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Pastors didn’t tell enough

Re “Three pastors tell all” (Features, May). We found this article somewhat interesting, but felt it didn’t go far enough. The pastors didn’t go into any detail about frustrations they encountered in the beginning of their service lives, or what kinds of support they received from their congregations. They also didn’t talk about what they do when there’s conflict between members or the church board, or how they deal with influences from outside the church. These are questions we’d like to see addressed – without delving into private matters – so everyone will be able to see what’s going on, and supply strong support and prayer for pastors.

Jerry & Patricia Clark
Harrison Hot Springs, B.C.

Patriarchy alive and well

Re What’s up with today’s pastors? (May). It’s disheartening to read what’s coming from our current MB leadership as it appears in the Herald. I see very little besides a more militant evangelicalism, along with ways of thinking and doing that are top-down, male-dominated – like 50 years ago. Unfortunately, the Herald’s selection of five male pastors to carry the lead theme of the issue only strengthens this paradigm.

When I gave my baptismal testimony at age 13, more than 40 years ago, a man came to me and said, “You should be a preacher.” As it turns out, preaching isn’t my calling – but my particular leadership gifts have been affirmed many times in my life, and I’m grateful to the people who had the courage to do so, in spite of the fact I’m female. I grieve for all those girls and women who will not be encouraged or called, and for the communities who will not benefit from their God-given abilities and gifts. Patriarchy, it seems, is alive and well in the MB conference.

Sara Jane Schmidt
Winnipeg, Man.

Abbotsford, B.C.

Discouraging review

Re “Devotional warm but shallow” (Crosscurrents, May). The reviewer began and ended her review of Grace Fox’s Peaceful Moments to Begin Your Day in complimentary fashion, providing insight into the purpose of the book. So I found the critical comments in the middle of the review out of context and hurtful. The purpose of the book is highlighted in its title, and therefore not intended to cover a full treatise of doctrine. No book does that. Grace is a member of our congregation. We value her heart and her widely sought-after ministry.

Nicholas Dyck
Abbotsford, B.C

Pray for camps

Thank you for the April 2012 emphasis on MB camping ministry. I appreciate reading about what God is doing in our camps across our country. We need to pray like never before for the Holy Spirit to change the lives of campers as they attend this summer.

Arthur Loewen
Chilliwack, B.C.

Balance lacking between evangelicalism and Anabaptism

Re Navigating the waters (February). In the last few decades, Canadian MB leaders have described our theological focus as “evangelical Anabaptist.” However, I suspect we have a long way to go before we arrive at a healthier balance between these two influences. I cannot conceive of an MB church calling a pastor who is decidedly not evangelical. But I suspect that, frequently, very little attention is given to a prospective pastor’s commitment to Anabaptist distinctives.

I was disappointed that the last word in the February issue went to an MB pastor with questionable assumptions in his article, “Rethinking Anabaptist assumptions.” Because a member of his first congregation had become a Christian during military service, it caused pastor Phil Wagler to rethink his own Anabaptist peace position. With that kind of reasoning, couldn’t we conclude that because a murderer comes to Christ during his incarceration, it’s proof that God isn’t really opposed to murder?

Wagler also questions how much of our conviction about being peace-making people is more political than theological. That’s quite a stretch! In the nearly 500-year history of the Anabaptists, when has it been politically expedient to be committed to the peace position?

I agree with Dave Dyck’s challenge to MB leaders (“Renew peace emphasis,” Letters, May) that we must “find a way to foster our historical commitment to the Jesus way of peace.”

Henry Klippenstein

North Vancouver, B.C.

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