My Mennonite Identity

My Mennonite identity is like a thread made of strong stuff, although at places the thread has grown thin, but then it has thickened again. This thread isn’t stretched out in a straight horizontal like the 40th parallel. Rather, like a pilgrim’s path, the line meanders and dips and rises and crosses over itself and sometimes gets lost in thickets and even intersects occasionally with modern highways. Such a zig-zag route has resulted in a fabric somewhat like a shawl thrown lightly over my perceived self.

If you want to follow this thread, you begin in a simple post-Depression Mennonite home in the heart of Lancaster Mennonite Conference in southeastern Pennsylvania. I was born amid Mennonites. Within five miles of our little house along Colebrook Road were twelve Mennonite churches. If we extended the radius two miles farther, we’d have lots more churches, including the Lancaster city congregations.

Mother and Daddy were Mennonites, and so were my grandparents and uncles and aunts and cousins. If you followed the thread back through either Daddy or Mother to our foreparents in the 18th century, you’d find us all to be Mennonites. They were Mennonites when they left the Alsace-Lorraine region nestled where Germany, Switzerland and France meet. There’s even a John (Hans) Hess and wife in Martyrs Mirror.

Our church was in Landisville, a plain brick meeting house next to an old log cabin with “1740” above the door. My father drove our ’37 Chevy in at the north entrance, stopped to leave my mother and sister by the women’s door, then parked on the east side by the cemetery. Church was a ritual of adults shaking hands and giving each other what my parents called “the holy kiss”; of women sitting on one side and men on the other; of songs and sermons; and of visiting afterwards. Significant to my self-understanding, our church property touched the property of the fancy Church of God. They parked in the school grounds across the street. We could see the people as they walked to the church. The men wore ties and had shiny shoes. The women had hair-dos. If our church ended before theirs did, we could sometimes hear them singing with the organ. We didn’t have such things in our church. We were plain.

From my very earliest memories, my parents lived serious and godly lives. They both taught Sunday school classes and my father led singing. We read the Bible once a day at mealtime and said prayers aloud. Later we sang hymns at the table, four-part a cappella.

We were not worldly. That is, we did not have a radio, did not buy a Sunday newspaper, did not go to Saturday matinees like the other children at school, did not buy war bonds, did not go to public swimming pools or the (Atlantic) shore. My parents did not swear or tell dirty stories or smoke or drink. I never went to a restaurant with my family prior to high school graduation. We were different.

They treated tramps (Depression-era road walkers) with respect and sold garden vegetables by peck measures that were full and running over. When German prisoners were brought in by a neighbor to harvest potatoes, my parents showed love to the prisoners. When an acquaintance was arrested for sexually deviant behavior, my parents stopped their work and went to visit him “because he is our friend.” There was not much money in our house, but my father took the preacher to Martin’s Store in Elizabethtown to buy a new suit. Each Sunday we were given coins to put in the offering plate.


By the time I was ten or eleven years old, I became far more conscious of my Mennonite identity. When Mother visited our school, I was struck by how much different she looked from the teacher or other mothers. Her Mennonite clothes seemed somehow to clothe me too. I came to understand that plain clothing was important. Head coverings of the right size, with strings attached to them, meant modesty. Black shoes and black stockings bespoke humility. Plain coats separated men from worldly people. I heard many discussions about plain clothing.

Church represented many aspects of our life. There we sang together (but had no piano in the building). There we memorized scripture. There we listened to very long and solemn sermons. There the members had counsel meeting, preparatory service and communion. There we were taught to obey. Our church was one of several in a bishop district. The bishop was highly respected in our home, perhaps because the bishop married my mother and father. Mother once told me that at the wedding reception, Bishop Henry Lutz said to her, “Now you are no longer Ella Good. You are Ella Hess.” She seemed honored by his personal words.

On occasion we attended all-day meetings in our church. We would take a packed lunch and sit through three several hour sessions. I witnessed an ordination at our church. My father was in the lot, but the lot, after much prayer, “fell on” our neighbor. He thus became a preacher for the rest of his life. We had annual revival meetings which became the occasion when young people could “stand” and thereby indicate that they wanted to become baptized members. Our church had sewing circle, Wednesday prayer meeting, Sunday visits for singing at a penitentiary, an alms house and an old-people’s home.

We lived in a tobacco-growing area. Many Amish and Mennonite farmers raised tobacco. I heard the unkind remarks directed at my father who was conscientiously opposed to raising tobacco.

Because our deacon, Christian E. Charles, recommended Laurelville Mennonite Camp in western Pennsylvania, my parents sent my brother and me there for a week in 1948. It was a wonderful opportunity to meet Mennonite boys our age from other communities and states. A kind preacher spoke directly to us boys. One night I stepped forward “to accept Christ as my personal savior.” That was an unspeakably happy time for me. I sensed clearly that Jesus loved me. Alas, when I returned home, Mother and Daddy told me that the preachers of our church did not want to accept my decision since it was not made during the church’s own revival meeting. Eventually I was baptized.

As I moved up through the grades at the consolidated elementary school in Landisville, I grew uneasy about my identity vis-a-vis my classmates and teachers. I did not want to salute the flag, so I held my hand over my heart but mumbled a hum. I was fearful of participating in school activities lest Jesus would return and find me in worldly activity. I was a conscience-stricken child, mindful of hell fires that we heard about in revival meetings. My conscience would not allow me to read the comics. I was aware that “idleness is the devil’s workshop.” And I was told that someday I would have to give account for every word that came out of my mouth.

Although my parents were of modest means (my father was at first a hired man and then later became a farm tenant), they paid for us children to attend Lancaster Mennonite School. The shift in schools came as a huge relief to me. There I belonged. It was no inconvenience for me to conform to the very strict rules of the school. All of us, boys and girls, were expected to dress plain. We attended chapel daily. Our teachers were Mennonite.

A troublesome issue for Mennonites, one discussed frequently in our home, was a thing called “drift.” As I understood it as a youth, the Church of the Brethren was the example of drift. In earlier times the Brethren had been plain, now they had lost their coverings and plain coats. It was “incumbent upon us” to guard from taking that path.

Worldliness was of widespread concern among my people. Its source seemed to be “the west’—Mennonite churches and institutions beyond the Appalachian Mountains in Ohio, Indiana and Illinois. Europe was also a source of worldliness. I recall my family’s consternation at seeing a photograph from a Mennonite meeting in Europe in which a plain woman and a “fancy” European Mennonite were sitting on the same park bench. When we sang songs such as “Purer in Heart, Oh God, help me to be,” we were praying against the forces that led us away from faithful Mennonite piety.

During this period of my life I thought my career would relate somehow to leadership in a Mennonite congregation. I suppose it accurate to say that, while I found some church rules to be unnecessarily strict, some preachers unmanageably boring, and some traditions “stuck in the mud,” I was a happy church member and a model Mennonite youth.


And then the identity thread led me into a ten-year tangle. My late teens and twenties became most difficult for me and my family. At age 30, I was married, had a Ph.D., lived in Costa Rica and didn’t go to church. Some of my family members were confused, hurt and even angry with me. What happened?

In 1955 I left Lancaster County to attend Eastern Mennonite College in Harrisonburg, Virginia. As we drove south on Route 11, something small occurred that spoke loudly; I remember it to this day. We approached another car, similarly headed south. It too had Pennsylvania license plates. As we passed it, a chap with a very wide smile waved to us. An hour later I met him, Roy Hartzler from Kishacoquillas Valley, one of my first and best friends on campus. I remember the big smile partly because of who it came from. The smile also announced a new time and place, graced not with grays, blacks and frowns but with generous goodwill and independence.

College was a special privilege for me, the more unusual because no one in my two extended families had gone to college. I heard my dad, who reflected the perspective of generations of Hesses who lived in the hills of southern Lancaster County, refer frequently to two troublesome outcomes of a college education – the loss of faith and the loss of a will to work hard.

Daddy was on to something. Education did, in fact, change me. While I didn’t lose faith, college and, later, graduate school sent me on a spiritual trajectory I could not have anticipated. Nor did I lose an enjoyment of hard work, although my hard work never benefited a farm. In yet another way, my college education must have been disappointing, if not devastating, for Daddy. Woodrow Wilson once said, “The purpose of education is to make sons as unlike their fathers as possible.” Surely Daddy and Mother must have felt their son moving further and further from their own likenesses. I am told by a brother that they grieved it deeply. Daddy alluded to it once in an unhappy letter.

The Mennonites that I met on campus offered what seemed at the time to be a significantly different model. Whereas Lancaster bishops discouraged our use of radio, Harrisonburg Mennonites were using radio to tell a story of faith. Whereas Lancaster Conference churches weren’t supposed to allow “special music” in church, EMC’s choirs traveled hundreds of miles each year to small, medium and large congregations. To be sure, Virginia had an old guard whose influence remained in some corners of campus, but in general the atmosphere was joyful, purposeful, spiritual and hopeful. I was deeply pleased to find scholars who had faith.

At EMC I was introduced to a wider spectrum of political thought. There I learned about evolution and scientific method. At EMC I came to appreciate classical music and the fine arts. Perhaps most significant was a course in history, taught by John Lapp, one of the few faculty members with a doctoral degree.

My disquiet moved to plain clothing (regulation coats for men, coverings and capes in dark, solid colors for women). I wore a plain coat that was just right for Lancaster. Now I began to wonder why. It seemed to me, for the first time, more of a result of cultural isolation than of biblical imperative. But a youth brought up in a conservative congregation and home in Lancaster Conference didn’t change coats lightly. It took all four years of college for me to get rid of my plain coat. My senior picture has me in one. I wore lapels at commencement.

That August on my wedding day, Mother saw me in the lapels. “Please, Daniel, wear your plain coat today. The whole family will be present.” I explained that I couldn’t do that. Later I learned she had found my Bermuda shorts that I planned to take on our honeymoon. She burned them. Clearly, my parents were crushed by sorrow that a son who four years prior had been in good standing in the church would now have slipped away.


My wife and I moved to Elkhart, Indiana, to work in the Mennonite Voluntary Service offices. Two people, the president of Eastern Mennonite College and a professor, expressed disappointment at our moving west. “We will lose you,” said the professor.

I asked my Lancaster preacher to send my letter of membership to the Prairie Street Mennonite Church in Elkhart. He explained in a letter that he could not in good faith recommend me nor transfer a letter because I had taken off the regulation coat. He may have been expressing the pain of my entire congregation. The Elkhart pastor accepted me anyway.

Elkhart didn’t have a Lancaster County feel, and certainly it wasn’t a replica of the beautiful Shenandoah Valley. In very short order, I became part of a third Mennonite community distinctly different from the first two. Lancaster Conference and EMC felt like past tense.

Being a person who sought models and often put them on pedestals, I found the mission board headquarters to be an intersection of important and interesting leaders: Harold S. Bender, J.D. Graber, Esther and Lena Graber, John Howard Yoder, Edna Beiler, Nelson Kauffman, Dorothy McCammon, Ernest Bennett, Mary Oyer, J.C. Wenger, Roman Stutzmans, Allen Erb, Paul Erb, Alta Erb, Paul Mininger, Orie O. Miller, Carl Kreider, and missionaries from Argentina, Japan and India. These were new faces. I found it amazing that I had not learned to know these leaders long before this time. I thought it strange that leaders from the East did not frequent Elkhart and intermingle with these people.

Elkhart introduced me to a denomination considerably larger in numbers and broader in scope and in thought than what I had encountered to date. Plain clothing was not a priority. Guilt and public confession were not preoccupations. The agenda that called for commitment included health and welfare (including mental hospitals), education (particularly college and seminary), writing and publishing, mutual aid, Mennonite Youth Fellowship, PAX and I-W service, relief projects, community service, missions and the gamut of interests suggested in Guy Hershberger’s book War, Peace and Nonresistance.

My fences were moved month by month as I visited VS units west of the Mississippi, promoted VS in congregations, and met impressively dedicated people. Meanwhile a pastor from Lancaster County chided me for “the note of levity” in an article I had written about voluntary service. “I hope you don’t write fiction,” he said.

After two years in voluntary service, I entered graduate school at Syracuse University in New York State, which contrasted enormously with the three Mennonite communities of my experience. Graduate studies had made two hemispheres out of what was earlier one world. In one hemisphere was the security of social convention and religious explanation. In the other hemisphere was the heady experience of theory, hypothesis and chi-square tests of significance. In communication theory class, I learned about information flow, cybernetics and effects analysis. In class, I recalled our earlier street meetings in Harrisburg where we prayed our message into significance, and if shoppers and street people didn’t seem to attend, we turned up the microphone. How foolish it all now seemed. What if Dr. David Manning White, my professor and author of gatekeeper theory, had known of my naivete? Syracuse was located in the second hemisphere, and there I set out to erect a new world view.

But Lancaster lay in the first hemisphere and had to be visited. The journey from Syracuse University to our families in Pennsylvania was more than a pleasant four-hour drive from the lovely hill country of Onandaga County to the manicured farm lands of Lancaster County, more than a change from graduate student housing in a Quonset hut to ample brick country houses, and more than a quick shift from the S.I. Newhouse School of Communication to rural and colloquial chatter in a country kitchen. It was more than miles, more than buildings and more than language.

It was an arduous trip, with sweaty palms beforehand and frazzled nerves afterward. Several miles before we would arrive home, we would pull the VW off the road, get out the mirror, fix hair a bit Mennonite, remove finger rings, kiss off lipstick and put on a jacket to cover a sleeveless dress. But these cosmetic changes couldn’t cover the chasms of my quaking world.

Surely I couldn’t hide the chasm nor pretend that it didn’t exist. My father-in-law found occasions, altogether too many, to offer his “reprimands of love,” which he said were prompted by the many evidences of our following the ways of the world. I was tempted to be brashly dogmatic, utterly convinced of opinions I knew little about. If we had made recordings of such moments, surely they would contain embarrassing chunks of tactless rebuttal.

Eventually I earned a Ph.D. but I do not recall hearing any word of any kind from my Pennsylvania family on that occasion. There was no party. But to be honest, I can’t blame them. They did not know who I was apart from being a son who left and now had a university education. Hmmm. I wonder who I thought I was.


Although I thought of graduate school as the era of my second conversion—this time to a secular academic world view that ushered me into an exhilarating freedom to go exploring in new terrain—there were threads connecting me with Mennonites. I made rewarding acquaintance with several other Mennonites who attended the university. When Mennonite World Conference took place in Kitchener, Ontario, I traveled there and sensed for the first time the international dimensions of the Mennonite Church. Most significant of all, I attended a meeting of the Mennonite Graduate Student Fellowship at Harvard. There I heard first-rate lectures by Gordon Kauffman and Lawrence Burkholder, Harvard professors, and Marlin Jeschke, a Goshen College professor. These positive connections may explain partially why I accepted an invitation to teach at Goshen College, a Mennonite liberal arts institution not far from Elkhart. I told the president and dean that I would remain for only three years, then move to a university.

It should not have come as a surprise to me that there were Mennonite Ph.D.s as qualified and productive in their fields as my professors at Syracuse University. Goshen College and Seminary professors were doing creative research in psychology and physics; writing thoughtful books on nursing, history and theology; giving rousing lectures on ethics; writing novels; producing provocative art . . . and they were Mennonites!

I found a happy academic challenge in people such as Guy Hershberger, Frank Bishop, Lon Sherer, John Oyer, Mary Bender and many others. Yet these were the same people I drank coffee with, the same people who were in my Sunday school class, the same people who articulated so well a life-style that combined Mennonite faith and faithfulness. I could bring to my classes the ideas of Marshall McLuhan and Norbert Wiener and all that I knew of communication theory, and there on campus I could process these ideas without shifting into a gear of sanctimony. Just as important, I found my colleagues in theology not fearful of using what at that time was known as higher criticism in dealing with scripture.

I came across a book by Jacque Barzun entitled The House of Intellect.Intellect, he said, was a shared way of life, an ethic and discipline handed down. The book made wonderful sense to me, and then a light turned on. At Goshen College there was something even greater than a house of intellect. It was a Mennonite community of scholars, sharing a way of life, sharing an ethic and discipline, and going beyond Barzun, sharing a commitment that combined faith and faithful intellectual work. I wanted to be part of this Mennonite community.

I got involved. I wrote a feature article for Christian Living about Guy F. Hershberger, of whom it was said that he cultivated minds and conscience in much the style that he had earlier cultivated the fields in Iowa. I set up a substantial research procedure to learn how a Mennonite congregation (Yellow Creek Mennonite Church) dealt with television. Soon I was asked to be a consultant for CBS News in their producing a documentary about Mennonites, the first such program on the air.

Gradually I recognized that I was emerging from the secular orientation of American higher education and becoming part of the fourth Mennonite community in my sojourn. This community seemed not to be place-oriented, but rather profession-oriented. I thought of it as Mennonite academia—a community of scholars.

But not all was well with my being at Goshen College. My father had always expressed strong feelings against Goshen because of its worldliness. How embarrassing it must have been for him to visit his son there. I took him for a stroll on campus. In the seminary building he saw the name of a professor over an office door. “Daniel, that man is an abomination to the Lord!” he said. I was too shocked to cry and at a loss for words. This colleague of mine was a beloved teacher who had been ordained in Lancaster Conference and then left to go to Princeton University. He did not return to Lancaster but ended up at Goshen Seminary. These strong words of my father came not from a personal nastiness but rather from a shared understanding of the Lancaster Mennonite community of “the straight and narrow” way to godliness. I suspect that the issue at hand was pre-millennialism, which my father held to firmly.

In our third year at Goshen, the college asked Joy and me to open a new Study-Service Program in Costa Rica. We said yes, aware that our original plan to remain at Goshen only three years was aborted. Costa Rica encouraged our intellectual journey, not the least of which was a new appreciation for cross-cultural communication, not covered in any course at Syracuse.

So the years passed—teaching, consulting, writing, leading Study/Service in Costa Rica. Campus was a comfortable home for me. However, my personal linkage with the Mennonite faith and community of my childhood consisted of a very, very thin thread.


As I addressed invitations for Daddy and Mother’s 50th wedding anniversary dinner in 1985, I came upon names of uncles and aunts and cousins who had been my close friends 35 years before, but now lived on the other side of 600 miles and 600,000 life experiences. What would a Sunday afternoon reception be like, meeting folks who long ago cooked huge mashed potatoes-and-gravy dinners and helped in wheat harvest and whose children played with us in the straw mows?

The anniversary party quickened me. I met little cousins now grown tall, straight uncles now bent, aunts whose erect sturdiness I hadn’t noticed as a child, people of my blood, farmers and homemakers and carpenters and feed salesmen and nurse aides. I heard stories, succinct summaries of 35 years: a baby born handicapped, marriage to a high school sweetheart, a youth run away from home, a foot caught in an auger, a woman depressed for a decade, a job that turned into a business.

In the presence of that throng, two older people stepped up to me and without introduction enveloped me in their arms. “Daniel! Daniel!” It was Uncle Wilbur and Aunt Barbara, two relatives I had known only as big, for I was then a child. Uncle Wilbur had been quiet, a farmer on a dairy down beyond Cochranville. At family reunions he was a gracious host, but never called attention to himself and never gushed over us. Aunt Barbara had always been the happy, enthusiastic aunt in the kitchen, mother of three likeable cousins, Anna Mary, Robert and Wilbur Junior who were within my age range.

In our conversation, I learned that Uncle Wilbur had been ordained a minister, something I just couldn’t imagine of a man quiet as he. But as a faithful Mennonite, he answered the call of his church. He was chosen by lot and served a congregation with integrity. There was something about the way they greeted me, the wide open hug held close, the words “Daniel! Daniel!” that made me know, as for the first time, whom I belonged to.

Who I was, how I acted, what I believed had been molded by circumstances and people I myself had no part in choosing—that I had been born in Lancaster County Pennsylvania, part of an extended Mennonite family, in a farming community, in the year 1937. How can a person be so lucky?

I thought of a Barbra Streisand line, “People who need people are the luckiest people in the world.” And the title of a book by Harold S. Bender, These are My People.

Back home in the Midwest the week after the anniversary dinner, as I tried to measure the meanings of my people, I got out paper and pen and wrote to Uncle Wilbur and Aunt Barbara. No Hallmark card could say what I meant. The note was not significant, yet it was a bit strange because I usually don’t write such notes. But I was compelled to thank Uncle Wilbur and Aunt Barbara for …. Actually I don’t recall my words.

Two weeks later, Mother phoned across the 600 miles to say that, on Saturday, Uncle Wilbur was outside working, then came into the house, sat down, and died. May God bless Uncle Wilbur forever and ever.


My parents’ 50th wedding anniversary—I was 48 at the time—came to me as a blessed loop in the thread that reattached me to an essential part of my Mennonite identity. That is to say that, about 30 years after I left for college and experienced a tearing loose from my original Mennonite roots, things were happening almost as though guided by an invisible hand.

These people who attended my parents’ anniversary were my people. My immediate family members were my people. My Landisville congregation members were my people. I saw in them simple strength, an almost naive conviction that Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount was an ethic to live by--people who for generations tilled the soil and raised families and tried to remove themselves from the temptations to be proud, busy, militant, greedy modern movers and shakers.

I had left them.

No, I didn’t see myself as a prodigal coming home, for I had not been eating pig feed. Rather I stood at the edge of a chasm that I myself had helped to make and wished from the bottom of my heart to cross over to the other side. I wanted a bridge, even one that was as narrow as a thread.

The task of installing the spans was made the easier from the very start because everyone seemed ready for this task. No, we didn’t get out blueprints and talk openly about our intentions. Rather, it began in small ways and required patience and time to build.

• My father and I together traced the Hess ancestry back to Hans and Magdalena, who arrived in what is now Lancaster County in 1717.

• Daddy and Mother visited us in Costa Rica during our second tenure there. We took a two-day jungle trip together.

• My older brother and I did an intentional pre-arranged sharing: he told me, while I remained silent, why he was a Republican; then I told him, while he was quiet, why I was a Democrat. We listened to each other, said thank you; and then, without an argument, ended the event.

• Given a blank book with a title on each page, my mother wrote many personal and meaningful stories from her life.

• Three of us brothers returned to Laurelville Mennonite Camp of our youth for a weekend in candid personal conversation.

• Our family reunions shifted from talking to doing things together.

• When my father broke down upon learning of homosexuality in his family, we were able to give him our permission to express his sorrow. He in turn on his death bed told the gay couple that he loved them.

• My brother asked me to lead a retreat for his Sunday school class. I have sought his counsel on some of my writing.

The list continues to grow. I have come to a new appreciation for--actually a fresh look at--how I labeled Lancaster Conference: plain, traditional, conservative, conformist, isolationist and authoritarian. I admit candidly that after becoming acquainted with many district conferences, Lancaster Mennonite Conference does indeed seem to march to a different drummer. Because of its size and resources, it has developed from within rather than from collaboration with other parts of the church. I notice a strong undertow, pulling a number of congregations toward a modern American evangelical and fundamentalist model. A batch of issues—women in leadership, acceptance of homosexuals and Biblical interpretation—prove to be contentious. The proportion of its youth attending college has remained low.

But this isn’t a full report of Lancaster Conference. My home congregation has been revitalized, Lancaster Mennonite School is thriving, Philhaven is a leading behavioral health center, Landis Homes is a model continuing care retirement community, Eastern Mennonite Missions continues to be a presence of hope around the world, Mennonite Historical Society is a reservoir of collective memory, service agencies by many names are generously supported by Lancaster Mennonites, inter-conference cooperation occurs not only in Philadelphia but with Eastern Mennonite University and New York City agencies.


Now retired, in my seventies and an urban resident, I am taking another long look at the thread that binds me to my Mennonite heritage and to the Mennonite communities in which I have lived. I am grateful to that thread for having re-united me with people and places and values and folkways of my past.

While I am not a traditional Mennonite, I feel no need to define how I may differ from my people in worldview nor to make a big issue out of my own theological inclinations. Rather I count it a privilege to meet Mennonites and feel our spiritual, social and cultural bonds.

Indeed, what I have imagined to be a sometimes thin thread has shown itself, in my experience of reclaiming my Mennonite identity, to be far stronger than a thin thread. It is sturdy like the old clothes line onto which we pinned the week’s wash. It is unbreakable like the twine on our baled hay. It is an iron string whose quivering offers a song that reaches across fences. It is a line on the lane that shows me my way home.

About the Author

J. Daniel Hess

J. Daniel Hess is now retired from a career of college teaching (Goshen College), consulting (organizational communication) and writing. Among his books are From the Other’s Point of View (Herald Press, 1980), An Invitation to Criticism (Pinchpenny Press, 1984), and Studying Abroad, Learning Abroad (Intercultural Press, 1997). In 2007 he published Surely Goodness and Mercy, a memoir consisting of 70 personal vignettes, one for each year of his life. Recently he has consulted informally with several people as they write memoirs. Dan is a member of “Bagels and Bards,” a small but active writers’ group in Indianapolis, featured in the January 15, 2011 issue of CMW Journal. His blog appears at jdanielhess.com/blog.