Thanks for your excellent editorial “True Dialogue” (May 2011). It reminded me a bit of an April 9 Charles Honey column in The Grand Rapids Press, which he began by saying, “Essay question: Should a religion be judged by its most hateful actors? Include examples from recent current events to support your argument (20 points).” Then he talked about the hateful actions of Florida pastor Terry Jones. He ended his column by saying, “Back to the essay question, then. My answer is unequivocal: No. People do great harm in the name of religion, and also great good. That human capacity for good and evil is one of the central concerns of religion itself.
“Maybe Jones is in fact teaching us something here. Let me attach two further questions:
1. Do you judge all Christianity by his actions? If no, then
2. Do you judge all Islam by the actions of the Afghan murderers, the Taliban and Osama bin Laden?
Remember to sign your answers before handing them in.”
Excellent advice from both Charles Honey and you.
—Gerrit W. Sheeres Grand Rapids, Mich.
We were disturbed by the article “Building Community While Using Less Energy” (April 2011), which mentioned a “Meatless Monday” challenge offered to Calvin College students to raise awareness of the environmental effects of meat production and to encourage a new lifestyle habit by going without meat, among other things. It was discouraging for us as meat producers. Many farmers and ranchers across the United States and Canada depend on the income from meat production to support their families as well as denominational causes. Are we being led to believe that meat production is more of a detriment to our environment than other forms of industrialization?
—Willis and Leon Groenendyk Oskaloosa, Iowa
There were four aspects of “Get Off the Global Warming Bandwagon” (IMHO, April 2011) that Reformed Christians should find discomforting. First, it represents a distrust of science and a disregard for the conclusions of virtually all the major reputable scientific societies of the world, which overwhelmingly agree that mean global temperatures have been rising and that human activity is a significant contributing factor. Second, ignoring the threat of global climate disruption is to ignore the plight of the poor around the world who stand to suffer most from the effects of climate disruption, such as flooding due to rising sea levels. Third, the recommended DVD series Resisting the Green Dragon is an embarrassment to most thinking Christians. All Banner readers should see at least the three-minute summary of this film on YouTube and read the reactions of its viewers, many of whom think Christians are uncaring and wacky. Finally, the article minimizes the importance of proper Christian stewardship for the creation God loves and declared good. Although the evidence is overwhelming for global warming and anthropogenic reasons for it, even if there were no such evidence, Christians ought to be examples for the world for other reasons, including the conservation of earth’s resources and global justice.
—Lou Sytsma Professor and Chair of Chemistry Trinity Christian College Palos Heights, Ill.
What a refreshing article! In just two columns Paul Rhoda puts the whole global warming issue in its place. Thank you.
—Ray De Vries Kalamazoo, Mich.
I had concerns over your April IMHO and editorial (“Christ Has Risen Indeed!”). I felt both tended to categorize people with somewhat different opinions as not having true faith in Jesus. Many faithful Christians are doing kingdom work in the mainstream churches. Likewise, many of those on the other side of the environmental debate affirm their faith daily. I found the quote about environmentalists being “urban Atheists” especially disturbing.
I hope my friends in the CRC can keep their minds open to those of us who disagree on the side issues but strongly affirm that Jesus is risen indeed!
—Dr. Cherie Trembath (M.D.) South Lyon, Mich.
Allowing for many viewpoints is a good idea, but why choose such an extreme position that is so far from the truth? Would you print an opinion piece denying the Holocaust just because someone in the CRC wrote it?
—David Hoekman Madison, Wis.
Regardless of our opinion on climate change, all Christians should be challenged to be much better caretakers of God’s creation and its resources than we have been.
—John Franken Smithers, British Columbia
Global warming and cooling are part of nature’s system. There is nothing “bandwagon” about the natural issue of global warming. What may be questioned is the influence of human beings on the process. Both sides of the issue have their own agendas; even scientists have admitted to the subjectivity of science. For a Christian approach to the subjectivity of science (and its influence on law), I suggest reading the recent issue of Dordt College’s Pro Rege on this topic.
—Bert den Boggende Brooks, Alberta
Instead of being warned against alarmism, maybe we should consider Genesis 1-11 as the ultimate of alarmist texts. In it we read a witness both to the interconnectedness and stability of the earth as well as to the genuinely destructive potential in human beings to harm that world (and ourselves).
—Wilma and Kevin van der Leek Surrey, British Columbia
Last month, in correcting the church membership of Susan Collins, we accidentally ordained her husband, Tim, who is a member but not the pastor of Rochester (N.Y.) CRC. And if you want to get really technical, the Christus Rex statue at Valparaiso University, which appeared on the April cover, is properly translated “Christ the King.”
Finally, we mixed up May letter writer Harry Vriend of Grand Rapids, Mich., with Harry Vriend of Edmonton, Alberta. Sorry, Harrys.
Please accept The Banner’s humble apologies for the errors. (But if we mess up these corrections, we’ll be too embarrassed to want to know about it.)