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Choosing Schools

Regarding the two articles about why parents chose Christian or public schools for their children (September 2005), I’d like to make an appeal. It is an appeal for the Christian Reformed Church to care for and support all members. Where a parent decides to send a child to school is a huge decision. I trust that all Christian parents make this decision with much prayer. Parents who choose to send their children to public schools need to feel the support and prayers of their fellow Christians just as much as do parents who choose a Christian school. They and their children need to feel included, welcomed, and accepted in all aspects of church life. How can we possibly demonstrate our awesome God’s message of faithfulness, hopefulness, and love to others if we cannot demonstrate it to our own church family?
—Carrie VanGaalen, Abbotsford, British Columbia

Before our synod takes a stand for the choice of Christian schools versus public, they should be able to assure CRC members that the Christian schools will embrace all of God’s children. I grew up ingrained in the Christian school and strong support for it. I never even entertained the possibility that a child of mine would not attend a Christian school. However, when the Christian school denied my daughter entrance because of her disabilities, I was forced to embrace the public school. Along with all the CRC members who choose public schools are the ones who had no choice and discovered that the public school is also a valuable place to receive an education. It too needs the support and prayers of God’s people.
—Shirlene Eberlein, Hudsonville, Mich.

It was wonderful to read how the Hoogendoorns were moved to accept a calling where they “would connect with people far from God and help them find hope and eternal life in Christ.” However, I found it puzzling to read they sought to accomplish this by sending their children to a public school.

In Christian schools teachers regularly pray for the needs of the children entrusted to them. Of course this may also happen should the child have a Christian teacher in the public school, but there may well be teachers, too, who are humanists, atheists, agnostics, or whatever else you can think of. Education, both public and Christian, is education for Life. What answers will these teachers give to children when Life questions are asked?
—Frank DeVries, Richmond, British Columbia

I think you missed a very important and growing aspect of this discussion: home schooling. I wish you would have covered this since so many people are considering it for their children.
—Dale Rosema, Holland, Mich.

I am pleased that synod believes we need to bring the view for Christian education back to the forefront (“Synod Reaffirms Christian Day School,” July 2005). What I believe synod needs to address next is the rising cost of Christian education. It is no longer affordable for some families, especially for those with multiple children.

Christian schools do not help the situation by dropping sliding scales and by charging interest to those who cannot pay on time.

Finally, we must be careful in how we promote Christian education from the pulpit. In the past it was implied that you were sinning if you did not send your children to the Christian school. Many families left our churches because of that attitude. Let’s not lay a guilt trip on those who do not use the Christian schools.

—Marcia Wiersma, Hudsonville, Mich.

Facing Poverty

No Is a Hard Word to Say” and the related pieces (“Poverty in My Face,” “The Trouble with Handouts,” and “CRWRC Has Staying Power,” July 2005) were hard articles to read. Thank you for beginning to explore the complexities of caring for the poor.

Poverty is so much more than just a lack of money. I am so grateful for the people of Christian Reformed World Missions and the Christian Reformed World Relief Committee who are dedicated to finding long-term, real solutions and not just a quick fix for the tragedy-de-jour.

While we do need to give a whole lot more money to care for the poor in our midst, our responsibility doesn’t end there. We all must deeply search our hearts and ask the Lord what we must do, how our attitudes must change, how we should fast and pray for those suffering in our world. The testimonies of these Banner contributors serve as examples for all of us.

—Martha Gadberry, Long Beach, Calif.

Fundamentalism Not the Problem

Regarding “Departing Thoughts from Top CRC Leader” (June 2005), the biggest threat to our denomination is not fundamentalism. It is the enemy quietly whispering in the hearts of Christians, and they are listening.  One example involves those who are unprecedented in successfully legitimizing their sinful struggles, saying it is not sin, and we, in the name of “tolerance” and avoidance of fragmentation, compromise the truth of God’s holy and unchanging Word. By stopping at tolerance of sinful struggles rather than victory over them through the power of Christ and the love of his followers, we cheat people out of their full potential in Christ. The enemy, with his plan for eroding our culture and reducing the effectiveness of Christians, is our greatest threat. Certainly not fundamentalism.

—Diane J. Ebbers, Grand Rapids, Mich.

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