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Reforming Politics

After reading “Where in the World (of Work) Have All the Reformers Gone?” (September 2008), I would like to ask this question: Would Bryan Dik also write an article about “Where in the World (of Politics) Have all the Reformers Gone?” It seems to me that we are in great need of clear Reformed political thinking.

—Bert VandentopCutlerville, Mich.

Though I have heard Abraham Kuyper’s most celebrated line proclaimed from every square inch of the Reformed circle (for which I am exceedingly grateful), never have I heard quoted Kuyper’s To Be Near Unto God, 110 devotional meditations that focus not on the outward work of transforming culture but on the inward work of transforming one’s heart.

We love the phrase, “Reforming all things.” Do we too often forget that “all things” includes the renewal of our hearts?

The next time we articulate a “Reformed Perspective,” let us at least state that we are a people of prayer; as the Heidelberg Catechism teaches, “Prayer is the most important part of the thankfulness God requires of us.”

—Scott De YoungGrandville, Mich.

Seeking Shalom

Thanks, Mike Hogeterp, for your audaciously hopeful and stirring words (“Beyond Election Madness,” August 2008).

Seeking justice and the broader truths and embodiments of God’s shalom is a difficult task, especially in our churched culture that makes some assumptions about Christians needing to line up behind one party or another under the guise of moral uprightness. In the U.S., it’s the Republicans; in Canada, it’s the Conservatives, but really, neither of these parties has a lock on God’s agenda for either country. When I listen to the rhetoric of Democrats (U.S.) or Liberals, Greens, and NDP (Canada), I hear echoes of all sorts of biblical themes also. So your urging us to go beyond partisan politics to seek the “broader truth for the sake of the world” pushes us once again into that thorny, difficult, Christ-present place of the middle ground where we Reformed folk always find ourselves but never find ourselves comfortable. Thank God for that, and for your article.

—Rev. John VanderstoepCambridge, Ontario

Guns on Campus

So our Canadian ministry shares are now being used to put guns in the hands of American security personnel at Calvin College (CRC News, August 2008)? What’s next . . . the Calvin SWAT team? Gives a whole new meaning to the “army of God.”

—Arien VlaarSt. Catharines, Ontario

Racism Isn’t Just Black and White

I recently read the article “Black and Reformed Conference: Examining Racism and the Belhar Confession” (August 2008). I must say that as a person of color who is not black, I fear that we in the CRC fail to understand racism and racial reconciliation to encompass all ethnicities and cultures.

So often I find myself in discussions in which racism and the church are talked about, but only from a black/white perspective. I understand that with American history being what it is and with so much pain dealt to our black brothers and sisters, this takes more precedence.

However, this should not limit or belittle other ethnic minorities who lead and worship in our churches. The same issues and struggles are just as relevant to them as to black believers.

—Josh HolwerdaGrand Rapids, Mich.

Professors and Church Membership

I am greatly troubled in many ways over Calvin College’s loss of Denise Isom (CRC News, August 2008). I feel her struggle as an African American woman within the CRC is greater than any of us can imagine, and I am deeply saddened that she was unable to find a church within the CRC where she felt truly at home.

However, what really surprises me is that the college [worked on] an agreement where Isom would attend a Baptist church but be a member of the CRC. Obviously I am not privy to all the details, but I am quickened in my heart that church membership has degraded so far within the CRC to even contemplate the idea that one simply needs to have his or her name on a line but can attend elsewhere and be considered a full member of the CRC.

I would much prefer Calvin College to change its policy and be open to true church membership in other denominations instead of working to find creative membership ideas that cheapen membership.

—Rev. J. Scott RobertsBellingham, Wash.

Reformed? Whatever.

I must respond to the article “Reformed? Whatever.” (August 2008). Calvinist, Reformed, Baptist . . . what are these? They are labels, adjectives. Do we need them? Do we want them? We can name our churches, but we should not label our faith. If we seek to follow Jesus, then we are Christian. Period.

—Alice AndersonCalgary, Alberta

Bring on the Bees!

Regarding Joanne de Jonge’s article “The Great Honeybee Mystery” (July 2008), I just sent an e-mail to an online vendor, requesting they remove a “bee trap” from their catalog. I don’t believe these traps are needed at all. We have hearty asters in our garden that attract dozens of bees. I had a raspberry patch and worked in it with bees flying all around, and I don’t ever remember being stung. I do remember thinking “What a great God” while I watched the bees pollinate my raspberries.

—Ray DeVriesKalamazoo, Mich.

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