Readers write: September 19, 2022 issue

September 14, 2022 | Opinion | Volume 26 Issue 19
(Graphic by Betty Avery)

Two editorials lauded
Two things not up for debate” and “Acting ‘a little strange’ ” editorials, May 16 and June 27, respectively.

What a great editorial. You are expressing my thoughts completely. When the abortion question was discussed in the 1980s at conference and at our Mennonite Central Committee board, I voiced similar thoughts, and many men present were shocked. Having worked in Haiti with women struggling to feed their families, and in Canada with women shamed for becoming pregnant, I had given this concern much thought. What is worse: for a pregnancy to cause break-up in the family, or for an abortion with possible death of the mother?

Also appreciated your June 27 editorial. A good friend said recently, if Jesus and his sackcloth friend, John, lived in our town, would I be attracted to these men living “beatnik” style lives? Made me wonder about myself. In the Bible, we read and thoughtfully reflect on his words, without actually seeing these simple, out-of-the-mainstream men.
—Margot Fieguth, Waterloo,, Ont.
The writer attends Waterloo North Mennonite Church.


No prior claim to Niagara, reader claims
We gratefully acknowledge . . .” feature, June 27, page 4.

Due to the checkered history of southern Ontario, we do not have as many opportunities to acknowledge prior ownership of the lands we live on, as do some other parts of the country.

Although there are smatterings of archaeological remains in the Niagara Region dating back some 15,000 years, settlements of any size only date from the development of agriculture as the main food-producing activity a couple of centuries before the arrival of the Europeans.

When the French first visited the area, Niagara was populated by an Iroquoian people, known to the French as Neutrals, because they did not take part in the wars between the Hurons to the north and the (then) Five Nations to the east. With the decimation of the Hurons by the Five Nations during 1648-50, the Five Nations then turned on the Neutrals and effectively eliminated them from history.

After 1650, there were no permanent settlements in the Niagara area until the 1780s, except for the French (later British) Fort Niagara on the east side of the Niagara River. Traders and hunters, including Quebecois and Mississauga members, occasionally traversed the area.

After the success of the American Revolution, King George III and governors Carleton and Haldimand provided land for loyalist refugees in Canada, as they did for members of the (now) Six Nations who had supported the British. Haldimand did pay the Mississauga a nominal sum for the land along the Grand River, which the Six Nations now occupy.

So land ownership in Niagara and along the Grand River was granted by the British Crown for services rendered, and there was never any suggestion in 1780, or afterwards, that an existing Indigenous nation had a prior claim to Niagara.
—Kevin McCabe, St. Catharines, Ont.
The writer attends Grace Mennonite Church, St. Catharines.


Curiosity and patience can bring insight
Re: “My opinion on opinions,” June 27, page 12.

Who would have guessed that Troy Watson’s column would have included the gem, “Humility, inquisitiveness, curiosity and creativity open us up to the flow of insight and inspiration”?

For those who appreciate his bit of navel gazing and sage advice, you might also appreciate the philosophy and teaching of Eduardo de Bono, the founder and principal teacher of “lateral thinking.” De Bono has helped me throughout my adult life, in my work and as a parent, and especially as a parent of children “on the spectrum.” We’ve learned to slow down and rethink actions and reactions for better results. For example, we’ve learned to teach about time by removing the second and minute hands from the clocks in the house.

It took me forever to figure out why my son would reject toonies and loonies for lunch money but loved a five-dollar bill. After rejecting four toonies for a five-dollar bill one day, when he was well aware of the difference in value, I asked him to explain. He, of course, thought that the reason was obvious, but he humoured his not-so-smart father and explained that when you have paper money the cashier is always obligated to figure out the change; when you have the change, you must calculate the amount yourself, and could be embarrassed for not knowing the amount quickly.

Many other lessons have been learned through curiosity and patience. Thanks for the reminder.
—Peter Dueck, Vancouver


Warning labels should suffice for works by disgraced authors, preachers
Counterpoint: Sinful teachers should find other ways to serve God” letter, Aug. 22, page 8.

Carol Penner addresses a serious concern, but I believe she must be reminded that these men did not write immoral heresy, although their conduct was wrong, abusive and destructive.

Are we in agreement that there is an element of duplicity in the complexity of thoughts and behaviours of our lives? Horrifying when it becomes obvious for those who serve in public service.

I suggest a statement describing the author’s immoral realities could be printed in the preface to their books or videos. Readers and viewers could then choose to read the book or watch the video.

As a teacher, Penner must decide if she wants to keep promoting John Howard Yoder and Bruxy Cavey in her class material.

But I believe that both Yoder and Cavey do not represent all of the pitfalls and traps that must be avoided. The issues are more complex. I also believe that university students are reading books and discussing issues that are more potentially dangerous to them than an author who wrote well but messed up sorrowfully.
—David Shantz, Montreal

(Graphic by Betty Avery)

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