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How sad when we get caught in the commercial busyness trap of Christmas (“Sooooo Busy!” December 2009). In the church I pastor, we declare each year that December is a “fallow month.” We hold no meetings or churchwide programs except the normal Sunday worship services (and we plan those services with a minimum of busyness). We instead encourage people to use the time to invite friends and family into their homes and to attend parties and other celebrations of the season with those they love. We also suggest that they spend much time alone with God. I am always surprised by the resistance we receive from those who demand busyness as a way of avoiding sweet intimacy with God and with each other. I also see and enjoy the benefits of a wonderfully rested and refreshed congregation at the beginning of each new year.

—Rod Hugen The Village Tucson, Ariz.

While the point of parents and grandparents desiring to see a commitment in their children and grandchildren to embrace their faith is wonderful, the embellishments in “The Nightmare of Christmas” story (December 2009) are embarrassing. Have The Banner and James Schaap stooped to the level of Hollywood that you feel the need to add sex and foul language to reach a broader audience? Shame on you both.

—Pat Hansma Drayton, Ontario

Regarding “CRC Advocates for Travel to Cuba” (December 2009) and the CRC’s continued lobbying for an end to the U.S. government embargo that it calls “an injustice that causes suffering for the very weakest people,” I would like you to have the opportunity to stay in just one of the many foreign-owned hotels in Cuba.

As a guest there you would have access to cars and all of the food and technology you find at home. How can that be if there is an embargo? It is because the Cuban government trades with all the world, even in a limited amount with the United States.

The Cuban people face hardship and lack what North Americans take for granted, but please don’t blame that on the U.S. embargo! The hardships of the Cuban people are caused by the repressive Cuban government.

—Armando Perez South Kendall Community Church CRC Miami, Fla.

I appreciated November’s “The Suffering of Iraqi Christians” and December’s “May There Be Peace.” They instruct our denomination about what is happening in the Middle East.

Both articles ended similarly: “Pray for our brothers and sisters in Iraq” and “Pray for peace in Bethlehem.” There is no call for action in either article other than prayer?

I continue to pray for the day when the CRC will take an active peacemaking role; just praying has not made peace happen. The U.S. invaded Iraq, creating the mess described in the November article. U.S. Christians are also culpable for the lack of peace between Israelis and Palestinians. I do realize there are numerous active peacemakers in our denomination, but I again challenge the CRC to become a peacemaker. Lead us into action, as would the Good Shepherd.

—Neal Bierling Ada, Mich.

In the spirit of unity and fellowship, we’d like to express our concern with “Theological Points and Pints” in the November Banner. Alcohol can be a stumbling block for many. Families have lost loved ones to alcoholism and to accidents due to drunk driving. In consideration, then, of members of our denomination who do not condone the use of alcohol, more discretion would be advised when considering the printing of articles such as these.

—The Consistory First Christian Reformed Church DeMotte, Ind.

Please be careful of the words you use. Talking about “leaving the church” or “Finding God Outside Church” (November 2009) is dangerous language. What you and the Mosleys mean is that the church exists even where there is no brick-and-mortar building. So what the Mosleys really discovered was not how to leave the church, but rather how to become a part of it. It turns out the church is not just a place “where you expect to find friends,” but rather a community “transformed by the Word of God [that reaches] out to those who are struggling.”

—Matt Viel Edgerton, Minn.

I cannot understand why the Calvin College faculty has a problem with a statement of its board that’s based on a clear stand of the Christian Reformed Church regarding homosexuality (“Calvin Faculty Wants Homosexuality Statement Withdrawn,” November 2009).

The board’s statement said, in part, that advocacy by faculty and staff, both in and out of the classroom, for homosexual practice and same-sex marriage is unacceptable. How can we argue with that statement? I want to thank the board for it. What bothers me is the reply by a faculty member that “the issue is understanding how an academic community works, and it is one in which difficult topics are talked about, and wholesale bans are not helpful and don’t work in an academic context” (“Calvin College Memo About Homosexuality Draws Fire,” October 2009). Does that mean the official stand of the CRC on moral issues does not apply to the academic community?

—Hans Visser Taber, Alberta

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