A few years ago, I was left feeling deeply disturbed and more than a little shocked by a conversation with my brother after he returned from his studies at Canadian Mennonite University. He claimed that it was an “open secret” on campus that a number of his friends had living relatives who had served in the Nazi SS during the years of the Holocaust. I failed to understand how, if this was true, the Mennonite Church I thought I knew could be home to individuals who had most likely committed war crimes. I was even more troubled as I wondered why I had never before heard this topic addressed or discussed in my Mennonite congregation or by the wider denominational body, Mennonite Church Canada. I was left with the feeling that a dark secret was buried behind under the thinly whitewashed walls of our peace church theology. Yet the existence of this secret was confirmed for me only by rumour, through conversations with ethnic Mennonite friends who recalled with discomfort their family members bearing SS tattoos. Continue reading →
Toward A Biblical Theology of Church Sanctuary in Canada
The date has been set. The votes have been counted. The deportations will likely begin in January.
On June 28th, the Government of Canada signed into law Bill C-31, the so-called Protecting Canada’s Immigration System Act. Under the guise of reforming unfair queue jumping and eliminating what Canadian Immigration Minister Jason Kenny has termed “bogus refugees,” this new legislation will streamline the current application process, moving away from a reliance upon panels of human rights experts, and concentrating more power in the hands of the Minster.
Under the new legislation, refugees seeking asylum in Canada will have fifteen days to submit a fully researched application in order to qualify for refugee status. Refugees from countries the Minister of Immigration designates, as “safe” – a designation not defined or regulated by the terms of the law but made under the Minister’s personal discretion – would then be deported from Canada with little hope of appeal. Moreover, while such refugees are in Canada, they will be ineligible for health care coverage, denying insulin to diabetics, and preventing pregnant women from having access to doctors or midwives during birth. Continue reading →
As the final part of our online Symposium on Girls Fall Down, Maggie Helwig was gracious enough to answer some of our questions. In so doing we ranged from the soul and synaptic connections to the Venerable Bede, from the wounds on the risen body of Christ to felix culpa. I hope it proves as interesting reading for you as it did for us! Continue reading →
Robyn Ferrell Sacred Exchanges: Images in Global Context New York: Columbia University Press, 2012, 192 pages. $50.00
Time and again, as I read through Robyn Ferrell’s new book, the words of Frank Scott’s villanelle passed, unbidden, through my mind. Not steering by the venal chart, that tricked the mass for private gain.We rise to play a greater part. Reshaping narrow law and art, whose symbols are the millions slain, From bitter searching of the heart We rise to play a greater part. Through the lens of the Australian Aboriginal art movement Ferrell confronts the reader with some surprising truths about the world we live in and the myopic and murderous callousness which makes us inattentive to these realities. Continue reading →