Pedaling for Peace

August 7, 2015 Third Way

By Rachel Bergen , Young Voices Co-editor, Canadian Mennonite “In Canada, the picture we have of refugees is people from the other side of the planet coming here where it’s safe. Often [as refugees] they’re only 43 kilometres from their original home,” Rachel Regier says, who earlier this summer helped organize the first-ever Pedal for Peace in Saskatchewan. “That distance is keeping them from the life they would live if they could just be back home.” Before they ate their fill of rollkuchen, watermelon, farmer’s sausage and other traditional Mennonite food, a group of Saskatchewan Mennonites, inspired by this vision […]

Me and Earl and the Dying Girl

August 7, 2015 Jerry L. Holsopple

Take some witty dialogue from the 2007 movie Juno, mix with the movie-making madness of The Science of Sleep (2006), add teenage coming-of-age drama plus a diagnosis of cancer, and you have Me and Earl and the Dying Girl. A typical coming-of-age romance between an awkward adolescent boy and a cute young girl, but then we see the effects of chemo, and we quickly come back to reality. Greg Gaines, the Me of the title, describes the narrative early in the film as “this is a story of my senior year in high school and how it destroyed my life.” […]


July 31, 2015 Gordon Houser

The British documentary Amy looks at the life and brief career of singer-songwriter Amy Winehouse. It shows the perils of celebrity and addiction, which in Winehouse’s case led to her death by alcohol poisoning on July 23, 2011, at the age of 27. Her voice, even her honest, heartfelt lyrics, seem mature beyond her years. We get to witness her rise to fame and her thoughts about her art. Directed by Asif Kapadia, who also directed the fine documentary Senna, Amy uses raw footage taken by friends and family, such as a home movie of her at age 14 singing […]

Transparency and Intimacy

July 31, 2015 Melodie Davis

Editor’s Note: Melodie Davis is on a one-week vacation from writing her column. Here is a column from the summer of 2000, about her life as a sometimes-recognized local newspaper columnist. I got my hair cut recently, and even some people who know me well had to look twice to see that it was still me. So I was a little surprised when a total stranger in Burger King asked, “Do you write the column in the paper?” He said he is one of those people who is able to recognize people by face alone—he doesn’t look at extraneous things […]

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 […]

When Play Is Imitating Mom and Dad

July 24, 2015 Melodie Davis

My grandsons are at the wonderful age where they are beginning to mimic what they see being done in the home and family. My youngest daughter was babysitting for her nephew when she first noticed that James was carefully “cooking” on some shelves that were in the dining room. His parents had wisely removed the books and knickknacks from the shelves; the bottom three shelves are completely open for his make-believe play. James was pouring the imaginary contents of one small pan into a larger pan, using some adorable tot-sized pans his other grandmother bought him. Children learn what they […]

National Mid-year Music Award Day

July 24, 2015 Matthew Kauffman Smith

You may not know this, but today is National Recycle Your Own Mediocre Ideas Day. It is Exploit Your Creative Shortcomings Day. Lest we all forget, today is also Plagiarize Yourself Day. By this point, you might think it’s National Lie to Your Readers Day. Or maybe it’s just All of the Above Day. Truth be told, it is actually National Thermal Engineers Day today, which I scoffed at until my computer started overheating; now I’m a believer. Frankly, legitimate holidays just aren’t enough. If we have to make up reasons to be goofy and celebrate, then so be it. […]

A less popular faith

July 17, 2015 Celeste Kennel-Shank

The largest religious groups in the United States received some difficult news in a recent survey. Mainline Protestant, Catholic and evangelical Christians all dropped in numbers over the past several years, according to the Pew Research Center’s report, America’s Changing Religious Land­scape. Mainline Protestants—such as Presbyterians and Methodists—saw the largest decrease. Overall, the effect was a drop in the number of people calling themselves Christian from 78 percent in 2007 to less than 71 percent today. In the Pew report, Anabaptists were counted among Protestants, evangelical or mainline depending on the denomination. (Curiously, it lists Mennonite Brethren but not Mennonite […]

Relating to Single Parents: Part 2

July 17, 2015 Melodie Davis

In the space of several months, I heard several women talk about how difficult it is to be a single parent—especially in church. Without meaning to, good people say things that cut. There are worse things than being a single mom, and that is being a non-caring, nonfunctional, uninvolved mother. One of the persons who said something cutting was me. I had given a talk for a church group about my book Whatever Happened to Dinner? I mentioned the statistics from Columbia University’s research on substance abuse that I quote in the book—about how trying to eat together as a […]


July 17, 2015 Michelle D. Sinclair

Another season, another spy-themed comedy, another opportunity to watch Hollywood exploit Melissa McCarthy’s weight and willingness to go to any lengths to portray the anti-leading lady. Those were my thoughts heading into Spy, the latest movie by McCarthy and director Paul Feig. In some ways, I was not far off the mark, but to my surprise I also enjoyed the movie. If only I could recommend it without reservations. Melissa McCarthy has powered a renaissance of female-driven comedies in Hollywood (is it a renaissance if it was never really there to begin with?) and for that alone, I ought to […]