Suicide may not be painless, but it is selfish
Re: “Suicide isn’t painless,” May 21, page 16.
I sympathize deeply with the Brandt/Penner family. My cousin used a gun to end his life; a very deep depression must have affected them both.
It’s difficult to say, but it seems to me that suicide is a very selfish act and inconsiderate of family, as evidenced by the turmoil both families experienced.
Maybe we all understand it as selfish act but hesitate to say it. Could the selfish nature of it deter others?
—Victor Huebert, Kingsville, Ont.
Is MC Canada on the wrong side of history?
Re: “MC Canada working groups call for sanctions against Israel,” May 21, page 28, and, “Mennonite arrested at Kinder Morgan pipeline protest,” May 7, pages 18-19.
I find it disturbing that Mennonite Church Canada has become more involved in politics that are none of our business.
Media reporting on the Israeli-Palestinian situation has been particularly one-sided. We have to remember that the Holocaust during the Second World War is very much on the minds of the Israelis. My heart goes out to the Christians in Palestine who live in the midst of a population that is determined to erase Israel. The Palestinian Christians cannot openly oppose the hostility of their people towards Israel if they want to survive.
Quoting the Qur’an, Jordanian Sheikh Ahmed Aladoan clearly states: “Allah gave the Holy Land to the sons of Israel until the Day of Judgment” (Surah Al-Ma’ida, verse 21), and that “the land was bequeathed to the Jews” (Surah Al-Shara’a, verse 59).
And in the Bible, God said to Abraham: “All the land that you see I will give to you and your offspring forever” (Genesis 13:15). God promised to bless those who would bless Abraham and his descendants, and he would curse those who would curse Abraham’s descendants.
Are we working for the blessing of Israel or for its destruction? Perhaps we may find ourselves on the wrong side of history. Therefore, let’s keep our church out of politics.
Our mission is to go into the world and preach the gospel and make disciples for Jesus (Matthew 28:19-20). There is plenty of room for that right here in our society. The ignorance of the Scriptures in our churches has led us to where we are right now.
—Isaak Eitzen, St. Catharines, Ont.
The author is a member of St. Catharines United Mennonite Church.
Ideas like ‘the Fall’ keep thinking people from embracing the church
Re: “God judges differently than we do” letter, May 7, page 11.
Jim Demers states: “With all that is going on concerning sexuality, it all comes down to this—‘The Fall of Man’ as recorded in Genesis 3—and that should be it. Nothing more. The Fall is the one and only reason Christ came to us.”
In response, I feel compelled to ask: What Fall? When did this happen? What did we fall from?
In 2018, is it any wonder that thinking, educated people are not exactly beating down the doors of our churches to fill our pews and increase our offerings? We now have all the verifiable proof we need to know that there never was a time when human beings were not killing, stealing, raping and so much more.
Dear pastors, please help us acquire—and witness—a faith that is as reasonable and realistic as we can manage alongside all the mystery. It will certainly sometimes cause us discomfort, but the alternative is even more concerning.
—Ron Hiller, Kitchener, Ont.
The author is a member of First Mennonite Church, Kitchener.
Heinrichs' protest mirrors Christ overturning the moneychangers’ tables
Re: “Both ends of the pipeline,” June 4, page 18.
We are walkers from the 2017 Pilgrimage for Indigenous Rights, a 600-kilometre walk supporting Bill C-262 as a framework to harmonize Canada’s laws with the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.
Parliament passed Bill C-262 while we attended a Blue Quills First Nations University cultural camp at the end of May. The pilgrimage strengthened our connection to issues in Indigenous-settler relations, but the cultural camp cemented them. Building face-to-face relations with Indigenous people is a powerful tool to understanding the many perspectives underlying topics like the pipeline expansion.
Steve Heinrichs' involvement in the protest followed the request of Will George, project leader of Protect the Inlet and member of the Tsleil-Waututh Nation, who called on spiritual leaders and people of faith “to stand with us in our defence of the land and the waters . . . for the sake of reconciliation and decolonization.”
Heinrichs' Mennonite Church Canada role, intimate connections with Indigenous nations across Canada, his leadership in the pilgrimage, and his personal commitment led to his protest. In our opinion, this kind of prophetic witness, which parallel’s Jesus’ overturning tables of the moneychangers, is often missing from church and other institutional leadership.
The Canadian government’s decision to push ahead with the pipeline does not have the free, prior and informed consent of the Tsleil-Waututh, Secwepemc, Athabasca Chipewyan, Beaver Lake Cree, and other nations. Additionally, the Union of B.C. Indian Chiefs remains steadfast in its outright opposition to the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion. Canada’s government must not be satisfied with obtaining agreement from a few First Nations.
We stand in support of Heinrichs' actions, as an individual, and as a representative of MC Canada.
—Steve Manske, Gini Bechtel, Cass Bangay, Kathy Moorhead Thiessen, Chuck Wright, Kitchener, Ont.
Need to listen to both sides of pipeline issue
Dear brothers and sisters in Alberta and B.C.:
Although Steve Heinrichs may live and work in Manitoba, he does not speak for or represent the viewpoints of all Christians or Mennonites in that province. I am willing to bet that he did not travel by foot or bicycle to protest the Kinder Morgan Trans Mountain Pipeline. Therefore he was using fossil fuels in some fashion.
There are some of us in Manitoba who believe that his actions have caused more harm and division in the church and in Canada. Even our First Nations brothers and sisters cannot yet agree on how to approach the whole business of our reliance on fossil fuel, whether for transportation or jobs. We need to work with them at listening to both sides of the issue. I believe that we need to listen deeply and intelligently to all concerns and that we need to work at reconciliation rather than greater division.
—D. H. Adrian, Winnipeg