Editorial

Two things not up for debate

(Photo by Johny Goerend on Unsplash)

This editorial is not about abortion. Or maybe it is.

I write this on the day after Mother's Day, at a time when conversations are intense about the rightness or wrongness of ending a woman’s pregnancy. There is a lot to be said about the medical, legal and religious aspects of abortion, but not by me right now.

Two years in

(Photo by Gabriella Clare Marino/Unsplash)

Since March 2020, when the COVID-19 pandemic came into the lives of Canadians, this magazine has published many accounts of life in pandemic times. There have been reports on how Mennonite churches and organizations have adapted to health restrictions, found new ways to care for others, and even managed to have fun, despite the challenges.

Learning to listen

(Photo by Etienne Boulanger/Unsplash)

“We have two ears and one mouth so that we can listen twice as much as we speak.”

This proverb, attributed to the first-century Greek philosopher Epictetus, is still good advice. In a time where there is no lack of speaking—whether with actual voices, through written words or even with visual symbols—the art of listening is one we need to continually cultivate.

Thanks to you

(Photo by Kevin Butz/Unsplash)

Thanks to you, this magazine has entered its 25th year of publishing under the name Canadian Mennonite. We picked up the mantle in September 1997 from The Mennonite Reporter, a bi-weekly newspaper for the 26 years before that.

Telling your stories

(Photo by Etienne Girardet/Unsplash)

As we launch into 2022, it’s helpful to reflect on the year that has passed. It’s also a time to consider what’s ahead.

With a presence both in print and online, Canadian Mennonite reaches readers within the Mennonite Church Canada family and readers who observe us from outside. I spent time looking at the 2021 content that resonated for both sets of readers.

Digital connections

(Screenshot from Christmas at CMU 2021 video)

Living in pandemic times, we have realized how important it is to stay connected with each other, as friends, in our own neighbourhoods and as church communities. We need contact with real people, and we’ve found ways for in-person connecting to happen safely.

December patchwork

A Nativity scene from Bethlehem. (Photo by D. Michael Hostetler)

As the year 2021 winds down, this slightly distracted editor is trying to wrangle disparate ideas into a cohesive whole. What I offer here instead is a sort of patchwork quilt of thoughts, resembling the traditional coverlets created from fabric of varied colours, sizes and textures.

Claiming the story

The feast of grace

Babette, portrayed by Stéphane Audran, prepares the titular meal in the 1987 film, ‘Babette’s Feast.’

Recently, I found myself hungering for grace. With the world still entrenched in this pandemic, we witness the complexities around public safety, the angry words, the strained relationships, the exhaustion, and the challenges to everyone’s mental well-being. Is there any good news?

A new call for MC Canada

Steve Heinrichs, Will Braun, Jennifer deGroot, Mona Neufeld and Doug Klassen stand outside Mennonite Church Canada during a meeting related to the 7 Calls to Action for Mennonite Church Canada grassroots effort. (Photo courtesy of Facebook.com/7callstoclimateaction)

The Earth is in trouble. As I write, international leaders, scientists and activists are meeting in Glasgow, Scotland, for COP26, a forum discussing actions the worldwide community must take to address the ongoing effects of climate change, effects that threaten every creature on our planet.

On the road toward wisdom

(Photo by Patrick Fore/Unsplash)

I’ve been pondering the learning experiences of Jesus’ disciples as told in the Gospels. Jesus’ vision of God’s reign was so different from the reality they were used to, and they were curious. There was something about this Teacher that invited them to walk alongside him, to learn more.

Ordinary time

(Photo by Aron Visuals/Unsplash)

Traditionally, Mennonite churches have recognized the special times of the church year: Christmas (along with the season of Advent and Epiphany) and Easter (with the season of Lent and the Day of Pentecost). Then there’s the time in between—what is labelled “ordinary time” in the church calendar. The season begins with the Sunday after Pentecost; in 2021 that was May 30.

Values that set us apart

Jeanne Zimmerly Jantzi—pictured in 2016, when she was living in Chiang Mai, Thailand and serving as MCC area director for Southeast Asia—holds her original copy of 'More-with-Less.' She has been using the cookbook wherever she has lived in the world ever since it was released in 1976. (MCC photo by Dan Jantzi)

A reader of this magazine thinks we have got our name backwards. He thinks the name should be Mennonite Canadian. “You are Canadian,” he says emphatically. “You think you are different from other Canadians because you call yourselves Mennonite, but you are not.” The man raises an interesting question. In what ways are we Mennonites different from other Canadians?

Peace on the screen

“What if we took the Sermon on the Mount seriously in our digital environments?” asks author Douglas S. Bursch. (Photo courtesy of Lyncconf Games, lyncconf.com)

A rant is taking shape in your brain, anger is seething in your gut, your finger is poised over the “post” button. What could possibly go wrong? One option is to step away from your device, take a deep breath, and think “reconciliation.”

Onscreen adventures

Still from the documentary Honeyland, directed by Tamara Kotevska and Ljubomir Stefanov. (Photo courtesy of NEON)

This past year, I followed a honey gatherer up Macedonian hills, watched a recording session with a legendary jazz singer, witnessed the political turmoil within Denmark’s parliament, and traveled throughout Canada to the strains of Handel’s music. All these adventures happened while I lounged on the living room sofa.

Behind the scenes

(pixabay.com photo by Willi Hiedelbeck)

Over the years, I’ve learned that every grand enterprise depends on a certain amount of work behind the scenes, those unglamorous tasks that sustain the public vision but don’t get noticed very often. Paying the bills, maintaining the calendar, wiping the kitchen cupboards, watering the plants, taking out the garbage, changing the toilet paper rolls. . . .

Smile!

“Recently, I’ve been on the lookout for things that make me smile, not to run away from the heavy realities but to help keep things in perspective.” (flickr.com photo by david_mt)

Are you finding it hard to smile these days? So much heaviness weighs down on the world. In the face of all that is wrong around us, we strive to be responsible citizens, kind people and faithful followers of Jesus. But sometimes it’s hard to find much good news.

Precious lives

(Photo by Oleg Laptev/Unsplash)

The unmarked graves of several hundred Indigenous children. A deliberate act of violence against a Muslim family out for a stroll. In recent weeks, new reports have again shown how entire groups of people suffered because of their ethnicity or beliefs.

Growers and eaters

(Photo by Thomas Gamstaetter/Unsplash)

What do city dwellers and farmers have in common? They are all eaters! And, in the Mennonite community, another important characteristic is their shared faith. Yet, despite those commonalities, country and city folk sometimes bring different points of view to the question of how our food is grown.

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