“Most of us harbour a degree of financial neurosis, tinged with religious uptightness,” Will Braun, Canadian Mennonite’s resident ranter, says at the start of his latest video.
Follow our pigpen pundit once around the barn on his southern Manitoba farmyard as he explains what really gets his goat about Mennonites and money.
We are now living in a full-blown digital world. With just one click or voice command we can ask Google for a chicken recipe, order office supplies or give to our favourite charity online.
As a kid, I grew up with the ritual of walking to the front of my church and dropping a few coins in the donation box every Sunday. But as I was sitting in church several months ago, a hymn playing on the piano and the offering basket passing through my hands, I realized that I don’t donate to my church.
The Waterloo Region chapter of Women Empowering Women (WEW) meets quarterly to nurture connections and friendships, to be inspired and to raise funds that support women in developing economies. As an auxiliary group of Mennonite Economic Development Associates (MEDA), it supports MEDA’s international work of “helping women move into more valued and equitable roles in their economies.”
We are daily awash in choices and opportunities, and many of us are affluent enough to be able to choose among many options. Many of us make many choices even before we get out the door in the morning. Our stomachs are full, we live in fine houses, our income and assets have grown, our retirement funds are increasing, and our possessions keep multiplying.
Early last year I decided to give a few dollars to any panhandler I encountered. I made sure to keep loonies, toonies and quarters in my car in case someone approached me while I was stopped at a red light.
Jesus said, “So when you give to the poor, do not sound a trumpet before you, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, so that they may be honored by men. Truly I say to you, they have their reward in full. But when you give to the poor, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your giving will be in secret; and your Father who sees what is done in secret will reward you” (Matt. 6:2-4).