In this issue Raylene Hinz-Penner, former arts editor of Mennonite Life, explores the dynamic of "writing a life" from her conversations with Lawrence Hart, Cheyenne Peace Chief and Mennonite pastor. The project involves a meeting of different Indian and Anglo cultural styles. Penner's biographical project is timely in view of a conference on Mennonite-Indian history and relations planned for the spring of 2006 in Clinton, Oklahoma. Penner and Hart are both on the planning committee for that conference, which will be sponsored by the Mennonite Church USA Historical Committee.
Like Penner's article on Lawrence Hart, Dan Tyson's essay on the life and ministry of Jacob F. Balzer is part of a planned larger biographical project. Balzer began his academic career at Bethel College and fell victim to the "Daniel Explosion" of 1916. Tyson learned to know and appreciate Balzer years later at Doane College in Nebraska. We look forward to Tyson's completed biography of Balzer's life.
Levi Miller's article tells us about American Mennonite responses to Russian Soviet Communism and the Mennonite experience with that repressive system. Miller's research revealed not only the distance between America and Russia, but the differences between Mennonites of Dutch-Prussian background and those of Swiss-South German background.
The final article in this issue offers the next segment in the serial publication of "The Sayings of Abraham Nofziger," a work emerging as part of a particularly literary form of archeology by Dallas Wiebe. Listing cultural claims in and across Mennonite and non-Mennonite cultural spaces, these sayings dig out ideas about theological crime and comedy, irony and overeating, ambiguity and shoes (and much more).
Additionally, a special grouping of book reviews in this issue by Gerhard Rempel and Christopher Dick explore literature that treats Mennonite history in Russia in a surprising range of genres.
Correction: Phyllis Bixler's article "Borrowing with Respect and Authenticity" incorrectly stated that "Fr. Josef Von Claar, an Orthodox priest in St. Louis . . . grew up Old Order Amish." In a subsequent phone conversation, Fr. Josef told Bixler that he grew up in a German Roman Catholic church, began attending an Old Order Amish church at age 13, and joined at age 18.