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A Living Wage
Thank you for Kathy Vandergrift’s comments on the “living wage.” As a sociologist and long-term student of homelessness, I have come to understand that the basic cause of homelessness in North America is a shortage of living wages and affordable housing.

It is good to see that U.S. public opinion polls now show strong support for a more decent minimum wage. But the sad fact is that many of the rich are getting much richer while more of the very poor are being totally left out. Meanwhile, the middle class gets smaller.

Jesus spoke strongly for the poor and other outcasts. As Christians in the tradition of John Calvin and Abraham Kuyper, we [should] work for the revival of what Christ taught regarding the poor. Why don’t we listen more carefully to his teachings?

—Ron and Betty Vander Kooi
Arvada, Colo.

Mr. Warner is to be complimented for his concern about protecting his family (“Should Christians Carry?”). However, I wish that his concern were broader and would include schoolchildren in Sandy Hook and Newtown.

The lack of gun control in the U.S. and the resultant mass shootings is a dark blot on our society. Folks in Canada, for example (Christian and non-Christian), cannot fathom the callousness we tolerate—especially as preached in the gospel of the National Rifle Association.

—Harry Boonstra
Grand Rapids, Mich.

Thank you for offering multiple voices on a controversial issue (“Should Christians Carry?”) and allowing both to speak side by side. It allows both sides to feel they have a voice and those who are undecided to make informed decisions.

—Brad Vos
Vancouver, Wash.

Mr. Berghoef states that carrying a weapon is in direct conflict with his desire to be a faithful disciple (“Should Christians Carry?”). By extension, those who choose to carry a weapon are living in conflict with Mr. Berghoef’s vision of Jesus’ disciples. I fear we are too quick to infer the answers to “WWJD?” to suit our own predispositions.

I assure you, Mr. Berghoef, I am not obsessed with violence; I carry a handgun when I feel I need to. I don’t obsess about violence; I don’t hunt, watch violent movies, or glorify war. The violence referenced in your article, in fact, is courtesy of the muggers. I respect your right to rely on the authorities to use violence, but I believe ascribing that decision to Jesus’ wishes is as improper as doing the opposite.

—Ross Harrell
Palisade, Colo.

Civil law may permit me to act in self-defense (“Should Christians Carry?”), but God’s command to love others as myself makes me question my right to decide which life is of more value, mine or another’s. If my life is taken, my eternal destiny is assured in Christ. If I take another’s life, I would be taking from that person every potential opportunity to come to know Christ’s reconciling peace with God.

Would it be the act of a fool to risk my life for another’s potential salvation, or would it be a Christ-like act? How could a gun contribute to my ministry of reconciliation?

—Joanna Meyer
Grand Rapids, Mich.

A recent TV program about guns in the U.S. told of a toddler who was able to climb to the top shelf in a closet to get his dad’s handgun and died from his wounds (“Should Christians Carry?”).

Children aged 3 to 5 who had been given explicit warnings concerning guns and specific instructions [about] what to do if they saw one were observed by a hidden camera. Most of them in a room with a gun picked it up and looked down the barrel or pointed the gun at another child.

Who guards the guns of the guards? The plea of the parents of the dead boy was “Lock up your gun.”

As a dual citizen, I invite readers to compare firearm deaths of children in the U.S. and Canada.

—Tom Posthumus
London, Ontario

It is interesting to note that in 2012 there were 532 homicides in Chicago, whereas Houston, a city of similar size and ethnicity, had 216 (“Should Christians Carry?”). It is also interesting to note that the citizens of Chicago have no “right to carry” laws, whereas Houston’s citizens do have the right to carry.

Can it be that law-abiding citizens who carry weapons cause crime to decrease?

—Jerry Huizenga
Grand Rapids, Mich.

Feedback for Preachers
Thank you for the encouraging article “Preachers Are Like Peaches.” In our elders’ meetings at First CRC in Sioux Center, we devote at least half an hour to reviewing the worship services of the previous month. That includes giving our opinion on the sermons preached—as well as the selection of songs, etc.

Most of the time we are complimentary, but sometimes we have to say where we disagree. That gives our preacher an opportunity to get a clear sense of how the sermons are heard. Our pastor and council have benefited greatly by engaging in this practice. We encourage all elders to do this.

—Charles Veenstra
Sioux Center, Iowa

Breaking the Silence
I have never made a secret of my struggles with mental illnesses (“Breaking the Silence”). I’ve done all I could to share what I learned about my diagnoses. I encourage Lynn Hamilton to look up the website In fact, anyone wishing to get information about mental illnesses can look up the site; it’s not restricted to people who have one.

—Michele Gyselinck
Montreal, Quebec

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