Wider View Archive

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, […]

Dignity and fair wages in Haiti

April 15, 2015 Charissa Zehr

In a quiet farming hamlet in the northern part of Haiti, farmers were forcibly removed from fertile land to make way for a new industrial park in 2012. They were poorly compensated for their land, making it nearly impossible to continue their agricultural livelihoods. The U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) and the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), financers of the Caracol Industrial Park, promised that the investment would yield some 65,000 jobs. To date roughly 5,000 jobs have been created. Workers earn $5-$7 per day and spend one-third on transportation and lunch costs alone. The government of Haiti is aggressively […]

Responding to Violence with Violence

February 27, 2015 Third Way

It is too easy to jump from beheadings to a justification of U.S. military actions against the Islamic State group in Iraq and Syria.

In the Grip of Denial

February 13, 2015 Third Way

The vote on the Senate floor last month was a first step. Still, too many members of Congress are content to deny the impact of human activity on our climate and do nothing.

2015: A year of heightened expectations

February 5, 2015 Charles Kwuelum

The need for food assistance has been exacerbated by violent conflict in places such as the Democratic Republic of the Congo. The violence has led to farmers being evicted from farmlands.