They are confident, self-expressive, liberal, upbeat and open to change. They are more ethnically and racially diverse than older adults, less religious—while claiming to be spiritual— less likely to have served in the military and are on track to become the most educated generation in North American history.
Just before Jack McKay* was let out of prison, a local paper ran an article that portrayed him as an unhinged, unreformed sexual predator. The message was blunt: Beware, be afraid.
1. What experiences have you had with prison visitation or helping someone with a painful past become settled in Canadian society? What level of acceptance would someone like Jack McKay, the pseudonymous former inmate in this story, find in your community? What social services would there be to help him? What would happen in your congregation if a former sexual offender began attending?
In our rush to welcome Jesus, we often skip those who paved the way for him.
Consider the prophets, who tend to be marginalized by others or by themselves. The margins they occupy actually become the focus for people and their real-life stories. Prophets often represent a paradox. They call for repentance and radical change while maintaining an apparently unchanging resolve.
When the door opens, do you hesitate, turn aside or walk through? It probably depends on the door, right? A big door opened when I was invited to join a Mennonite Central Committee (MCC) program review team in South Africa. In the end, I walked through, but certainly with some hesitation.
“Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also” (Matthew 6:19-21).
In my last “Spirit attunement” column, March 3, page 14, I explained why I believe “wilderness seasons” and solitude are essential for many individual’s spiritual vitality. However, it is noteworthy that Spirit attunement always happens in the context of community in the Christian tradition.
When I moved to the little town of Leamington in southwestern Ontario, my family made the decision to refrain from purchasing a second car. We had just left Toronto, and having even one car for our young family felt like opulence. And guilt.
“What would happen if, following the example of monastic orders, there would be a ‘vow of poverty’ in multicultural mission teams for everyone?”
Representatives of the MC Saskatchewan council, Saskatchewan Mennonite Youth Organization and Rosthern Mennonite Church flank new area church youth minister Kirsten Hamm in a prayer of commissioning at the annual delegate sessions.
It's been a year since Argentina's Jorge Bergolio became the 266th Roman Catholic pope. Although he is 77 years old, the new pope has brought fresh energy to one of the most staid institutions in history.
Recent weeks have been a financial roller coaster ride for Joan Carolyn and Daniel Epp, the program director and associate for Circles of Support and Accountability (CoSA) Winnipeg, respectively.
Last October, Willard Metzger, right, and seven other Christian faith leaders met with Prime Minister Stephen Harper on an Evangelical Fellowship of Canada delegation to discuss matters of importance to the church. Topics ranged from Canada’s relationship with its host peoples to climate change and homelessness. (Photo used by permission of Office of the Prime Minister)
Mennonite Church Canada executive director Willard Metzger, right (in black), marches through the streets of Durban, South Africa, in support of climate justice with other people of faith at the UN Climate Change Forum in 2011. He attended as an unofficial observer on behalf of the World Council of Churches.
Willard Metzger accepts writing invitations from various organizations and publishers to help increase engagement with Anabaptism on a wider level. Thanking God with Integrity: Table Graces & Scripture for a World of Need encourages gratitude while increasing awareness of those who live with less. He contributed to ‘Living Ecological Justice,’ a faith-based learning tool helping Canadian Christians care and advocate for creation.
In the middle of the most violent places in Guatemala, music is a healing presence.
While recording their most recent CD, Even in the Smallest Places, in Guatemala and El Salvador, Kim Thiessen and Darryl Neustaedter Barg had opportunities to interact with local musicians and talk about peace.
Christine Penner Polle used to turn off the radio when global warming was discussed. Now the former nurse, writer and self-described “climate-change avoider” volunteers full-time as a climate-change campaigner in the northwestern Ontario town of Red Lake. She and her family maintain ties to Hope Mennonite Church, Winnipeg.
Violence in domestic relationships has long-reaching and painful consequences for the entire family, as those who attended a seminar on the topic at Langley Mennonite Fellowship last month learned.
The heart of the Christian life is aligning ourselves with God’s love. We squander love and then turn to the Spirit to fill us with it again. Even harder than that, especially as we try to make sense of our church’s current struggles, is what to do when we come to the sinking feeling that our problem might be that we understand God’s love in different and contrary ways.
When Christians proclaim the unique claims of God to Muslims, it often goes awry when they bring Jesus into the equation, according to Emmanuel Ali El-Shariff, who says it is inconceivable—even sacrilegious—to Muslims to say that Jesus is the Son of God.