TMTC Associate and PhD student at McMaster University, Max Kennel has edited Mennonite historian Robert Friedmann's lost and last manuscript entitled Design for Living: Regard, Concern, Service, and Love, which is now available from Wipf and Stock. Written in 1954 but unpublished in his lifetime, Friedmann’s Design for Living asks that pertinent existential question: how should we live? Drawing on literary, philosophical, and theological sources, Friedmann’s answer begins with a critique of utilitarian ethics and popular apathy, and proceeds through an existential preparation that ascends in confessional style to the question of the meaning of human life, culminating in a fourfold set of principles: regard, concern, service, and love. Along the way, Friedmann’s critical eye remains clearly fixed on his object of study—lived experience, and not abstract principles detached from day-to-day life—and he intentionally guides his reader step by step up the mountain of spiritual and ethical inquiry in a deliberate and serious attempt to educate the heart, mind, and soul. At once accessible and scholarly, while troubling our contemporary divide between religion and the secular, Design for Living presents a rare vision of human meaning and purpose that will appeal to scholarly and public readers alike.
"Friedmann writes lucidly, with a free-flowing style and above all with keen and empathetic discernment as a man who has cut for himself a broad swath of life, has drunk deeply at its richest sources, and overlooks the highest peaks of human aspiration as well as its illusions and pitfalls."
—Clarence Bauman (1928–1995), Associated Mennonite Biblical Seminary
"Design for Living addresses the essentials of life itself, communicated on each page by the author’s distinctive and profound voice. Although he proceeds philosophically, Friedmann dares to address the limitations of his own discipline, touching on those rare instances of in-breaking love, the living nature of which transcends human reason."
—Leonard Gross, Executive Director emeritus, Mennonite Church Historical Committee
"This book could have been called ‘The Educated Heart’ (the title of chapter 1), which Friedmann calls the singular topic of his work. That would gesture more fully at the existential and spiritual impetus of this ‘secular’ work by a philosophical historian, influenced by the Anabaptists, who identified himself as ‘a Jew who sides with Christ.’ Education of the heart is now as ever what it is ‘all about,’ and Friedmann’s work helps show us why. Kudos to Max Kennel for bringing this work into the public domain."
—P. Travis Kroeker, Professor of Religious Studies, McMaster University