Readers write: September 15, 2014

September 14, 2011 | Viewpoints | Number 18
Various Contributors |

‘A true welding together of business and faith’
Re: “Faith, business welded together at Haul-All,” July 11, page 21.

The author of this heart-warming story missed a key element that led to the current success of this Lethbridge, Alta., company. When Neufeldt Industries went into receivership in the 1980s, I am told it was a friend of the owners and a fellow church member who offered to buy them out of receivership. Once the business was again on a solid footing, this “angel investor” sold the company back to the Neufeldts as a going concern—and they have never looked back.

Too many times, friends and churches tend to look down on business “failures.” In this case, a friend offered real help and risked the dollars to back it up. This is the essential element that was missed in this otherwise heartening story. Too bad. We should celebrate such unusual acts of kindness as a true welding together of business and faith.
David Kroeker, Mission, B.C.

(Editor’s note: Kevin Neufeldt, Haul-All’s vice-president of operations, responds: “It was a little more complicated than that. At several points in 1985 we needed a miracle to keep the business, and several times a miracle happened at the 11th hour. The first miracle was that the receiver appointed by the bank had had good experiences with Mennonites in southern Manitoba and he was willing to work with us. Then, when we could not find financing through normal channels, a group of about 20 family and church members put money together for a deposit on the Neufeldt Industries assets. Then the “angel investor” came to us offering to purchase the equipment from the receivers. Two years later, we were able to pay him back and he helped us purchase our building back from the bank.”)

Church provides resource for ministering to gays
Re: “No exclusion to love,” Aug. 1, page 11.

Rachel Bergen’s article highlights the grief and pain that some lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgendered and queer (LGBTQ) individuals have experienced in the church.

Several years ago, the area church ministers brought this to the attention of Mennonite Church Canada and together we created “A pastoral care resource for pastors ministering to LGBT individuals and their families” that can be accessed through the Mennonite Church Canada Resource Centre at mennonitechurch.ca/tiny/1602.

I encourage pastors and youth pastors to review the document for their own pastoral care ministry and to use it as a resource in equipping deacons, youth sponsors, mentors and other spiritual caregivers in their congregations.

Karen Martens Zimmerly, Winnipeg, Man.
Karen Martens Zimmerly is MC Canada’s denominational minister and director of leadership development.

 

Church needs to speak up about sex and homosexuality
In the churches I have attended, we were taught that God made us in his own image. In the 1970s, the catch phrase was, “God don’t make no junk.” If we truly believe these things, then we should be accepting of everyone whatever their race, colour, creed or sexuality.

Sex is an uncomfortable subject because it has been a non-subject in the church and in most homes for so many decades. It is personal, and when I was growing up I got the feeling sex was dirty.

Homosexuality is “against the norm” according to society. This hits too close to home for many people who have thought about it, those who have questioned their own sexuality but who will never acknowledge that fact, and those who have not given it much thought because it is too uncomfortable or is a non-issue for them.

Who can we trust to talk about these things? In years past, it was not spoken about, and many went with society’s norms to avoid being shunned by the very people they loved and cared about.

We are all the Creator’s people, conceived out of love—for the most part—in a mother’s womb. We have been put on this earth to do a task and to enrich each other’s lives. We all deserve to be loved and nurtured, not left to die on the side of the road because we are different.

We need to accept and love each other for where we are at, and to not be afraid. We need to teach our children that this is part of life and it is okay to be different, that they will be loved regardless.

It makes my heart ache that we cannot get past this. Beyond the skin covering, we all look the same. This is my prayer for not only the church, but the world, as this affects everyone.

Mim Harder, Uxbridge, Ont.

 

Homosexuality issue pushing the church’s buttons
I enjoy reading the Viewpoints section of Canadian Mennonite because it reflects so many different opinions from across this country.

The topic of sexual orientation is a hot-button issue for the church because it asks us for permission to expand our definition of inclusion and our understanding of intimacy within a relationship of same-sex couples.

I won’t pretend that I understand homosexuality, because I don’t, but it has challenged me to make a stand on what is right for me. If you read the story of Lot and the night before the destruction of Sodom, you will read that there are consequences for all sin, which included same-sex relations.

This causes me to ask myself what I would do if someone very close to me was to announce he/she was gay. This question has been tough because it hasn’t happened yet, but I ask myself if I could still love that person and hate the act while still holding on to my beliefs.

I do not envy our church and its leadership that is facing this question with its membership and trying to understand its role in this matter. May the power of God and the love he gives us through his Son guide us in our journey.

Rob Martin, Elmira, Ont.

Osama bin Laden was no ‘follower of Jesus’
Re: “U.S. military killed ‘a child of God’ when they shot bin Laden” letter, Aug. 1, page. 16.

At times it is embarrassing to be called a Mennonite.

It is cause to celebrate when the likes of Clifford Olsen, Ted Bundy or Osama bin Laden are apprehended. The communities of B.C., the colleges of the U.S., and, indeed, any place in the world is safer without these three stalking for their next victim.

Talk about taking a verse out of context. The complete verse of John 3:16 is: “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whosoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life” (NIV version). I believe that if bin Laden had been a follower of Christ he would not have murdered the many thousands of people he did. In John 8:44, Jesus says: “You belong to your father, the devil, and you want to carry out your father’s desire. He was a murderer from the beginning, not holding to the truth, for there is no truth in him.”

I believe that God loved the many firefighters who gave their lives on 9/11 to try and save others. In John 15:13, Jesus says: “Greater love has no man than this, that one lay down his life for his friends.” Those firefighters laid down their lives for complete strangers.

Hopefully, Canadian Mennonite is never read by the families of bin Laden’s victims.

G.A. (Fred) Rempel, Elm Creek, Man.

 

Assembly coverage excluded our children
Re: Mennonite Church Canada assembly issue, Aug. 1.

Our family participated in the MC Canada assembly in July. My husband was a delegate, I volunteered and our two daughters attended the children’s assembly. We all had a great experience.

When the Aug. 1 issue of Canadian Mennonite arrived in our mailbox, our seven-year-old noticed that the issue was focused on the assembly, with “full coverage inside.” She quickly scoured the pages for photos and headlines.

A few minutes later, she said, “Mom, I can’t find anything about the kids’ assembly in here. Can you?” I looked through, and my heart sank. She was right; there was not a word.

Many pages of that issue focused on inclusion in the church, so I wonder why kids were excluded from this coverage. Even the Young Voices section only focused on youth and young adults.

Children have profound and inspiring visions of a new world that can speak to the church today. I want my seven-year-old daughter—who loved the assembly and was quite interested in reading that issue of Canadian Mennonite—to know that she is welcome, included and important to the church right now.

Rebecca Seiling, Waterloo, Ont.

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