When I saw the cover of the May Banner, I was quite excited and turned quickly to the related article “The Princess Effect.” I was just as quickly disappointed. As a very meaningful GEMS season, which highlighted the beauty of our daughters as princesses of the King, just drew to a close, I found the article quite untimely and negative. After three rambunctious sons, I will continue to celebrate my daughter’s desire to be a princess—both fairy-tale and as a daughter of the King.
—Sharon McNamaraChatham, Ontario
View from the Farm
We were very disappointed to read Rev. Vander Zee’s article “. . . Also Many Animals” (April 2008). This distorted picture of livestock production accuses producers of caring only about the bottom line and not for animals’ well-being or comfort. In contrast, most livestock producers take very seriously the call to stewardship. We would agree that God cares for the creatures of the world and that God expects us to do the same.
We take great care and spend a lot of time and money making sure that our animals are healthy and comfortable. We raise our livestock in buildings that have plenty of natural light, climate control, and a ventilation system better than most houses. They are treated when sick but not given any unnecessary antibiotics or growth hormones. The industry actually went to confinement systems to better control diseases in the animals and prevent these diseases from entering the food supply.
We see animal abuse as the exception rather than the rule. When cases of animal abuse come to light, we are sickened and angry. There is nothing wrong with raising livestock in a more open or “natural” environment, as Rev. Vander Zee suggests. But in today’s economy in which many middle-class North Americans (not to mention people around the world) are struggling to make ends meet, if that system were the only option, the price of food would skyrocket. As we seek to provide food for the world on fewer and fewer acres, we need to be as efficient and responsible as possible with the resources God has entrusted to us. Raising animals in confinement accomplishes that goal while providing a comfortable life for them. Now that is stewardship.
—Shawn and Becky FeikemaLuverne, Minn.
We were extremely disappointed by the one-sided view the author took on pig farms and the way he perceived hog farming to be. We have felt led to be farmers—caretakers of the animals and land that God has placed under our care. There are many first-rate farmers and farm families that place utmost importance on the welfare of their animals. We are willing to do a job seven days a week, 365 days a year to feed a hungry nation. Animals are housed in modern, clean, spacious environments and given proper food and water. We take great pride in what we do each day. It is a labor of love, not just a business. It’s what we were called to do. So if you ate today, thank a farmer.
—John and Teresa Vander VeenAylmer, Ontario
The Banner received many more letters in response to this article than can be printed here. You can read more in the online June issue at www.thebanner.org.—Ed.
Children at the Table
I appreciate Heather Wright’s article “Welcoming Children to the Table” (April 2008). I have been trying to address the issue for more than four decades. To me it is quite simple: We baptize infants on the grounds of Old Testament circumcision. The logical parallel to that would be to allow children to participate in the Lord’s Supper because in the Old Testament precursor, Passover, children played an active role.
—Coby VeenstraSt. Catharines, Ontario
Would someone please tell me why Christ, who admonished his disciples when they tried to keep the children away from him, would want children kept away from the Table?
—Irene StreutkerOlney, Md.
This article states that the Redeemer CRC council “went against the ruling of synod and invited children to the table.” I can’t help but wonder if that council and congregation will now come under the same scrutiny and pressures that First CRC of Toronto did when it was determined they went against the ruling of synod. I also find it interesting that after years of votes on the matter of women in office, there are still pastors and officebearers who are “confused” by synod’s procedures.
—Piet HeeremaOttawa, Ontario
Form of Subscription
Thank you to Bob De Moor for his editorial “A Longer Leash for Leaders?” and to Randy Blacketer for “Testing Our Reformed Commitment” (April 2008). It is rather obvious to many that the Form of Subscription Revision Committee went beyond their mandate with the proposed “Covenant of Ordination for Officebearers” or even the revised “Doctrinal Covenant for Officebearers.” We certainly must not relegate the three Forms of Unity to the status of merely historical documents. Granted, the current Form of Subscription could stand some updating to make it more understandable, and it should never give the impression that our confessions are equal to the Bible. Nevertheless, we must be careful not to degrade their importance in defining our Reformed view of Scripture.
I fully agree with De Moor that, at a minimum, Synod 2008 should delay action on this report and give the churches more time to consider it.
—Bruce W. HolleboomGrand Blanc, Mich.
I welcome the reformulation of the Form of Subscription. Blacketer’s treatment is harsh and rests on fears. The revision committee appropriately places the confessions under Scripture; the current form places the confessions on a footing equal to Scripture. That correction is long overdue. The proposed form invites church leaders to join in seeking God’s will for today; the existing form assumes that God’s will for today was known in 1618-19.
God’s creation is not static, it unfolds; it is dynamic. Unless, guided by Scripture, we communally struggle to witness to God’s will for today, the Reformed tradition is an empty husk.
—Nick LoenenRichmond, British Columbia