The Other Side of Joy: Religious Melancholy among the Bruderhof

The Other Side of Joy: Religious Melancholy among the Bruderhof

The Other Side of Joy: Religious Melancholy among the Bruderhof

The Other Side of Joy: Religious Melancholy among the Bruderhof

Synopsis

This is a case study of one pietist religious group, the Bruderhof. A Christian brotherhood founded on Anabaptist and evangelical pietist doctrine, they practice community of goods, seeking to emulate the vision of the Apostolic church and fulfill the ethic of brotherhood taught in the Sermon on the Mount. Rubin offers compelling accounts of the lives of Bruderhof apostates who foundered over issues of faith, and relates these crises to the central tenets of Bruderhof theology, their spirituality, and community life.

Excerpt

As sociologist Robert K. Merton has noted, serendipity shapes much of sociological inquiry. During the spring of 1991, after finishing the first draft of Religious Melancholy and Protestant Experience in America, I was searching for a contemporary Pietist group whose adherents might suffer from this spiritual malady. While working as a consulting faculty examiner at Charter Oak State College, an external degree program, and reviewing graduation essays, I happened upon the life history of an ex-Bruderhof woman. She agreed to an interview and put me in touch with Ramón Sender, the originator of KIT (Keep In Touch), the Bruderhof apostate newsletter and support group. From this fortunate accident, I became acquainted with this small, minority religion, the Bruderhof, and have spent the last five years following the evidence wherever it has taken me.

Ramón Sender has graciously assisted my research, making this book possible. In all participant-observation research, the investigator requires a key informant who will vouch for the stranger, educate the newcomer, and assist the outsider in gaining a foothold within the existing group or social network. Ramón served in this capacity. He invited me to attend annual KIT reunions, welcomed and introduced me to the group, opened KIT archives, encouraged other apostates to cooperate in my research, and asked me to assist in the preparation of KIT autobiographies for publication. Scores of apostates have generously and courageously shared their stories with me by granting research interviews, in public testimonials at KIT reunions in America and Europe, and in their articles in the newsletter. I wish to offer special acknowledgment to several people for their important assistance: Elizabeth Bohlken-Zumpe, Jere Bruner, Joel Clement, Miriam Arnold Holmes, Barnabas Johnson, Hannah Goodwin Johnson, Timothy Johnson, Charles Lamar, Joy Johnson MacDonald, Belinda Manley, Nadine Moonje Pleil, Blair Purcell, and Margot Purcell.

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.