Editorial

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Our electronic world

There is something eerily sad about summer coming to an end.  One difference with living in Canada is somewhat more satisfying and uplifting than living in warmer climes—the warmth of the summer months seems to re-charge the human spirit, get one in touch with nature and families and unwind from the demands of a whirling, electronic-driven world.



Rejoice with the Congolese

It is much too easy in these days of self-examination as Anabaptist Christians in the 21st century to punish ourselves for colossal blunders when “spreading the gospel” here and around the world in the last century.

Such could be the case as we celebrate, with what is the Africa Inter-Mennonite Mission and its predecessors, 100 years of our mission efforts on the African sub-continent and what that work has spawned—the Communauté Mennonite au Congo or CMCO (Mennonite Community in Congo), see our major feature, p. 4.

Gift discernment?

“Gift discernment,” as practised in many of our congregations, is neither. This sometimes agonizing ritual of finding enough willing members to fill the slots needed to keep the faith community functioning on an annual basis is often an arduous task for those assigned to find those volunteer bodies.

Discernment front and centre

“Discernment,” a word in vogue right now among church leaders and theologians, can seem abstract, almost pedantic, and elusive as an operative term for the person in the pew. We seem to use it a lot these days as we wend our way through issues that confront us as followers of Jesus in the 21st century.

What does it mean? It sounds important and impressive, something we should take seriously.

Big box churches

Springtime was in full theatre as we travelled back from Virginia on a Sunday morning recently after a week’s break. Viewing the redbud, dogwood and lilacs providing the backdrop for lush green meadows was as much worship as meeting with the saints in song, scripture and sermon. We turned off the radio and drove in silence, soaking in all the beauty.



Evangelism redefined

“True evangelical faith is of such a nature it cannot lie dormant, but spreads itself out in all kinds of righteousness and fruits of love; it dies to flesh and blood; it destroys all lusts and forbidden desires; it seeks, serves and fears God in its inmost soul; it clothes the naked; it feeds the hungry; it comforts the sorrowful; it shelters the destitute; it aids and consoles the sad; it does good to those who do it harm; it serves those that harm it; it prays for those who persecute it; it teaches, admonishes and judges us with the Word of the Lord; it seeks those who are lost; it binds

Martyrs Mirror as totem

Mennonite poet and writer Julia Spicher Kasdorf wonders why Martyrs Mirror, the “big unreadable book,” as she calls it, is making a comeback in her generation of young Mennonites.  

Not only has the artwork of famous 16th-century Anabaptist martyr Dirk Willems rescuing his persecutor from the icy waters of a Dutch pond gone viral on the Internet, she noted that it was marketed by our own Mennonite publishers as a gift edition in 2002 because of its value as a “treasured, if unread, object in mainstream Mennonite culture.” 

Our naked selves

Stuart Murray, the “outsider” Anabaptist, is making his rounds in our circles with his book The Naked Anabaptist and Richard Rohr, the Franciscan priest, is making his way into our book studies and religious consciousness with his newest book The Naked Now.

Listen to our prophets

Reflecting recently on 57 years of writing as “an icon of Canadian literature,” Ruby Wiebe told an overflow audience at Conrad Grebel University College, Waterloo, Ont., that one of the lessons learned in all of his storytelling was that “Mennonites tended to always view their neighbours—whether in the Ukraine, Paraguay or the western Canadian Prairies—as ‘the other.’ ”

In solidarity with the 99 percent?

What are we to make of the Occupy Wall Street movement gathering steam in North American cities and around the globe?



At a gut level, our Anabaptist instincts have us identifying with the protests of the 99 percent in their efforts to form a movement that addresses the widening gap between the rich and poor, and the favouring of political systems of the corporate barons over the middle and lower classes.



A reasoned discussion

“Enough already.” I can already hear groans of despair as we, once again, open up the conversation about sexuality in all of its manifestations. In a search of our database, our managing editor, Ross W. Muir, discovered that this publication and its predecessor, the Mennonite Reporter, have carried a total of 232 articles on the subject, ranging from sexual abuse, child sex tourism, same and safe sex, to sex offenders, sex change, sexual abstinence, sexual misconduct and sexual boundaries. The list goes on.



Hearing young voices

As a person old enough to be their grandparent, I have to be careful with my words about young people. Having grandchildren of my own, I have learned, sometimes the hard way, to regard the boundaries which respectfully guard the integrity, identity and idealism of the younger generation.



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