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268view from woodcrest deck

Not a Saint, but a Prophet

Remembering My Father, Johann Christoph Arnold

J. Heinrich Arnold II

Available languages: Deutsch, 한국어

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  • metin erdem

    As time passes, we need and miss him more and more. The world and humanity need the people like him. A person who makes people united. A person who teach others to live in brotherhood and close to God. A person who lived for others. A real life ...The life lived for others...for his family and for all brothers and sisters on earth. He will live in our hearts.

  • Tamara Hill Murphy

    What a beautiful eulogy. Thank you!

  • metin erdem

    He was like my father . He taught me the life and God. He lived his life for the people those are suffering. He lived a real life . He was real man of God.He loved God and all his creation ..the people..! May be we can not touch his body but we can touch him by our hearts. My most importand mistake was not being at his funeral. We try to live our life as he taught us. I am happy that I could meet him and talked with him. We need him very much today and we miss him much. May he rest in peace .

  • Nellie Spacek

    As I told Emmy Maria when I read this I am just in awe of what he did with his life. Most people would love to have one of his accomplishments in their obituary yet his list goes on and on. God did amazing things through him because of his dedication to follow Him. What a heart this man must have had and I didn't even know him. Inspiring to say the least! Thank you for an amazing dedication to him! God bless you all.

  • Jack Maendel

    Thank you Heinrich, It was a special privilege for my wife and I to be there with you at the funeral of your dad. As he was to so many others, he was a very special part of our lives and also one of my few mentors. I'll always treasure who he was and meant to us. We know the love he had for us Hutterites and we hope that continues with the next generation. As he'd always close, "Have Courage"

  • Alice Head

    The relationship I have with your parents is one of my biggest blessings. Your father made a profound impact on my life. I will always be grateful for his advice and councel, and having such a long standing relationship with the entire Bruferhof community is truly a blessing. Your story about your dad is beautifully written. You're very much like your dad in so many ways. I know Christoph is truly resting in peace.

  • Mervyn Maciel

    What an excellent article by a son about his dear father, Johann Christoph Arnold, certainly a Saint in my book. A line that struck me most in this very interesting article was that his father "listened more than he spoke" something sorely missing in today's world - be it among politicians or ordinary mortals.

  • John McColgan

    A great man of peace and humanity. Humbled to have met him and received his companionship, when our own religion and public School turned their back on our son, Christoph, Verna, Donato, Nora and the whole community did NOT. When I read this story and remember the man I think he not only talked the talk, he walked the walk. Very Rare. RIP Brother

Rifton, New York, April 19, 2017, “Now I know the meaning of what it truly is to ‘rest in peace.’” A tear traced the old man’s history-weathered face as he embraced my brother and me. Smiling, he added, “This is peace.” My father had died three days before, and Dr. John Perkins, the civil rights hero and founder of the Christian Community Development Association, had come from Mississippi to pay tribute to his old friend and fellow peacemaker. We were gathered around my father’s body, facing the mystery of eternal life. To rest in peace is a reward for work in life.

My father, Johann Christoph Arnold, was many things: a pastor, an elder in the Bruderhof, a veteran of the fight for peace and reconciliation through forgiveness, a warrior in the struggle to live the gospel and love his neighbor.

Christoph and Verena Arnold

His wake reflected this life’s work. People streamed into the room: families from the Bruderhof with small children in tow, older people pushed in wheelchairs, lifelong coworkers from the clergy, and hundreds of students. Neighbors he’d visited were there, alongside contractors and plumbers, doctors and nurses, politicians and droves of men and women in law enforcement and emergency services. In the middle of it all, Cardinal Timothy Dolan swept in to offer embraces, a heartfelt prayer for the deceased, and humorous recollections of his and my father’s shared work for the Lord – and their shared love of German sausage and beer.

How do you draw the essence of a man who lived by inspiration and the Holy Spirit? Right about here, Dad would cut me off with, “I’m not a saint! Don’t paint me as a saint.” True, with his walking stick in hand and his straight-shooting manner, Dad was more prophet-like than saintly. He was a pillar: constant, trustworthy, unfaltering, unafraid of wind and weather. A life like his, lived in primal faith in Christ, is at once too simple and too profound to explain. To capture it is to kill it: it is lived, and its intensity burns an image preserved as legend. It’s a hard portrait to paint, and I am no painter. But I can scratch hieroglyphics.

Origins

In 1936, Johann Heinrich Arnold and his wife, Annemarie Hedwig Wächter, fled from Nazi oppression in Germany to Britain, where Dad was born in 1940, the third of nine children. (My great-grandfather, Eberhard Arnold, had founded the Bruderhof in 1920 along with my great-grandmother Emmy and her sister Else von Hollander.) 

Soon enough, my grandparents and their children had to leave England, along with the rest of the Bruderhof. Germans were considered enemy aliens. They crossed the U-boat-infested Atlantic by ship and settled in the jungles of Paraguay, where the community carved out a living by farming and handcrafts. Dad was shaped by the perseverance and toughness required in this pioneering childhood. Underlying his upbringing was the Fifth Commandment: “Honor your father and your mother, as the Lord your God has commanded you, so that you may live long and that it may go well with you in the land the Lord your God is giving you” (Deut. 5:16). I realize now, after hearing Dad repeat these words more times than I could count, that his obedience to this commandment underpinned his legacy and blessed his accomplishments. 

Johann Christoph Arnold childhood photo with a parrot

Becoming American

In 1955, the family moved with the Bruderhof to the United States. His infectious smile, sunny nature, and love for people propelled my father through the challenges of learning a new language and culture.

He loved the America he met at Kingston High School in upstate New York. He ran track, got a dish-washing job, and met Elvis before the singer was too famous to perform in small-town venues. His English teacher instilled in him a lifelong love of Shakespeare, so that sixty years later he would unexpectedly recite passages from Macbeth or Hamlet.

He stood out among his peers with his strong German accent – and his refusal to recite the Pledge of Allegiance. As the son of refugees who had fled Hitler, he had absorbed a deep suspicion of uncritical loyalty to state power. Yet he was enormously proud to become an American, precisely because freedom of conscience was enshrined in the Constitution. It was this freedom that he exercised when, around this time, he made his own commitment to the Bruderhof.

Charting the Course

In early 1965, my father, having recently earned a business degree, was working as a freshly minted salesman for Community Playthings, the Bruderhof’s toy manufacturing business. On a business trip to Atlanta, he flicked on the old motel television set to the breaking news that a young black man, Jimmie Lee Jackson, had just died in Selma, Alabama, after being shot eight days earlier at a peaceful voting rights march.

Dad was drawn to the civil rights movement like a magnet. His father had stood up for justice and peace during the Second World War. Was this his moment? He immediately drove the two hundred miles to Selma. What he experienced there is best described in his own words from his book Why Forgive?:

The viewing was open-casket, and although the mortician had done his best to cover the injuries, the wounds on Jimmie’s head could not be hidden. The room was packed with about three thousand people. We sat on a windowsill at the back. We never heard one note of anger or revenge in the service. Instead, a spirit of courage emanated from the men and women of the congregation, especially as they rose to sing the old slave song, “Ain’t Gonna Let Nobody Turn Me ’Round.”

Afterwards, at the cemetery, Martin Luther King spoke about forgiveness and love. He pleaded with his people to pray for the police, to forgive the murderer, and to forgive those who were persecuting them. Then we held hands and sang “We Shall Overcome.” …If there was ever cause for hatred or vengeance, it was here. But none was to be felt, not even from Jimmie’s parents.

Johann Christoph Arnold at the funeral of Jimmie Lee Jackson, 1965

Johann Christoph Arnold at the funeral of Jimmie Lee Jackson, 1965

This event transformed my father’s life. On that day, he was inspired by a vision that would shape his life and mission until his last breath. His vision was deep and broad, and, like King’s, it was often misunderstood. It was not a call to divisive social activism. The cause worth dying for was the kingdom of God coming on earth. Baptism by water and Spirit had sealed his commitment to this kingdom; now he was called to live it out. Love to all, peace, and forgiveness were weapons of power, tools for the courageous believer, not the soft or faint-hearted.

Johann Christoph Arnold, Kingston High School class of 1959 Kingston High School class of 1959

Young Father

Just one year later, in 1966, Dad married Verena Donata Meier. Young and madly in love, they started a family. My seven siblings and I were born within ten years. As busy as life would get, Dad always made time for us. He loved life. He loved practical jokes. He loved the New York Yankees. He loved dogs, and after a childhood with a mutt named Tell, Dad raised nine German Shepherds over sixty years.

Then there was his insatiable love of the outdoors. Hard work splitting and hauling firewood or carting compost was rewarded by swimming in the nearby pond, hiking in the Catskills, fishing the Wallkill, and hunting – activities we kids learned to love as well through his contagious enthusiasm. He loved music, too, especially classical music – Bach, Beethoven, Mendelssohn – and all of us kids learned instruments. Few evenings ended without our family gathering to sing folk songs, hymns, or spirituals, often with neighbor families invited.

Johann Christoph and Verena Arnold wedding picture

In 1972, my father was asked to be a pastor in the Bruderhof. His own father had also been called to pastor, and in 1962 he had been appointed by the members of the Bruderhof as the community’s elder. But Dad was enjoying his job in publishing; becoming a pastor was neither his idea nor his wish. Still, the community recognized his God-given pastoral gift – a gift no doubt honed by hours spent with his father as he assisted him in counseling congregants. He and my mother agreed to take up this new task.

Dad could connect with almost anyone he met. He listened more than he spoke, and rather than concrete advice, he would often offer a humorous quip and words of understanding and hope. He was the tireless head coach in a game with no sidelines – everybody was an eligible receiver, and if you were in sight, you were part of the team.

Church Leader

Difficult years came. His mother, with whom he was extremely close, died of cancer in 1980. His father died two years later. The Bruderhof struggled with the loss of its elder and with painful divisions.

The courage and humility needed for forgiveness was put to the test in those years. But forgiveness won out – remarkably, the opposing factions reconciled, and Dad was appointed as the Bruderhof’s elder in 1983. Together with his wife, Verena, he bore the responsibility with energy and enthusiasm. He was not all soft: Dad could speak straight and to the point. He was not evasive if he sensed that selfishness was derailing a believer. But, the first to call someone out, he was also the first to forgive, disarming with his warmth and trust. This love that speaks truth, that helps others through repentance to restoration, is where my father did his greatest work. He was blind to social status. Elderly people, military veterans, business executives, ex-felons, addicts, the emotionally fragile, ambitious college grads, politicians, children with disabilities, rebellious teenagers: no matter who you were, Dad would hear you out and prove a trustworthy guide. He was accessible day and night; often his first phone calls and emails were before 5:00 a.m. and the last after 11:00 p.m. If somebody was dying, he and often my mother were at the bedside – dozens of times.

Johann Christoph Arnold with long-time friend and brother Larry Mason, a Vietnam veteran

With long-time friend and brother Larry Mason, a Vietnam veteran

Even as his friends multiplied with each passing year, Dad did make some enemies. Never afraid of controversy, he would say what he meant. By the same token, though, he respected people who held differences of opinion. Two years ago, for instance, he invited our state assemblyman, a friend, to explain to a meeting of our church his support of New York State’s recently passed Marriage Equality Act. A heated discussion ensued between the politician and members of our congregation, who defended traditional marriage. When the debate reached an impasse, Dad came to the rescue: “Enough talk. Let’s pass around some ice cream and celebrate life and the fact that we can have this exchange with our brother from Albany.” We might not have agreed, but we could respect each other and acknowledge our shared goodwill and humanity.

Difference of opinion was one thing, but if someone had an agenda of antagonism, my father would not back down. He had his haters. He didn’t relish them, but he used to muse that he could thank them for giving him reassurance in light of Jesus’ words: “Woe unto you, when all men shall speak well of you!” (Luke 6:26). Inevitably, he also made his mistakes, as he would be the first to tell you – and at times he became a lightning rod for criticism for his daring decisions and for his sometimes too-generous trust of others.

With a penchant for spontaneity and boldness, my father helped launch a host of new ventures after his appointment as elder. In the late 1980s and early 1990s, he led a surge of joint projects between the Bruderhof and the Hutterite church, continuing a relationship that dated back to 1930. Unfortunately in 1994 this came to an end, largely over his insistence that church leaders, no less than anyone else, must be open to repentance and renewal, which can be the only basis for church unity. This rupture pained him to the end of his life.

Meanwhile, the Bruderhof grew from four communities in two countries to twenty-four communities on four continents; starting in the early 2000s, he encouraged the founding of small urban communities. With his enthusiastic support, the community began fielding rapid-response teams to bring resources to disaster areas and also developed new businesses as sources of revenue. Dad – with Mom always by his side – spoke widely and listened even more widely, trusting those he worked with in ways that encouraged them to contribute far more than they had thought possible.

Proclaiming the Gospel

In 1996, my father published his first book. Eleven more would follow, built on a lifelong love of writing. He found his voice by telling true stories, using them to illustrate his topics: forgiveness, marriage, raising children, education, prayer, fear, hope, death, aging, and finding peace.

For Dad, writing was a collaborative experience. He would ply his congregation for stories, insights, and anecdotes connected to the topic he was writing on, partly for material, but more specifically to engage and broaden our perspectives. His voluminous yellow legal pads were crowded with longhand thoughts and notes. Dad assembled a solid team, but he was always firmly in charge, involved in every detail of the process. To serve as editor for one of his books was a monumental challenge, but it was rewarded by Dad’s humility, enthusiasm, and openness to suggestions and changes.

These books touched many, but Why Forgive? is the one that’s been most widely read. Its message of forgiveness aims most directly at the heart of the gospel, and it has changed lives.

World travel had always been a part of life for my parents: it was among the responsibilities of being the elder of an international church. Dad cherished these opportunities to learn about people’s needs, joys, and sorrows, and always marveled at how similar people are underneath.

With the publication of his books, my father began to receive requests to speak at religious and peacemaking conferences in the United States and across the world. Beginning in the mid-nineties, my parents undertook trips to Israel, Palestine, Iraq, Cuba, South Africa, Mexico, and Rwanda. At the same time, the Bruderhof brought humanitarian aid and the message of the gospel to disaster-ridden or war-torn regions. My father went on many of these missions as well, traveling to Haiti, Thailand, Central America, South America, Africa, and the Middle East. It was in the context of this work, in 1996, that he met Mother Teresa. “She pleaded,” he wrote, “that we become involved with the poorest of the poor, and that is where we will find Jesus. If anyone has been an example of how to serve the poorest of the poor, it is she and the Sisters of Charity.”

Johann Christoph and Verena Arnold with Mother Teresa

Although his heart was with the poor, Dad didn’t forgo opportunities to meet those in high places, including leaders of both good and ill repute. In Iraq he visited and prayed with Saddam Hussein’s foreign minister, Tariq Aziz, who was a Christian. In Cuba he conversed with Fidel Castro, stressing the importance of religious freedom. At the time of the Lewinsky scandal, Dad sent President Clinton a copy of his book on forgiveness, along with a letter; they began to correspond about repentance, forgiveness, and the call to live a transformed life. In his autobiography, Clinton acknowledges the importance of this exchange.

Johann Christoph and Verena Arnold with Bill Clinton (center)

Dad called everyone who would listen to the love of God and neighbor that is common to many faiths. Still, though he recognized the image of God in everyone, he was never ashamed to speak of the love of Jesus.

During the decades of his leadership, the Bruderhof made common cause with many workers for peace and justice, from Cesar Chavez of the United Farm Workers Union to Franklin Graham of Samaritan’s Purse to Mark Shriver of Save the Children. He worked with Chuck Colson on prison ministry and with Sister Helen Prejean and others on death penalty abolition. In 1995 he struck up a friendship with New York’s Cardinal O’Connor, and began to work more closely with his Catholic brothers and sisters, demonstrating his conviction in the power of the gospel to overcome historical divisions. He dialogued with Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, who would become Pope Benedict XVI, on marriage and family; this relationship led to a 2004 meeting with Pope John Paul II.

Johann Christoph Arnold with Cardinal Ratzinger in Italy

With Cardinal Ratzinger, later Pope Benedict XVI, in Italy (1995), an encounter that marked growing friendships with the Catholic Church

It was during this time, too, that Dad made a new connection that would lead to some of the most crucial work of his later years. In 1997, he heard about Detective Steven McDonald, a NYPD cop who had been shot and paralyzed while investigating a rash of crimes in Central Park. Steven had publicly forgiven the fifteen-year-old boy who shot him, and reached out to him while he was incarcerated. Intrigued, Dad arranged a visit to Steven’s home on Long Island. After Dad listened to Steven’s story, they talked about the power of faith and forgiveness and began to plan ways to work together to reach troubled youth.

This partnership led to action. They went first to Northern Ireland in 1999, where they met with recently warring Catholics and Protestants. A trip to Israel and Palestine followed, where they spoke at the Knesset and at the Israeli Defense Force headquarters in Jerusalem. In both places they heard many stories of conflict, hatred, and violence, but many, too, of reconciliation and forgiveness.

Soon, the experience that Dad and Steven had gained abroad was needed at home. The shooting at Columbine High School in April of 1999 heralded a growing trend of school violence. Dad and Steven decided to bring the message of forgiveness into schools. Their Breaking the Cycle program has touched thousands. It has brought together a variety of speakers – reformed gang members, the mother of a suicide victim, survivors of alcoholic and drug-addicted households – all with powerful testimonies. Breaking the Cycle’s mission – to offer hope and healing through the message of forgiveness, and to model constructive choices – became one of Dad’s passions, into which he poured countless hours.

Johann Christoph Arnold with Steven McDonald

Golden Years

Johann Christoph Arnold visiting a friend in the Paraguayan leper colony where his father worked in the 1940s

Walking stick in hand: visiting a friend in the Paraguayan leper colony where his father worked in the 1940s

Always forward-thinking, it was at the height of his activity, in 2001, that Dad passed on the eldership of the Bruderhof to Richard Scott. This allowed him to guide the development of the community’s leadership and freed him to focus on new forms of outreach – often surprising ones.

Many may wonder why a peace-loving Anabaptist pastor would become a police chaplain. Twenty-five years ago, Dad might have asked the same question. But entering a new field of mission at age sixty-two was typical of his big heart and open mind. His acquaintance with Detective McDonald helped him understand that members of law enforcement have one of the most difficult jobs – to be peacemakers as well as peacekeepers – and that they need support and prayers. 

As chaplain to the Ulster County Sheriff’s Office and the Ulster County Police Chiefs Association, Dad spoke and prayed with those who needed help processing difficult experiences, visited sick family members, held funerals, and blessed marriages and babies. He delighted in organizing precinct barbecues, a gastronomical liturgy without much preaching. But he did not neglect prayer. On one late-night call to the local emergency room where a young deputy was being attended after a fatal car crash, the undersheriff escorted Dad through a sea of grim, uniformed personnel to pray at the side of this dying young man. The officer later described the scene: “It was like Moses parting the waters; he strode in there with such calm authority and love, bringing reassurance and peace.”

His work as a chaplain to officers of the law was not at odds with his decades-long commitment to prison ministry. In whatever company he found himself, he drew on a seemingly limitless reservoir of empathy – a lesson he had learned from Dostoyevsky, another of his literary lodestars. I’ll never forget the night I brought Dad into the county jail at the summons of another prison chaplain to visit a distraught inmate who had been arrested for the heinous rape and murder of a child. He spoke no words of false comfort, nor did he downplay the horror of the crimes committed. But he pointed to Jesus, who could forgive even the worst criminal. The man admitted to the crime, was convicted and given a life sentence, and years later, after confessing his sins, received baptism while in state penitentiary. To this day, the prisoner treasures Dad’s personal Bible, a book my father gave him that fateful night, and uses it to minister to fellow prisoners.

Johann Christoph Arnold with Steven McDonald  and inmates in the Ulster County Jail, 2010

With Steven McDonald and inmates in the Ulster County Jail, 2010

After heart surgery in 2006, health problems took their toll on the pace of Dad’s activities, but not on the quickness of his mind and spirit. Dad and Mom were increasingly inseparable as their years of complementarity mounted. The loss of their daughter, Margrit, to cancer – and a long battle with the same ugly disease in my mother – tested our family.

In November 2014, my parents traveled to Rome at the invitation of the Vatican to speak alongside Pope Francis and a host of religious leaders and scholars at the Humanum Colloquium, an international interreligious conference on the sanctity of marriage. Hundreds gathered from all over the world, representing many faiths. Dad spoke:

Faithful marriage is one of the most wonderful ways one can serve humankind. But marriage is more than a private contract. Marriage is part of God’s original creation and sanctifies each generation as being “made in the image of God.” Like the early church, we need to become more courageous – a counterculture of simplicity and practical help.… The first Christians turned the Roman world upside down partly because husbands and wives remained faithful to one another and to their children. With God’s help, we too can do the same today.

Johann Christoph Arnold with friend and coworker John Perkins, joined by grandchildren

With friend and coworker John Perkins, joined by grandchildren

Final Battle

The final battlefield was his own cancer, diagnosed this past March. Dad carried on. In between very short rests, he spent time with people who wanted counsel, visited others suffering from illness, and held assemblies at Bruderhof schools. Most afternoons would include a drive into the Hudson Valley countryside to check on fields, woods, and wildlife or to stop at a local restaurant for a cappuccino. But the most significant times were the church gatherings in the evenings. Be simple in faith, he told us, and love each other. Look at life through the eyes of Jesus. Free your hearts from sin by repentance and confession. Forgive, holding no grudges.

He honestly confessed his own fear of death, too, pointing to the gospel as the only remedy. Trust in Jesus and prayer are the weapons, he said, that are required throughout all of life, and none of us outgrows the need of them.

On Palm Sunday, just six days before he died, Dad spoke to our community:

The main thing is that God’s kingdom advances, and if any one of us had the chance to play a little part in it, it’s not because we are great or mighty, but because God is merciful and he’s granting us the possibility to show love.

This past Good Friday, I know Dad was thinking of his Savior’s Passion, his suffering. Dad couldn’t speak much. He was looking beyond our reality most of the time, but he did say goodbye, with clear, warm eyes and a smile. I asked him for wisdom about the future – of the Bruderhof, of our family, of my own life. “Stay true,” he simply said. Dad marched the Golgotha road that day, climbing the mountain to be nearer the gate of life: the cross. We were at his side. It was hard, but there was glory in it. Warriors don’t quit, don’t lie down. As Holy Saturday dawned, Dad slipped into a coma. Hours later, he drew his last breath while Mom held his face with both her hands. His body was at peace, his soul free. His eyes had seen the glory of the coming of the Lord.

Coda

Years earlier, my wife and I accompanied my parents on a trip to trace the roots of our church and family history in Europe. One day, we were climbing the steep slopes of the Dolomites in northern Italy. Here, in the sixteenth century, Anabaptists had flourished; here my grandfather had been born. Dad was feeling the effects of the altitude and terrain. A thoughtful young companion disappeared into a thicket of mountain ash and hacked down a slender but stout walking stick with a natural crook that fit Dad perfectly. From that time on, the stick was a constant companion. Walking was his connection to the earth; he could feel the life and history of whatever ground he was traveling on. For him, it was all holy ground. The stick was a practical symbol of safety, protection, and authority. We leaned on him – as father, as elder. But, as he had taught us, we leaned and will continue to lean even more on the Good Shepherd.

Johann Christoph Arnold’s funeral, April 20, 2017

Blessed are the peacemakers: Dad’s funeral, April 20, 2017

At the wake Dad looked like he was taking a short rest to get ready for his next journey, his stick grasped in his hands as always. It was the picture of peace. 
Yes, this is peace; this is rest after a life of action. But the first action, the source of all action and hope, is Christ’s offer of redemption and forgiveness through his work on the cross. “He that liveth and believeth in me shall never die,” Jesus said (John 11:26). My father lived and acted on this belief.

Funeral procession for Johann Christoph Arnold

The room fell silent. Two veteran peacemakers were face to face, one seeing this world, one the next. The living warrior, John Perkins, looked up at us and spoke again. “What a joy it has been for me and my family to know your dad and to appreciate his leadership and his great desire to see the body of Christ united against all racial and cultural barriers. It will happen; this next generation will make that happen. I’m grieving with you, but I want this fellowship and this love to go on and on and to get stronger. So continue your love and good work. Continue to reach out to the broken in our world. I think that is what your dad would want us to do together.”

We will go on. Yes, Dad, we will stay true.


J. Heinrich Arnold II is a physician’s assistant, schoolteacher, and pastor. He lives with his family at Woodcrest, a Bruderhof community in upstate New York. @JHeinrichArnold

All photographs courtesy of the author.

Sex God and Marriage by Johann Christoph Arnold Sex, God, and Marriage (1996)

Mother Teresa from the foreword: “In this book we find a message needed today in every part of the world. To be pure, to remain pure, can only come at a price, the price of knowing God and of loving him enough to do his will.”

Pope Benedict XVI: “I am very happy for this book and for its moral conviction.”
Why Forgive by Johann Christoph Arnold Why Forgive? (1997) Foreword by Steven McDonald

Nelson Mandela: “A much-needed message not only for South Africa, but for the whole world.”
Seeking Peace by Johann Christoph Arnold Seeking Peace: Notes and Conversations along the Way (1998)
Thich Nhat Hanh from the preface: “As you read this book, root out the violence in your life, and learn to live compassionately and mindfully. Seek peace. When you have peace within, real peace with others will be possible.”
Cries from the Heart by Johann Christoph Arnold Cries from the Heart: Stories of Struggle and Hope (1999)

Robert Coles from the foreword: “An unusually telling witness to the power of answered yearning, it will call you to a reawakening of the mind and heart.”
Be Not Afraid by Johann Christoph Arnold Be Not Afraid: Overcoming the Fear of Death (2000)

Madeleine L’Engle from the foreword: “Until we can admit the fear, we cannot know the assurance, deep down in our hearts, that indeed, we are not afraid.”

Paul Brand: “I want a copy beside my bed when my time comes.”
Escape Routes by Johann Christoph Arnold Escape Routes: For People Who Feel Trapped in Life’s Hells (2002)

Ari Goldman: “Arnold does not give us a magic formula for coping with life’s hells – there is none – but gently reminds us that the first step begins with ourselves.”
Rich in Years by Johann Christoph Arnold Rich in Years: Finding Peace and Purpose in a Long Life (2013)

Foreword by Cardinal Seán O’Malley

Eugene H. Peterson: “A symphony of voices of men and women willing to talk about aging. There is much beauty here and not a trace of sentimentality.”
Their Name is Today by Johann Christoph Arnold Their Name Is Today: Reclaiming Childhood in a Hostile World (2014)

Mark K. Shriver from the foreword: “I’ve already shared my dog-eared manuscript with several friends.”
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