Recollections of a Sectarian Realist: A Mennonite Life in the Twentieth Century

Published: November 5, 2021

From a Mennonite upbringing in a small Pennsylvania town, through an upstate-New York pastorate, relief work in India and China, graduate study at Princeton, teaching at Goshen College and Harvard Divinity School, civil rights activism, and the presidency of Goshen College, J. Lawrence Burkholder sought to hold together the sectarian impulses of his denominational identity with a sense of social responsibility. This memoir traces the development of his thought as it intersected with the events of his life.

From the foreword

“Readers will be impressed with the breadth, modesty, and clarity of these recollections from a Mennonite life that was fascinating because of its geographical spread and its narrator’s interaction with significant public events from the 1940s to the end of the century. Always more than a sectarian, J. Lawrence Burkholder enriched and extended Mennonite theological and ethical thinking, challenging the rigidity and self-satisfaction of some traditional thought and practices as well as the newer formulations of John H. Yoder. This volume, with its rich remembering and numerous insights, gives the church occasion to continue to wrestle with the insights he set before us.” — John A. Lapp, dean, provost, and professor of history at Goshen College when J. Lawrence Burkholder was president