Pay attention to artists
Thanks for your willingness to address tough issues facing the church and other institutions in our society. I appreciate your attempt at enlarging the tent by listening to voices that have been marginalized.
It is hard work to really listen to a voice that is different from the majority, and much easier to be defensive, vilify and shut out opinions. Artists—whether novelists, poets, painters or performers—often come with a prophetic message we do well to pay attention to. As Will Braun points out (“The institution of messiness,” September 22), they may have something valuable to offer and we are the losers if we shut them out. Thanks for bringing to our attention the hurt that Di Brandt has experienced over the years (“Poetic justice,” September 22). I trust that your efforts will help us hear her message more clearly. Perhaps her voice has already brought about change over the years with respect to the issues she’s addressed, but we still have a long way to go.
—Abe Bergen, Winnipeg, Manitoba (Bethel Mennonite Church)
A day for disappointment
On September 30, National Day for Truth and Reconciliation, many activities took place that brought meaning to the day. The following Monday, the federal government gave its branches a paid holiday. Instead of dedicating a working day to making reparations to Indigenous peoples, the members of our government rewarded themselves with a day off. I am surprised there is no major blowback to this. I just don’t get it.
—John Pries, St. Jacobs, Ontario (First Mennonite Church, Kitchener)