The limits of control

(Photo by Daniele Colucci/Unsplash)

I am always interested in the impact of culture on faith, and vice versa. Western culture places a high value on personal agency, the ability to make individual decisions that impact one’s future. Other cultures understand that there are many forces beyond one’s control that limit autonomy, such as extended family needs or unjust political and economic contexts. Of course, both are true.

Song inspired by peace chief

Doug and June Krehbiel sing “Creation is a Song / Ho’ė enemeohe” from Voices Together.

In Canada, conversations about reconciliation with Indigenous peoples are often at the forefront of community and public life. These discussions extend to our worship practices as we consider how our corporate expressions of praise and community can emulate Jesus by being more just.

What is a Mennonite?

Kevin Barkowsky (seated third from left) pictured in Vietnam last month. (Photo courtesy of Kevin Barkowsky)

Last month I was sleeping in my hotel in Vietnam when loud karaoke music started playing outside. The music was so loud that I thought my window was open, so I turned the lights on to check, but no, the window was closed. I put my earplugs in, put my pillow over my head and fell back to sleep.

Gilbert Snider

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

Gilbert Snider stokes his wood-fed, maple-syrup evaporator in rural Waterloo County in 1954. The photographer, David L. Hunsberger, took many photos of working life in Ontario’s Waterloo Region. How much do you know about the working lives of your fellow churchgoers?

Driving Miss Darcie

(Photo by Markus Spiske/Unsplash)

A few weeks ago I sent a text to a friend who I hadn’t seen for quite some time. Although we’d been in touch several times throughout the pandemic, we were long overdue for a face-to-face visit. I had no idea that the timing of this text would set my schedule askew for the next few weeks in the way that it did.

My friend has lived through some significant life experiences.

Practising for tragedy

(Photo by Anneli Loepp Thiessen)

(Photo by Anneli Loepp Thiessen)

It’s no secret that there are gaps in our congregational song. In particular, gaps in the kinds of words we have available for moments of crisis, despair and loss. Voices Together sought to speak into this opening, and features many resources that offer new words for these moments.

The pendulum, Hegel and Christ

(Photo by Sunder Muthukumaran/Unsplash)

Some have described history as a series of pendulum swings, oscillating from one extreme to the other, between tyranny and freedom, conservatism and liberalism, progress and tradition. It has also been said, the pendulum always swings too far, meaning when we find ourselves in one extreme, there tends to be an overcorrection that takes us too far in the other direction.

CMC Yearbooks

(Photo: Conrad Stoesz)

The Konferenz der Mennoniten in Canada—now Mennonite Church Canada—was formed in 1902. In 1928, the conference started publishing an official Jahrbuch (yearbook) which documented proceedings and decisions at the annual gatherings.

Beyond free speech

(Photo by Claudio Schwarz/Unsplash)

The fellows at the next table were running on and on about refugees. So many false statements! I gritted my teeth as I sipped my coffee that morning. “No!” I wanted to holler, millions of refugees were not going to overrun Canada. Then the fellows changed topics. It got worse. The new topic was climate change.


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