Readers write: April 29, 2019 issue

April 24, 2019 | Opinion | Volume 23 Issue 9
Various Contributors |


Story makes you wonder why church is actually leaving
Re:Church of the Way to leave MC B.C.,” March 4, page 15.

The article says Church of the Way is joining the Evangelical Free Church of Canada (EFCC) because of the “Being a Faithful Church” resolution.

I found it interesting that the article does not state clearly which point of the quoted resolution is the issue. Is the congregation’s reason to leave because Mennonite Church B.C. is offering to share the love of Jesus to all people, or because it isn’t offering love that encompasses full acceptance?

I could not find the EFCC’s position on LGBTQ+ people, so, if Church of the Way’s reason to leave is the second point, I cheer it on, and hope that one day soon the Mennonite church will offer full acceptance.
—Laura Taylor, Mitchell, Ont.

More ways to help creation than ‘climate action’
Re:Reflections of creation,” March 4, page 4.

Thank you for addressing the issue of creation care. Anthony G. Siegrist and Scott Morton Ninomiya have presented interesting and important points to this timely topic. While the article deals specifically with “climate action,” I would like to add that Mennonite Central Committee’s thrift shops give us a practical way to think about reducing, reusing, repurposing and recycling—another action part of creation care.
—Jan Martens-Janzen, Kitchener, Ont.

How long is life?
Re:Can we talk about suicide?” March 4, page 10.

I read the thoughtful article about suicide by Melissa Miller. Then I read the online response by Elaine Fehr, who came to the conclusion that taking or assisting to end a person’s life is murder and not in God’s will.

I reflected on it, and wondered if prolonging one’s life beyond its time is also not in God’s will.

Many of us may want to stay alive or be with our beloved ones for as long as possible, and we use different procedures in an attempt to achieve that, even when our mind is already gone and we cannot respond anymore. Do we want to live in such a condition, and do our loved ones want that for us?

Should sustainment be achieved through artificial alimentation? When medication does not get results, should we employ new technology and connect artificial machinery to the body to keep it breathing for an extended period of time? Is that justified? Would that be in God’s will?

My wife was unexpectedly diagnosed with terminal lung cancer and she also had kidney failure from improper medication. Our doctor asked us if she should treat her cancer with painful chemotherapy and radiation to extend her life for perhaps a few more months.

Hildegard responded, “I am not afraid to die; in fact, I am curious to find out what comes afterwards.”

We thought about the consequences of such treatment and felt her time had come, and declined the doctor’s offer. My wife didn’t have to endure further pain in hospital and she died peacefully in my arms shortly afterwards.
—Helmut Lemke, Vancouver
The author is a member of Point Grey Inter-Mennonite Fellowship in Vancouver.

To say ‘glamour’ plays a role in where service is offered is unfair
Re:Should Thrift Store purchases be ‘designated’ to First Nations communities?” March 18, page 8.

I was disappointed in the last sentence of this letter. To suggest that where Mennonite Central Committee (MCC) works is chosen for its glamour is hardly fair. Throughout my lifetime, I have heard reports from missionaries and service workers who felt called by God to go to serve. We have seen people called to work in communities here in Canada and others called to work somewhere else in the world. As a young man, I felt called to MCC service in India.

As we look at the affluence of our people here in Canada, it’s unfortunate that we aren’t generous enough to keep supporting workers who are willing to give up this affluent lifestyle and go to serve wherever God calls them.

Learning tours like the one to Zimbabwe are a way of motivating people to get out of their comfort zone and see the world as a high percentage of this world’s people live it daily. It is much more like a university course than a holiday. People come back changed and with a new energy to help wherever they can.

May we all ask ourselves frequently, “What is God calling me to do?” There is so much need in this world, and so many places to help. How can we determine which country and which area is most important? In our present global community, everyone is our neighbour.
—Harold Penner, St. Malo, Man.

Editorial denouncing violence approaches ‘palpability’
Re:No more of this!” April 1, page 2.

Well written, emotionally expressive, touching. 

Matters of violence such as those readily picked from the multiple news feeds of our day do, indeed, drive a stake into our hearts. We who continue living in relatively peaceful environs, unaccustomed as we are to violent stimulation overload, are bombarded by visceral images, sounds, descriptions and witness reports so well described in this editorial.

Thank you for reflecting on, and giving witness to, our shared revulsion at such raw and blatant planned violence, especially in spaces we recognize, or think of, as safe, set apart, even sacred for presumably innocent gathered worshippers. Thank you for including the valiant vigorous attempt of the pastor to reach for a visceral effect in the denunciation. It was approaching palpability as I read these words. 
—Clare Neufeld, Parksville, B.C.

Carbon questions
Some scientists say fossil fuels, rich in carbon, are from living things fossilized many thousands of years ago. I ask, “Where was all that carbon before there were living things?”

Some scientists blame global warming on CO2 created by human industry. Some scientists tell us that Canada was covered by thick ice sheets 18,000 years ago. I ask, “Has not global warming been happening ever since, causing most of the ice to disappear without any aid from industrially created CO2?”

Some scientists claim that it’s the human-created greenhouse gas, CO2, that is causing global warming (climate change). Some scientists tell us that 95 percent of greenhouse gas is water vapour and 4 percent is CO2. I ask, “Does that not mean CO2 must be 25 times as effective as water vapour at trapping the sun’s heat in order to be equally significant?”

Some scientists tell us that of that 4 percent CO2, 3.4 percent is caused by human industrial activity, and Canada contributes about 1.5 percent of that 3.4 percent, so Canadian manufactured CO2 constitutes about 0.0005 percent of the world’s greenhouse gases. I ask, “What would be the effect of eliminating all Canadian-manufactured CO2?”

Some scientists tell us that climate change is unstoppable, at least by human intervention. I ask, “To actually be helpful, would it be better to focus ‘creation care’ considerations on something other than climate change?”
—John Hildebrand, Mississauga, Ont.

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"Cheering on" a congregation that is the product of 50 years of missional endeavour in a community with many challenges leaving, is incomprehensible to me. A congregation birthed through much sacrifice, by former and current leadership.

The congregation has discerned, along with numerous other congregations, that they cannot tarry any longer with MCBC and/or MC Canada.

At least two more congregations are in dialogue/discernment to leave MCBC, that I am aware of. So cheering on the demise of our communion is deeply painful, and unbecoming of a sister in the body of Christ.

Perhaps cheering on fashionable victimhood today is an expression of Christian faith in this day and age, but it is one I cannot bring myself to embrace.

"Fashionable victimhood"? Holy cow, that's uncharitable. That unkind perspective simply contributes to the victimization of people. No one has the right to pass judgment on whether someone else is hurting (I'm going to avoid the word "victim"). Anguish is not a fad, hurt is not a trend, and suffering doesn't go in and out of style. All of those things are painful emotions, and if someone is feeling them, no one else gets to say that they are just being "fashionable."

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