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Extra Cost, Extra Blessing

Thank you for “Extra Costs Bring Extra Blessing” by Tony Kamphuis (Sept. 2019). At All Belong Center for Inclusive Education (formerly CLC Network), we have been partnering with Christian schools for decades to help them support individuals with disabilities in their classrooms and churches. We are grateful for the theology that sees every child, with all abilities, as an imagebearer of God who brings gifts to community. Our Christian schools honor that covenant by putting into place the structures and systems to support students and families along their church and school journeys. We rejoice in the blessing of belonging with a wonderful community of believers!

Elizabeth Lucas Dombrowski, executive director // Wyoming, Mich.

Cult of Normalcy

Thanks to Sara Pot for writing “The Cult of Normalcy” (Nov. 2019). The cult of normalcy cuts a wide gash across our society and church and leads not only to ableism, but also to racism, ageism, classism, sexism, and other biases that slice our common humanity into “us” and “them.” Those of us who are part of the dominant culture (white, abled, middle and upper class, etc.) can’t see the privileges that this status affords us. We need prophetic articles and books like this one to be called to humble recognition of the commonness of all humanity made in God’s image. We all suffer from a common brokenness of sin that separates us from our God, and grace alone gives each one of us an entrée into the fully accessible throne room of our Lord. Because our Lord eschews all these sinful biases, we Christian need to follow his lead to ensure that our facilities, communications, and attitudes fully welcome and engage all whom he welcomes into his kingdom.

Mark Stephenson, director of Disability Concerns for the CRCNA // Grand Rapids, Mich.

A Question of Priorities

“We all have a responsibility to take a stand on the defining moral issue of our time: the climate crisis.” This quote from the November 2019 Banner (“Hundreds Attend Vigil Organized by Edmonton’s Climate Justice Group”) is so disheartening to me personally. I have been involved in pro-life efforts for many years. The CRC is largely silent on this issue. What is more immoral and unjust than murdering babies? In stark contrast, the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops declared that abortion is the “preeminent” political and moral issue over all others. According to the National Catholic Reporter, the bishops approved a letter saying that the “threat of abortion remains our preeminent priority because it directly attacks life itself, because it takes place within the sanctuary of the family, and because of the number of lives it destroys.”

Carmen Reitsma // New Sharon, Iowa

Pulling TULIPs

In a recent Banner article, Prof. Suzanne McDonald urges us to pull up the TULIPs in our theological garden (“Pulling Up TULIPs,” Nov. 2019). TULIP is the acronym for Total Depravity, Unconditional Election, Limited Atonement, Irresistible Grace, and Perseverance of the Saints.  Others have been struggling with this acronym, indicating its weakness, though acknowledging the need for holding onto the core doctrinal truth of the Canons [of Dort]. After more than a half century of preaching on the Canons using this acronym, I have difficulty now abandoning it. It is a good device for teaching basic biblical truth and a good memory crutch for the five main points of teaching about salvation found in the Canons of Dort, also known as the five points of Calvinism. 

James M. Evenhouse // Jenison, Mich.

Keep the Organ

A sincere thank you to Doug Tjapkes for his article “Don't Throw Out the Organ” (Nov. 2019). Mr. Tjapkes described the musical rendering of “Let All Mortal Flesh Keep Silent” in such a beautiful way that I could almost hear it. May this article encourage churches not to abandon their organs.

Didy Prinzen // Whitby, Ont.

Prison Reform

The growth of ministry in prisons is noteworthy (“Building Community, Unlocking Hope,” Nov. 2019), but I expected to find equal attention to efforts to reform the prison system, which is widely acknowledged as very unjust and a contributing factor to other social problems. Especially in a Reformed magazine. Please give the same space in a future issue to explore our complicity as citizens in a system that runs counter to what the CRC teaches and what we can do to support important work being done to change it.

Kathy Vandergrift // Ottawa, Ont.

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