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Sticking Points
A Novel
Shirley Kurtz

For illuminating comments on Sticking Points by Shirley Kurtz hosted by Shirley Hershey Showalter, see Showalter's

Summary: At Anna’s church, war is wrong wrong wrong. The vestibule doesn’t have a fancy signboard commemorating soldiers who sacrificed theirlives. Thou shalt not kill, period, and the church folks have no intention of chucking this big mainstay belief. Still, is theirs abloodthirsty God? Is Anna crazy for wondering? Have Anabaptist groups like hers—Mennonites, Church of the Brethren, the Brethren in Christ, and others--clung to a skewed gospel?

“Shirley Kurtz gets inside Anna Schlonneger’s soul as Anna grapples with her convictions about God’s unconditional love, convictions that stand in tension with her received theology and with her fellow church members. Anna’s is a peace church with a violent God, and Anna is having none of that. A thoughtful, witty, and ultimately hopeful story. The kind of fiction that rings of truth.”  —Ted Grimsrud, Professor of Theology and Peace Studies, Eastern Mennonite University; Author, Theology As If Jesus Matters

“Through the obsessive but lovable Gospel Truth writer Anna, Kurtz details a domestic world dazzling in its specificity: the ‘pink blush’ of the rims of beet-pickled eggs; the ‘pinpoint stars’ in the ‘stygian sky’ of a screen-saver; and the ever-present threats of prions, pilot lights, and low-acid tomatoes. As Anna struggles to make sense of Abraham and Isaac, of Cain and Abel, her scattered memories coalesce into a gutsy critique of her church’s narrative of redemptive violence. For anyone who has ever felt like the ‘odd one out’—that is to say, each one of us.”  —Kirsten Beachy, Assistant Professor, Eastern Mennonite University Visual & Communication Arts and Language & Literature Department; editor of the anthology Tongue Screws and Testimonies: Poems, Stories, and Essays Inspired by the Martyrs Mirror

Market: Readers drawn to tightly crafted fiction and interested in the big questions facing any ordinary, upstanding Christian.

Shelving: Fiction—adult; Religion—Christianity, Anabaptist-related; Psychology—obsessive-compulsive disorder; BISAC: Fiction—religious

The Author: Shirley Kurtz, Keyser, West Virginia, is the author of several children’s books and a memoir, Growing Up Plain. Her writing has appeared in a variety of Mennonite publications. This is her first novel.

Publisher: Cascadia Publishing House LLC
Imprint: DreamSeeker Books
Copublisher: None
Publication date: February 1, 2011
Approximate Pages: 264
Tentative Format: 6 x 9" trade paper
Prices: $18.95 US/Can. ISBN 13: 978-1-931038-81-2; ISBN 10: 1-931038-83-3

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