Peaceful at Heart: Anabaptist Reflections on Healthy Masculinity

Book, 2019, 260 pp
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After 5 years of development, Mennonite Men is pleased to provide this important resource to the dialogue on healthy masculinity.

While there are plenty of books by men, for men, on the topic of “Christian masculinity,” these books generally fail to address men’s propensities for violence and the traditional inequity between men and women, often endorsing inequity and sanctioning aggressive behaviour as an appropriate “manly” response to conflict. Peaceful at Heart cuts through this conversation by offering a uniquely Anabaptist Christian perspective on masculinity.

Much has been written describing the characteristics of masculinity and the impacts of patriarchy. Instead, this volume moves the dialogue in the direction of building a vision of discipleship, community and peace as an alternative for men's lives. Rather than supporting the patriarchy and nationalism commonly advanced in traditional Christian thought, this volume draws on an Anabaptist perspective of faith which invites men to experience God's call to live at peace and be peacemakers.

The vision of masculinity presented in this book is more peaceful, just, caring, life-giving for men, and more sensitive to women and children than both traditional images of masculinity and the hypermasculine images promoted by contemporary popular culture and wider evangelical Christianity. Peaceful at Heart addresses men and masculinity using Anabaptist theological themes of discipleship, community, and peace.

As a collaborative project by men, for men, this book demonstrates through personal narratives, theological reflection, and practical guidance the importance of collective discernment, accountability, and mutual encouragement regarding how to live as a peaceful man in a violent world.

Also see related book launch video.

“Much of the literature written in men’s psychology/spirituality is ensnared in wild/aggressive/warrior/conquer language. Like a beacon of light, this book reveals a vision of peace for men and shows how to embrace a peacefulness within male humanity. . . . Most certainly, this book will be one that I loan to men who are not satisfied with what our cultures are asking of them.” —Doug Klassen, Executive Minister, Mennonite Church Canada

“By bravely, intelligently, and compassionately wrestling with what it means to be a man who loves Jesus, this book invites men to invert their ideas of strength and power, living into deeper connection, sacrifice, and dependence on God. This book is a sorely needed gift for the contemporary church.” —Kristyn Komarnicki, Director of Oriented to Love, Evangelicals for Social Action

“I am grateful for Mennonite Men and their willingness to take on this project. I am also grateful for their commitment to give voice to a diverse group of men and their experienced masculinity from outside the typical white heterosexual narrative of North American society.” —Glen Guyton, Executive Director, Mennonite Church USA

“My hope for this project is that it will not only get men talking but also get women and men talking together. . . . Together we can overcome this toxic reality of masculinity and create healthy norms of masculinity and femininity.” — from the Afterword by Cyneatha Millsaps, Executive Director, Mennonite Women USA

"This book is for men who want to explore alternatives to the dominant but tired and harmful mythological types of men as warriors, kings, or wild ones. Teenage through senior males will be challenged by stories and models of masculinity marked by honesty, interdependence, and faith. Maleness in the twenty-first century is complex, but, as this book demonstrates, it is both possible and life-giving to reconcile with ourselves and with all humanity." —Andy Brubacher Kaethler, Associate Professor, Anabaptist Mennonite Biblical Seminary

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