Neighbourhood Pentecost by ProQuest


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									2     Canadian Mennonite May 25, 2009

                                         Editorial                                         agricultural development in Third World
                                                                                           countries. And of the new and exciting

                    Neighbourhood                                                         “micro-managing” model established to
                                                                                           extend credit to low-income entrepre-

                                                                                           neurs in these same settings.
                                                                                              I think of all the similar national “part-
                                                                                           ners” my friends work with as Mennonite
                                                                                           Central Committee (MCC) country rep-
                                        Dick Benner                                        resentatives in Beirut, one of many dozens
                                    Editor/Publisher                                       in over 50 similar international settings.
                                                                                              Then my mind wanders back, way back,

        he thrill persists every time I drive  poor souls. My parents were considered      to the ancient formative event of the early
        down my street in Waterloo on the      one of the few visionaries, going into the church, the one we refer to and celebrate as
        way to work, observing neighbours      hills of eastern Pennsylvania, “experien-   Pentecost, when those filled with the Holy
 of many nationalities, persons of                     cing an enthusiasm, a freedom of    Spirit began to speak in other tongues.
 all ages and professions—some in                      expression,” as historian John L.      Is it too much of a stretch to interpret
 their traditional garb, all blending                  Ruth put it, “an intensity seldom,  these new thrills as our 21st century
 into what seems to be a vibrant,                      if ever, experienced in their home  glossolalia, our new Pentecost? Is my
 middle-class community of families                    congregations.”                     drive down the street an ecstasy of “other
 and, in time, hopefully, friends.                        How misguided, yet sincere, I    tongues”? Are our MEDA and MCC vol-
    What a privilege, I muse, and                      ponder in looking back through      unteers learning the language of many na-
 so unlike the closely-knit German-Swiss       my 2009 lenses. How fortunate to have       tionalities as they work in tandem to meet
 community in which I grew up, where,          come so far in so few years when seeing     the injustices of repressive regimes around
 yes, we were friendly enough with our        “A Common Word” letter signed by MC          the globe, and to use new technologies in
 neighbours, but always keeping them at        Canada promoting a “thoughtful and          meeting hunger and health needs?
 arm’s length because they were considered respectful call for a conversation of peace        Are we learning the new language of our
“outsiders.” They were, after all, somewhat between Muslims and Christians.”               Muslim sisters and brothers as we accept
 suspect as Protestants or Catholics, reli-       How good 
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