Viewpoints

Buried treasure

Lately, I have had several conversations with people about downsizing or simplifying their estates. Some talk about rearranging their financial affairs to make life easier for their executors someday. Others face the physically and emotionally demanding task of moving from the homes they have lived in for many years to smaller, more manageable accommodations.

Steinbach windmill

Photo: Jake Peters Photo Collection / Mennonite Heritage Archives

Mennonites learned how to harness the wind while in the Netherlands, and used this knowledge in the 16th and 17th centuries in Prussia, where wind-powered mills were primarily used to pump water to drain land.  Between 1876 and ’78, four windmills were built in the Steinbach, Man., area by Mennonites.

What does ‘sorry’ mean?

During the Sixties Scoop Apology Engagement at Edmonton’s Amiskwaciy Academy on March 1, 2018, survivors were invited to paint their experiences onto canvas for others to see. (Photo by Donita Wiebe-Neufeld )

During the Sixties Scoop Apology Engagement at Edmonton’s Amiskwaciy Academy on March 1, survivors were invited to paint their experiences onto canvas for others to see. (Photo by Donita Wiebe-Neufeld )

“Sorry” is a very Canadian expression, but what does it mean?

To the more than 200 Sixties Scoop survivors gathered at the Amiskwaciy Academy in Edmonton on March 1, 2018, the word is problematic. The hearing is the last of six events held across Alberta by the NDP government in an effort to make an upcoming government apology meaningful.

What ‘women’s conference’ is all about

The ‘Blues Sistas’ from Foothills Mennonite Church in Calgary lip sync to ‘Do You Love Me?’ by the Blues Brothers during the talent show at this year’s MC Alberta women’s retreat. Pictured from left to right: LaVerna Elliot, Jenny Hiebert, Linda Bohnet, and Charlotte Mikalson. (Photo by Helena Ball)

Recently I was asked what is so special about the Mennonite Church Alberta women’s retreat.

I remember, as a kid, my mom leaving us in my father’s care in order to go to “women’s conference.” We had a big family, and for my mom to take time away from the conference was something unheard of.

Butternut bisque recipe

It takes commitment to use up 18 large squash. Pictured with the squash is April Klassen. (Photo courtesy of Erin Froese)

Sharing soup builds community. (Photo courtesy of Erin Froese)

Last fall when Erin Froese and her household received the gift of many large squash they had trouble using it all up. They made a couple large pots of Butternut bisque and invited their neighbours to join them for a winter soup night.

Squash: A main course for fellowship

Erin Froese enjoys turning squash into butternut bisque for those who live in her intentional community and the guests who join them. (Photo courtesy of Erin Froese)

Butternut Bisque

When a friend asked me last spring if I would like to live with nine other people for the following school year, my initial reaction was a firm no. I couldn’t imagine figuring out all of the details like eating, cleaning, sharing spaces and resolving conflicts, among many others. Despite my hesitation, somehow I found myself agreeing to this adventure in intentional communal living.

Passover

Photo by Sam Steiner / Mennonite Archives of Ontario

This image of a Passover meal appears next to Exodus 12 in a Bible published in Zurich in 1531. The idea of owning a family Bible, especially in one’s own language, was very new at the time for families of modest means. This particular Bible travelled from Switzerland to Pennsylvania to Ontario with the Reesor family of Markham.

Words worth considering

‘We have a responsibility to our sons to break down the systems of emotional constriction that lead so many men to have lives of quiet desperation and depression,’ says scholar Jackson Katz. (Photo by The Representation Project)

During a Facebook livestream on Ash Wednesday, podcaster and author Mike McHargue made an emotional plea for men to reconsider what masculinity looks like. (MikeMcHargue.com photo)

‘[A] man is empathetic, because a man who is not afraid of his own feelings is not afraid of the feelings of other people,’ says Mike McHargue. (Photo by The Representation Project)

Loneliness, alienation and desperation are at the root of mass violence and suicide, Mike McHargue says. (Photo by The Representation Project)

Although many brave young people have spoken up in the aftermath of last month’s school shooting in Parkland, Fla., to advocate for tighter gun regulations in the U.S., it’s words spoken by a man in his 40s that I keep coming back to.

OK Economy Store

Katie Funk Wiebe Photo Collection / Centre for Mennonite Brethren Studies

“In the spring of 1928, not quite 15 years after the settlement had begun, Jake Funk opened the new red-brick store on a prominent corner of Main Street in Blaine Lake, Sask.

The way of the open palm

Thien Phuoc Quang Tran is a 2017-18 Mennonite World Conference/International Volunteer Exchange Program (IVEP) intern serving in the MCC United Nations office in New York City. He is pictured in the Security Council hall of the United Nations. (MCC photo by Doug Hostetter)

Growing up as a preacher’s son, I was immersed in Christian values. Every memory I have revolves around Vietnamese Mennonite Church in Ho Chi Minh City. I learned the way of Christ: to love my neighbours and to give to the poor. 

Who is my neighbour?

Screenshot from an episode of CBC Radio’s show “Out in the Open,” which originally aired Jan. 8, 2017. The photo appears on the Farmers with Firearms Facebook page.

Farmers with Firearms are flexing on Facebook. Indigenous activists are indignant. Justin Trudeau is straining to hit all the enlightened notes, as usual. And Murray Sinclair is urging justice reform, again. 

JoinMen for a better world

Representatives of the organization Mennonite Men call for truth-telling about sexual abuse and invite men to embrace a healthy masculinity. From left to right: Don Neufeld, Steve Thomas and Hans Peters.

In recent months there has been unprecedented exposure of sexually predatory men in high places, as well as unprecedented violence perpetrated by solitary men with little or no regard for human life.

Receiving is important

Ryan Siemens

The tale “The Christmas Guest,” as told by Johnny Cash on his album Christmas with Johnny Cash, is a fable about an old man, Conrad, who receives a message from an angel that the Lord will appear to him on Christmas Eve. Conrad readies his place, expectant for Jesus to knock at his door. But throughout the night, Jesus doesn’t appear as expected.

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