A crash course in grace
Every one of us deals with mental health challenges. Whether we’re losing sleep about the math exam tomorrow or are hospitalized for schizophrenia, whether we’re on medication for depression or battling obsessive regrets over how we’ve raised our children—we each have been dealt a unique set of cards.
The changing face of mental illness among Mennonites
American Mennonite conscientious objectors (COs) working in mental hospitals during World War II decried the deplorable and inhumane treatment of patients. One symbolically powerful way they objected—and advocated for better treatment—was to unshackle the patients, collect the iron chains and cuffs, and melt them down into one enormous bell.
Breaking down the pretty/ugly altars
‘Hi, my name’s Steve* and I’m a porn addict’
When the pain doesn’t go away
Jane’s nightmares kept her from getting a good night’s sleep. “They are just terrifying,” she told her doctor. “I wake up almost every night. It’s like someone is suffocating me—like a body lying on top of me—I’m holding my breath—just shaking with fear!”
“I think we can help with that,” said Dr. Shenk. “Let’s try this new sleep medication to see if that helps.”
Every morning I look in the mirror and do not know who might be looking back at me. I wonder what the day will hold. Will it be a day of relative calm? Or will it be a day when my voice becomes higher-pitched, and my speech speeds up, gushing out of me in staccato fashion while my mind tries to keep up with the ideas that come rushing in?
Building up God’s kingdom together
A woman—a good family friend—pours perfume worth $25,000 on Jesus’ feet at a dinner party held at her house in his honour. She removes her head scarf, shakes her hair loose, bends over, and wipes Jesus’ perfumed feet with her hair. The fragrance fills the whole house. Surely that fragrance remains on Jesus’ feet—and in Mary’s hair—for days.
1. The Christmas season is a time of giving. How does your congregation and/or community get involved in giving during this season? What are we saying when we give gifts? Do you agree with Aiden Enns’s comment in the “Alternatives” article that, “when we give, we acknowledge our dependence on others”?
What a difference a year makes
Alternatives to a ‘Consumer Christmas’
Many people spend their evenings and weekends leading up to Christmas scouring the local mall for the perfect gifts for their loved ones, planning their Christmas feast or decorating their house.
A portable Christmas tradition
Gabrielle Plenert of Winnipeg, Man., and her family spend their Christmas season rather differently.
Israeli development thwarts peace on earth
That our planet is troubled and in need of the ‘light of the world’ to dawn on Christmas morning is evidenced by the first of our three seasonal feature articles, ‘Israeli development thwarts peace on earth . . . at least in Bethhehem.’
Embedded in the Christmas story is God’s desire for peace on our planet. Luke announced that “peace on earth” was the theme that the angelic choirs sang over the skies of Bethlehem on the night that the Saviour was born. We can conclude from their celestial anthem that God yearns for peace on earth.
‘For such a time as this’
Worship is remembering, said the prophet Jeremiah. The past holds regenerative power.
I’m a human being living in Canada today because of Mennonite Central Committee (MCC); some of my family in southern Russia (now Ukraine) were rescued from famine and annihilation.
MCC centrality questioned
The MCC revisioning process seeks to address the tension of being rich Christians in an age of global inequality—an age in which golf tournaments in Manitoba (as shown by the cover of MCC Manitoba’s annual report, left) fund hurricane recovery efforts in Haiti. (MCC file photo by Ben Depp, right)
At a time when relief supplies can be purchased in countries close to disaster sites—providing stimulus to their often hard-hit local economies—does it make economic or environmental sense to continue making blankets and relief kits of all kinds in North America and then ship them around the world?
Mennonite Central Committee (MCC) is the largest and most influential Anabaptist organization in the world. It has nearly 1,200 workers and an annual budget of $82 million.
1. How many trees are planted annually in your community? Are they part of a community initiative? Who plants and waters them? How important is it to plant more trees?
2. In what situations would you cut down a tree in your yard? What are the advantages and disadvantages to having lots of trees in your neighbourhood? When might a tree be legitimately “in the way”?
A tree is not only something that stands in the way
What’s really under the bonnet?
Peeking under the bonnet
A few years ago, when conducting research for my Ph.D. on Amish women in business, I visited a gift shop and noticed a rack of romance novels with pictures of Amish women on the cover. I asked the Amish business owner, “Do you sell a lot of these?”
“Yes,” she said. “The tourists like them.”
“Do Amish buy them?” I enquired.
“Well,” she said, “a lot of people read them.”
Bible literacy quiz
Should there be a test for citizens of God’s kingdom?
If I want to become a citizen of the U.S., I need to take a citizenship test. Something similar occurs in Canada when someone wants to become a citizen of this country. The Canadian citizenship test evaluates an applicant’s knowledge of Canada, and includes questions about the government, elections, rights and responsibilities of citizens, and Canadian history and geography.