Gerhard Hein was born in 1905 into a German-speaking family in a Mennonite settlement near Ufa in the Ural Mountains of Russia. He later immigrated to Germany, where he studied theology, graduating as a minister in 1931. Hein was ordained as a pastor in 1935, serving several Mennonite communities in southwest Germany and Berlin. From 1940 – 1945 he served in the Wehrmacht as an interpreter, cracking secret Russian codes. Gerhard Hein was also the editor of several Mennonite journals, and co-editor and eventual sole editor of the German edition of the Mennonite Encyclopedia. Many of his German poems have been published in “Vertrauen, Freuen, Danken.”
Gerhard and his wife Lydia had two sons. His youngest son Wilfried translated his interesting war-time story and biography, because he believes that we can and should learn from historic events.
Winner of the 2007 Saskatchewan Book Award for Non-fiction.
“Your mother and father are running away," said a voice piercing the warm air. I froze and turned toward home. To a Hutterite, nothing is more shameful than that word, running away, Weglaufen...”
In 1969, Ann-Marie’s parents did the unthinkable. They left a Hutterite colony in Canada with seven children, and little else, to start a new life. Overnight, the family was thrust into a society they did not understand and which knew little of their unique culture. The transition was overwhelming. Desperate to be accepted, ten-year-old Ann-Marie was forced to deny her heritage in order to fit in with her peers. I Am Hutterite chronicles her quest to reinvent herself as she comes to terms with the painful circumstances that led her family to leave community life. Rich with memorable characters and vivid descriptions, this ground-breaking narrative shines a light on intolerance, illuminating the simple truth that beneath every human exterior beats a heart longing for understanding and acceptance.
Years later, when his faith begins to unravel, Kroeker stops short of tossing it all aside, choosing instead to leave every unanswered question hanging there on the edge of his mind. He might have gotten away with it, too, except for a drunken resolution that forces the issue of God back into his life. In the fall of 2007, Kroeker decides to ride his motorcycle across Europe and into the theocratic nation of Iran... a nation ruled by God.
In the end, Kroeker finds himself on a forbidden visit to the holiest Muslim shrine in all of Iran. Once inside, invisible hands reach into Kroeker’s chest and rip from his heart a sincere prayer, his first in many years. And God hears that prayer. For before Kroeker can escape Mashhad, God steals into his hotel room one night to threaten him with death. At least, that’s one way to look at it.
Throughout the narrative, Kroeker swings from dogmatic belief in God to overwhelming doubt before finally deciding that the key to approaching God is humility. He understands that uncertainty is not only an acceptable state of mind when considering the Divine, but it is necessary. He will always fear God. But who knows? Perhaps if he keeps riding, one of these days God will speak clearly. And that frightens him, too.
North American Hutterites today number around 50,000 and have common roots with and beliefs akin to the Amish and other Old Order Christians. This historical analysis and anthropological investigation draws on existing research, primary sources, and over 25 years of the authors' interaction with Hutterite communities to recount the group's physical and spiritual journey from its 16th-century founding in Eastern Europe and its near disappearance in Transylvania in the 1760s to its late 19th-century transplantation to North America and into the modern era. It explains how the Hutterites found creative ways to manage social and economic changes over more than five centuries while holding to the principles and cultural values embedded in their faith.
Religious scholars, anthropologists, and historians of America and the Anabaptist faiths will find this objective-yet-appreciative account of the Hutterites' distinct North American culture to be a valuable and fascinating study both of the religion and of a viable alternative to modern-day capitalism.
Drawing on more than twenty years of fieldwork and collaborative research, Steven M. Nolt’s The Amish: A Concise Introduction is a compact but richly detailed portrait of Amish life. In fewer than 150 pages, readers will come away with a clear understanding of the complexities of these simple people. Writing in engaging and accessible language, Nolt explains how the Amish at once operate within modern America and stand very much apart from the world. Arguing that Amish life is shaped equally by internal and external social, political, and economic contexts, Nolt explores Amish identity as emerging from a complex cultural negotiation with modernity. He takes on much-hyped topics such as Rumspringa and reveals the distinctive Amish approach to technology. He also explains how Amish principles stand in contrast to contemporary American values, including rational efficiency, large-scale organization, and Western notions of individuality.
Authoritative, informative, and illustrated, this guide provides a vivid introduction to a way of life many find fascinating but few truly understand.-- Donald B. Kraybill, Elizabethtown College, coauthor of The Amish
David L. Weaver-Zercher combines the fascinating history of Martyrs Mirror with a detailed analysis of Anabaptist life, religion, and martyrdom. He traces the publication, use, and dissemination of this key martyrology across nearly four centuries and explains why it holds sacred status in contemporary Amish and Mennonite households. Even today, the words and deeds of these martyred Christians are referenced in sermons, Sunday school lessons, and history books.
Weaver-Zercher argues that Martyrs Mirror was designed to teach believers how to live a proper Christian life. In van Braght’s view, accounts of the martyrs helped to remind readers of the things that mattered, thus inspiring them to greater faithfulness. Martyrs Mirror remains a tool of revival, offering new life to the communities and people who read it by revitalizing Anabaptist ideals and values. Meticulously researched and illustrated with sketches from early publications of Martyrs Mirror, Weaver-Zercher’s ambitious history weaves together the existing scholarship on this iconic text in an accessible and engaging way.