Deuteronomy, newest Believers Church Bible Commentary, released

News release
BCBC_Deuteronomy2
September 23, 2015

Deuteronomy, newest Believers Church Bible Commentary, released
A call for faith in God and right living

HARRISONBURG, Va. and KITCHENER, Ontario—How should we walk in God’s way as a faithful people? What tools do the biblical stories of God’s people give us?

Deuteronomy is a book of stories, a book of law, and a look at the core of faith: “Hear O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one,” Deuteronomy 6:4 puts it. Sometimes called the “gospel according to Moses,” Deuteronomy examines divine grace and the practices of justice and right living.

Herald Press has released Deuteronomy, the 29th volume in the Believers Church Bible Commentary series, authored by Gerald E. Gerbrandt of Canadian Mennonite University in Winnipeg, Manitoba.

“Deuteronomy is sometimes perceived as ancient history, but a key word is today,” says Gerbrandt. “There is a power in Deuteronomy to become the word for today in diverse contexts.” He notes the words that call out to present-day believers in Deuteronomy 5:3: “Not [only] with our ancestors did the Lord make this covenant, but with us, who are all of us here alive today.”

The Deuteronomy commentary, like all of the volumes in the Believers Church Bible Commentary series, is designed to provide guidance for a variety of readers. Written for lay readers, pastors, teachers, and Bible study groups, this commentary considers the themes that tie together the Old Testament, New Testament, and life in the modern world.

Using an Anabaptist reading of Scripture, Gerbrandt examines the Shema of Deuteronomy 6—the call to worship one God that Jesus quotes in the Gospels. Gerbrandt looks at how Deuteronomy promotes healthy community relationships. “This is not only intellectual assent or for Sunday morning worship only,” he writes. “It requires that justice become the center of how we treat each other,” including the resident “aliens and strangers” among us. Gerbrandt thereby connects Deuteronomy to Jesus’ teachings on loving our neighbor as we love ourselves.

Gerbrandt invites readers to engage difficult passages of Deuteronomy that have been used to justify violence and dispossession. He looks at how hopeful themes of covenant, land, and leadership express the heart of Israel’s faith.

Like all volumes in the Believers Church Bible Commentary series, Deuteronomy includes useful tools like “The Text in the Biblical Context” and “The Text in the Life of the Church.” These tools encourage readers to understand the book in its original setting, and to find the ways this fifth book of Moses continues to speak to the church.

The Believers Church Bible Commentary is a cooperative project of the Brethren in Christ Church, Brethren Church, Church of the Brethren, Mennonite Church Canada, and Mennonite Church USA.

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Gerald Gerbrandt

Gerald E. Gerbrandt is president emeritus and professor emeritus of Bible at Canadian Mennonite University. He served as CMU president from 2003 to 2012 and as president of Canadian Mennonite Bible College from 1997 to 2003.

Deuteronomy is available in paperback for $34.99 USD from MennoMedia at 800-245-7894 or www.MennoMedia.org, as well as at bookstores.

 

Ardell Stauffer
High resolution photo available.

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

Polly and Andy, two more books in Ellie’s People series, released

September 3, 2015
News release

Herald Press republishes Polly and Andy stories for young readers
Books 5 and 6 of Mary Christner Borntrager’s Ellie’s People series to be released

HARRISONBURG, Va., and KITCHENER, Ontario—Mary Christner Borntrager was cherished by her family for sitting down to tell stories or read to children and grandchildren. Late in her life, she turned that gift into a legacy of published books for her family and youthful readers of all ages.

Polly, about a family moving from their Amish community to Texas, and Andy, about an Amish boy who faces adolescent angst and teasing, are the newest novels in this series released by Herald Press in September and October.

The Ellie’s People series chronicles the family and friends of the protagonist of book 1, Ellie Maust, across several generations. While fictional, the series focuses on real issues young people face within the context of an Amish life. Borntrager grew up in an Old Order Amish home, and she based her stories on the people and places of her childhood. Books from the series have sold more than half a million copies.

PollyIn book 5, Polly Miller doesn’t want to move to Texas. No other Amish families live in Lone Prairie, and Polly loves her family and friends in Ohio. But her father’s mind is made up. As Polly settles into her new life, she gains a non-Amish friend, Rose Ann, who shares her dresses and makeup with Polly. She also earns the attention of a young hired hand named Tom, who takes her to a rodeo and tells her how pretty she is.

Andy Maust, the protagonist of book 6, likes to writeAndy.indd poems. He’s not good at running or wrestling or any of the other activities that Amish boys enjoy. The other boys tease him mercilessly, and then Andy’s dog disappears in a mysterious way. As “drifters” roam the country on trains looking for work and a hot meal, Andy begins to imagine running away from his troubles.

The books are written for readers 10 years and up. The language has been updated for today’s reader, and the books have new covers.

Borntrager’s novels have been praised for their accurate descriptions of Amish life. Borntrager’s daughter Kathryn Keim writes in an upcoming article for the popular AmishWisdom blog about her mother’s books, “Her goal was to give the world books that were true to life about people who are often misunderstood,” Keim writes. “I think she accomplished that.”

Polly and Andy are available for $9.99 USD/$­­­ 11.49 CAD each from MennoMedia at 800-245-7894 or www.MennoMedia.org, as well as at bookstores.

MennoMedia staff

High resolution photo available upon request.
For more information
Melodie Davis
News manager
MennoMedia
540-574-4874
MelodieD@MennoMedia.org

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.

ZionWestEdited

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