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Thanks for the Freebies!

Thank you so much for making Joanne De Jonge’s kids’ pages available for printing (“Just for Kids: A Baker’s Dozen,” free PDF download available at thebanner.org). I have been meaning to request permission to copy some of the children’s pages from The Banner to share with the girls in our GEMS Club. The ones you made available are some of my favorites. I’m so very grateful.

Catherine Louis // Maple Heights, Ohio

Indigenous Ministries

Re: “Council Discusses Indigenous Ministries” (April 2019): The meaning of syncretism can be found in the dictionary. The word Indigenous can also be found there. Overlaying these definitions is Genesis 1:27-31. I have yet to meet a person anywhere whose blood color is different than mine. The basic human needs are water and food. It is then over a drink or meal that human interactions start.
For generations the church has convened in synods (and a multitude of other descriptions of meetings). But real hospitality happens when two or three gather (Matt. 18:20). This implies that every church (and each member) has a responsibility for hospitality. The on-the-ground work in Red Mesa, Regina, Edmonton, and Winnipeg is where this is happening. Meeting with the same people year over year, discussing the same thing, is probably not effective.

Harry Boessenkool // online comment

Pew or Canoe

To an aged-60+, lifelong-churched guy, Mr. Burge has captured some important themes the church should hear (“Pew or Canoe,” March 2019). One of them is men. Not that us guys are easy to engage, but the church has not seemed to focus on men’s spiritual needs. I am thankful for my church’s support. I have found that men’s video/Bible study groups can offer deeper connections for many guys than a sermon for a varied audience. The discussion and sharing of men from ages 30 through 70+ can funnel thousands of sermons and current culture struggles into new listening for all of us.

Scott Wagner // Kentwood, Mich.

Gary Burge asks for theology, sermons, and church teachings that address all of life (“Pew or Canoe”). He wants church to instill a vision of life that explodes with meaning and significance. His request is not unreasonable. Only theology covers everything and must not exclude anything. In a world wallowing in fake news and universities that cannot teach wisdom, where will we find a map for living a good life except with theology? Our theology needs to be on a grander scale, more inclusive; it has to be cosmic because Christ’s salvation is cosmic. Burge is also disappointed with popular Christian writers. I have benefited greatly from Marilynne Robinson.

Nick Loenen // Richmond, B.C.

Language

In Heidi De Jonge’s article “When Words Fail” (March 2019), she wrote, “I may be pushing the boundaries of what is permissible.” I think she is. It seems to me that the Scriptural guidelines for the use of our tongue are plain and clear; they are much more reliable than Kate Bowler’s wisdom. In texts like Ephesians 4:29; Matthew 15:10; Exodus 20:7; Matthew 5:21-22; James 3:9-11; Matthew 12:3, 37; and dozens more, God’s guidelines for use of words seem obvious. I don’t see how his “words” can possibly “fail.”

Harry J. Vriend, Grand Rapids, Mich.

Summer Jobs in Canada

I take great exception to acceptance of the Canadian government’s rewriting of qualifying conditions for funding under the Summer Jobs Program (“Canada Reverses Abortion Rights Proviso to Summer Jobs Program,” Feb. 2019). Section 15 retains the restriction for organizations that “actively work to undermine or restrict a woman’s access to sexual and reproductive health services.” Even though last year’s language of “core mandate” of the organization is removed, the fact remains that by applying, we accept discrimination against our anti-abortion beliefs and leave organizations such as Pro-Life completely isolated. The form remains highly discriminatory to those who value life, and just because we have no abortion law in Canada, the religious freedom guaranteed in our Charter is withheld in terms of funding equality. This year’s form is highly misleading and in essence unchanged from last year. We should stand with Pro-Life rather than allowing them to be isolated. Our unity must be worth a few dollars.

Chuck Poeman // Abbotsford, B.C.

God’s Garden

Cody and Grady Zuiderveen’s article “God’s Garden” (Dec. 2018) said, “As stewards of God’s creation we are appointed earthkeepers and caretakers to tend the earth, enjoy it, and love our neighbors.” I garden with big pots lining both sides of our driveway and backyard. I tend the flowers and veggies in my old electric wheelchair enjoying the sunshine and God’s presence. We live on a busy street, so I plant “Jesus seeds” in the hearts of the people who walk by, and I pray that the Holy Spirit grows those seeds. People are more attentive if I talk to and pet their dogs while I share veggies and flowers.

Marcia Van’t Land // Chino, Calif.

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