Readers write: April 9, 2018 issue

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April 4, 2018 | Viewpoints | Volume 22 Issue 08
Various contributors,

 

Feature writer breaks faith with Paul’s word to the Corinthians

Re:Unity of the Spirit,” Feb. 26, page 4.
I found the adapted presentation of Thomas R. Yoder Neufeld disappointing and unhelpful. I cannot detect any engagement by him with parts of
I Corinthians. This omission severely, if not completely, undermines this piece of writing.

Paul writes unequivocally in I Corinthians 5:11 that a Christian must not associate with anyone who calls himself a brother and is engaged in specific acts, which he lists. Paul is even harsher when he writes in I Corinthians 5:5 that someone in the Corinthian fellowship is to be expelled and “handed over to Satan.”

If someone can reconcile this piece and Paul’s writings in I Corinthians, please let me know. I am listening.
—Helmut Buhr, Vancouver

 

All loving, committed relationships are natural

Re:Unity of the Spirit,” Feb, 26, page 4.
May I suggest that the gender identity and sexuality debate be simplified and considered from a scientific point of view. As albinism is the product of genetic make-up in all vertebrates, similarly sexual orientation is also the product of genetic combinations. This knowledge was not known in biblical times; therefore, any statements of censure made should be applicable to all because we are all human.

I suggest that we bless any couple committed to a faithful, loving, caring, monogamous, lifelong relationship. Why would we want to oppose a committed, loving, same-sex relationship? Scientifically thinking, it is all natural.
—Peter Peters, Winnipeg

 

More opinions on the future of Israel and the Middle East

Re: Two writers weigh in on the future of Israel and the Middle East letter, Jan. 29, page 8.
I share Richard Penner’s desire to resolve the Palestinian/Israeli conflict but not his assessment of the current state of affairs nor the steps to resolve the conflict.

Unfortunately, he mirrors a view that is not uncommon in North America: We understand the problem and have the solutions; just listen to us.

He trivializes Israel’s blatant flouting of the Geneva Convention and numerous UN resolutions that criticize Israel’s behaviour. “No one would argue that the Jewish people have done an outstanding job of administering their country,” he writes. Does this reflect the horrendous pain the Israeli government inflicts on the Palestinian people on a daily basis?

The comments of “primitive ‘tribal’ state” and “obligatory sabre rattling” of the Arab countries show a total lack of respect for the countries involved in the conflict. Negotiating with such an attitude is doomed to fail.

What we as a faith community must do is:

  • Listen to the people of good will on both side of the conflict; there are many.
  • Ask the people what they need.
  • Support and stand with them.

Unilateral action and force that President Trump applies, and Penner endorses, cannot establish peace. Inclusion, cooperation, compassion and justice must be our way and goal.
—Gerhard Neufeld, Winnipeg

I’m confused by Richard Penner’s letter. More discussion and clarification is needed. We, as Mennonites, need to understand the issues that face both Christian and Muslim Palestinians as they seek peace and justice.

I had the opportunity to hear Daoud Nasser speak in Phoenix, Ariz. He is a Christian Palestinian who owns land just outside Bethlehem. Because he is not allowed to have water nor electricity, and cannot build on his land due to Israeli law, he struggles to farm his land. Trees he has planted have been bulldozed down by the Jewish state.

In response, he has set up an organization called Tent of Nations (tentofnations.org), which is committed to the following:

  • We refuse to be victims.
  • We refuse to hate.
  • We practise our faith using nonviolent ways.
  • We believe in justice.
  • We refuse to be enemies.

Since 1991, the Nassar family has been fighting the State of Israel to keep their land, land that the State wants to confiscate to build more settlements on. Sadly, many Palestinian families are in the same situation.

I urge all of us to stand up for peace and justice in the Holy Land.
—Alvin Thiessen, Winnipeg

 

‘Preachy’ preachers owed ‘a big debt of gratitude’

Re: How long will it take? letter in support of LGBTQ inclusion, Feb. 12, page 9.
My father Abram Martens was one of those “preachy” ministers. He was elected to the ministry in Ukraine at the age of 25, when accepting ordination immediately put him on the “black list.”

Dad served faithfully, unsalaried all his life, and passed away in 1979. He served faithfully because he loved the Lord and believed the Bible to be God’s truth that is not negotiable. A German hymn we used to sing asked the question, “If the Bible is no longer valid, what shall faith rest upon?”

I notice that in some churches the hymnal is already obsolete. Is the Bible next?

The ministers of Dad’s generation are the ones who suffered during the Russian Revolution, the Depression and all the hardships of a new life in Canada. They are the ones who built our first churches, Bible schools and colleges. We owe them all a big debt of gratitude.
—Cornie Martens, Rabbit Lake, Sask.

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