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2013-07-01 issue:

Sickened by Yoder reference

by Barbra Graber, Harrisonburg, Va.

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Gordon Houser must not have retained much from the Colorado seminar he attended back in the early ’90s on Men Working to Stop Violence Against Women.

It's pretty sickening that he can encourage us to rush out and buy a "remarkably relevant" book about John Howard Yoder's admonishments to follow Jesus "in every aspect of our lives" (Mediaculture, June) and not even mention the irony of Yoder's chronic sexually abusive and violent behavior toward women all over the world for many years, while the church conducted its well-organized coverup.

Kind of ruins my day. Just more water in the face for those women who endured his assaults and have yet to receive any kind of official apology or recompense from the church. Just more accolades for their perpetrator. Just more "crying peace, peace when there is no peace." The pacifist theology of the Mennonite church is nothing but a sham until the men of the church become willing to apply an equal amount of passion for peace to their relationships with their sisters in Christ and work to stop violence against women and children in their own homes and congregations. They could start by including the ethical ironies of John Howard Yoder's life in their study of his work.

Response to 'sickened'
I’m glad Barbra points out the ironies of Yoder’s writings in view of his abusive behavior. Nevertheless, I believe we can learn from his insights as a scholar.—Gordon Houser, associate editor, The Mennonite

Associated Issue: Lyle Yost: A legacy of leadership and generosity - May 2013

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