third Way site. Section Sponsors get their logo on the home page and on every page of the section they sponsor. Thus far Eastern Mennonite University,

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Mennonite Foundation Canada,

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Anabaptist Mennonite Biblical Seminary

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and Mennonite Health Services

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have all stepped up as Section Sponsors.

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In addition, Conrad Grebel University is a Home Page Sponsor.

However, there are three sections still waiting for a company to sign on! The sections still available are Community, Service and Justice. If you know of a business or organization which might be interested in becoming a section sponsor of one of these three areas, the cost is $1,000 U.S. per year or $1,200 CDN. Leave a comment below or send me an email with your ideas and I’ll follow up.

Thank you for your interest. Be sure to sign up for a daily scripture, weekly media review, monthly peace story or other free inspirational emails from MennoMedia via Third Way.com by going to subscriptions.

Blessings in your work, worship and witness,

Steve Carpenter Director of Development and Church Relations

Steve Carpenter
Director of Development and Church Relations

SteveC@MennoMedia.org