Where Was God?
Tears formed a lump in my throat as I read this article (“Where Was God?”). I thank the article for the courage it took to try to protect a child in spite of tremendous family pressure. I pray that this person can feel God’s loving care through the support of other Christians.
I too experienced abuse at home. I not only question at times “Where was God in the midst of this pain,” but “Where was my church?” Was it a safe haven? Could it be more so now? How can we better educate our congregations about abuse so that those who suffer can ask for support?
For those abused who sit in the pew, hearing predominantly the message of the necessity of forgiveness can easily increase their burden when they already have the tendency to blame themselves.
How will the church do more to support those affected by the sin of abuse?
Editor’s note: Out of concern for the safety of this letter writer, we have decided to make an exception to our policy of not printing anonymous letters in letters to the editor.
Sexual abuse is experienced by one in four girls and one in six boys (“Where Was God?”). This article raises a very good question: Why isn't the church talking about it? Why are we not taking a stronger stand against it? I long for the day when our congregations can become places of healing for those who have suffered abuse (it's a lot of people!). And I know that it can never happen as long as the silence remains. Thank you for sharing this one story. Lord, give us open ears and open hearts, willing to listen to the stories of so many others who now suffer in silence among us.
—Bonnie Nicholas, Safe Church Ministries
Grand Rapids, Mich.
Through no fault of my own I have lived with cancer for one year. My illness is public and my church family is lovingly supportive. You, through no fault of your own, suffer from the unspeakable evil of abuse at the hands of those who were supposed to love and protect you. You suffer alone and in silence. As a child of God, you cry, “Where was God?” My heart bleeds with you as you continue to experience the evil done to you in your childhood. Your younger brother is sadly mistaken that since this happened in the past, it is over and done with.
Thank you for your courage in telling your story to the churches. If anyone in the CRC doubts the need for an abuse prevention ministry, I trust that your cry for help will be heard and acted upon.
Women in Ministry
Re “A Single Story”: I’m concerned that the invaluable work of the Committee for Women in the CRC (CWCRC) has been forgotten. Many women, and later men, worked for about 30 years for the ordination of women at Calvin Theological Seminary. We rallied around Rev. Marchiene Rienstra who was definitely gifted and called. We supported others in those early years and formed a scholarship fund under the CWCRC name, which still exists. Now there are many young women at Calvin Seminary who seem to know nothing about this effort.
—J. Jonker Bredeweg
Grand Rapids, Mich.
I just read “A Single Story” by Heidi De Jonge. I was really touched by her story; her faith in the Lord is so strong. I truly enjoy The Banner and really loved Heidi’s story.
Drama of Doctrine
In “The Drama of Doctrine”, Rev. Len Vander Zee rightly points out that our youth “often lack an adequate understanding of the Christian faith.” In addition to growing up with midweek catechism classes, I’ll wager Rev. Len also had daily Bible reading and prayer with his family at supper, and that he read a passage from the Bible as part of his daily devotions. None of these disciplines are common today. Before our youth are ready for doctrine, they need to delve directly into the drama of biblical stories. Jesus didn’t discuss doctrine with his followers, he told them stories. For many of our youth, when they study the Bible in depth, it will be “told afresh” because it will be the first time they hear it.
Grand Rapids, Mich.
New Editor and Sophia
How interesting that the September issue of The Banner featured an article written by a first-grader praising God for everything (“God Is Bigger Than Everything”). On the opposite page was an editorial (“Flying the CRC Kite”) written by the new editor written in a style that was so intellectual that even though I read it twice I failed to get the message! By the way, I have a master’s degree in psychology. I’ll enjoy more articles should Sophia choose to wax eloquent again.
In response to the news article “Synod 2016 Recommends Pastoral Advice for Same-Sex Marriage,” which states that the delegates voted in favor of the more restricted advice of the study committee, the council of Lamont Christian Reformed Church says thank you.
—David H. Holm
Ms. Cook suggests that this young woman did not have a choice if her only choice was “to wait and see, and if pregnant, to carry the child to term” (FAQ, “Relationships”). The choice, for a Christian, is to allow God to carry out his plan for our lives or to take matters into our own hands and leave God out of the equation. Had there been no child, without having taken the morning-after pill, she would have known she was guilt-free. Had there been a child, nobody can know what grace God would have shown as a result of her allowing him sovereignty.