If life was a battle for Emmy Arnold, it was also a celebration. This is the secret to her joy: she lived an undivided life, a life where the practical and the spiritual, the personal and the political, were one. Her memoir is a challenge to faith and commitment against all odds, and a testimony to the leading of a uniting Spirit stronger than everything that keeps people apart.
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.
Emmy Arnold (1884–1980) was born in Riga, Latvia, to a prominent family of academics. As an adult she turned her back on the middle-class milieu of her upbringing and married Eberhard Arnold, a revolutionary public speaker. In 1920 the couple left their Berlin home and founded a rural commune in the village of Sannerz that still exists in the form of the Bruderhof, a communal movement in the northeastern U.S.
Softcover, 5.5 x 8.5