It strikes me as a bit ironic that two men (Henry Holstege and Bob Ritsema) who made a living teaching students whose parents did not feel government-run education was acceptable now want to turn our health care over to this same government (“Health Care: A Moral Imperative”). [Their article makes] no reference to one of the biggest controversies of the Affordable Care Act: the requirement of employers to provide contraceptive coverage to employees regardless of their religious beliefs. To ignore this aspect of the ACA in a magazine funded and published by the Christian Reformed Church is disturbing.
—Gary J. Tenpas
Where Have They Gone?
Coincidentally, on the same day I read “Where Have They Gone?” I saw a newly published survey of more than 4,500 respondents conducted by the nonpartisan Public Religion Research Institute indicating that “nearly one-third of millennials who left childhood religion cite negative church teachings about gay and lesbian people as an important factor.” Clearly, this issue is one that is important to the younger generation. As a fellow millennial, I keep holding out hope that the church will fully engage with this topic and explore what it means to actively engage in ministry to the growing segment of the population that either identifies as gay or has a relationship (friend, family, classmate, coworker) with someone who identifies as such.
While I can hurt for you and weep with you (“Where Have They Gone?”) I cannot agree with you. I am holding to the position that homosexuality is a sin. However, it is no worse sin than a man who leaves his family for another woman. No worse sin than the abuse of a drunken parent toward their child. No worse sin than gossip, lying, pornography, or hypocrisy.
You raise a very good question: “Isn’t it time for the church to welcome back its gay sons and daughters, along with their spouses and children?” I want to welcome you and your family and I want to minister to you, so I would humbly ask you, “How would that look? What do you envision would be the appropriate response of the church?”
Is the CRC so absolutely certain of its perspective that tellers of inconvenient truths find it necessary to hide behind the cloak of anonymity? (“Where Have They Gone?”). The writer asks, “Isn’t it time for the church to welcome back its gay sons and daughters?” I only hope the kairos moment has not passed.
As a Christian working as a genetic counselor (for information on genetic counseling, visit nsgc.org), I read with great interest the article “Personalized Medicine.”
Genomic medicine is a rapidly advancing field with strong ethical/moral implications. These advances will, in one way or another, impact all of us at some point. With this developing knowledge comes great responsibility. But rather than shy away from this responsibility or make assumptions based on fearful ignorance, I encourage Christians, particularly young people, to learn more about genetics in order that Christians may have a stronger presence in this field and add to the discussion in a meaningful way.
Guns and Christians
The article “Should Christians Carry?” points out to me the capacity for human beings to rationalize almost anything. Even more bizarre, the Bible is used to justify deeply held beliefs about firearms and culture.
If you carry a gun, or keep one in your home, the chances you will use it become more and more likely. I really hope the author doesn’t release a bullet accidentally into a dear friend or family member someday, or that they use it on him. Although Americans may fear the random stranger or the potential street thug more than friends or family, that fear is misplaced. Statistically, the threat of being killed is much greater from someone who is welcome in your home than from an unwanted intruder.
Not all killing is murder (“Should Christians Carry?” Also, not all self-defense is violence. We need to understand that people who use self-defense even with a gun or knife may be saying to evil, “No farther; my family is worth saving.”
A major fallacy propagated by the National Rifle Association (NRA) is that humanity can be divided simply into “good guys” and “bad guys” (“Should Christians Carry?”). The good guys must be armed to counter the actions of the bad guys with guns. However, all too often a bad guy is a first offender with a gun.
Here’s an opportunity for the church and the denomination to contribute to a public policy life-or-death dialogue that currently generates more heat than light. God help us if we allow this to become another conservative versus liberal fracas.
—Gerrit L. DenHartog
In my grain and livestock farming operation I consider a rifle and shotgun essential tools.
In recent years, my home state of Iowa has made it easy to acquire a permit to carry. Many of my acquaintances now own a handgun and assure me it is their second amendment right.
No political party or individual asks why the U.S. adopted the second amendment in 1791. During that era many labor-intensive agriculture operations depended on slave labor. The ratio of slaves to overseers was 10 to one, and slave revolt was becoming a real possibility. The adoption of the second amendment empowered militia to terrorize the slaves and “keep them in their place.”
All too often, a gun owner in a disturbed mental state will use a weapon on others before taking his own life.
New Sharon, Iowa