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Embryo Adoption

There is much good in this article. The article also raises a few issues.

Is an embryo a human life? I think of a stored embryo as the product of a scientific process. Once received and nurtured in a woman's womb, it becomes a human life. The embryo is a significant component, but there is no human life apart from the womb's significant contribution.

And isn't the use of embryos to find cures for other diseases and disabling conditions also a "God thing"? Jesus was very much concerned with the restoration of the sick. I have a friend who is wheelchair-bound. He is active, employed, and has a family. Wouldn't it be a "God thing" and an affirmation of the sanctity of human life if through the results of embryonic stem cell research he would be restored physically?

—Rev. Jochem Vugteveen Grand Rapids, Mich.

To assert that "an embryo is not a potential human life—it is a human life with potential" is comparable to asserting that an acorn is an oak tree or that an egg is a chicken. This assertion makes the already difficult conversations about embryos virtually impossible and loads unwarranted guilt on those who lovingly make informed choices that result in the destruction of defective or healthy embryos.

—George Vander Weit Rochester, Mich.

Calvin Cover

I have heard many comments from my brothers and sisters about the cover of your magazine (January 2009). Not one of those comments was good. You have no respect where there should be much. I am disappointed with you.

—Patrick S. Jones Lynden, Wash.

I am offended by the front cover of the January Banner. Really, would Mr. Calvin approve a crazy drawing of a godly man?

—Marian Altena Pipestone, Minn.

I was disappointed with this front cover. The many trade magazines or daily newspapers I get do not put comics on the front cover. In the past The Banner was of a higher caliber. This type of front page does not help your image.

—Lester Langeland Marne, Mich.

Kudos

Just a quick note to let you know that the brief reflections on the "Catch Your Breath" page that combine a quote and a photo help make my month. I usually clip them and tack them near my daily workspace. The ones that are particularly meaningful to me get placed in my Bible so I can review them periodically. My sincere thanks to whoever does those—they never fail to lift my spirit or my faith.

—Carol Veenstra Richmond Hill, Ontario

Thank you! The Banner credits our thoughtful managing editor, Joyce Kane, for finding the insightful quotes and our talented graphic designers for the complementary photos.

—Ed.

Regarding your editorial of January 2009 ("Celebrating a Servant of God's Word"), thank you so very much for helping us rethink who we really are and our purpose for living—which, as you suggested, is to glorify God our Father. In wishing John Calvin, that servant of God, a happy birthday, I would like to say, "Well done, thou good and faithful servant. Happy 500th!"

—Patricia Smith Stockton, Calif.

Financial Blessings

Although I agree with some of the author's points in this article ("Is Prosperity a Blessing?" November 2008), he seems to take the extreme opposite view from that of the so-called prosperity preachers.

It's true that financial prosperity may not be a sign of God's blessing, but that certainly doesn't rule out that God does bless his people financially along with other ways.

—Dan Vander Kodde Grand Rapids, Mich.

Shoe Boxes

Although the Christian Reformed World Relief Committee is a wonderful organization to give to, I would like to clear up some misconceptions about Operation Christmas Child ("Christmas Giving," November 2008). When these shoe boxes filled with toys, clothing, soap, crayons, and other items arrive at their destinations, children and their families are invited to the local church or school. While the boxes are being distributed, family members are asked if they would like to hear more about our wonderful Savior. Who can put a price on sharing the gospel with others? I have found this giving project to be a practical and inexpensive way for young children to serve. Every child, rich or poor, ought to have opportunities to be blessed by God, even in small ways.

—Karen Meinders Mission, British Columbia

These shoe boxes provide local churches with an effective tool for evangelism. Included in each box is the gospel message in the recipient child's own language. The boxes are followed up by discipleship programs and Bible studies. In many "closed" countries the nonthreatening shoe-box gifts open doors. Not to mention that the children who send them pray for the children who will receive them. It's a shame to criticize one of the many ways that God can choose to work through those who are willing to give.

—Samantha Bodine Grand Rapids, Mich.

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