Thank you to Joanne De Jonge for “Winter Weather Wonders.” It is 1 degree Fahrenheit tonight and we just got home from an across-town drive. My husband said, “What are those lights?” I replied, “Light pillars. I just read about them in The Banner.” It was a beautiful display of white and colored pillars.
Grand Rapids, Mich.
Mariano Avila’s article “Leaving Home” based on Matthew 2:13-14 immediately brought to mind Madeleine L’Engle’s children’s book Dance in the Desert. Beautifully illustrated by the Russian-born artist Symeon Shimin, it too tells the story of Joseph, Mary, and the young Jesus’ flight to Egypt. With her wonderfully imaginative, playful way of telling a tale, L’Engle demonstrates that Jesus is the King of all creation. Visually and without dialogue she pulls together the Genesis 3:15 prophecy with the poignant words of Jesus in John 19:26-27.
—Frank De Vries
Abbotsford, British Columbia
I wonder how often we make the Bible fit our thoughts, feelings, or beliefs and overlook what it clearly says—for example, when we think that Joseph, Mary, and Jesus’ exile to Egypt was done in poverty (“Leaving Home”). God clearly provided financial means from the magi before he told Joseph to flee to Egypt. As always, God equips us for the tasks he asks of us.
I would like to add a few things to the article “Dad, Descartes, and Dementia.” My husband spent nine months in a Christian nursing home in the Alzheimer’s unit. I often visited during their chapel time. I received such a blessing hearing the singing of people who no longer knew their families but remembered the hymns and enjoyed singing them. When we picked up his things after he died, a nurse told us, “Elmer changed my life.” When he got agitated, he loved to have the Bible read to him, and then he wanted to pray. Prayer was the most important thing in his life. I can just imagine the big smile on his face when he opened his eyes and his mind was clear and he saw his Lord. God moves in ways we cannot comprehend.
Pushing, Pushing, Pushing
Amidst all change, the essence of worship remains unchanged (“Pushing, Pushing, Pushing.” Worship is an encounter with God. Some contemporary services are more about the worshipers than the One who is worshiped. Notice the subjective content of many praise songs, the shift from an order of worship to a program, and from preaching the Word to topical messages. The promise is greater relevancy. For all the faults of the past, I miss Old Testament and Catechism sermons. What is more relevant than, for example, the second table of the law? Must we adapt to the modern world? Yes. But there is one thing the world lacks and the church has: God. Keep central what is central.
Richmond, British Columbia
Lloyd Rang tells of the cathedral in Peru and the mixture of Incan and Roman Catholic art and symbolism (“Pushing, Pushing, Pushing”). Interesting. But I disagree that “echoes of Incan civilization . . . remain part of worship.” The cathedral emphasizes the virgin Mary, and some Quechua (Incan descendants), when appearing to worship Mary, are instead discreetly worshiping Pacha Mama, the Incan goddess Mother Earth. In Bolivia, recently reelected president Evo Morales wants schools not to teach Christianity but rather the rituals honoring Pacha Mama. To think that syncretism is healthy is misleading and dishonors Jesus Christ.
Gallup, New Mexico
Amen to Rev. Lou Wagenveld’s In My Humble Opinion article “Immigration Is Our Story.” I fully agree that we and our politicians should show compassion and keep families together by passing immigration laws that allow paths to citizenship. This should also include the “Dreamers” that were brought into this country as young children. Our governor continues to deny driver's licenses to the Dreamers even though the courts have ruled this to be unconstitutional. Dreamers have been allowed to stay by executive action.
It seems Mr. DuMez believes his views are rooted in a “literal” reading of Genesis 1 (“Speaking of Jurassic Ark). Discovering the literal meaning of a biblical text does not necessarily mean approaching it with straightforward chronological assumptions. In its traditional sense, “literal” refers to the original intent of the author. Even Augustine in The Literal Meaning of Genesis recognized this, concluding that a faithful exegesis of Genesis 1 need not demand a six- 24-hour day creation period. One can hardly suggest that Augustine, writing in a.d. 415, was motivated by a compromising desire to “accommodate” Scripture with our current scientific theories!
—Jon Van Hulzen
With great interest I read articles such as the two on origins (“Speaking of Jurassic Ark” and “We Need Not Fear the Dinosaur”). It seems that by now we should have established a building block of absolute truth to use as a foundation for the analysis of origins issues.
The science of nature is an incomplete human endeavor with many different theories that continue to disregard significant biblical nature-changing events such as Noah’s flood and sin’s curse. These realities, I believe, will make absolute scientific truth regarding origins impossible to establish prior to Christ’s return.
Having been a science teacher for many years, I know that the topic of evolution and creation science is still a hot-button issue between believers and nonbelievers (“Speaking of Jurassic Ark” and “We Need Not Fear the Dinosaur”). I have wrestled with what the Bible says and what science says about how we came to be here on earth. I have come to the conclusion that there is little to be gained by getting into arguments with nonbelievers and some believers who insist that Earth is a certain age. I am sure we have heard all the pros and cons of the issue. If we allow ourselves to be drawn into a position that suggests that we should treat the Bible as a science text, then we allow the ground to be cut from beneath our feet.
Port Alberni, British Columbia
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Don’t miss this week’s must-read articles:
- Feature: Tending God’s Creation
- Exposing Harassment of OSJ Raises Questions, Hope for Humility
- Book Review: Something’s Not Right