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Letters to the Editor: December 2014

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Christian Schools

Many years ago I graduated from Roseland Christian, Chicago Christian High, and Calvin College (“A Case for Christian Schools”). Since then I have served as a teacher, administrator, and professor in Christian schools in the U.S. and Canada. Since my “retirement” I have traveled to China more than 30 times as a volunteer educator. The post-missionary Christian education movement in China is less than 10 years old, but schools are being established throughout the country. Recently I visited a new Christian high school, college, and graduate school in Beijing. These are fledgling efforts, but the seed has been planted.

Thank you, Christian Reformed Church, for my Christian education heritage!

—Jack Fennema
Columbus, Ohio

The point in the article “A Case for Christian Schools” about embracing culture rather than sheltering children is important: by shielding children from the world, are Christian schools really doing the future generation a favor? I believe the answer is no. The world is full of evil, but it is also beautiful. Christian schools need to show their students the beauty of the world, but they also need to prepare them for the battle that will come from living in our culture.

—Elaine Ries
Bothell, Wash.

Thank you for highlighting the importance of Christian education (“A Case for Christian Schools”). The article omits two important points: first, the peace of mind parents have knowing these teachers genuinely care for each student, seeing their teaching as a calling, not just a job. (Also, most Christian schools graduate students who rank higher academically than those in public schools.)

Second, the need for Christians to support schools that integrate our faith into each subject. Some Christian schools have been forced to close due to lack of support. One was Roseland Christian School in Chicago, Ill. Readers can support the remaining Christian schools in Chicago at or support the wonderful Christian schools in their own state.

—Dave Thomas
Westwood, New Jersey

Holy Land

Thank you for publishing the article about seeking justice for the Palestinian people (“Lessons from a Holy Land Tour”).

Nick Wolterstorff, Bert De Vries, and Bas Van Elderen starting talking to us about these issues 40 years ago. But we weren’t ready to listen. Now the tide is finally turning. May we work for a justice that will lead to peace in the land.

—Thomas Niehof
Ames, Iowa

I find “Lessons of a Holy Land Tour” biased and overly simplified. Israel has fought six defensive wars. They would no longer exist if they had lost one of these wars. Their current “militarism” and security measures have been forced upon them.

This is a complex issue and it is disappointing that The Banner would publish such a one-sided article that suggests that people should be contacting their representatives in Washington, DC. Many people are already too quick to make judgments on this issue without becoming sufficiently informed.

—Siebe Kloosterman
Cavan Monaghan, Ontario

I spent three years living in Israel and Palestine. I appreciate Klompeen’s effort to convey both sides of this difficult issue (“Lessons of a Holy Land Tour”). A few points need further clarification. First, all current settlements are in the occupied territory of the West Bank, not the Gaza Strip. Under Sharon, Israel withdrew armed forces and all settlements from Gaza in 2005. The militants who were firing rockets from Gaza were not firing intentionally at the West Bank or at the settlements but at Israeli territory.

I encourage Klompeen to consider using gender-neutral language in seeking compassion for not only our brother Palestinians but for our sisters as well. We should be encouraged to invite our Israeli brothers and sisters to work toward progress on these issues.

—Emily Thomassen
Palos Heights, Ill.

From my “firsthand” view of the Holy Land, I can tell you there is a clear sense that the two cultures will never get along (“Lessons of a Holy Land Tour”). They are diametrically opposite (like Abraham’s sons). To cast either side into the role of “victim” is to oversimplify, and that does the process of peaceful coexistence no good.

I challenge you to present another view of the Holy Land that has a strong basis in Scripture and a solid overview of the history of this land.

—Janet Van Timmeren
Grand Rapids, Mich.

Perfect Pastor

The “perfect pastor” does not exist because even pastors are sinners, as are the other members of the church (“Looking for the Perfect Pastor”). Our church currently has an opening for a senior pastor. I’m not looking for a pastor who is a “10”—I’ll settle for a “5” as long as he is devoted to our Christian Reformed traditions and teachings. We should never apologize for being Christian Reformed focused believers.

—Sheryl Kamper
Chino, Calif.

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