Letters March 2013
Re “ETEM-IBVIE marriage births laughter & ‘kids’” (Interview, February). In addition to the good news I shared regarding ETEM-IBVIE in the February Herald, I’d like to extend specific words of gratitude to Ken Penner and his team at ReDirections whose expert assistance with our website and student recruitment strategies contributed significantly to the wave of new students to our school.
It should also be noted that this fresh hope was in no small way sparked by the significant financial support from the Canadian Conference of MB Churches. While taking this opportunity to extend our deepest appreciation to these two groups in particular, the team and I are grateful for all the prayers and support we’ve received throughout this time of renewal. May God’s will be done on earth (here in Quebec) as it is in heaven.
Puzzled by metaphor
Re “Theology wears high heels” (News in brief, January). As a symbol, high heels can be understood several ways. The negative connotations of their use in the sex trade cannot be ignored, as in Pretty Woman. On the other hand, they’re also a symbol of powerful women, as in The Devil Wears Prada.
Heels can be considered beautiful, but wearing them is a torture women inflict on themselves in the name of beauty. Kicking off high heels is a symbol of freedom and comfort, so it doesn’t seem logical to use them to symbolize women who are finding the freedom to step into what was previously a predominantly male domain.
Dawson Creek, B.C.
Women deserve respect
Re “Theology wears high heels” (News in brief, January). Having been present during the inauguration of the Indian and Asian Anabaptist Women Theologians’ Network at the All India Mennonite Women’s Conference, I can assure you that none of the women at the conference were wearing high heels – many of them might not even have the resources to get a new pair of flip-flops.
One of the women we met struggled for 30 years to be ordained in the MB church. Without ordination, it wasn’t possible for her to speak in other MB churches. Women supported by this newly formed network include one from Indonesia who pastors a 1,000-member church and cares for 13 orphans in her home, another who’s in charge of eight Mennonite congregations in Japan, as well as many struggling theologians in India. These women deserve our respect and recognition. We should celebrate these networks that aid women to be “involved in the church and use their gifts for the extension of God’s kingdom.” This isn’t achieved by a caption that relegates them to a pair of shoes.
Re “Theology wears high heels” (News in brief, January). Why choose such a provocative title to describe networks of Asian and Indian female theologians? I found the choice a sexist affront to our Christian sisters who are seeking to “empower, enable, and utilize [their] gifts and skills… to equip, edify, and build the body of Christ.”
Hospitality may be costly
Re Hospitality [at Christmas and beyond] (December). My wife and I were going on vacation for five weeks and wanted to take the opportunity to make our home available to someone in need of a place to live. Although our motivation wasn’t 100 percent pure hospitality (we were also concerned about leaving our house and yard unattended for five weeks), it did play a role in our decision. We arranged for our guests to leave just before we returned.
To our dismay, we found things near shambles. There wasn’t a room left in order. Long distance telephone calls were unpaid, and at least one keepsake was missing. We were deeply disappointed.
I’m not trying to discourage hospitality, but I’d like us to recognize that hospitality, while encouraged in the Bible, may cost us. The stories in December’s Herald made it sound like everything will go well when we practice hospitality. Not so. Should we nevertheless be hospitable? Absolutely! It’s a God-given privilege and responsibility. There is joy in hospitality, even when it is abused or not fully appreciated by recipients.
Name withheld by request
New support group for men
Re “Abuse prevention program makes a difference to pastors” (News in story, January). What a joy to discover that one of our B.C. pastors was brave and wise enough to attend a conference on domestic abuse. For several years, MCC Abuse Response and Prevention program coordinator Elsie Goerzen has been able to refer women to Christian support groups. Now there’s one for men too, renamed since the article was written: Home Improvement: Men in Relationship.
Donna and Gordon Stewart
North Vancouver, B.C.
Time to throw stones?
Re “Drifting away from Scripture?” (Letters, January). I read with interest the following comments: “All Scripture was written for every (author’s emphasis) time and place, specifically when it relates to doctrine and God’s commands…. To suggest parts of Scripture were for another time and not for today is perilous.”
How are we then to deal with this sample of Old Testament commands? “Anyone who curses their father or mother is to be put to death” (Exodus 21:17). “Observe the Sabbath, because it is holy to you. Anyone who desecrates it is to be put to death…” (Exodus 31:14). “If a man commits adultery with another man’s wife…both the adulterer and the adulteress are to be put to death” (Leviticus 20:10).
These sins are punishable by death, usually by stoning. I, for one, don’t want to throw the first stone.
Portage la Prairie, Man.
Truth and humour combined
Re “Power to face the world” (Essay, January). As always, Pierre Gilbert managed to combine truth and humour in his article. It made me laugh, while calling me back to this reassuring truth: God is watching! Despite bad news (and, in Quebec, we have lots of it), daily adversity (as I grow older, my own body is the enemy), and the constant struggle against spiritual (as well as physical) slumber, God is watching. Yes, I can sleep (usually with ease) in peace.
Go boldly into political arena
Re “Ms. Kalmar goes to Ottawa” (Editorial, January). It’s interesting to note that the examples of effective Christian political advocacy cited by Ms. Kalmar are individuals (William Wilberforce, MP Joy Smith), not churches or parachurch organizations. Christians should follow their conscience and boldly bring important issues to the forefront in the political arena. As individuals, they can do it in a way that enhances the overall mission of the church.
When Christians are active in various political movements, they have the potential to move political discussions to a higher plane. When churches engage in political advocacy, it’s more likely to create a false impression that the church is only for people who vote a certain way. Despite his provocative style, Jesus was careful not to scare away any who were truly interested in finding their way to God, regardless of background, socio-economic status, or political affiliation.
Letters to the editor
Mennonite Brethren Herald welcomes your letters of 150–200 words on issues relevant to the Mennonite Brethren church, especially in response to material published in the Herald. Please include name, address and phone number, and keep your letters courteous and about one subject only. We will edit letters for length and clarity. We will not publish letters sent anonymously, although we may withhold names from publication at the request of the letter writer and at our discretion. Publication is subject to space limitations. Letters also appear online. Because the Letters column is a free forum for discussion, it should be understood that letters represent the position of the letter writer, not necessarily the position of the Herald or the Mennonite Brethren church. Send letters to: Letters, MB Herald, 1310 Taylor Avenue, Winnipeg, Man. R3M 3Z6, or by email to firstname.lastname@example.org.