Viewpoints

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Why give?

In early December, The Globe and Mail reported that the number of Canadians making charitable donations has dropped, the average age of donors has risen to 53, and the total amount donated to charity has fallen in the last two years. Shortly after this, it ran a series on the future of faith in Canada, concluding that Canada is quickly becoming a secular nation.

New world metaphors

Human ingenuity cranks out things that are windows into the heart of the age. Our technological dreamworks become tools of convenience, toys of amusement, gadgets of annoyance, and objects of idolatry. Since Babel, every epoch has had its technological metaphor. The great tower of Genesis 11 betrayed humanity’s cultural self-understanding.

The changing look of ‘peace’

Maria Krause, back row right, is spending a year working for MCC in Lusaka, Zambia, with the Millennium School Peace Club. Issa Sadi Ebombolo, front row right, is a Peace Clubs founder.

As a Mennonite, peace is a part of my everyday vocabulary.

I know it is a good thing—Jesus is the Prince of Peace after all—and I know that peace is found in right relationships, justice and grace. But what does peace look like, exactly?

Treasure in clay jars

This fall, a controversial exhibition in Winnipeg, Man., grabbed my attention. After weeks of plodding mindlessly past graphic advertisements with bold letters announcing “Bodies: The exhibition,” I belatedly clued in to the fact that the bodies in the exhibition were in fact very real, formerly live bodies.

Things I know

I was chatting with friends about the good old days. We recalled becoming independent adults and making our own decisions. We laughed as we reminisced about the wise decisions as well as the mistakes we’d made, consequences we’d survived and advice from parents that was usually right and sometimes ignored.

Mourning for a lost Christmas

I’m not good at faking my way through situations. That goes for Christmas, too. I can’t pretend that the tender mystery of Emmanuel—God with us—somehow rises above the glittery kerfuffle and fills my holiday season with calm and awe. I can’t pretend that the impossibly familiar story pierces my heart anew each year with the “true meaning” of Christmas.

Return home a different way

The most unsettling participants in the “Christmas story” are the most biblically literate. Asked by magi where the king of the Jews was to be born, King Herod turns to expert priests and scribes for help. Confidently the clerics reference the answer in the scroll of the prophet Micah: “In Bethlehem of Judea, for so it is written by the prophet. . .” (Luke 2:5).

From edge to centre

Somewhere along our journey with youth ministry I believe many of us took a wrong turn. We headed in a direction that had us increasingly isolating our youths from the life of the congregation. Our youth groups and youth events rarely served to strengthen our relationships with other age groups and with the church’s ongoing work and mission.

What to believe?

The daily bombardment of advertising from radio, billboards, newspapers, the Internet, fliers and TV leaves me discouraged and fatigued. Relentless messages urge me to cling to an insidious mantra, to believe that I will be a better person for using a particular product or service, to believe that advertisers are honest and want the best for me.

God in the nooks and crannies

Melissa Miller

On the first Sunday of Advent, many of us will hear the proclamation, “The Son of Man is coming at an unexpected hour” (Matthew 25:44). Advent worship resources from The Leader have highlighted the words “an unexpected hour” as a theme for this season. We are called to make space to receive God’s presence among us by slowing down and slipping into silence.

Being the global church

I was privileged to participate in the 2010 International Mennonite Pastors Coming Together (IMPaCT) program this year in British Columbia. It proved to be a very valuable experience in learning and building relationships with other pastors from Asian countries. Four Mennonite Church British Columbia pastors hosted four international pastors from China, Macau and the Philippines.

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