Reply All, May 2020

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Political Tribalism

Thank you to Shiao Chong for your insightful editorial (“Political Tribalism,” March 2020). Political tribalism is a real threat to Christian unity.

“How can you vote for HIM/HER if you are a Christian?”

“How can you be aligned with the Democractic Party if you are a Christian?”

“How can you be aligned with the Republican Party if you are a Christian?”

And the tribal drums beat. ...

I wonder if the more effective prayer is for ourselves in the Lord’s requirement that we act justly, love mercy, and walk humbly with him (Mic. 6:8). Imagine what justice, mercy, and humility would look like in the great political divide. As tribe members, we can’t extend those attributes, but only in surrendering our pride, derision, and division to Christ.

I wonder if our concern is more for political “correctness” than in being Christ-like.

Barb Clouse // Battle Creek, Mich.

Thank you for this article. It is critically important that we see our loyalties in the proper perspective. In addition, we need to focus on how we can find common ground to solve the most pressing needs of our communities and our world.

Daryl Sieplinga // Online comment

 

Hospice Unit

Thank you, Rev. Eric Verhulst, for your honest, sobering, faith-filled realism in “A Day on the Hospice Unit” (Mar. 2020).

You elegantly capture the spirit of Ecclesiastes and show why “it is better to go to a house of mourning than to a house of feasting” (Eccles. 7:2).

Facing and embracing God-held reality makes us wise as we live every good day and every day to the good.

Bob De Moor // Edmonton, Alta.

 

No Mistakes

Thank you for publishing “God Does Not Make Mistakes” (March 2020). It is all too easy to discuss issues of gender identity in a dispassionate, doctrinal, theological framework in an attempt to claim the “right” position and, of course, judging others to be wrong.

Our hearts go out to Lisa Schulz in her struggles to come to grips with an issue that is suddenly very personal. She came to a conclusion that we all need to reach: that is, in her effort to “enlighten (her) son,” she “missed what he really needed: love, a listening ear, and acknowledgment of his struggle and pain.” Are we listening, church?

So, thank you for publishing this cry from a loving mother.

Ted and Corrie Bootsma // Burlington, Ont.

 

Binational Split

“Neither is this done with the intention of splitting the denomination along national boundaries. I believe Canadian legislation made this restructuring necessary, not optional” (“Change Is Not Easy,” April 2020).

I accept that these statements are entirely true. But while separate national denominations may not be the intention, I believe it is likely to be the inevitable result. There is no way that the difference between “ecclesiastical” and “operational” can be cleanly delineated. ...

This can be a good thing. We could create the kind of close relationship we have with the Reformed Church in America, with provisions for the orderly exchange of clergy and (with) shared offices like Disability Concerns and Safe Church and Faith Alive Resources. And each national denomination could then actively pursue ministry adapted to their different cultures without impediment.

Rather than spend a lot of effort to prevent the separation by jury-rigging systems, perhaps we should embrace and even celebrate this separation and spend our effort making it as smooth and pain-free as possible.

Bill Vis // Online comment

 

Sabbath

I am disappointed that in all the years we spend going to church and studying the Bible and its application for our life we still have such a misunderstanding of the purpose of something as simple as the Sabbath (“Remember the Sabbath,” February 2020). If nothing else, we know the Sabbath is a recreation of the creation. Six days labor and one of rest. However, this rest is not about recovery; it’s about sufficiency. God rested because he was done with creation. And so we too should labor for six days and rest on the seventh in the knowledge and trust that God will sustain us through the seventh. 

Jason Stob // Online comment

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