A Joyful Pilgrimage
My Life in Community
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Not many people talk about "joy" these days. Emmy Arnold's memoir radiates just that - an enthusiasm for life and an unflagging optimism grounded in faith. In a genre awash in sordid sex and dysfunctional relationships, she offers a refreshing account of a hard life lived victoriously, of people brought together, despite their own weakness and turbulent times, to experience new levels of freedom, trust, and unity.
The setting is the tumultuous aftermath of World War I, when thousands of young Germans defied the social mores of their parents - and the constricting influence of the churches - in search of freedom, social equality, nature, and community. Hiking clubs were formed and work camps organized, and hundreds of rural communes sprang up across the country. In the 1930s Nazism swallowed this so-called Youth Movement virtually whole.
A Joyful Pilgrimage is the story of a remnant that survived: the Bruderhof, a community movement that began when Emmy Arnold and her husband Eberhard, a well-known writer and lecturer, abandoned their affluent Berlin suburb to live a completely different life. It is her own story, candidly told, of a venture dared and realized, in spite of poverty, persecution, skepticism, and trust betrayed. Through it all Arnold clung to her belief that we can break free from the structures of power, greed, and injustice that divide us.
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