Reply All, December 2020

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A Safe Place

Thank you to Agnes Fisher for writing “The Safe Place” article (October 2020) about growing up in the Netherlands and experiencing the tyranny and oppression of the Nazi regime and how unsafe so many people were during that time. Even though so many people were murdered and treated barbarically, there are those today who deny that it happened. It’s history, and we should never forget. To study history is to learn from past mistakes.

Laurie Van Haitsma // Hudsonville, Mich.

Open Minds

You need courage to publish a story like this (“Interaction Opens Minds,” September 2020). If it affects our personal story and being aware how many people look down on same-sex couples. We will never understand the feelings of people that are attracted to the same sex. Mr. Loenen pleads with us to just meet those people and see their true love. And I believe that indeed there can be true love between people from the same sex. … We have to love and embrace our brothers and sisters that wrestle with same-sex attraction. But as a church we should not try to study the Bible to let it say what we like. Can we not love the people with same-sex attraction and also plead with them not to start a same-sex relationship? We pray for Synod 2021 for insight through the Holy Spirit.   

Hans Katerberg // Palmerston, Ont.

Digital Life

Kudos to Dean Heetderks for his clear message to “ditch social media entirely—and not only for election season but for all seasons” (“Big Questions: Digital Life,” October 2020). Allowing ourselves to fall prey to “spin” and “alternate facts/reality” will misguide us into thinking and acting in ways that misshape our service to the One who is the Truth. How we see ourselves, the world, and our relationship to God needs to be informed by credible sources. If we use social media only to show off Fido, exchange pasta recipes, and play online backgammon it may be an acceptable drug of choice. Beyond that, heed this significant warning from a credible source.

Bob De Moor // Edmonton, Alta.

Writing Contest

Wow, thank you for the essay contest “Christian Love in Divisive Times” (September 2020). Adam and Rheanna provided such great essays that I had to read them each three times. As a “cover-to-cover Banner reader,” I was blown away by how well they were written and how their essays were truly blessed. Being part of the baby boomer generation, we grew up in the Christian Reformed Church with the often-heard lament that our young have gone astray. … The apostle Paul concludes the book of Colossians by inviting everyone to live in the present as if the new creation arrived when Jesus rose from the grave. It would appear this message is clearly getting through to our young, and they are passing it on in true Christian love.

Henry Kamphof // Victoria, B.C.

Financial Literacy

Thank you, Dirk, for addressing the college student debt issue in your recent Banner article (“Financial Literacy,” October 2020). ... It has always been a mystery to me why our educational system, including our Christian schools, have for the most part neglected to teach our children about financial responsibility as they prepare our children for life. I cannot think of a more important topic affecting every student as they prepare for adulthood. … Perhaps the Christian Reformed Church, in cooperation with our Christian schools and our Christian colleges and universities, could become a model for other denominations in the United States and Canada if the CRC collectively agreed to teach biblical principles of money management in our churches and in our schools as routinely as we teach the Ten Commandments.

Ted Boers // Rockford, Mich.

November Issue

Congratulations on another good issue of The Banner (November 2020) helping us to look thoughtfully, critically, and biblically at deeply held opinions on societal issues such as same-sex relationships. And regarding religious persecution, Shiao Chong's editorial was again insightful in encouraging us to make careful distinctions between personal offense received and physical harassment endured.

Charles O. Miller // Willmar, Minn.

The line that bothered me the most in the same-sex relationships article (“Same-Sex Relationships and the CRC”) was this from Fred Heerema: “I would urge the CRC to stop thinking that the Bible alone has the answer to every question it might have on these matters.” If we stop looking at the Bible, we no longer see it as God's infallible Word. The Bible is where we learn about God, his love, his sacrifice, his will, his authority, his justice, and how we are to live.  There is no other place we should look to find God’s answers.

Deb Haak // Zeeland, Mich.

Recently I clipped an article by the present editor of The Banner written several years ago on the danger of prioritizing experience over intellect. I personally have always consciously chosen intellect over “feeling,” fearing my emotions overwhelming my making wise life choices. I am sure my fear of my passions taking control has often been a hindrance and has led to my making some bad choices. However, in some of the opinions expressed about homosexuality in the last Banner, I sense the power of experience at work, of how something that “feels right” prevails. It suggests a change in how many in the CRC today wish to deal with contemporary departures from old norms that I find troubling. Can we no longer determine what Scripture says?

Rev. John Koole // Strathroy, Ont.

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