This is an independent blog and is not affiliated with any particular church, group or conference. The term Bruderthaler refers to a specific ethnic or cultural Mennonite heritage, not to any particular organized group. All statements and opinions are solely those of the contributor(s). Blog comprises notebook fragments from various research projects and discussions. Dialogue, comment and notice of corrections are welcomed. Much of this content is related to papers and presentations that might be compiled at a future date, as such, this blog serves as a research archive rather than as a publication. 'tag

Friday, June 29, 2012

Rural Jews, Urban Mennonites and Diaspora Identities

Actor Rob Morrow as Dr. Joel Fleischman
Northern Exposure, ep 3.13 
Things Become Extinct 
(20 Jan 1992, No. 77513)

Dr. Joel Fleischman: I'm not a vanishing breed.
Ed Chigliak: Well, you're Jewish. That's pretty rare.

"This is not homesickness.  This is more than homesickness.  I'm facing serious personality meltdown.  Joel Fleischman, the Jewish doctor from New York.  You take that away and who am I?  What am I?"
"Well, Fleischman, just forgetting a few subway stops..."
"This is just the tip of the iceberg.  Don't you understand?  It's like 'Invasion of the Body Snatchers.'  I'm being replaced by some insidious replicant, a Joel Fleischman look-alike that talks about crop rotation and carburators.  I've got to stop it before it's too late." (sic)

        - Joel to Maggie

"You had me do a two hour turn around to Anchorage to pick up *bagels*? They were supposed to be medical supplies!"  - Maggie, to Joel

“You know, I tried.  I really did.  I gave it my best shot.  It just didn’t work.  Scratch the plum pudding, there’s a matzo ball underneath.  I’m a Jew.  That’s all there is to it.”  Joel to Maggie after dismantling his first, and unsuccessful, Christmas Tree and re-establishing it in Maggie’s front yard.

   As a Postmodern prairie dweller, I was raised on episodes of the Beachcombers, Ann of Avonlea and Little House on the Prairie with a few reruns of Grizzly Adams.  In college, it was reruns of Northern Exposure that fired my imagination and appreciation for the world I left behind – and when I had to return to that country for to bury the dead, it was Northern Exposure that enabled me to laugh painfully at the rapid, if semi-consensual change from downtown Chicago to the mountains of Montana’s Yellowstone.  Where Fleischman missed his bagels, I longed for my bitter Starbucks coffee.  Fleischman longed for his lost Bordeaux, I missed my Art Institute – Fleischman’s golf course was my softball fields.  All in all, a little bit different, yet very much the same.
   Apart from humor, Northern Exposure exemplified numerous socio-ethnic situations and struggles for identity as individuals, as communities and as historic ethnic groups assimilating into something new – both an inclusive new and an often exclusive new.  Ed Chigliak’s statement Fleischman about being a vanishing breed was both a statement as to Fleischman’s personal Jewish identity and Fleischman’s need to adapt to new realities and to establish himself as something new – not exclusive of his Jewish New Yorker past, but rather inclusive of the new person Fleischman was becoming outside of the social and cultural reinforcements of the ethnic Jewish diaspora.  Tellingly, much of Fleishman’s humor stemmed from his travails to adapt to the Postmodern reality as an individual while longing for the communal support of the Modern New York Jewish community.

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Artist Jacob Kane

   Jacob Kane is a graduate of the non-denominational, Mennonite-affiliated Lustre Christian High School in Lustre, Montana, Class of '91.  Born in Montana, Kane moved to San Francisco, California after serving in the United States Navy.  His work is now part of the on-going digital art endeavor, Omnetra (see link:  Jacob Kane Omnetra).

Thursday, June 21, 2012

ne Launtschoft (Heritage Landscapes)

Henderson Community, Nebraska, courtesy Mennonite Archive, Goshen, IN.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Mennonite Baseball Hall of Fame

Mennonites in Major League Baseball

   Mennonite participation in Major League Baseball is a much longer, if much more American story.  Of the 13 identified Mennonites, Russian Mennonites and Amish playing professional baseball, only one is known to be of Canadian background -- all others being American (the opposite of the National Hockey League (NHL)). 

   Mennonites have been quite the characters in the Majors.  Overall, six have been catchers and four pitchers.  Connie Mack, the longest serving manager, is of Mennonite heritage as was Kenesaw Mountain Landis, the first Baseball Commissioner and Federal Judge who handled both the 1915 Baseball Anti-Trust challenge and the clean-up of Chicago's "Black Sox" scandal when in 1919 the Chicago White Sox were accused of purposefully throwing the World Series.

   There is a lot of history in these players' profiles.  Early Mennonites -- Landis, Mack and the Bergens, for instance, assuredly knew of each other.

   While Klassen is the only hard-core Russian Mennonite (Jantzen is presumed to be Russlander), it is still the story of the United States' national pastime and the unique contributions Mennonite men and boys have made to it.  Enjoy -- and catch a game -- especially if anywhere near Chicago's Wrigley Field, Target Field in Minneapolis or Toronto's Exhibition Stadium.  Play Ball!

   Most of the information used to build these profiles is either general in nature or based heavily on guidance from the appropriate Wikipedia articles.

(click read more to see players' profiles)

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Jeff Wall, Jewish Russlander Photographer

Eena dee schienent Bilda aufnemmt

Jeff Wall by Hermann Wendler, 2007
   IIn tracing and detailing the extent of the Russian Mennonite diaspora, one spends a lot of time on the look-out for key names – such as Toews, Unrau, Wiens, etc.  Many names, however, exist well beyond the diaspora – Becker, Unger, Wall, etc. 

   Regarding the surname Wall, I have always been intrigued by the artist Jeff David Wall of Vancouver, British Columbia – is he of the Dutch Wall’s, the Norwegian Wahl’s, the Irish Wall’s (who are actually Dutch) or the Mennonite Wall’s – if he is Mennonite, is he of the Belgian Vanderwalle’s  or de Walles, or of the Frisien Walde / Waldens?  Nor is Wall’s photo of any assistance.  I, for example, look just like my father, grandfather, great-grandfather – all the way back to C.M. Wall, the earliest for whom an image exists.  Wall does not look unlike a Dutch-Flemish Wall, but they have also, possibly due to shared heritage, also looked suspiciously Irish.
   So leaving off the Jerry Springer – Montel Williams investigatory work , Arthur Lubow, of the New York Times, actually published the answer to the dilemma in his bio-piece on Jeff Wall , 25 February, 2007.  In a piece title “The Luminist,” Lubow reveals that Jeff Wall, that great Canadian photographic artist is actually – “Jewish”.  “Jewish?” one asks.  “Jewish” he says.

Monday, June 11, 2012

Apologetics and Charisma

   A good Mennonite friend of mine from Buhler, Kansas, posted the attached video onto her Facebook™ Timeline. The video is produced by Matt Slick of CARM ministries and is called Are Roman Catholics Saved?

   Obviously, I have disclosed that I fellowship with a Roman Catholic group on Saturday evenings when in Chicago (no – I am Mennonite, not Catholic).  I fellowship with them because I enjoy the method by which they delve into the scripture readings for the service and because I have found within the Roman Catholic church a continued, obstinate dedication to old Mennonite values such as Communitarianism, Pacifism, Social Outreach, personalism in one’s relationship to Christ, and Grace – especially amongst the orders (Franciscans, Jesuits, Vincentians and the Poor Claire’s).
   Having similarly attended numerous Baptist-oriented services, I have found myself all too often discouraged that while the evangelical Mennonites and certain “Baptist” groups share a commitment to Biblicism and the Evangelical message, that I have left too many of those services feeling that the fruits from that service were negative, judgmental and counter-productive – or just as often, having experienced what I often refer to as Evangelical-lite – meaning that I experienced Truth but was leaving the service still spiritually hungry.  I have found certain Roman Catholic services (or Evangelical Free Services) to be a better mix for my own personal spiritual “character.”   So I am a bit ecumenical by nature.

Saturday, June 9, 2012

What's in a Name?

    This blog is mostly concerned with examining the construction, maintenance and viability of a specific ethnic religious identity.  While no one really bothers getting excited over such a project, it is none-the-less a bit controversial – not in its particular expression but in the perception of its aims.  Does this project contribute towards the preservation of a particular and valuable ethnic “particular’ experience or does it contribute towards further divisiveness and discrimination.
    It is important to reiterate that just because one identifies a particular ethnic experience as viable and worthy of study, that one does not necessarily denigrate or negate the viability and value of all other ethnic or ethnic-religious experiences.  Just as a single rose can be examined and cultivated along with many other roses in the garden, or just as the genus rosa is worthy of study but no more so, nor more to be preferred than is iris or syringe or paeonia…  each is worthy, necessary and valued both in and of itself and also for the contrast and complementary impact each unique group has on the others and on the inclusive group as a whole.
    Nor is this conundrum the sole propriety of the ethnic Mennonites, or even of ethnic-religions in general.  Similar questions and dilemmas have been grappled with in many other examinations or manifestations of “unique” identity – at various national or regional Jewish heritage institutions, at the Swedish-American Museum (SAMAC) in Chicago, or even in defining participation in and inclusion in the Canadian Museum for Human Rights now under construction in Winnipeg, Manitoba.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Political Mennonite Decals (TM)

    Here are some fun Russian Mennonite (TM) Decals that you can download for personal (non-commercial) use.  It is important to show your pride in your political system.

    Click on the decal and save image to your computer.  Then print it out onto a T-shirt iron on paper (available at your craft store) or onto a bumper sticker printer sheet.  You might adjust the size with the correct software.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

fon Schäp, ne Schoo, enn ne dijchtewauss*

Klein -- won't read the blog ... but he supports it.

    The world of Mennonite and Anabaptist bloggers is a wild and exotic one indeed – which always intrigues me – when and where did we learn to talk like this?

    Generally speaking, it seems that Mennonite (and Amish) blogs can be relegated to six general categories:  Recipes, sermons, non-Mennonite church historians, the culturally irate Mennonite, non-Mennonite tourists taking pics of the cows, horses and barns, and everything else (my aim is to end up on the latter).  I am also a bit bemused that so many of the largest, best written blogs about Mennonites, really have very little to do with Mennonites – I mean, I guess I am glad to see others feeling comfortable and welcome to associate with us – but also feel a bit overwhelmed – couldn’t they just invent their own label – like Boyd Anabaptists or the Mars Hill Amish?  I mean it’s one more group to add to the differentiation list of definitions – and threatens to overwhelm with their high-impact websites and polished prose, the already ginger balance between religion and historic ethnic identity that ethnic Mennonite bloggers face on-line.

Mennonite Culture

606 agriculture AIMM Alcohol Alt-Oldenburger Amish Amish Prayer Amish voyeurism Anniversary of Russian Mennonites Architecture Archives Athletes Baptism Bess und Bettag Bible Study Bluffton College BMC Bob Jones University Bruderthaler Burial Customs Camp Funston Canadian Government Catherine the Great CCC Chaco Civil Rights Colonist Horse Congo Inland Mission Conscientious Objectors Consensus Cultural Criticism Death decals Definitions Dialogue diaspora Discipline Discrimination Divorce Drama Drugs Easter Emergent Church Movement ethnic violence Ethnicity Evangelical Mennonite Brethren Evangelical Mennonites Evangelicals exile Famine Fastpa folk art Footwashing Frente Menonita Front for the Defense of the Mennonite Colonies Furor mennoniticus Gardens gay Gay Marriage Gelassenheit Gemeinshaft Gender Studies General Conference German German Bible Gnadenfelde Goshen School Grace School grief Halodomar hate crimes Heirloom Seeds HMS Titanic Holocaust Holy Kiss Horses Hymns Identity Formation identity politics Immigration Immigration Song Inquisition Inter-faith Mennonites Jewish Diaspora Kairos Kleine Gemeinde Krimmer Mennonites Language LGBT Lustre Synthesis Lutheran and Mennonite Relations Magistracy Marriage Martyrs' Mirror MC-USA MCC Kits Mennonite Brethren Mennonite Central Committee (MCC) Mennonite Decals Mennonite Diaspora Mennonite farming innovations Mennonite Flag Mennonite Heritage Plants Mennonite Horse Mennonite Identity Mennonite Literature Mennonite Refugees Mennonite Women Missions Molotschna Cattle Breed Movies Music Non-resistance Pacifism photography Pietism Plautdietsch Flag Plautdietsche Poetry Politics Postmodernism quilts Radio refugees Rites Roman Catholic and Mennonite Relations Roman Catholicism Russian Mennonite Flag Russian Mennonites Russian Orthodox Church secularism Shunning Southern Baptists Taxation Television Ten Thousand Villages Terms Viki-leaks Water Dowsing Wenger Mennonites Women's Studies World War 2 World War I


A. F. Wiens (1) A. H. Leahman (1) A. J. Wall (1) Abraham Gerber (1) Abram Groening (1) Adam Carroll (2) AIMM (3) Albert Wall (7) Allison Mack (1) Anne-Marie Goertzen Wall (1) Annie C. Funk (1) Aron Wall (1) B. F. Hamilton (1) Benjamin Mubenga (1) Benjamin Sprunger (1) Bernhard Dueck Kornelssen (1) Berry Friesen (1) Bitter Poets (3) Bob Jones University (2) Brandon Beachy (1) Brendan Fehr (1) Bruce Hiebert (1) C. Henry Niebuhr (1) C. R. Voth (1) Calvin Redekop (3) Carolyn Fauth (3) CBC News (1) Charles King (1) Chris Goertzen (1) Connie Mack (1) Corrie ten Boom (1) Dale Suderman (2) Daniel Friesen (1) Danny Klassen (1) David Classen (1) Dennis Wideman (1) Diane Driedger (3) Dick Lehman (1) Donald Kraybill (1) Donald Plett (1) Dora Dueck (1) Dustin Penner (1) Dwaine and Nancy Wall (1) Edna Ruth Byler (1) Eduard Wust (1) Elliott Tapaha (1) Elvina Martens (1) Eric Fehr (1) Esther K. Augsburger (1) Ethel Wall (1) Frente Menonita (1) Fritz and Alice Wall Unger (1) Gbowee (1) Georg Hansen (1) George P. Schultz (3) George S. Rempel (1) George Schultz (1) Gordon C. Eby (1) Goshen College (4) Gus Stoews (1) H. C. Wenger (1) H. F. Epp (1) Harold S. Bender (1) Heidi Wall Burns (2) Helen Wells Quintela (1) Henry Epp (1) Henry Toews (1) Ian Buruna (1) Isaac Peters (6) J. C. Wall (3) J. T. Neufeld (2) Jakob Stucky (1) James Duerksen (1) James Reimer (1) Jason Behr (1) Jeff Wall (1) Jim Kuebelbeck (1) Joetta Schlabach (2) Johann F. Kroeker (1) John Howard Yoder (1) John Jacob Wall (1) John R. Dick (1) John Rempel (1) John Roth (1) Jonathan Groff (1) Jonathan Toews (2) Jordi Ruiz Cirera (1) Kathleen Norris (4) Kelly Hofer (3) Kevin Goertzen (1) Keystone Pipeline (3) Leymah Gbowee (1) Linda May Shirley (1) Lionel Shriver (1) Lorraine Kathleen Fehr (2) Margarita Teichroeb (1) Marlys Wiens (2) Martin Fast (1) Matt Groening (2) Melvin D. Epp (1) Menno Simons (3) Micah Rauch (1) Michael Funk (1) Moody Bible Institute (2) Nancy Wall (4) Norma Jost Voth (1) O. J. Wall (2) Orlando J. Wall (3) Patrick Friesen (4) Peter Wall (1) Philip Landis (1) Phillip Jakob Spener (1) Rachael Traeholt (2) Randy Smart (3) Rhoda Janzen (1) Rob Nicholson (2) Robin Martins (1) Robyn Regehr (1) Roger Williams (1) Rosella Toews (1) Ruth Lederach (1) Sam Mullet (3) Sam Schmidt (1) Scot McKnight (1) Stacey Loewen (2) Stanley Hauerwas (2) Steven Wall (6) Susan Mark Landis (1) Taylor Kinney (1) Tom Airey (2) Victor Toews (4)