Readers write: January 20, 2020 issue

January 15, 2020 | Opinion | Volume 24 Issue 2
Various Contributors |
(Graphic by Betty Avery)

High praise from a loyal reader

I look forward to reading Canadian Mennonite.

The contributions are usually wide-ranging, with sermon-based feature articles that I find uplifting and confirming. The Opinion section with its “Readers write” letters gives me an idea about what and how Mennonite people think. News from Mennonite Central Committee (MCC) brings back memories from the time I was involved with MCC, and I like to read about problems and successes it has at the present time.

The columns by Troy Watson speak especially to me; they are relevant in content to our postmodern time, written honestly with clarity and humility. I also usually find Will Braun’s articles quite challenging.

I wish you wisdom and God’s guidance in putting the next issue together.

—Helmut Lemke, Vancouver
The writer is a member of Point Grey Inter-Mennonite Fellowship, Vancouver.


Freedom of speech a ‘controversial’ issue for readers

Re:Freedom of speech for Christian media?” Dec. 9, page 9.

Um, really? Kevin Barkowsky thinks we should let leaders keep “controversial” issues secret? You know, like not disclosing abuse or misconduct by Roman Catholic priests, Southern Baptist pastors or Bill Hybels at Willow Creek? (The Roman Catholic sex abuse scandal was first broken by the National Catholic Reporter, a church publication, in the mid-1980s.)

Or keeping quiet about financial mismanagement, like what happened in the Canadian Mennonite Brethren conference or the Harvest Bible Chapel in the United States? Or how Mennonites kept quiet about the sexual misconduct of John Howard Yoder?

I could go on and on. 

And who gets to define what’s controversial in the first place?

Sorry, but Christians of all denominations should be glad there is a church press keeping watch. Church leaders in the past have shown little or no interest in disclosing these issues.

And they should also be worried about the perilous state of those same church publications. What will happen if they all disappear? Then the Kevin Barkowskys of the world get to decide what average members should know—or not know.

—John Longhurst (Facebook comment)


What a bitter and distorted view of media in general.

“Secular media outlets have a freedom-of-speech right to publish whatever their editor thinks will draw consumers to them.”

I mean the rest of this opinion piece makes sense if you operate on this premise. I won’t be so foolish as to claim that yes—there is business/viewership involved—but the journalists, reporters and editors I know are not willing to prostrate themselves on the altar of views.

All the journalists I know work on trying to be as accurate as they can be, checking and rechecking sources, and ensuring that they are not contributing to misinformation. However, if you simply believe they are looking for hit pieces that subscribe to their own preconceived bias as their basis for every story, then I guess what Barkowsky writes makes sense. 

As for Christian media, if you want to find biased media, look no further. Christian media is supported heavily by “Christian” money, which is primarily held by sources of a traditionalist mindset. As someone who has worked extensively in Christian media, I can attest that I have watched stories be actively killed because some donor would not like it.

I was never allowed to have a Canadian Mennonite University biology professor on to talk about Earth Day because they might say something about evolution or climate change.

No thank you. The church needs journalists who expose the dirty truth of leaders, like the prophets of old did.

—Kyle Rudge (Facebook comment)


What an interesting selective reading of that bit of scripture!

We seem to be elevating leaders while skipping neatly over Galatians 2:6: “And from those who were supposed to be acknowledged leaders (what they actually were makes no difference to me; God shows no partiality)—those leaders contributed nothing to me.” 

—Matthew Froese (Facebook comment)


This is incredibly disappointing.

At a time when many women, children, people of colour and LGBTQ+ people are struggling to tell their stories of abuse and prejudice, especially by church leaders, we are supposed to stay quiet and let our leaders handle it? We need our media (#truthandlove #powercorrupts).

—Jon Brandt (Facebook comment)

(Graphic by Betty Avery)

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