Wider View Archive

Elections and matters of the heart

September 18, 2015 Thirdway

By Rebekah Sears, policy analyst for MCC Canada’s Ottawa Office. (originally posted on Ottawa Notebook, https://mccottawaoffice.wordpress.com ) Canada’s federal election takes place on October 19, 2015. As I was drafting this post, the global refugee/forced migration crisis – an issue very close to my heart – FINALLY captured the full attention of media outlets around the world. It also finally made its way into the Canadian federal election campaign. It’s incredible how one heart-breaking story can capture the attention of so many people, even though a full year ago the UNHCR reported that the scale of people forcefully displaced around the world […]

“The bombs kept following us”

September 10, 2015 Rachelle Lyndaker Schlabach

By Rachelle Lyndaker Schlabach A photo of a Syrian three-year-old boy, who drowned trying to flee to Greece, captured global attention last week. But sadly, he and his family represent just a fraction of the millions of Syrians whose lives have been devastated by the civil war that has now been raging for more than four years. In June I met some of these refugees in Lebanon and Jordan. The stories they told were heartbreaking. One family was from Damascus, Syria. When the war forced them to leave their home, they moved first to several other parts of Syria, but “the […]

Profiting from prisons

September 1, 2015 Joshua Russell

By Joshua Russell The United States considers itself to be a leader in many areas. One of the areas that we lead in, however, is a shameful one. The United States incarcerates more people (currently 2.2 million) at a higher rate than any other country in the world. Misguided policies and laws, including mandatory minimum sentences, are one of the main reasons for this high incarceration rate. The past few decades have seen an unprecedented growth in the prison population in this country, followed by a huge growth in prison construction. This led to the development of private, for-profit prisons. […]

Displaced and without a home

August 14, 2015 Charissa Zehr

By Charissa Zehr A crisis is rarely made in a day, and there is no exception with the threat of mass deportations of Haitian migrant workers and Dominicans of Haitian descent from the Dominican Republic (D.R.) to Haiti. The D.R. and Haiti have a centuries-long history of simmering tension that has at times boiled over. Almost two years ago, the D.R. Constitutional Court retroactively stripped citizenship from hundreds of thousands of Dominicans with Haitian ancestry. While some of the affected may have parents who migrated recently from Haiti, many have lived in the D.R. for decades and have few ties […]

Conscientious objection in Colombia and South Korea

July 31, 2015 Third Way

By SunJu Lee Recently I had the privilege of meeting a group of women from Colombia who work with conscientious objectors in their country. The organization, Justapaz, works with the Mennonite Church of Colombia from an Anabaptist perspective, alongside other churches and social organizations. They support young men at different stages of the conscientious objection process if they are detained, imprisoned or if their cases go to court. In Colombia the duration of military service depends on the person’s educational degree and family social status, favoring the wealthy and well-educated. While the law requires two years of service, others have […]

Restoring beauty through reconciliation and unity

July 11, 2015 Thirdway

By Matt Hershey On June 18 Pope Francis issued an important document on the church’s call to care for creation. The 184-page encyclical was titled, Laudato si’, which means “Praise be to you.” The phrase originates from a poem and prayer by Saint Francis of Assisi that praises God for the creation of the different creatures and aspects of the Earth. The subtitle of the encyclical, On Care for Our Common Home, stretches beyond Catholicism – it is a message to us all. It is a critique of consumerism, irresponsible development, environmental degradation and climate change. Pope Francis calls for […]

Waiting for rain

June 26, 2015 Third Way

By M. Mumpande, T. Ngoma, and F. Ncube  They will be called oaks of righteousness, the planting of the Lord, to display his glory. They shall build up the ancient ruins, they shall raise up the former devastations; they shall repair the ruined cities, the devastations of many generations. (Isaiah 61:3b-4) As in many vulnerable communities worldwide, farmers nervously await the rainy season each year in Binga District in Matabeleland North Province, Zimbabwe. When rains are sparse farmers are forced to plant several times. Normally, the rainy season starts in November. But in recent years, the heavy rain has not come […]

Father’s Day without dad

June 12, 2015 Tammy Alexander

The story of Iowa City pastor Max Villatoro captured hearts inside and outside the Mennonite Church this spring. Many were outraged when “Pastor Max,” as he became known, was picked up outside his home by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents and later unjustly deported to Honduras, separating him from his four U.S. citizen children. For others, Pastor Max’s case brought tension between the biblical call to welcome the stranger (e.g., Exodus 22:21, Matthew 25:35) and to follow the rule of law (Romans 13). One email I received asked: “Why was Max Villatoro here 20 years, but he still […]

Defeating hunger

May 29, 2015 Charles Kwuelum

By Charles Kwuelum In a recent conversation with some friends, we got into an argument about the relationship between extreme poverty and hunger. “There is malnutrition and hunger because of extreme poverty,” argued one friend. Another retorted, “Even if extreme poverty is eradicated, over 800 million people will remain malnourished and hungry.” The argument points out the need to address both the accessibility and the availability of food. In the end, extreme poverty and hunger are inseparable. People need to have the resources necessary to buy food for their families. At the same time, food production needs to keep up […]

Mapping racism

May 15, 2015 Joshua Russell

By Joshua Russell A recent article in the Washington Post showed a map of “the most racist parts” of the United States. This map was determined by data from Google, who had tracked the frequency of searches for a particular racial slur in media markets across the country. Markets that had a higher search rate were classified as more racist than those that had a lower search rate. The map classified Baltimore as less racist than average. If this methodology is taken at face value, then apparently the recent protests over the death of Freddie Gray were mistaken. In reality, […]