Readers write

July 3, 2013 | Viewpoints

Metzger’s servant leadership should be applauded, not criticized

Re: “A tale of two speakers,” May 13, page 11.

I view Canadian Mennonite as a vital mission of this community of Mennonite/Anabaptist believers. However, not all that I read in this magazine is positive or uplifting, and not expected to be.

“A tale of two speakers” does not appear to meet the standards of good journalism or thoughtfulness its author Aiden Enns should be held to. His article clearly reveals his personal biases toward leadership and theology, let alone his penchant for intimacy with those of a like mind.

It is obvious he doesn’t know Willard Metzger as a servant leader who sacrifices much for the church and faith he cares for so deeply. Enns hears one sermon of this humble yet schooled person whom he then describes as... smooth (superficial*) . . . focused on public relations (pandering*) . . . he became human (posturing*) . . . good intentions (just talk*). (My interpretations.)

On the other hand, Mark Van Steenwyk is a fellow anti-establishment church colleague striving for the simple life made largely possible only through the many competent advances of science, a diligent and hard-working society, and an economy sustained by the contributions of those with means.

I am disappointed that Enns’s article saw print. Mennonite Church Canada is complex and sorely needs strong leaders who understand what “organization” means. Criticizing its top chosen leader, as Enns does, is neither brave nor wise.

Enns wishes to follow many small leaders, which I encourage him to do. Who wouldn’t want to relate and associate more closely with those whose views and lives are more congruous with one’s own. But in so doing, he appears to stereotype who authentic followers of Jesus might be. This is hardly acceptable in an inclusive yet diverse Christian faith community.

Enns openly reveals how strong the pull of the small leader is for him. And yet, without the bulwark of support of the larger church community also confessing belief in the radical life and teachings of Jesus, the winds of greed, divisive conflict, corruption and power seriously thwart the good and noble professed by the icons of poverty and simple living.

Ernest Epp, Saskatoon

A heart open and soft . . . or closed and hard?

Re: “A tale of two speakers,” May 13, page 11.

I had a strong reaction to Aiden Enns’s column.

The refrain that echoed through my brain after reading was: “Two church leaders came to my city last month. For one, my heart was open and soft; for the other, my heart was closed and hard.”

I wondered if Enns knows Willard Metzger personally. It could be that Metzger enjoys home-made pizza, local brews and hearty chuckles as much as Mark Van Steenwyk. Enns might like and respect Metzger as much as Van Steenwyk if they shared some personal time together with the same kind of eager anticipation that no doubt preceded Enns’s dinner with Van Steenwyk.

After all, we are listeners and followers not of each other, but of Jesus, who has called us to particular, and often radically different, responsibilities within his body. And we often have the most to learn from those we push away and want little to do with.

After I was finished reacting to the column, I realized that the more important questions to ponder were: Who is my heart closed and hard towards? Why that might be? Why don’t I know them as well as I could? What important things might I have to learn from those people who, after all is said and done, are striving to be as faithful and authentic in their vocation as I am trying to be in mine?

Doug Wiebe, Lethbridge, Alta.

Administration costs must be met for church to function

Re: “Where should donations go?” May 13, page 12.

I wholeheartedly agree with Janet Thiessen’s lament (my word, not hers).

As a professional accountant, a former church treasurer, and church leader of many years, it’s frustrating to see money go to very worthwhile projects while donors appear to be oblivious to the need for support for administration and the general budget. One can’t happen without the other.

We Mennonites are known to be thrifty/frugal, and while we can take some pride in this, we also need to really understand and appreciate that a certain amount of administration is needed so that many worthwhile projects, such as the ones Thiessen mentions in her column, can go ahead.

A big thank you to Thiessen for so eloquently focusing our attention on this very important subject.

Gerhard P Epp, Winnipeg

A reflection of a rebellious people

Re: “Homosexuality . . . ‘a reflection of the natural world’” letter, May 13, page 9.

Let’s get back to God’s Word to find out God’s view. What about I Corinthians 6:9: “Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived. Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor male prostitutes nor homosexual offenders. . . .”

Homosexuality is a reflection of people rebelling against what God has instituted. I believe homosexuality is a choice, as in Romans 1:26: “Women exchanged natural relations for unnatural relations and were inflamed with lust for one another. Men committed indecent acts with other men. . . .”

The Old Testament also condemns the practice. Leviticus 18:22: “Do not lie with a man as one lies with a woman.”

My prayer is, “Choose ye this day whom you will serve.”

Kathleen Rempel, Carman, Man.

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Kathleen Rempel, if homosexuality is (as you say) a choice, then heterosexuality is also a choice. Is that how your heterosexuality feels to you? Did you choose it?

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