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The Life You Never Wanted

Joyce Kane’s article “Living the Life You Never Wanted” (February 2013) is a masterful piece that carefully picks up and handles, explores and illuminates that magic spot where everything changes when we do what we are supposed to do instead of what we are inclined to and want to do. It is that very space where the horror of the crucifixion can be understood: Jesus did not get what he deserved so that I also do not get what I deserve.

—Douglas Niehof
Albuquerque, N.M.

Valentine’s Embrace

Thank you, John Lee, for doing what Jesus would have done on that Valentine’s Day many years ago (“A Valentine’s Embrace,” February 2013). If we were all as brave and as loving as you, Christians would not be viewed in such a negative light by so many people. Your story is filled with the deepest and most profound love of all—the true love of Jesus Christ.

—Patricia Hartshorn
Dearborn, Mich.

I was moved by John Lee’s article “A Valentine’s Embrace.” Too often Christians rush to condemn and correct; John’s example created a wonderful image of Jesus in response to the brokenness of same-sex relationship. Unfortunately the article left me wanting more of John’s biblical response in leading his brother in Christ out of his brokenness (Rom 1:26-28; 1 Cor. 6:9-10; 1 Tim 1:9-11). By leaving your readers with a good start we were deprived of a best ending. When it comes to addressing homosexuality, the church has yet to find a godly balance between loving the sinner and hating the sin.

—Mark A. Staal
Southern Pines, N.C.

Grace in Times of Evil

As a Christian mental health professional, I want to applaud Mr. Boldenow for his deep faith and his courage to speak out (“Grace in Times of Evil,” January 2013). His personal story is a powerful narrative on how evil can manifest in unexpected ways and how it is often not linked to personal action or intention.

Post-traumatic stress syndrome (PTSD) can be a devastating condition and, left untreated, can lead to other issues. Symptoms vary considerably from person to person.

If you or a family member is experiencing PTSD symptoms, please seek out professional as well as faith-based support. Far too many of our brothers and sisters in Christ carry this private burden. Let’s carry this burden together as we are called to do in Galatians 6:2.

—Michael Stolte
Edmonton, Alberta

I commend you for publishing “Grace in Times of Evil” (January 2013). Both the Nixon and Reagan administrations were heavily involved in CIA-backed covert activities. The museums in Santiago, Chile, show the September 11, 1973, bombing of the presidential palace followed by the assassination of President Salvador Allende all because the U.S. government believed Chile was becoming a socialist country.

With CIA support, Augusto Pinochet came to power. What followed was a mass disappearance of Chilean citizens. The grave sites of many still have not been located.

I advise U.S. citizens not to travel to Chile during the month of September as emotions still can run high.

—Paul Groenenboom
New Sharon, Iowa

Living with the Mystery

Joseph Brunsting’s use of the Westminster Confession of Faith (“Living with the Mystery,” January 2013) to support his view of the relationship between science and the “myth” of Genesis 1-11 is ingenious, but not one the Westminster divines would have recognized.

The difficulty with putting creation on the same level as Scripture is that it fails to take into account that creation is fallen, as are those who interpret scientific evidence through the lens of their evolutionary presuppositions (not all scientists do). Granted, science can be used to correct faulty understandings of Scripture, as in the ancient view that the sun rotated around the earth, but when much of New Testament theology is built around the contrast between the first and second Adam (Christ), it is difficult to prove biblically that one Adam was historical and the other was not. It would be more consistent to posit either that both were—or neither.

—J. Cameron Fraser
Lethbridge, Albert

Genesis is foundational to all the rest of Scripture and to the Christian faith. I believe science and the Bible are in complete agreement. For me the Genesis account is proof of the supernatural authorship and authority of the Bible. In the New Testament there are several references to Adam as a real person (Rom. 5:12; 1 Cor. 15:22; 1 Tim. 2:13-14).

—Neal G. Vanderwerff
Seattle, Wash.

The Banner starts the year off with a startling article written by Joseph Brunsting entitled “Living with the Mystery” (January 2013). It appears that our denomination encourages us to be open-minded to the point that our brains fall out! Is it any wonder many of our young people are leaving the CRC to worship elsewhere or don’t bother attending any church anymore? Where is truth? What is truth? Is absolute truth irrelevant in our postmodern era? Is it only a matter of one’s opinion? Articles like this attempt to confuse and make us doubt God's Word.

—John Struik
Surrey, British Columbia

Accepting the Gift

“Accepting the Gift” (January 2013) reminded me of what happened to me at the checkout line last week. A woman ahead of me had some heavy items in her cart so I helped her to put them on the checkout belt. Then I placed the separating bar and my four items down. When it was my turn to pay for them, I noticed that they were with the woman’s things. I offered to pay her. She said, “I had food stamps and you helped me.”

—Jake Prins
Grand Rapids, Mich.

Don’t Blame God

I could not believe what I read in the editorial “Cast Your Bread upon the Waters” (January 2013). Enough of blaming God, the devil, and humanity for all that befalls us in the year 2013. We are the culprits. Let us put the blame where it belongs. Thanks be to God that the light of God continues to shine in the darkness throughout the year. As the title of Bob Goudzwaard’s latest book aptly says, [We have] “hope in troubled times”—times in which the light of God shines everywhere.

—Simon and Jean Wolfert
Surrey, British Columbia

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