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A magazine is born

Editorial | By Dick Benner | Sep 11, 2013

The year was 1953. Mennonites scattered across Canada were a disparate group, having come to this land of freedom in several migrations from Europe, the first of which was of Swiss-German origin from the German Palatinate coming from Pennsylvania and settling in what was to become the Niagara Region of Ontario as early as 1786.

Healing sexual abuse

Editorial | By Dick Benner | Aug 27, 2013

Two stories on sexual abuse have re-emerged recently on the Mennonite scene that call for sober reflection and some self-examination, but not self-obsession. They should be seen, in the present, as “teachable moments” and occasions for healing, rather than harsh judgments on the sins of our fathers.

Shared ministry

Editorial | By Tobi Thiessen | Aug 13, 2013

It is a great experience to be on the board of Canadian Mennonite. On a personal level, it is both fun and interesting. You get to meet other Mennonites from across the country and hear what is going on in their churches. You find that some things between congregations are very similar. You also see that some issues are distinctive because of different social, demographic or economic conditions.

Micah and the Mud

Editorial | By Dick Benner | Jul 24, 2013

My, what a summer—unexpected flooding in central and southern Alberta, oil rail tankers exploding in Lac-Mégantic, devastating that small rural town in Quebec, record-setting heat waves in several parts of the country.

Catastrophic events like these can lead one to think we are in the midst of some kind of Apocalypse—not only here in Canada, but globally as fires ravage a Bangladesh clothing factory, killing hundreds of unprotected workers; fighting and violence continue to rock two Middle East countries—Syria and Egypt.

The trouble with labels

Editorial | By Dick Benner | Jul 03, 2013 | 1 comment

In an increasingly polarized culture, we seem to be plagued more and more with labels that define us. Driven by an obsession to organize our society, we put each other into the categories of liberal or conservative, pro-life or pro-choice, fundamentalist or social gospel, traditionalist or progressive, pro-Israel or pro-Palestinian, Oil Patch worker or anti-pipeline crusader. The list goes on.

Finding our way

Editorial | By Dick Benner | Jun 18, 2013 | 1 comment

Ken Bechtel makes an astute observation in our lead feature when he says the church in postmodernity is more about “the experiential, spirituality, community, globalism, relativism and authenticity” than the “rationalism, dogmatism, nationalism and a veneered religiosity” of the past.

Blessed are the tree huggers

Editorial | By Dick Benner | Jun 05, 2013 | 1 comment

Why has “creation care,” as we have come to euphemize an issue that distinguishes our faith-based concern for the environment, risen to the top of our conversation as modern-day Anabaptists?

The good of bad news

Editorial | By Dick Benner | May 22, 2013

Two headlines this week bring into sharp focus the cultural context in which our own faith community
is forming its core belief and practice, one encouraging, the other not so much.


Editorial | By Dick Benner | May 07, 2013

I turned off the radio en route to my destination at the Ignatius Jesuit Centre, Guelph, Ont. A shooting in Toronto, a bombing in Boston, political chicanery in Ottawa—all were short-circuiting my gradual descent into solace. The noise was drowning my need for silence, a yearning for an uncluttered world.

Talking it out . . . in print

Editorial | By Carl DeGurse | Apr 23, 2013

You know you’re in a Mennonite home when you walk into the living room and see a copy of Canadian Mennonite on the coffee table.

Creating a village

Editorial | By Doreen Martens | Apr 10, 2013 | 1 comment

Recently, our congregation discovered Facebook. “Discovered” isn’t quite the right word, of course, since many of us were already part of the online community reputed to have a mind-boggling billion users around the globe.

But someone started a “secret” Facebook group—meaning it isn’t publicly visible and requires an invitation to join—and it quickly garnered 136 members in a church of 200.

Whose voice are we?

Editorial | By Dick Benner | Mar 26, 2013

Out of the many discussions at Canadian Mennonite’s annual board meeting recently in Lethbridge, Alta., came the call, once again, for some clarification on two issues: “Whose voice is Canadian Mennonite’s?” and, “Do we print all the letters to the editor?”

What about this Bible?

Editorial | By Dick Benner | Mar 13, 2013 | 1 comment

Not in recent history have we paid so much attention to the Bible in our faith community.

A hidden darkness

Editorial | By Dick Benner | Feb 27, 2013

While the Mennonite faith community has sometimes been contentiously consumed over the past two decades with one aspect of sexuality—homosexuality and same-sex marriage—another darker side has quietly escaped our notice: sexual abuse of women and children.

A hijacked faith?

Editorial | By Dick Benner | Feb 13, 2013

In her “Mennonites have a long history of environmental activism” letter to the editor on page 12, Joanne Moyer questions whether it was fair to hold Menno Simons to account for a lack of concern for climate change and broader concerns of the earth.

“A 16th-century church leader can hardly be expected to comment on a climatic phenomenon that scientists only began to notice several centuries later,” she writes. In an e-mail follow-up conversation with Moyer, I said she reinforced a point that I apparently didn’t develop sufficiently for proper understanding.

Why do we meet?

Editorial | By Dick Benner | Jan 29, 2013

“And let us not neglect our meeting together, as some people do, but encourage one another, especially now that the day of his return is drawing near.”

Confessing our fossil fuel sins

Editorial | By Dick Benner | Jan 16, 2013 | 2 comments

“The fossil fuel industry is the richest and most arrogant industry the world has ever seen,” charges Bill McKibben, author of The End of Nature, and referenced by Will Braun in our lead feature “Crossing the (pipe) line” on page 4. The five largest oil companies alone made $137 billion in profits last year, according to the Sierra Club.

Forming content in 2013

Editorial | By Dick Benner | Jan 02, 2013

As one year ends and another begins, the pundits package the highlights of the past and out of that attempt to project something of what lies ahead. It’s as if time stands still for a brief moment while we catch our breath for reflection, a search for some meaning.

Thank you!

Editorial | By Dick Benner | Dec 11, 2012 | 1 comment

As I write this last editorial of 2012, I am overcome with gratitude.

Practice the peace we proclaim

Editorial | By Dick Benner | Nov 21, 2012 | 1 comment

While I appreciate the widespread support for Canadian Mennonite when we broke the story in our last edition regarding Canada Revenue Agency reminding us about “political partisanship” cited in two editorials and four articles, I want to clarify and correct some misinformation reported by the public media.

I also want to appeal to our readers to refrain from vitriol and name-calling in their responses, despite their strong feelings and deep suspicions regarding the government’s action.

‘Political reminder’ disturbing

Editorial | By Dick Benner | Nov 07, 2012 | 21 comments

When I received a registered letter from Canada Revenue Agency reminding me, as editor, of limitations on registered charities regarding partisan political activities, I took it personally.

Injustice ‘once removed’

Editorial | By Dick Benner | Oct 24, 2012

Just as Carol Penner, in our lead article calling us to account on Remembrance Day, persuasively makes the case that killing is killing even though it is “once removed,” so does much of our engagement as “Ceasar’s citizens” keep us distanced from the grim realities of injustice in our world.

Hopeful Thanksgiving

Editorial | By Dick Benner | Oct 10, 2012

"Give thanks in all circumstances, counsels the Apostle Paul to the new Christians at Thessalonica in ancient Greece, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” (I Thessalonians 5:18).

Transition gifts

Editorial | By Dick Benner | Sep 26, 2012

Henry Paetkau left his position as president of Conrad Grebel University College last year and entered into a new phase of life, which was not quite retirement, but left him wondering about his role and identity. He is now employed as area church minister for Mennonite Church Eastern Canada.

Our electronic world

Editorial | By Dick Benner | Sep 12, 2012

There is something eerily sad about summer coming to an end.  One difference with living in Canada is somewhat more satisfying and uplifting than living in warmer climes—the warmth of the summer months seems to re-charge the human spirit, get one in touch with nature and families and unwind from the demands of a whirling, electronic-driven world.