Let's not go Postal

June 30, 2011
Will Loewen |

Once again we as Canadians are able to send and receive mail by regular post and the story of this labour dispute will likely fade from our newspaper pages.  For me, this is unfortunate, since the whole story to me is much more interesting than whether or not there is something in my mailbox each morning.  Those following this story were treated to a discussion on labour negotiation techniques.  We got to see the new NDP offiicial opposition in action as they engaged a filibuster tactic to delay the process, and we got a reminder of what a filibuster is.  The union of course was doing it's job in trying to ensure a fair and consistent reimbursement for their members and the company is doing its best to cut costs and main financially profitable.  The rest of us are left to debate the merits of each side.

It's undeniable that the situation is different this time around than when Canada last dealt with the prospect of a postal strike.  There is more competition in the parcel delivery service and there is significantly fewer letters being sent between individuals.  The competitive delivery market and the increase electronic communication has not only cut into Canada Post's profitability, but it has caused some to argue if this once hallowed institution is becoming obsolete.  Any time a once large and indispensible organization is facing its own irrelevance in the eyes of society I think we as the church need to pay attention.

A lot of people responded with indifference to the fact that mail wasn't going to be delivered for a while.  Some even mused that the decrease in junk mail was all they would notice.  Those who receive bills by mail found that they could still receive and pay their bills online.  Those wishing to send parcels had a variety of other options at their disposal.  Businesses still needed to send various items, but they still had a number of other (albeit more expensive) options.  The only people who were really affected were those on the technological fringes who worried they wouldn't have access to bill paying services and those who rely on various kinds of government assistance.

A number of issues threaten to destabilize the church structure we all know.  While we are hopeful, there are no guarantees that the upcoming discussion on sexuality will be any more fruitful than previous ones.  Even more destabilizing than that, I fear, is that our current giving levels cannot sustain our programming and the structure that remains may not appeal to the majority of the people that remain.  We can rely on scriptural promises that Christ's church will never die, but those familiar institutions may not survive.  If they collapse under the weight of these and other crises, who will suffer?

Our members will survive.  Many of us have already become spiritual tourists, so we will find somewhere else to have our needs met.  The various organizations under our umbrella are already experts at finding money, so they will find ways of surviving.  The staff of our churches and denominational offices are skilled individuals and will find gainful employment elsewhere.  The people on the fringes who rely on our support, they are the ones that will truly suffer.  Then again, if we aren't serving those whom Jesus called us to serve, then we as an organization are dead already.

Author Name: 
Will Loewen
Share this page:

Add new comment

Canadian Mennonite invites comments and encourages constructive discussion about our content. Actual full names (first and last) are required. Comments are moderated and may be edited. They will not appear online until approved and will be posted during business hours. Some comments may be reproduced in print.