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The Good Samaritan

“Love and do what you want.” That’s from St. Augustine and shows the need for context. Clearly Augustine has in mind the answer given in Luke to the legalistic inquirer. A careful reading of the Good Samaritan story would certainly include love as essential to a person seeking eternal life, but Jesus’ answer to this included “with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind.” Faith is in that mix for sure. The September editorial (“Faith and Love”) might have been sidetracked by Jesus’ story, which was an attempt to show the questioner where he was falling short. Of course I would be remiss if I denied that love was the key to salvation!

Tom Posthumus // Sebringville, Ont.


Disagreeing Well

In reading Roxanne Van Farowe’s article “They Disagreed Well” (January 2024), I was (struck by) the comment … that serving on Committee 7 was “one of the best experiences of my life in terms of feeling God’s presence.” I think the experience of Committee 7 is church—that is, the body of Christ is experienced most fully in places of uncomfortable differences. Malawian missiologist Harvey Kwiyani, in quoting his elders, shares it this way: “It is not possible to know God without communion with a different ‘other.’” I hope and pray that the Christian Reformed Church goes forward in keeping together within these uncomfortable spaces of differences, made more uncomfortable with synod's decisions. I hope that those who hold traditional views, those who are undecided, and those who are affirming try to stick it out in this uncomfortable place, embrace it, and recognize, like those who experienced Committee 7, that the Holy Spirit works best in those spaces.

Dustin Zuidhof // Edmonton, Alta.


Just as synod’s Advisory Committee 7 found beauty in listening across differences, I believe there is a similar need for the youth of the church. As a high school student, even going to a Christian school and regularly attending church, there are precious few places for my peers and me to be given the chance to ask the controversial questions that routinely plague us about our turbulent doubt, our LGBTQ friends, persistent anxiety, death, and other things no one wants to talk about. In my experience, these rare conversations are most meaningful and create the relationships we yearn for the most. I would encourage all churches to create intentional spaces—especially for youth—to listen, to ask questions, and, by trying to respond, to grow together as the body of Christ.

Annika Fortna // Uxbridge, Mass.


Journey to Healing

As the mother of a survivor, I feel “The Journey to Healing After Abuse” (January 2024) left out key points. Survivors must always be believed. Over 90% of abuse reports end up proven true. Abuse reports must be handled quickly and appropriately for the survivor’s sake and also for the church body. We all need to know that reports will be believed and that church is safe. We must remain diligent and informed. When abuse is uncovered, prayer and lament are appropriate. However, church safety going forward and ongoing support for the survivor are essential commitments to a survivor whose faith journey seems shattered. I am grateful. My daughter’s abuser was convicted, and our church responded appropriately. But the outlash from others, including the abuser’s family, left scars only heaven can heal.

Kelly Gullixson // Woodville, Wis.


Chains of the Past

I am writing in response to Daniel Friesen’s “A Journey to Chains of the Past” (February 2024). I was touched by this article, most notably the humility expressed. As someone who has worked in child welfare in several countries on the continent of Africa, I related to the absolute devastation Friesen experienced when visiting Bunce Island. I had a similar experience when I visited one of the “slave castles” on Cape Coast, Ghana. I stood in dirt holding cells where I know many perished, and I saw the luxurious living quarters of Europeans who kidnapped and sold men, women, and children. I walked through the “door of no return.” The tears started and soon turned to weeping. I couldn’t stop. Friesen is right on when he points out that human trafficking is alive and well in 2024. Lord Jesus, help us to see and intervene for the hurting, vulnerable, and exploited among us.

Sara Ruiter // Douglas, Mich.


Unarmed Truth

I loved your editorial in the February 2024 issue of The Banner (“Unarmed Truth”). I think wise King Solomon would agree. Proverbs 15:1: “A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.” Would that more of our U.S. leaders and political candidates could agree with you.

Bruce Nikkel // Pella, Iowa

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