Letters May 2013
Encouraged by MCC
As member of the Joint Ministry Council (JMC) of MCC, I had the privilege of participating in several of the March meetings of the boards of MCC Canada and MCC U.S., including their annual joint meeting. (The JMC links and advises MCC Canada and MCC U.S.)
I was impressed to see how the two MCCs have made a way to work together in a spirit of mutual respect, support, and harmony. Thanks to the grace of God, the two MCCs speak with a unified voice. I was also delighted to see how much the church matters to the board members and staff, who clearly perceive MCC as an integral part of the church as the body of Christ, not separate from it. Working in a professional way in cultures around the globe, MCC is an agent that helps the church become the church in an ever more faithful manner.
I am thankful that MCC understands itself as an explicitly Christian ministry, dedicated to sharing the gospel of Jesus Christ as Saviour and Lord in deed and word. MCC leaders are aware of the numerous other service agencies of Christian or even Anabaptist nature, such as American Friends Service Committee (AFSV), Mennonite World Conference (MWC), Mennonite Disaster Service (MDS), Mennonite Economic Development Associates (MEDA), or denominational mission agencies. They’re all participating in their way in building the kingdom of God.
God acted first
Re “Do you want to get well?” (Essay, April). Regarding God’s salvation, Pierre Gilbert writes, “He will never take anyone against his or her will.” Really? What about miracles? What about grace?
To say that God needs our permission before he responds to us is to say it all depends on us. But God first loved us; he acted before we did. God can and will act despite us, whether we’ve given permission or not. He doesn’t wait for us to make the first move.
Sometimes, God rushes in like he did with Saul, knocking the wind out of him. Sometimes he lights a fire right in front of us, and sometimes he calls us out of the fields and blesses us. God doesn’t need permission to do what he has in mind to do. If he wants you, there is none who can stop him. God finds us where we are and moves us to him.
God “signed the papers” in creation, in the rainbow, and again in blood, sealed with the cross. Any signing we do is about being faithful, trusting, loving, and following a God who loved us first. He will take anyone against their will. And we’ll be amazed at the miracle and at God’s grace.
A feeling of love
Re “He’s not dead anymore!” (Text Message, March). In his article, Mike Penninga writes of his son’s joyful surprise as he watched The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe’s depiction of the resurrected Aslan.
Surprised by joy? Not a new concept for the book’s author, C.S. Lewis! From what I’ve read, that response from Nate was precisely what Lewis was hoping to extract from children. According to author Doris T. Myers, Lewis “employed his imaginative gifts to educate the feelings of his readers…. Lewis provides images that feel like the Christian’s exchange of love with Jesus.”
Lewis himself said that he had no intention of promoting Christian ideas but wanted to
“cultivate Christian feelings,” especially among children. I feel a kind of C.S. Lewis-pleasure at Nate’s response. I think it’s the feelings of the heart of a father, Our Father in Heaven! Thank you, Mike, for sharing your son’s experience.
Lucky Lake, Sask.
Were Adam and Eve real?
Re “Board of faith and life statement on creation” (March). I was intrigued by the willingness of the BFL to talk about human origins and subsequently make a statement on it. I was disappointed, though, to find that the BFL stance implied Adam and Eve were historical persons.
There seem to be two main perspectives among those reading the biblical origin narrative. The first is that the story is ancient and irrelevant. The second is that the story explains origins in an historical and scientific way.
I’d like to suggest a third way that doesn’t come to the text with the same modern epistemological assumptions as the others. The story communicates truth about God, humans, and the world around us. It means we don’t try to explain our origins based on Genesis.
In my opinion, seeing Adam and Eve as historical figures isn’t necessary to Christian faith. Although I don’t pass judgment on those who read Genesis this way, such a statement by the BFL may alienate a growing number of adherents and members.
Three Hills, Alta.
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.