Recommendation of same-sex inclusion will lead to exodus
Re: “It could soon be ‘time to run’ ” letter, April 25, 2016, page 10.
This letter refers to the upcoming Assembly 2016 in Saskatoon assembly and the recommendation that “we create space/leave room within our body to test alternative understandings [of same-sex issues] . . . .”
I concur wholeheartedly that, should the assembly vote to retain this clause, we will see a mass exodus of members and also some churches leaving Mennonite Church Canada. We have already experienced the severance of several churches who have left MC Canada for this reason. Should an affirmative vote come to pass, I would reiterate the previous writer’s comment that it is “time to run.”
Rudy Kasdorf, Abbotsford, B.C.
Thanks for Peter Harder story
Re: "I am proud of my roots,” April 25, page 19.
We so enjoy reading Canadian Mennonite and want to thank you for it, especially the article about Peter Harder. I was moved to greater thankfulness that we, as Mennonites, have a man like Peter Harder.
We know many of his family here in Niagara; in fact, we have gone to school with some of them. He has such a very positive testimony and influence in high places. His 30 years of work with the government and his position in the Senate—which has rightfully been under severe scrutiny—is so commendable. He ought to know that many of us are very concerned with where Canada is headed and are so thankful that a man like him has our full confidence and support; we trust him implicitly to do what is required. May God bless him in his responsibilities.
We know the Abram Harder story so well, as our parents and forefathers were forced out of Russia and were privileged to come to Canada, where they started all over again. We have enjoyed our life here so much.
My wife Erna and I were privileged to go to Siberia with Mennonite Central Committee and spend 12 years with the Mennonites who were exiled there. We lived in the village of Neudachino, whose residents speak Low German. The people there shared many stories of the difficult trek from Ukraine to Siberia. We found 23 Mennonite villages in the area between Omsk and Novosibirsk, full of Mennonites who were unknown in the Mennonite world. Today, there is a fairly strong conference there.
Ben Falk, Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ont.
How can Mennonites find their place in the world?
In the first, Stuart Murray says, “Christians need to ask themselves, ‘Do we really think we have good news to share?’ ” He is referring to evangelism in a postmodern world.
In the second, the story is told of early Mennonite converts in Colombia in 1949: Tulio and Sofia Pedraza. The article asks us to reflect on Tulio’s “costly” discipleship in which he loses his business, respect in the community and friendships in order to wave the Mennonite banner and “overcome evil with good,” as the headline indicates. I would assume the evildoers were the Roman Catholic Church and his friends and neighbours who ultimately brought about his and his family’s misery and demise. I wonder how the Pedraza family’s lives would have been if he had continued attending mass and building and selling coffins?
Charlie Smith, Allan, Sask.
Puzzled by the word ‘missional’
Re: “What’s up with Mennos and mission?” April 25, page 4.
I have been puzzled by the word “missional” ever since it was introduced to the Mennonite vocabulary. This timely, articulate article by Deborah Froese tells me that I am not alone.
I like words and have wondered about who was that smart Menno who invented “missional” and decided that “mission” was not enough or was too much. Or was it borrowed from the Lutherans or Anglicans? I will admit that I’m still stuck on “mission(s)”. Growing up, our church had a “general” budget and a “missions” budget. We supported wonderful, dedicated and heroic missionaries in foreign countries whose job it was to convert the many heathen to Christianity. Once a year our missionaries would come home on “furlough” for a rest, and seek a new mandate and funding for the next year. Being a missionary was the highest calling, next to being a preacher.
Things have changed. We no longer commission missionaries, we no longer have separate “missions” budgets, and we question evangelism, especially when it borders on “cultural genocide.” However, some of us still want to “save souls,” but we are unsure of ourselves with political correctness and all.
We are relieved that the church has invented/adopted the “missional” concept. As I understand it, this is the concept that has all Christians thinking and acting like little missionaries, but doing it with gentleness and less aggression.
Many have learned to appreciate the new approach to evangelism and have learned to follow the nuance. Others of us find it awkward and invasive, and wonder what’s wrong with just being neighbourly, kind, generous and forgiving, and letting the Spirit do the rest.
Peter A Dueck, Vancouver
Peter A. Dueck is a member of First United Mennonite Church, Vancouver.
Tearing down must give way to building up
Re: “Living with paradoxes” editorial, March 14, page 2.
Dick Benner writes, “If you don’t agree, leave or form a new organization . . . leaving a trail of schisms that have marred our witness as peacemakers in a troubled world.”
I was involved in a different fellowship for almost 35 years, including 20-plus years pastoring and rebuilding split, broken, wounded congregations and people. My observations from those years are that splits have little to do with God, godliness or scriptural integrity. It always puzzled me how we espouse a concept of God’s truth being progressive until we disagree with a particular truth, then we set off to be self-appointed arbiters of truth—defending God’s truth—and set up yet another bastion of real truth.
In my faith journey, I’ve found truth isn’t always sanitized, easy to see, follow, or, in all honesty, what I really want—no matter how much I need it. Sometimes I wonder how proud God is with the actions of his children? We seem to be more proficient at tearing down than at building up, something Jesus did at great cost to himself.
Love doesn’t need agreement, acceptance or obedience to be exercised, expressed or given. Love is not earned, it is extended, just as Jesus gives, usually when we are least deserving. Imagine the impact of living that kind of love within the family of God! Perhaps the world would be more receptive to our message if they saw it in action—in us.
Peter Lippmann, Dundurn, Sask.