Sharon Jones

November 25, 2016 Matthew Kauffman Smith

The documentary Miss Sharon Jones is a good place to start discovering Jones, but the following is a mixtape of just 10 of her best recordings. Sharon Jones couldn’t stop singing, even in her final days. Jones, the lead singer of Sharon Jones and the Dap-Kings, died November 18, 2016, at age 60, from pancreatic cancer. According to an interview with bandmate Gabe Roth in the Los Angeles Times, the entire band sat by Jones during her last days. Jones had suffered two strokes in a week, and could no longer speak. But when the band members played the guitar […]

Edna Hunsberger’s witness against war

November 25, 2016 Thirdway

by Esther Epp-Tiessen, public engagement coordinator for MCC’s Ottawa Office Edna Hunsperger was a trailblazer. Most young women like her, growing up in the 1930s in a rurual (Old) Mennonite Ontario community, anticipated early marriage, child-bearing and a life working on the family farm. But Edna wanted an education and she wanted to serve others. She persuaded her parents to allow her to enter nurses training in Kitchener-Waterloo.  She graduated as a nurse in 1937, the first Mennonite from her community to do so. Two years later Canada was at war and in a short time there was a call […]

Perfect: How Language Changes

November 25, 2016 Melodie Davis

Perfect is the new awesome, is the new great, is the new super. We say “Perfect” when we’re trying really hard to be nice or enthusiastic or just plain don’t know what else to say. Even if it isn’t really perfect. It can be “filler.” It’s what the dentist says after she’s asked you for the fifth time to please open your mouth just a teeny bit wider as she drills you for a new crown. I’m not complaining; I use it myself. But I have noticed it is becoming a very typical response from a customer service person in a […]

I was a stranger and you invited me in

November 18, 2016 Thirdway

By Zoe Parakuo More than three million refugees have been resettled in the United States in the past 40 years, giving victims of persecution and conflict a chance to build a new life here. Most U.S. citizens are descendants of immigrants and refugees and should not be afraid to open the door for others to enjoy the same freedom and opportunities. Only by putting aside racial stereotypes and attitudes towards immigrants can we fulfill God’s command to welcome the stranger (Leviticus 19:34). As Christians, Jesus called us to live according to Matthew 25: “For I was hungry and you gave […]

Stewards of the Earth and Sacred Blue Corn

November 18, 2016 Melodie Davis

This year as we celebrate Thanksgiving (our Canadian friends/readers have already paused on October 10), I will cherish two special ears of sacred blue corn that were given out at a recent worship service at my church. In this case, the corn has fascinating links to a past all of us should hold dear. Sometimes we talk about doing whatever we can to guard and protect the earth for the sake of our children and grandchildren, but Native Americans count seven generations forward on this topic. Nancy Sorrells, a journalist, historian, and organizer from nearby Augusta County, Virginia, spoke at […]

Hacksaw Ridge

November 18, 2016 Gordon Houser

It’s rare for a Hollywood film to portray pacifism. Gandhi (1982), The Mission (1986), and 2014’s Selma, among others, have depicted stories of real pacifists. While our culture produces many stories of war heroes or vigilante justice, we can’t seem to imagine pacifist actions. For that we rely on true stories. These intrusions don’t detract from the powerful story. Doss’s actions are indisputably heroic, and the film ends with portions of interviews with the real Doss, who died in 2006. Now we have another true story of a pacifist displaying great courage. Hacksaw Ridge (R) is based on the story […]

The Journey of a Feather

November 17, 2016 Thirdway

The Journey of a Feather Among many aboriginal people the eagle feather communicates respect, humility, courage and wisdom.  Several years ago I received an eagle feather as a sign of appreciation for my ministry at the prison in Saskatoon.  I was honoured but troubled because the feather did not feel like it belonged to me.  I brought my concerns to Harry Lafond (Muskeg Lake Cree Nation and Executive Director at the Office of the Treaty Commissioner).  Harry received me graciously and heard my story.  He then explained, “You are the carrier of the feather.   One day you will meet the […]

Wonderfully Made

November 11, 2016 Melodie Davis

Earlier this year, my husband had rotator cuff surgery on his shoulder, and we were both newly amazed and impressed with the intricate workings of the human body. The well-known verses in Psalm 139 puts it: “You made me in an amazing and wonderful way. . . . You saw my bones being formed as I took shape in my mother’s body. When I was put together there, you saw my body as it was formed.” That’s amazing synchronization of bones, muscles, tendons, nerves, and a brain that lets you tell the fingers, okay, I’m going to ball you up in a […]

Manchester by the Sea

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November 11, 2016 Vic Thiessen

Hailed by critics as a masterpiece and viewed as a likely Academy Award nominee in all major categories, Manchester by the Sea will be coming to theaters on November 18. While I highly recommend this excellent film to most readers, for me it fell short of masterpiece status. Haunted by traumatic memories of his life in Manchester, Lee can neither imagine taking his nephew Patrick away from Manchester nor coming back to live there himself. Written and directed by Kenneth Lonergan, Manchester by the Sea stars Casey Affleck as Lee Chandler, a man who returns to his small hometown of Manchester-by-the-Sea, […]

Where have all the voters gone?

November 4, 2016 Joshua Russell

By Joshua Russell When the U.S. holds their 2016 election next week, many people will be unable to vote. Unlike most countries, many felons in the United States are stripped of their right to vote. An estimated 6.1 million people are currently banned from voting due to their criminal history–people who otherwise would be allowed to express their voice and participate in the political process. While the sheer number of people who are not allowed to vote is astonishing, even more disconcerting is who these people are. Disenfranchised voters are not spread evenly across the United States. Many states do […]