My “Book for the Beach” I give a ★★★ for the book and a ★★★★ for how it was read to me. Yes, you literalists, I didn’t actually read this book, I passively listened to it while half sleeping.
Context is everything. Each day after teaching an “intensive” (4, 8-hour days translated into Mandarin) on the subject of “Character and Call” in the Christian ministry, I would collapse onto the smallish seminary student bed in Kowloon China where Carole read to me the best parts of “Mennonite in a Little Black Dress” and I laughed my tiredness away.
Again, you literalists, I didn’t read the whole book and I didn’t have the whole book read to me, I was read the best parts like you would do if you were actually sitting on the beach being interrupted by kids squealing while brushing potato chips off your bathing suit.
The book? Oh, yes. If you are a Mennonite, I hope you will be offended by the hilarity and the ridiculousness of your closed world. If you are not a Mennonite, you might want to sign up just for the delight of the ordinary – eating, talking, worshipping, working, learning, faith-ing, discovering what “self” is when the community is defining what “we” are.
While it is Rhoda Janzen’s book, it is also the story of many of us who decide to “go home” to see if we still fit in the heritage that has formed us.