Opinion

Life can be real

(Photo by Vidar Nordli-Mathisen/Unsplash)

“Life can be real / on a snowmobile,” croons Canadian music legend Stompin’ Tom Connors in one of his many songs about Canadian life and culture. As someone who occasionally dabbles in songwriting myself, I have often had a chuckle when I hear that line with a bit of forced rhyme. What does “life can be real” mean anyway?

Kitchener MWC Assembly

(Photo: David L. Hunsberger / Mennonite Archives of Ontario)

Mennonite Publishing House occupies a corner in the Kitchener (Ont.) Auditorium with its bookstand at the Mennonite World Conference assembly in 1962. Three women in the foreground gravitate towards the parenting books and the bestselling Mennonite Community Cookbook, while two men browse titles related to missions.

‘Make your tents large’

(Photo by Cindy Chen/Unsplash)

In my federal voting life, I have voted only for the Liberal party.

When I suggested that as the opening sentence for my next Canadian Mennonite column, my two eldest granddaughters, 17 and 20, immediately began guessing at the percentage of readership that would immediately condemn me to the lake of fire.

Waldemar Janzen

(Photo: Mennonite Heritage Archives / Photo by Rudy Regehr, Canadian Mennonite Bible College Photo Collection)

At the 1970 Conference of Mennonites in Canada annual sessions in Winkler, Man., Waldemar Janzen, a Canadian Mennonite Bible College professor, gave a report on young people, stating: “Not everything is wrong with young people today. There is a great openness and honesty among youth today. There is a remarkable depth of insight into self and society.

Reta-coloured lenses

(Photo by Bud Helisson/Unsplash)

I’m not sure what happened over the past two years. Maybe I finally accepted that it’s over. We’ve passed the point of no return. Climate change; democracy collapse; and the death of common sense, dialogue and civility. This is our reality and it seems beyond repair.

A prayerful reflection on the protests of February 2022

(Photo by Naomi Mckinney/Unsplash)

Lord, in your mercy, hear our prayer.

When tensions grow, positions harden, and hearts grow cold, we call for Canadians to pause, step back and reflect.

We see that (on Feb. 3) Ontario declared a state of emergency because of protests in cities, towns and border crossings. Across the country, leaders at all levels of government are struggling to respond to protests.

Klippenstein house

(Photo: Mennonite Heritage Archives / Lawrence Klippenstein Photo Collection)

This is a photo of the home of Bernhard Klippenstein (1880-1973) and Maria (nee Dyck) Klippenstein (1882-1956) in Waldheim, Northwest Territories. They moved from Altbergthal, near Altona, Man., to Waldheim around 1902. They returned to Altbergthal around 1907.

CPT changed its name

CPT Iraqi Kurdistan met with Kak Bapir and some of the villagers of Basta village from the Pishdar district on Feb. 2, 2022. Basta villagers have been partnering with CPT since 2008. Basta village is one of the hundreds of villages that have been targeted and bombed by both Turkey and Iran for a long time. CPT is working alongside the villagers to stop the Turkish and Iranian cross-border bombings. (Photo courtesy of CPT)

The organization formerly known as Christian Peacemaker Teams has changed its name, replacing the meaning of that first letter with “Community.” I have two reactions. First, the name change is good for the organization. Second, it shows that the broader church has not caught the vision of the peacemaker Jesus.

Passing on what we have received

(Photo by Kelly Sikkema/Unsplash)

There is something about snowstorms that brings out the best in people. A stuck car will quickly attract a group to help push it out. My wife and I often find our neighbour has shovelled our walks before we get to them. After one particularly intense storm, six neighbours got their snowblowers together and worked in tandem to clear the street.

Harold Cardinal

(Photo: Mennonite Archives of Ontario)

Cree chief, lawyer and author Harold Cardinal speaks at a symposium on “Native Peoples” at the University of Waterloo, Ont., in 1976. The event was planned by Conrad Grebel College students, and attracted Indigenous students from other universities, as well as Dene and Haudenosaunee participants and civil servants.

Communion with creation

Arli Klassen stops for a picture by Grand River. 'I am learning to see who God is, and how God has revealed Godself to the world through the physicality of creation,' she writes. (Photo by Keith Regehr)

I’ve been pondering a new-to-me thought in the last few weeks. In reviewing the Scripture texts selected for Anabaptist World Fellowship Sunday this year, from the worship resources produced by Indonesian Anabaptist church leaders, I stayed with Psalm 104.

Solitude and community

(Photo by Matthew Henry/Unsplash)

Almost 400 years ago, the French mathematician and philosopher Blaise Pascal wrote, “All of humanity’s problems stem from [people’s] inability to sit quietly in a room alone.”

Pascal was probably being hyperbolic, but he was making a profound point, one that aligns with something I discovered and wrote about during my own recent season of solitude:

Be at peace?

(photo © istock / jeff kingma)

I once memorized Romans 12, and verse 18 always stuck with me: “If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone.” As Christians, shouldn’t we be at peace with everyone? Shouldn’t we make all efforts to mend relationships and right wrongs?

Well, maybe it doesn’t always work out that way.

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