Learning, Listening, Loving Our Neighbour, Leaning on God

Stuck Together by Nelson Kraybill

Last November I received an endorsement request for Stuck Together: The Hope of Christian Witness in a Polarized World by J. Nelson Kraybill (Herald Press, 2023).

I was immediately intrigued since the request came from Herald Press, the publisher for my Sacred Pauses and Four Gifts.

Plus author J. Nelson Kraybill and I have crossed paths many times. My husband and I first became friends with Nelson and his wife, Ellen, at Union Presbyterian Seminary where Nelson was a few years ahead of my husband, and both were working on their doctorates. We lived in a student apartment on campus, and Nelson and his family lived in the building next to ours.

Over the years, I’ve benefited from Nelson’s teaching, preaching, and writing. I was honoured to host him as a guest speaker at my church when he was president of  Anabaptist Mennonite Biblical Seminary (1997-2009), and I’ve appreciated his leadership as president of Mennonite World Conference (2015-2022). He relates well to people of all ages and walks of life. How could I not be eager to read his book, especially since he starts it with “Today I fired my dentist”?

The editor described Stuck Together this way:

What does it mean to be a peacemaker in a polarized world? 


It can feel like the world—and the church—have never been more polarized. But when we feel worn down by the chasms dividing us, we can take hope from the early Christian vision of God uniting all things in Christ, and act. Polarities have existed within the Bible, within the ancient Jewish community, and within the church across time. Stuck Together explores Bible stories and narratives ancient and modern that inspire us to open hearts and minds to persons with whom we disagree as we gain confidence in our own convictions.  


Drawing from Scriptures, from his own life journey, and from the witness of others, author Nelson Kraybill demonstrates how even small steps of reconciliation by confessionally-grounded Christians can have big effect and give loving Christian witness in a polarized church and society. 

I’m glad I had a chance to read Stuck Together, and glad to offer this endorsement:

We may be stuck together as families, as churches, as human beings sharing the same world, but can we get unstuck from our polarizing attitudes and behaviors?


I’m encouraged to do just that by J. Nelson Kraybill’s new book. It’s filled with real-life stories of what’s gone wrong and how we might move forward in healthier ways, grounded in the example of Jesus and the early church as they too faced polarization in their world.


There’s no quick fix for the deep divide of polarization, but this book points to a better way and offers some practical steps to get there through learning respect for others, listening well, loving our neighbor, and leaning on God.

– April Yamasaki, pastor, editor, and author of Sacred Pauses: Spiritual Practices for Personal Renewal

For more information and to order, please see Stuck Together: The Hope of Christian Witness in a Polarized World (Herald Press, 2023).


For more encouragement and resources on doing ministry better:

Author: April Yamasaki

I currently serve as resident author with a liturgical worship community, edit a quarterly devotional magazine, write online and in print publications, and often speak in churches and other settings. Published books include On the Way with Jesus, Four Gifts, Sacred Pauses, and other books on Christian living. Websites: AprilYamasaki.com and WhenYouWorkfortheChurch.com.

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