Young Voices

The goal of dialogue

When I grew up in a conservative, non-denominational church, the issue of homosexuality was never discussed, but it was regarded as “sin.” It was not until a friend came out to me at Canadian Mennonite University in Winnipeg that I had a direct experience with someone who is homosexual. My strong friendship with this person let me see her humanity, rather than just a sexual orientation.

The girl who had the accident

The accident that came to shape Lisa’s life happened three months after her first birthday. She was run over by a car.

“The front and back wheel went over my head,” she says. “My eyes were pushed out and my ear was almost cut off, it was just hanging by a little bit of skin. I was unconscious for 32 days and the doctors said there was no hope I would make it.”

A hard-scrabble life

At first glance, Shane Claiborne and Arika Fraser would seem to have little in common.

Claiborne is from Tennessee, is a popular author and is in demand as a speaker in Christian circles.

Arika lives in inner-city Winnipeg and sleeps under parked cars on nights when there is no better option.

What they have in common is poverty.

An accessible heart

Disrespect is nothing new for Michael Mifflin, who was born with spina bifida. In high school in Winnipeg, he was shoved into lockers and had his canes stolen and hidden by other students.

Now, as an adult, he navigates public transit with canes and a wheelchair, an effort sometimes greeted with impatient eye-rolling and complaints from comfortably seated transit users.

Change wisely, dude

When I came back to church after a faith crisis in my early 20s, the first one I attended regularly was a place called Praxis. It was the kind of church where the young, hip pastor hoisted an infant into his arms and said with sincerity, “Dude, I baptize you in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit.”

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