Magical Memoir Moments

Former student and student assistant Amy Houser and her mother Mary Lou.

Encountering Borders and Crossing Boundaries: Metaphorically and Literally

It was a big week in the Shenandoah Valley. An international conference. The¬†world premiere of a play. A book talk about Mennonites and Nazism. Preparations for a 24-day trip to Scandinavia. And, of course, daily check-ins to see how baby Lydia and her parents are doing. The theme of the conference, Crossing the Line, applies,…

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Mennonite Bonnet and Covering Stories: Part One

All this week I’ve had coverings on my mind. Yesterday, as I was doing research about plain dress among the Eastern Pennsylvania Mennonites, I was joined at the library computer table by a Muslim woman in full head veiling. Yes, it’s true. There are more Muslim head veilings at Eastern Mennonite University these days than…

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Amish and Mennonite: What's the Difference?

Small groups like the Mennonites and Amish, which only surface in most people’s awareness when the national media pay attention, can confuse people. Especially when both these small groups contain a myriad of varieties. So it’s not surprising that MennoMedia’s Third-Way Cafe has become the go-to place online for people who ask: What’s the difference…

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The Author Responds to Critique: Thrill of the Chaste Part III

I’ve admired Valerie Weaver-Zercher’s insights and frisky, learned (not a combo you meet every day) writing style ever since I first read her work in magazines. Over the years, I found her reviews in Christian Century, her articles about practical spirituality in Sojourners (you can purchase at Amazon through the link) and her op-eds in…

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"You Can't Have it All": Part Two from Saloma Furlong's Review of Thrill of the Chaste

I grew up in the heart of Pennsylvania Dutch country. Farms like the one on the left peppered the hills and valleys of that beautiful place. So did other signs of rural life. Two years ago I stayed with my sister Sue for several days, preparing for a talk called “The Purpose of Memory” at…

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American Culture and Amish Fiction: Why Now and Why So Much? Part One.

When he heard that I finally earned my Ph.D., my grandpa told me those three letters meant “Piled High and Deep.” He didn’t have a lot of respect for speculation and abstraction. My field is an interdisciplinary one, called American Civilization, at the University of Texas at Austin, where I did my doctoral study. A…

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An Amish Memoir: Saloma Miller Furlong's Story of Why She Left

Saloma Miller Furlong has an amazing story. The little Amish girl on the cover of her memoir and the Smith College graduate on the back cover represent two worlds. These two photos illustrate a life journey that has covered, so far, a relatively short distance in time and space, but a huge one in world…

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