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Viewpoints

Reflections on leadership

Viewpoints | By Gerd Bartel | May 17, 2010

As I think back on my seven years of leadership in Mennonite Church British Columbia, I am filled with thanksgiving and hope at what has transpired and what I have experienced. In these years we have experienced a rollercoaster ride of diverse opinions, misunderstandings, accusations and finger-pointing without dialogue, and also many attempts at understanding and cooperation mixed with a perseverance and trust that God will lead us through the wilderness.

Take good care of your children

Viewpoints | By Take good care of your children | May 03, 2010

“Who will take care of our children if something happens to us?”

The decision about guardianship of minor children is one of the major hurdles facing parents when writing a will. Often it is because parents can’t agree on whom to name. Each parent may want his or her side of the family to be responsible. Sometimes they are in a new area and don’t yet have a lot of close friends to choose from. It may be that they have a special-needs child and have no one who could take on this responsibility.

Specializing in a Google world

Viewpoints | By Arlyn Friesen Epp | May 03, 2010

In a Google world where millions of written works are at your fingertips, it’s tough for the average user to discern appropriate resources for Christian formation, leadership, peace and mission. And it’s an even greater challenge to keep Anabaptist and related resources as visible and accessible as we’ve come to expect them to be.

Fortunately, there are circles of partnership in our wider Mennonite world that help us tailor bibliographies and help widen their accessibility:

They call it ‘couple-love’

Viewpoints | By Melissa Miller | May 03, 2010

A season of weddings. That’s what I see as I look ahead to the next few months. Many of the children born in the 1980s are now young adults falling in love, pledging their troth and bravely preparing to marry.

Several invitations for these weddings dot our family bulletin board, some of which include photos of the engaged couple. They are young, full of promise and good intention. With sparkling eyes and sweet smiles, they radiate joy and eagerness to declare their love. They are beautiful and so is the love that spurs them forward.

The gospel in three parts . . . times three

Viewpoints | By Phil Wagler | Apr 19, 2010

Before reading any further, answer this question: What is the gospel?

You didn’t do it, did you? You just kept reading. Bad reader. Return to line one.

Thanks.

Many Christians go into blushed silence when asked to articulate the good news of God’s reign. However, if we are to be cracked pots spilling out this glorious message, the gospel must be understood and lived. To that end, let’s look at three unique, yet interrelated biblical images of the gospel.

Seated among the unsettled

Viewpoints | By Will Braun | Apr 19, 2010

There are people who feel entirely settled in their lives. They feel confident about their location, occupation and calling in life.

Then there are the rest of us. We’re not so sure. We’re not sure where to live, what to study, who to marry, where to work, when to retire, which church to attend, whether to apply to Mennonite Central Committee or what our calling is. We spend an inordinate amount of time pondering these decisions, possibly wishing for audible directions from on high.

Counting the cost of retirement

Viewpoints | By Mike Strathdee | Apr 05, 2010

Are you somewhat jealous of your teacher friends, who, in their early 50s, are already counting the days, only a few years away, when they can say goodbye to their day job while enjoying a full pension? Do you wonder how your circumstances will ever make retiring possible?

It is pretty difficult to find any biblical support for the modern notion of retirement—turning our back on work at a certain age. God made us to be productive. But society has taught us all to look forward to retirement, if not how to plan for it properly.

Putting the cat to sleep

Viewpoints | By Melissa Miller | Apr 05, 2010

Recently I took my sick cat to the vet, who diagnosed him as having a significant tumour lodged in his intestines. That explained the odd behaviour we’d observed, like him using the breadbox for a bed and the bathtub for a toilet. There were other signs of distress, including loss of weight and difficulties walking. I had prepared myself for euthanizing my cat, but it was still a hard step to take. I gave my consent to the kind veterinarian, and soon my pet had “gone to sleep,” as the euphemism goes.

Convert . . . or die

Viewpoints | By Phil Wagler | Mar 22, 2010

It’s quite unfashionable these days to think people should change their minds. This is a strange thought that, well, needs to change.

In some parts of the world—places some Canadians look at with disdain because of their backward “fundamentalism”—to change one’s mind is an act of high treason. Think of those strange bedfellows Iran and North Korea. One is a theistic state, the other atheistic, yet both systems are equally paranoid of people changing their minds.

Pondering dissent from popular films

Viewpoints | By Aiden Enns | Mar 22, 2010

Warning: Part A below uses evangelical language. If you are sensitive to harsh judgments, please skip ahead to Part B for a gentle conclusion.

Part A: “Hate” is such a short, strong word, isn’t it? It’s so strong that I try to refrain from directing it at people and reserve it for more nebulous things. For example, I hate it that there are audiences for pornography, lotteries, and airports with shopping malls.

New directions in Manitoba

Viewpoints | By Hans Werner | Mar 22, 2010

At the recent annual gathering of Mennonite Church Manitoba, the talk was about new directions. It seems the search for new ways of organizing ourselves is in the air everywhere. Our connections to each other as congregations seem to be fraying, we value our independence in ever greater measure, and see less and less need to support and depend on each other.

Abundance in times of need

Viewpoints | By Dori Zerbe Cornelsen | Mar 08, 2010

Sometimes preaching and hearing about God’s abundance is harder than one might expect. Take, for example, Jan. 17, the Sunday after the devastating earthquake in Haiti. On that Sunday, pastors and congregations who use the Revised Common Lectionary will have read John 2:1-11, the story of Jesus turning water into wine at the wedding in Cana.

Handling each other’s pain

Viewpoints | By Melissa Miller | Mar 08, 2010

A month ago, I took an astoundingly fast fall on the ice. Instinctively, I did the wrong thing, putting down my wrist to break the fall, and cracking my right forearm (just below the elbow) as a result.

Gladly wear the name of Jesus

Viewpoints | By Elsie Rempel | Mar 08, 2010

As one who is preparing for the upcoming Mennonite Church Canada assembly in Calgary, I have had the theme, “Reclaiming Jesus™: Gladly wear the name,” on my mind for months.

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