Date published: November 29, 2010
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Mennonite publishing must remain strong after media merger
I AM OF two minds regarding the merger of Mennonite Publishing Network and Third Way Media. On the one hand, organizational streamlining makes sense. On the other, neither Third Way Media nor its parent, Mennonite Mission Network, have been in the publication business.
As one who remains to be convinced that electronic media is an intrinsic improvement over print journalism-except that it's faster- I worry over how mature judgment, spiritual discernment and deepening conversation can be maintained in the church community without vigorous periodicals, stimulating pamphlets and engaging books.
Herald Press and Faith and Life Press have surely been less than perfect, but for nearly a hundred years they have provided significant Sunday school materials and a long list of books essential to Mennonite life and ministry. These presses, along their book stores, have been essential ingrethents to the Mennonite witness.
I am grateful for the contribution of Cascadia, Pandora and CMU presses, and Good Books, to Mennonite thought and witness. But don't we also need a publisher that represents the ministry of the denomination? It is important to recognize that Mennonite Publishing Network represents both Mennonite Church Canada and MC U.S.A., and I would regret if the transnational character of the Mennonite voice was further weakened.
My hope is that the vision that inspired Faith and Life Press, Mennonite Publishing House and Mennonite Publishing Network will be strengthened and extended. My prayer is that the publication enterprise will maintain its high standard of productivity. One need only note the Believers' Church Commentaries, the Peace Shelf books, Studies in Anabaptist and Mennonite History, and the More With Less cookbooks, to sense the importance of a strong publication program.
I feel so deeply about the significance of a vigorous and imaginative publishing program that I propose that, whenever the new media structure is established, a campaign be launched immediately to raise a substantial fund to support this part of the church's life.
Stuart Murray of the Anabaptist Network in the United Kingdom says he met this tradition through the publications of Doris Janzen Longacre and John Howard Yoder. For this to continue, denominational publishing requires strong spiritual, intellectual and financial support.
JOHN A. LAPP, AKRON, PA.
John A. Lapp is executive secretary emeritus of Mennonite Central Committee.
Trees are meant to be managed and used, not worshipped
RE: "A TREE is not only something that stands in the way," Nov. 15, page 4.
I am a firm believer that God created this universe and has loaned it to us to care for (Matthew 21:33-40). I believe that he made everything to be interdependent. And yes, I believe that the trees and other living plants are perfect examples of the miracle of life that God gives and sustains each day.
However, I am also one employed by the forest industry in central British Columbia, and believe that companies such as the one I work for- whether they are managed by Christians or not, and whether they realize that the responsibility they have to manage the forests we use properly is a God-given calling or notare doing just that.
I noticed with interest that many of the quotes that are cited with regards to logging practices in B.C. come from folks living and writing in Ontario. What I don't think they understand is that the B.C. Forest Practices Code requires that logged areas be regenerated with species normally found in that area within a four- to seven-year timeframe. Today, there is more land in B.C. under forestation than there was 30 or 40 years ago. I have heard that up to 30 percent more trees are put into the ground every year than what are harvested. To me, this sounds like regeneration and creation care.
Forest companies may be driven by the desire to make money, but they also realize that the livelihood of entire communities lies in the forests around central B.C. and have committed themselves to doing what they can to ensure the longevity and sustainability of these forests. We all enjoy camping and being out in God's nature, but we also realize that God has given us a responsibility to manage and care for his creation.
God has given resources like the tree to care for, manage and use- not worship. I believe there is an inherent danger in the environmental movement to move into worshipping nature through protectionism, and to vilify those who use it. God has said that our worship must only go to the Creator, not to the created.
ROB WIEBE, BURNS LAKE, B.C.
'Living more with less' a dilemma for the I ess- ab I ed and their caregivers
I RESONATED WITH Valerie Weaver-Zercher's article, "Confessions of an editor trying to live more with less," Nov. 1, page 26, on several levels. I, too, long to join the inspiring group of people who choose to live with less. And I share her ambivalence when contemplating ideas for living more sustainably.
However, after caring and advocating for my 10-year-old who has autism and my six-year-old who has juvenile arthritis, I have little time and energy left for household tasks or socializing. Coping with chronic fatigue, a result of breast cancer treatment several years ago, increases my own challenges with daily tasks and choices, as well as those of my family. To save time and energy, we often feel we need to use the car for errands, buy ready-made meals, put on a video, and purchase- rather than make- items like clothes or gifts. There are doubtless many other individuals and families dealing with illness or disability who experience similar dilemmas.
I believe there are different ways of living- new habits- that my family and others like us can put into action to reduce our footprint on the Earth and nurture our health and relationships. Our challenge is to uncover suggestions that don't require more of our already limited time and stamina.
Perhaps we also need to be open to new ways of seeing things. I agree that we have much to learn from people who have been making do with less due to financial limitations. I hope we will also hear from those who have insights to share about making do with less while living with illness or disability.
Weaver-Zercher's description of moving from ambivalence to grace during the editing of Living More With Less was encouraging. I will take the time to read this book. I may even buy a copy.
LISE WERNER, COCHRANE, ALTA.