Readers write: April 25, 2016 issue

April 20, 2016 | Viewpoints | Volume 20 Issue 9

‘You betcha’ climate change is real

Re: “Is climate change real?” by Will Braun, Feb. 29, page 17.

Is climate change real? You betcha!

Just ask northerners who are seeing their ice roads, permafrost and sea ice disappearing from warmer winters. Just ask people in Calgary, Toronto and along the Assiniboine River in Manitoba who have experienced record floods from overheated rain clouds. Just ask those in coastal communities experiencing more flooding as warmer seas expand onto their lands. All of this from just a one-degree C increase in global average temperatures since pre-industrial times.

Braun’s tepid embrace of the consensus warnings from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s hundreds of professional climate scientists and the sponsoring nations of the world undermines the urgency of our climate crisis.

He also fails to mention the recent Paris climate meetings, at which 195 countries agreed that “climate change represents an urgent and potentially irreversible threat to human societies and the planet and . . . that deep reductions in global emissions will be required.”

Global warming is accelerating in recent decades. While computer models cannot predict every blip along the way, they do point to the grave, long-term risks of further delay.

The simplest and most comprehensive way to address this problem is to put a rising fee on carbon emissions and return the revenues to Canadian households on an equitable basis, as advocated by the Citizens Climate Lobby. Our own first ministers, in their Vancouver Declaration on Clean Growth and Climate Change, agreed to include carbon-pricing mechanisms in their comprehensive approach to climate change. We now need to insist that these words be turned into action very soon.

Doug Pritchard, Toronto


Discern God’s will in order to be a faithful church

William Booth (1829-1912), founder of the Salvation Army, wrote, “I consider that the chief dangers which confront the coming century will be religion without the Holy Ghost, Christianity without Christ, forgiveness without repentance, salvation without regeneration, politics without God, and heaven without hell.”

We have arrived at this time in history. The past 100 years of postmodern history has seen incredible advancement in every area of life, both for good and bad. For example, in communication and evangelism, the whole world can be reached with the gospel; we are living in the final age of worldwide evangelism. People who are seeking Allah are finding Jesus.

We are also living in times of worldwide fear of terrorism, nuclear war, persecution, erosion of Christian freedoms, diminishing church values and doctrines, and the imposition of lifestyles contrary to Scripture. They say just love God and your neighbour, forgetting that God is holy and just. He came to transform people’s lives by his indwelling Spirit of grace and forgiveness (Colossians 2:8, 3:1-17). His Spirit, like the wind, is mysterious and powerful, working according to his own will (I Corinthians 12:11).

To the extent that we earnestly ask, seek and knock, God will reveal his will, but never contrary to the living Word. As the Beatitudes become our attitude, the Ten Commandments our actions, and the Lord’s Prayer our prayer, may his people be united to further his kingdom. May his will be done on earth as it is in heaven.

C. Neil Klassen, Rosemary, Alta.


Structural problems aren’t what’s ailing MC Canada

I would like to commend editor Dick Benner for his boldness in critiquing the proposal for restructuring Mennonite Church Canada and the area churches. I, too, believe that the current proposal seriously misses the mark of what needs to change.

Some years ago now we concluded we had a structural problem and we dissolved the General Conference. That did not solve everything, so we concluded we were suffering from “too radical a congregationalism,” and we restructured the Conference of Mennonites in Canada, and, among other things, essentially removed debate and resolutions on the floor and empowered the General Board to make decisions for us.

Now, facing a financial crisis, we have again concluded that the problem is structural, and are proposing that what we actually need is a “more radical congregationalism.” When ministerial leadership gathers, we even want to call that a congregation.

Let us liberate ourselves from the bias that when anything goes wrong it must be a problem of structure. We could focus our attention on some other options:

  • The rapid slide into the pleasures of an extravagant lifestyle.
  • The hoarding of unprecedented levels of wealth.
  • Our deep integration into the mainstream cultural identity.
  • Allowing the laws of the land to become our teacher and mentor in the decisions of faithful Christian living.

No doubt, there are some structural adjustments that need to be, and could be, made. My fear, however, is that the current proposal will take up all our energy over the next four or five years, and by then we will conclude again that we have a structural problem.

David Neufeld, Herschel, Sask.


Simple speech preferred to professorial pontifications

Re: “Living with paradoxes,” March 14, page 2.

After reading this editorial, I wonder if I can make a suggestion: Now, more than ever, when our leaders speak, we need them to be very plain and simple in their speech. No more “paradoxical curiosity,” “forced dualistic categories” stuff.

Not all of us understand our leaders when they sound like one professor talking to another. Use the “keep it simple, stupid” (KISS) principle. When an issue is smothered in language that few can grasp, it loses its importance and meaning.

Did Jesus speak in a way that only a few could understand or did his simplicity cause his words to echo down the ages to us?  

Malcolm MacDonald, Perth East, Ont.


It could soon be ‘time to run’

Re: “We are in a heap of trouble,” Oct. 12, 2015, page 18.

After seven years of words on the Being a Faithful Church process, we have had too many opinions and the discussion has become wearisome. The words are endless and the point is lost.

Sex has become an impure and cheap expression because of the broken roles of male and female sexuality. The cultural reasoning of our times, and the leaning of the Mennonite church to be politically correct, means we have forgotten that the duty of mankind is to honour God and obey him. We need to blame ourselves for not teaching the dangers and implications of sexual diversity.

At the delegate assembly in Saskatoon in 2016, the recommendation is that “we create space/leave room within our body to test alternative understandings [of same-sex issues] from that of the larger body, to see if they are a prophetic nudging of the Spirit of God.”

If Mennonite Church Canada votes to retain this clause, then it is time to run.

LaEtta Erb, Ste. Agathe, Man.

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