Posted by: thebylog | March 2, 2006

A Book About Mennonites

I have this book sitting on my desk, The Mennonite Mosaic by Kauffman and Driedger. It’s been sitting here for, oh, three or three and a half months. It’s a report on an extensive study these guys did on five Mennonite denominations. It details what these Mennos think about pretty much everything – religion, life, money, morality, and more.

The denominations surveyed represent the progressive end of the Mennonite church, certainly not in tune with where I come from as an Anabaptist. However, this study is years old, and there’s another that is being conducted to update it (though it will again only survey the progressive end). In a class project last semester we used some of the data that these folks had mined, and in acquiring that, I got to talk to someone who is one of the main men conducting the new, updated study.

I asked him why the Mennonites in the middle – as opposed to the liberals on the left and the Amish on the right – haven’t been the subject of much sociological or scholarly research. He said that they’re not interested.

I think this is unfortunate, if true, because I think it could be immensely helpful for leaders (and church members) in conservative Mennonite circles to have a bird’s-eye view on what their constituency really believes.

And, of course, then they might need a statistician to parse their data.

But still, I have this book on my desk sitting here, doing nothing. The way they have it set up here, I can check a book out of the library and unless there is a request for it, I can have it for a whole semester or something. I’ve been to the library many times in the last two months. There is no intelligent reason why the book should be on my desk and not back to the shelf where it belongs.

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Responses

  1. A statistical evaluation of conservative Mennonites… maybe the task is calling you. 😉

    It’s too bad that people are mainly interested in the extreme aspects of social groups — when such extremes are usually not the right or healthy way to live.


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