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. […]

Finding God’s presence within the decay

August 28, 2015 Celeste Kennel-Shank

More than a few people are surprised that I genuinely love working with compost. Sure, it smells bad sometimes and is occasionally slimy when it gets out of balance. But I enjoy being part of creating fresh, rich earth from unneeded scraps of vegetables that would otherwise go to landfills. It’s fun to think about the carbon-to-nitrogen (brown-to-green) ratio, to take the temperature of the pile and to turn it. The beautiful dark soil a good compost pile generates is a satisfying reward. The materials we work with mirror our own mortality. Not just the ultimate end of our earthly […]

The Gift

August 28, 2015 Matthew Kauffman Smith

Psychological thrillers are an odd genre for me, because once the intrigue has played out, the secrets come out, and the ending reveals surprises, the thrill is gone. I can watch good comedies repeatedly because a good laugh never gets old. I’ve seen the Fugitive half a dozen times because watching the good guy win—and watching Tommy Lee Jones’s character—never gets old. I’ve seen Hoosiers probably 20 times because, well, I’m from Indiana, and watching game-winning buzzer-beaters never gets old. The Sixth Sense? Once. Mystic River? Once. Silence of the Lambs? Once. They’re all well-made, entertaining films, but I don’t […]

Stupid Moves

August 28, 2015 Melodie Davis

Many of us will travel in the coming weeks, either for one last summer holiday, to take a university student back to school, or perhaps for an early fall getaway. As always, concern for making smart moves on the highways should be a priority for everyone. In a dumb move, I quickly decided to pass a slower truck in front of me, and glanced at my mirrors as I was rounding that curve. I remember the days when my father faithfully took time to audibly pray for guidance and protection on the highway before we launched any major trip as […]

College unBound

August 21, 2015 Melodie Davis

Editor’s Note: Jodi Nisly Hertzler writes occasionally for Another Way and is a college counselor and tutor. Jodi and her husband have three children. Last year, I took on the role of college counselor at the private school I work for. Somewhat daunted, I immediately immersed myself in as much information as possible, joining national and local organizations, attending conferences, visiting colleges, watching webinars, and reading everything I could find. I successfully muddled through my first year, and as I begin a new season with a fresh round of seniors, I am reminded of the anxiety students and parents experience as they traverse […]

Shaun the Sheep Movie

August 21, 2015 Michelle D. Sinclair

Stop-motion animation has a long history as a medium for film. Once the primary method for movie monsters to careen across the silver screen, the technique has been kept alive by Aardman Animations—the British animation studio known for their television and movie franchise Wallace & Gromit. Just when the sheep seem to have mastered a cloak-and-dagger escape, someone “baas” and nearly gives the game away. Tradition or practicality (or both) dictates that their characters speak only in grunts and unrecognizable words, but with tone of voice, gestures, and images, they broadcast their emotions and intentions with clarity. Shaun the Sheep […]

Simply the Season: Eat Fresh or Preserve for Later?

August 14, 2015 Melodie Davis

How did you first learn—if you did—to can or freeze fresh garden produce to eat all year? Did you grow your own foods as a child? For many of us who were fortunate to grow up on farms with gardens, truck patches, and even orchards, the answer is: Growing and preserving our own food is as normal as brushing our teeth and taking out the garbage. It’s what people do. The cookbook even includes ways to use the tops of carrots, discarded corncobs, celery leaves, squash blossoms, onion stems, and more. I understand that not everyone grew up like this. […]

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 […]

Mr. Holmes

August 14, 2015 Vic Thiessen

Rather than encouraging people not to waste their time watching this month’s big blockbuster (Rogue Nation, which is entertaining and well-made but also shallow and ultimately supportive of our insane and evil “intelligence” communities), I have decided to encourage people to watch a relatively obscure and underrated gem called Mr. Holmes. At its heart, Mr. Holmes is about an aging Sherlock beginning to question the value of the logic and chemistry that have ruled his mind and his life. Mr. Holmes opens with a scene in a train compartment where a young boy sitting opposite Holmes is observing what he calls a […]

What Can You Give?

August 7, 2015 Melodie Davis

My colleagues came back from a recent churchwide Mennonite convention, and one of them placed a collection of small white crocheted crosses in our break room. The crosses were in little plastic bags with decorative cards taped on that read “Handmade in Homestead, Florida.” Knowing that D. J. places her crocheted crosses in her church offering basket as her offering to God adds an even richer dimension to this simple cross. My curiosity was immediately piqued. Having been to 22 such Mennonite conventions over the years, I’ve always felt the planned business conducted there wasn’t as important as the little conversations […]