When Marcus Rempel finished the manuscript for his new book, Life at the End of Us Versus Them, he asked one of his most beloved profs, Dr. Harry Huebner, to write an endorsement.
"I got okay marks in Harry's classes, but I always wanted to do better than I did," Rempel (CMBC '94) recalls. "When I sent Harry my manuscript, I felt about as confident as I did slipping my term papers under his office door 26 years ago—like leaving a half a crumpled sandwich to feed a giant."
Rempel didn't have to worry. Huebner responded with these words:
"Rempel's creative musings on such vital matters as violence within today's world, sex, economics, religion, and friendship are truly a breath of fresh air. His approach simultaneously elicits new challenges of thought and invitations to action... I love the passion, the wit, and the serious thought his work displays! A deeply engaging and delightfully challenging read."
"The generosity of his praise gave me a thrill," says Rempel, who lives with his wife and two teenage daughters at Ploughshares Community Farm near Beausejour, MB.
Rempel, who self-published Life at the End of Us Versus Them, wrote the book during the winters of 2015 and 2016.
He will celebrate book's release with a special launch event in Marpeck Commons on Thursday, December 7 at 7:00 PM.
Life at the End of Us Versus Them closely follows the work of two Christian thinkers: Ivan Illich, a Croatian-Austrian philosopher and Roman Catholic priest; and René Girard, a French historian, literary critic, and philosopher.
According to Illich and Girard, Rempel says, our present moment can no longer sustain a stable "us" defined over against an alien "them."
The book explores what it might look like to live out the Christian faith beyond left versus right, beyond good versus bad, beyond "us" versus "them."
Earlier this year, Rempel staged a successful crowdfunding campaign on Kickstarter.com to make the book a reality.
He set his goal at $4,425. When all was said and done, people contributed just shy of $7,000.
"It's a wonderful affirmation," Rempel says. "Writing the book from my tiny little cabin at the end of this dead-end road on the edge of the Brokenhead River (was) such an isolated experience. To be able to find this network of friends for the book from all over the place, it's really validating."
Rempel hopes that people who read is book are impacted by Illich and Girard the way he was.
"For me, finding those two teachers... it gave me a way to make sense of Christian faith, it gave me a way to make sense of this strange world, it gave me a way to hold the news and science and scripture together in a way that was loving and truthful—it was just really life-changing for me," he says.
"If (my book) manages to be that for just one other person who is trying to hold all that together in a time when it feels like those things are tearing apart... then it will have been worth writing."
Come to the launch event for 'Life at the End of Us Versus Them' in Marpeck Commons (2299 Grant Ave.) on Thursday, December 7 at 7:00 PM. The evening will include music by Cara Luft, door prizes, and a special launch price of the feature book. Visit marcuspeterrempel.com.