The church, or congregation, as a “royal priesthood” was announced as one of our core beliefs by the Anabaptist Reformers nearly 500 years ago, setting us apart from our Catholic-Protestant counterparts who, in that time and place, were perceived to have corrupted the faith with their vertical view of a believer’s relationship to God.
It’s been some week. As I write this several days after a stubborn dictator, Hosni Mubarak, has finally stepped down in Egypt, there is a feeling of relief even though the event has transformed an oppressed country half a world away.
We do have a website, dear readers, a recently re-designed one, in fact.
And we know many of you are reading Canadian Mennonite online. Our Google Analytics tell us that as many as 2,400 unique visitors a month are coming to the website for some 16,000 page views and staying an average of three minutes to read something of interest.
Joe Neufeld puts his finger on an important artificial divide in our congregational care-giving (page 4) when he raises the spectre of perceiving some aspects “sacred”—and thus safe and legitimate—while others are considered “secular”—and thus suspect.
As a people of hope, what should we, as a Mennonite faith community, expect on the road ahead in 2011?
If the past is prelude, as the adage goes, there are road signs, some of them giving helpful direction, others giving us warnings. At the risk of oversimplifying, we will deal with only three: cultural shifts, ecumenism and a new mission/service focus.
Two Advent themes should bring us to our feet this season: surprise and waiting. In our hurried, harassed lives, we are probably prepared for neither.
It’s too bad the New Wineskins consultations of Mennonite Central Committee (MCC), that covered a four-year period and got Mennonites together from all over the world, didn’t “become a hot topic” in the pew, as Will Braun observes in our main feature on page 4.
Canadians have every right to ask questions about the merger of Mennonite Publishing Network (MPN), with offices in Waterloo, Ont., and Scottdale, Pa., and Third Way Media, located in Harrisonburg, Va.
The bad news: Our kids don’t know their Bibles. The good news: They are probably practising it better than many of their elders.
With music being so much a part of the Mennonite DNA, is it any wonder that the spectre of a new hymnal brings some trepidation to the congregational scene?
Tragic, isn’t it, that one fringe religious leader with a very small following can get international attention, damaging beyond calculation the good work in Christian-Muslim relations when all of the remarkable work our congregations are doing goes largely unnoticed?
In a letter to Canadian Mennonite on June 28, Angelika Dawson of Abbotsford, B.C., charged that when we challenged Mennonite Central Committee and congregations to be more environmentally responsible in a previous issue, we “failed to point the finger back at [ourselves].”
Here’s an attempt to answer her specific questions:
The Lutherans have asked us to forgive them for their violent persecution of us in the 16th century, laying to rest, as the Mennonite World Conference reporter, Byron Rempel Burkholder puts it, “500 years of guilt.”
“One of the many things no one tells you about aging is that it is such a nice change from being young. Being young is beautiful, but being old is comfortable,” was one of the more endearing lines coming out of Assembly 2010 in Calgary, Alta.
Because we are a priesthood and not a hierarchy, this space is sparing in calling special attention to any one of its “priests.” But the occasion of the closing session of Mennonite Church Canada’s assembly, held in Calgary, begs for an indulgence in marking the event of the retirement of Robert J. Suderman.
In our presumed sophistication as First World residents, we often consider ourselves a gift to the rest of the planet. By comparison, aren’t we far more educated, resourceful, wealthy and technologically advanced?
Not only is the younger generation, labelled “natives” in my last editorial, holding authority and institutions in less regard, the modality of leadership has also changed in the last half-century. This, too, represents a seismic shift in the perception of our mission and identity as a Mennonite culture.
With Andrew Reesor-McDowell, moderator of Mennonite Church Canada, we are concerned about declining giving to centrally planned ministries of MC Canada.
Not very, unfortunately.
While Mennonite Central Committee (MCC) is to be commended for its newly stated goal of reducing its carbon footprint by 20 percent over the next 10 years, we have to ask, with our New Order Voice columnist, Will Braun: “Why has it taken so long?”
Sometimes it takes an outsider to tell us quiet, unassuming Mennonites that we do indeed have clothes.
Speech seems to be on the public mind these days.
As I write this, much of the Canadian press and Ottawa University seem to be in a spat over the sanctity of free speech springing from the invitation, then the cancelling, of right-wing American pundit Ann Coulter, who was to speak to the students.
Over the past six years, I’ve had the great privilege of serving on the board of Canadian Mennonite Publishing Service (CMPS), overseer of this magazine. It’s time now to say goodbye. By the time you read this, the annual meetings of CMPS will have been held in Abbotsford, B.C., and a new board chair will have been elected.
I am not addicted to food or money, but I might be to my computer. I’m having difficulty remembering what life was like 25 years ago before this new technology ushered in a new era of electronic communication.