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Kudos to Shiao Chong and C.S. Lewis for exposing spiritual pride (“The Great Sin,” November 2022). Zachary King also calls us to be “discerning culture-creators” (p. 27). Meanwhile, a recent Gallup poll notes declining institutional trust, with the church losing six percentage points, now resting in fifth place! We can either examine ourselves or proudly blame those distrusting “sinners” who refuse our “good news.” Perhaps we have a shallow idea of depravity as simple “moral” failure. The Bible points to something deeper: pride, blindness, and self-delusion that leads to self-justification (Rom. 2; Gen. 4). A wise pastor friend once challenged a sermon critic for insisting on sermons focusing only on the sins the critic was not guilty of.
Randy Zylstra // Grand Rapids, Mich.
Thank you to Ron Rupke for reporting on the findings of Pastor Ryan Farell about the training course BEYOND for persons trying to understand and reach Gen Z youth (“How a New Campus Pastor Trained to Reach Gen Z,” October 2022). What a helpful course to assist anyone, even seniors like me, in trying to relate to teens and to persons in their early 20s. What a timely resource to work with Gen Z persons as they face their present and future issues.
Vern VanderZee // San Jose, Calif.
Mr. Stelter’s fine article reminds us of the sad promises and treaties made to the First Nation peoples of North America (“Kisê-manitow,” November 2022). Both sides in the War of 1812 made promises in order to get support for their side and soon forgot them when the fighting was over. But more importantly, the article reminds us to look at creation and see that God is the only trustworthy provider. Check out Genesis 22:14.
Tom Posthumus // Sebringville, Ont.
I just wanted to send a quick thank-you email for such a wonderful article about foster care in your November issue. My husband and I are foster parents and members of Escalon Christian Reformed Church in California. We can often feel like the odd ones out by choosing to follow God's calling to foster. I especially appreciated the mentioning of how important it is to support the biological parents through reunification. That is a perspective I feel strongly the church needs to get better at. I also liked how Peter Raap stated that foster care is not a ministry; it is a command. Despite the challenges, we have been so blessed by our experience and have easily seen God working through our placements. Keep up the good work!
Brittany Doornenbal // Escalon, Calif.
Each time I get The Banner I rush to see what you have written. I am grateful that God called you to this post. He has gifted you with the ability to see us as we are and with the wordsmithing skills to help us realize it. You are a prophet for our time, and I pray that we are listening and responding appropriately.
Nancy Tuit // Grand Rapids, Mich.
For a number of years we would make our annual trip to see our family in South Dakota while we lived in Michigan. Those were the days before seat belts, so the four kids would sprawl out in the back of the station wagon and we would drive all night. At one point we had traveled over 100 miles on a South Dakota state highway and had not seen a moving vehicle. This was between 3 and 5 a.m. I said to my wife, who was sitting in the front seat with me, “Things are not looking good.” She was kind of half asleep and said, “Oh, really? What is the problem?” I say, “I think the rapture has taken place and we are still here” (“What’s Wrong with the Rapture?”, September 2022). Her response was, “Oh, shoot.” I said, “Check the kids. Are they still all there?” She said, “Yes, all four of them.” I said, “I guess we are all in this mess together.”
Everett Vander Tuin // Ada, Mich.