‘Just one more example of a privileged western interpretation’
Re: “A peace that ignores Jesus’ atoning work” review of A Palestinian Theology of Liberation, April 9, page 24.
While I have high respect for reviewer Harold Jantz and his work within the Mennonite church, I can’t help thinking that he has provided just one more example of a privileged western interpretation of a book that rightly tries to help an oppressed and marginalized people find meaning within Scripture.
We seem to have precious little sympathy for the many stories of Jesus confronting the powers on behalf of, or in contrast to, those who are poor, marginalized and dispossessed. We much prefer to focus on other things, like our individual salvation, God’s blessings as evidenced by material wealth, and life in the sweet hereafter.
Whether it is the liberation theology of South and Central America, of the Middle East or of our own Indigenous peoples, we would do ourselves a favour by trying more to understand why the Jesus of the New Testament has such appeal to people who have been oppressed by colonialism, slavery, economic exploitation and other existential realities that were common during his time.
To me, it has become more important to worry less about a correct hermeneutic than to know that Arab, Egyptian and Palestinian Christians still find meaning in the Christ of the New Testament. How, after all, will I be able to find meaningful fellowship with Indigenous Christians who will find—and are finding—a truth of their own in the Jesus accounts but who don’t necessarily pay enough attention to the “atoning work” noted by Jantz in his review.
If we wish to be honest with ourselves as Anabaptists, I think we need to be ready to listen very carefully to the voices from the margins. After all, we were there once ourselves, and the 16th century world didn’t exactly look too kindly on our disruptive hermeneutic.
—Peter Andres, Chilliwack, B.C.
Quibbles about covers
Re: “Shekinah cabin built off the grid,” April 23, pages 1 and 14.
The article title is “Shekinah cabin built off the grid,” yet the cover photograph shows a volunteer with an electrical tool with a cord connecting it to the grid. Not sure if the title is appropriate. After reading the article, maybe a more appropriate title would be “Shekinah cabin built to be off the grid.”
—Victor Huebert, Kingsville, Ont.
Re: “Hidden stories of the Holocaust,” April 9, pages 1 and 12.
I was completely disgusted that a Christian magazine would carry such a violent picture on its front page. I am also amazed that these so-called scholars can sit in their comfortable offices and deride the actions of the Mennonites who were in such desperate situations of the day. I assume these scholars think that all Mennonites of the day were strong believers of the teachings of Jesus Christ.
—Fred Bartel, Richmond B.C.