I get all the arguments for participating in sports, even on Sunday (“Organized Sports: Counting the Cost,” Aug. 2013).
But as we pass swarms of kids playing on the hockey fields on the way to church, I am saddened by the fact that those most influential in the lives of children—their parents, coaches, and peers—are sending the message that “the gathering of the saints” is at best optional and at worst irrelevant.
St. Charles, Ill.
No doubt God can use us wherever we are to further his kingdom, but there are so many other ways for kids to learn important life skills and lessons and for families to reach out to those around them than organized sports (“Organized Sports”). A guide that I learned from my wise grandmother is “moderation in all things.” I believe we have long ago lost that sense of balance in the role that organized sports plays in our culture.
Grand Rapids, Mich.
One element missed in this article is the emotional pain, isolation, and hurt of children who, although they desire to, cannot keep up with their peers when engaged in sporting or recreational pursuits (“Organized Sports”). They are quickly ostracized by peers because of their weak motor skills. That sends them down a road of frustration, anxiety, sense of low self-worth, depression, and much darker situations.
These children do not need to learn to deal with disappointments, as they feel this every day. This is a cost to the human soul that was not listed.
Thank you for Rev. Geleynse’s article on denominational bureaucracy (“Congregational Leadership,” Aug. 2013). Expensive and excessive bureaucracy is one reason why missionaries will be asked to raise 90 percent of their support.
Being Christian and Gay
I agree we are to welcome all sinners into the church and love them but still teach what the Bible teaches about the practice of homosexuality (“Being Christian and Gay,” Aug 2013). However, I cannot accept that the courts are redefining marriage from only one man and one woman to uniting two people of the same sex. I hope that the church does not begin to accept the meaning of marriage to include anything other than the lifelong commitment of one man to one woman.
Mason City, Iowa
I want to thank Merrill Nosler for her courage in writing about the painful, sometimes lonely road she and other gay Christians walk without spouses and children (“Being Christian and Gay”). I appreciate her obedience to Christ and her honesty, integrity and openness.
Years ago I was deceived by a gay Christian man who married me without informing me of his sexual orientation.
May individual Christian assemblies and the church as a whole provide “open spaces” so that people who are homosexual do not feel the need to hide, either in mixed-orientation marriages or elsewhere.
As the parents of an adult gay son, we found “Being Christian and Gay” to be a breath of fresh air.
Frequently when we talk to fellow Christians about our son, we are told [being gay] is against God’s will, and we find that somewhat offensive. We have always understood that all sin is against the will of God, such as bigotry, gossip, schisms within the church, or harming others or ourselves.
So why is it that the things we choose to do wrong are deemed not as important as the one thing that is not a choice? Our son knew from an early age that he was different, and most people who are gay will say the same thing.
Gossip can kill, but no one is hurt by our son’s sexual orientation unless they choose to feel hurt.
—Gerard and Hester Bondt
Drawing the Line
I and my 20- and 30-something peers look to the church for guidance on how to be distinctive in our lives and witness in a society increasingly hostile to Christianity. In “Where Do We Draw the Line?” (July 2013) Van Belle argues that the church needs to keep up with the culture on issues of relationships, cohabitation, and sexual activity, implying that young people are put off by a church that advocates a different lifestyle than the culture. On the contrary: saying that the church must catch up to the culture communicates that the church has nothing distinctive to offer, and it is this attitude which will tell my generation that the church is irrelevant.
In response to Van Belle’s question (“Where Do We Draw the Line?”) I would like to suggest that we do well to look at how marriage is defined and perceived by our youth.
If we demand that marriage consists of a church wedding with a pastor involved, a reception, banquet, etc., it’s time that we come clean and admit that none of these are necessary but are only traditional ways of doing things.
If a couple is mature and committed enough, let them say this to each other and announce it to their immediate community. That, I think, is all that is required. The Bible doesn’t ask for more, so why should we?
We need to be aware and educated on what the Bible tells us, not only about this issue but others that we face every day (“Where Do We Draw the Line?”). “All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work” (2 Tim. 3:16-17). There is little to no Scripture backing up Van Belle’s article, but plenty that says otherwise. We need to take the time to remember what we are basing our beliefs on. God gave us the Bible as a guideline for living, and we need to use it to the best of our ability.
Chilliwack, British Columbia
To Heaven and Back?
There currently is a glut on the market of books dealing with people who have gone to heaven and returned from there to relate their experiences. The Banner favorably reviewed such a book (“Books for Beach or Back Porch Bliss,” June 2013). But in John 3:13 Jesus, talking to Nicodemus, told him, “No one has ever gone into heaven except the one who came from heaven—the Son of Man.”
How can both accounts be right?
Abbotsford, British Columbia