His passion for creation care was palatable, his enthusiasm infectious, his words direct but searing the silence. His stature was not imposing, his voice not booming and bouncing off the walls, but as he spoke his words not only reached beyond the abstractions that sometimes cloud things “environmental,” but his spirit touched ours with an almost magical resonance.
“Do not kill yourselves: for verily God is to you most merciful” (Qur’an 4:29).
It is commonly understood that when we were born, we had no choice but to become a citizen of this world. We didn’t get a chance to choose our parents or birthplace either. But if entering this world was not of our choosing, do we have the choice to decide when we leave it?
Hinduism is based on nonviolence. Suicide—killing oneself—is an act of violence. Killing another person is also wrong. In Hindu scriptures, nowhere is it mentioned that one can assist someone who wishes to commit suicide. To do so would be to commit a violent act, which is against Hinduism. Life is created or given by God.
To begin with, Judaism teaches that our lives belong to God. We are mere stewards of the body which the Creator has given us. As Jews, we also believe that we are commanded to preserve our lives. Deuteronomy 4:9 teaches that Jews should “carefully preserve yourselves.”
Buddhism as an organized religion began some 2,600 years ago. The advanced technology we have today was unimaginable in those distant eras. We are thus faced with the problem of applying ancient wisdom to our actual lives as they are lived here and now.
1. John Longhurst refers to a recent poll indicating that 70 percent of Canadians support physician-assisted suicide and 68 percent believe that those who help a seriously ill person commit suicide should not face legal charges. How would you respond to these questions? Why do you think these numbers are so high? What concerns do you have about assisted suicide?
Sitting on the beach, swimming and building sandcastles all seem like a dream right now as I look out my window at the deep snow banks. Our three children, ranging in age from 2 to 6, are dreaming about summer camp, playing in the sun and bicycling with friends. There’s nothing like a relaxing week with happy kids, good friends and a beautiful spot in nature.
A few years ago, a Mennonite church offered a Lenten worship series on the Seven Deadly Sins. For each of the six Sundays of Lent, the preacher’s sermon focused on one of the traditional offences, like pride or wrath or envy. Given that there were more sins than Sundays, sloth was eliminated from the list.
Over the past few years, I’ve been inundated with stories, statistics, articles, books and documentaries chronicling the mass exodus of people leaving the church.
Filipino artist Neil Manalo captures the pervasiveness of violence in his painting of children waving toy guns and sticks as they watch violence on television. The painting is on display at the Pinto Art Gallery in Antipolo City, east of Manila.
As followers of Jesus, Darnell and I want our sons Cody and Makai to grow up without violent toys and video games. While that can be a challenge in many cultures, it is particularly tough in the Philippines, where violent conflict has been ongoing for decades.
My wife and I have chosen to keep our sons, aged 3 and 6, out of school, but we're not “homeschoolers.” The whole point of what we do is that it is not school and does not rely on the standard school mindset. Some call it un-schooling.
We're backed by a relatively seasoned body of thought that draws on Leo Tolstoy, Ivan Illich and Nobel laureate Rabindranath Tagore.
What do Mennonites and former gang members have in common? “Not much,” one might be tempted to reply. But at a recent Saskatoon conference they sat side-by-side learning about gang intervention and prevention, and the way back to a healthy life.
As Syrians continue to watch their nation disintegrate, Mennonite Central Committee (MCC) has become a leading Canadian responder there. Its long-standing relationships in the area mean it can work both in refugee camps outside Syria and in some of the hardest hit areas within the country, supporting various local partners, including churches.
The biggest way that camp has affected me is in my faith and my walk with the Lord. For me, this past summer he led me ever so gently with much more grace than I deserve, all because he loves me.
Every summer for as far back as I can remember, I would pack my suitcase a week early in anticipation of going up to Fraser Lake Camp near Bancroft, Ont.
People who attend Ontario Mennonite Music Camp love this camp! They feel welcome and wanted right away, no matter who they are.
The customary practice of self-sacrifice during Lent carries tinges of earnest piety and religious compunction. It can feel like a moral “heavy.” But it also has a certain appeal.