Readers write

July 27, 2011 | Viewpoints | Number 15

Love people enough to see them change

Re: “Sexual inclusivity motion to be presented at national assembly,” May 30, page 15.

If there are those LGBTQ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgendered, questioning) members who no longer are active in that alternative lifestyle, why are they not dialogued with? Certainly there are those who have experienced the life-changing gospel. Do they think there is no contradiction with the church of the Living God wanting to be “inclusive” by allowing what the Bible condemns? The letters to the seven Churches in Revelation 2 and 3 have some strong language for the church that thinks it can be all inclusive, with consequences and warnings given by the risen Christ himself.

Is anything now off limits to Mennonite Church Canada? Can we expect active adulterers and maybe pedophiles to be embraced by the church?

By condoning the LGBTQ lifestyle, are we destroying the family? Children’s habitats are being destroyed when we change what God had in mind for families.

Is the word “homophobia” used by LGBTQs to intimidate and end all debate and discussion on the subject?

In being so inclusive, are we not closing the door to those who truly need help from the church? It’s like an alcoholic needing help, being told he is okay, that we’ll just love and accept him the way he is!  Certainly, the church needs to be a hospital for the hurting, but also a clinic where the truth is told about what our “textbook” says about the needy conditions that are so evident!

It is no secret that the church is under attack. It’s easier to take the slippery slope of compromise than to confront issues. Jesus told the woman caught in adultery, “Neither do I condemn you, go and sin no more.” We should love people as he loved them, but he loved them enough to see them change. That’s the story for people attending our churches, the next generation included: a life-changing encounter with the living Saviour

Mary Bartel, Abbotsford, B.C.

All political parties contradict Christianity

Re: “Mennonites should lament recent federal election results” June 13, page 12.

Mr. V. Ratzlaff insinuated that Mennonites who vote for conservatives are “contradicting any commitment to our confession of Christian faith.” This is an inflammatory statement. Surely he does not think that any of the political parties are more Christian than the other? Surely he knows that not one political party is promoting abolishing the military and that any party that is in power when our fighter jets need replacing will buy new ones. Surely he knows that all political parties are for punitive justice. All three parties have members who lie. I don’t understand why he would think only Conservative MP’s lie.

Perhaps Mr. Ratzlaff has not met any conservative voting people in person. The ones I have met are as compassionate, generous and sincere in their faith as any people I have known. It is an insult to these gentle souls to accuse them of contradicting Christianity.

Lori Klassen, Winnipeg, Man.


U.S. military killed ‘a child of God’ when they shot bin Laden

Thank you for your “A political lament” editorial, May 16, page 2.

You seemed to capture clearly and succinctly the concerns we share with regards to both issues you raised: the celebration at the death of Osama bin Laden and policies of the Harper government on a variety of issues, including the Middle East and the use of violence to address problems.

We share your conviction that the buying of “better” fighter jets, and the supporting of an Israeli government that keeps Palestinians under army occupation while stealing their land, water and dignity, seems far removed from the dream God has for our world.

We believe that when Scripture says “God so loved the world,” it means God loved bin Laden as much as he did the victims of 9/11 or any one of us.

Given Paul’s argument in Ephesians that God is the Father of all humans, when bin Laden was killed, a child of God was killed. That is never cause for celebration. Thank you for bringing this to the attention of your readers.

Marvin Wiens / Ray Friesen, Wymark, Sask.

The letter was signed by Marvin Wiens and Ray Friesen on behalf of the Emmaus Mennonite Church council.


Love is essential to our well-being

Re: “Habits of repair” editorial, May 2, page 2.

As a scientist myself, I am always overjoyed when someone articulates so well how the more we find out about the world we live in, the more it lines up with what Jesus actually taught and with the interpretation of “life” by our Anabaptist ancestors.

You wisely point out that it would behove us to re-examine these social behaviours that have been handed down to us and that we so often take so much for granted. The Golden Rule and the translation of the concept of love into social behaviour was very central to Christ’s message, and often lost in the various institutions of Christendom that our ancestors were constantly challenging.

As far as I know, besides pacifism, Anabaptists were concerned about the real day-to-day welfare of those less fortunate in their community. I don’t think the economic models of the Hutterites or the extreme socialism of the former Soviet countries can be considered economic or social successes. However, sticking to the capitalistic model with social responsibility—as demonstrated by our own Mennonite Economic Development Associates, the Bill Gates Foundation, Warren Buffett, Bill Clinton, etc.,—is having a very significant impact in levelling the playing field and helping people help themselves.

Love is not some fuzzy emotion out there somewhere; it is as essential to our well-being as is a sound functioning kidney or heart.

Richard Penner, Calgary, Alta.

Mary is no co-mediator, but her life is worthy of reflection

Re: “Rediscovering Mary,” April 18, page 16.

It is important to study and dialogue about the story of Mary outside of the usual traditional time of Christmas. Perhaps very little is said about Mary by Protestants and Anabaptists because of their fear of confusing her role as the mother of Jesus 2,000 years ago with what the Catholic church teaches about her today as co-mediator in heaven.

Growing up in the Mennonite church in Ontario, I do not remember ever hearing a sermon which centred on the person of Mary and the importance of her life. When we came to Quebec in 1975, we were immersed in the issue of “interceding saints,” with Mary recognized as primary co-mediator.

Much has been written about this topic and I will suffice to say that I believe that the Scriptures, inspired by the Holy Spirit, are the true guide: “For there is one God and one mediator also between God and humankind, the man Christ Jesus” (I Timothy 2:5).

I believe that when we give credence to “interceding saints,” we are moving onto a slippery emotional slope that will only take us in one direction—away from Christ, the one foundation declared by Paul in I Corinthians 3:11: “For no man can lay a foundation other than the one which is laid, which is Jesus Christ.”

This does not mean that we cannot honour Mary and remember her life with full respect and appreciation. This year, the verse for Mother’s Day—Luke 2: 19—states: “But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart.” She lived so many, out-of-the-ordinary experiences to ponder.

The word ponder describes the action of people who are reflective, contemplative, non-threatening, but very much involved. Their wisdom comes out of their experience. They are strong people and know self-control. People who ponder often attract others to them because they do not have a judgmental attitude.

I imagine Mary meeting Jesus in heaven after her death. He takes her in his arms and says, “Thanks, Mom, for not giving up on me.” Then he introduces her to his heavenly Father, the person that she had spoken with but had never met. If Stephen was worthy to receive a royal welcome into heaven (Acts 7:55-56), so much more Mary also could have been welcomed personally by her son. I can hear Mary singing humbly and reverently the Magnificat (Luke 1:46-55) in the great concert hall of heaven, with a joy in her heart that only a mother who did not give up can know.

David Shantz, Montreal, Que.

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