Letters

Life in the valley of shadows

Re “Bringing light to the valley of shadows” (Intersection, June). In 2009, I experienced the “terror and fragile hope” the chemo clinic brings. I was acutely aware of the possible length of time I would be in the valley of the shadow of death. It was not the destination, but the journey that was so important. It was a journey lived day-to-day, relying on and looking to God for everything.

God brought the Israelites to their promised land. Their story was not only about that destination, but about what it took to get there. With God’s help we can live out each day and experience him fully.

Ruth Ens
Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ont.

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Life beyond the valley of shadows

Re “Bringing light to the valley of shadows.” In September, doctors confirmed our nightmare: my husband had inoperable lung cancer. He was quickly scheduled for chemo treatments. We were scared and wondered about the future.

John fought hard and was filled with hope for life, but each day brought more trouble. I sat at a table during chemo treatments, like James did with his wife, and I know what they felt there.

John went home to be with God on Nov. 22. He walked into the shadow of death and is now sitting at the banquet table. I am here waiting at another table God has set before me. Our daughter is expecting identical twins in about 2 weeks. Extravagant life after the valley of shadows.

Judy Martens
Abbotsford, B.C.

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Editorial promotes unhealthy perspective

Re “Homosexuality: Is our perspective too one-dimensional?” (Editorial, June).

Agreed: pastoral considerations add a necessary Christian element to our churches’ dealings with homosexuals. However, if you pit pastoral concerns against biblical-theological convictions, possibly giving up the latter for the former, then you have a false dichotomy and unworthy pastoral theology.

The editorial is tendentious in its call for more grace towards homosexuals. Tendentious because it makes no mention of the countless people who have been “rescued” and have turned from their homosexual lifestyle. Tendentious because it expresses little concern for biblical faithfulness. Tendentious because it portrays the acceptance of homosexuals in some Anglican archdioceses as a model to be emulated rather than rejected (as done by African dioceses of the same denomination).

Walter Fast
Steinbach, Man.

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Following culture or following Scripture?

Re “Homosexuality: Is our perspective too one-dimensional?” (Editorial, June) and “Assessing our stance” (Viewpoint, June).

Harold Jantz states that we’ve moved from rejection of homosexual practice, to acceptance, and finally commendation. I trust he means secular culture. As Jesus followers, Christians are called to be counter-culture people.

Why do some Mennonite leaders appear to be wavering in the face of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms? Laura Kalmar asks, “Is our perspective on this issue too one-dimensional?” This suggests to me, Let’s follow the crowd; it just may be right.

Let’s not call ourselves Anabaptists if we consider the Scriptures too obtuse for clear direction in this matter. True Anabaptists were prepared to be burned at the stake in defense of their faith. Some of our current leaders seem to be wallowing in the warp and woof of secular culture, rather than reveling in God’s Word.

I am heartened by the conclusion of Jantz’s piece: “we should resist the temptation to make glib claims for release. But release there can be.”

Walter W. Wiebe
Victoria, B.C.

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Articles on homosexuality lack clarity

Re “Homosexuality: Is our perspective too one-dimensional?” and “Who are the people in our neighbourhood?”(June).

Scripture is simple and clear on sexual morality.

Let the Bible alone speak. When we diffuse this with our sinfulness and our feelings, we are capable of excusing our sin with all kinds of logic, endangering people’s physical health and eternity.

Second, there should be a glossary of definitions used before each article. Many words (e.g. Christian, love, neighbour, homosexual, committed) have their own meaning depending on the writer and the context.

The danger in the present context is the leaven of immorality spreading throughout the Christian community.

James Wong
Port Moody, B.C.

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Why not bless homosexuals?

Re “Who are the people in our neighbourhood?” and “Homosexuality: Blending understanding, compassion, and conviction” (June).

I am a 72 year-old heterosexual widow. I’m glad to see more compassion developing toward homosexuals. After looking to the Bible and the internet for more information, I feel that heterosexuals (Christian or otherwise) have created a monster at the expense of homosexuals who want to be Christians.

The need for intimacy and companionship between humans is universal. If some people are more comfortable with their own sex, can’t we just let it be and stop trying to “help” them? Let God deal with them in his compassionate way. Is it necessary to have never-ending scientific study concerning the causes of homosexuality? We make matters worse: the “suffering” homosexuals endure is due to the guilt heaped upon them by other humans who have their own secrets.

It will be a very long time before homosexuals who love God – and feel (mistakenly) unworthy of his love – will be able to sit comfortably in our churches, so why can’t we just ask God’s blessing upon them, stop interfering in their desire to be close to God, and encourage them to have their own churches and pastors?

Irene Lewis
London Ont.

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Judging without understanding

Re “Desperation and healing: My journey with the church” (June). Thank you for addressing the issue of homosexuality that has been swept under the rug for far too long.

We have judged without understanding or compassion, much the same as we did with the issue of divorce for so many years. Struggling with something they did not choose, homosexuals leave the church – hurt, confused and incredibly lonely.

My hope and prayer is that we don’t take too long to “discuss and debate.” As I told a friend who has struggled with his sexual identity, who found no help in the church, and has left to pursue other faiths: “If in your search, you find that Jesus is who he says he is – the way, the truth and the life – I hope and pray that you will trust him and be patient with us.”

Alice Esau
Calgary, Alta.

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Need to think clearly about homosexuality

Re “Who are the people in our neighbourhood?” (June).

“Evangelism” believes that all those outside Christ possess a willful opposition to God, and so a decision against the old life, and for a new life, must be called for before any long-term change can begin. “Love for neighbour” is indeed the first command, and the sum of the law; but the law, even as the law of love, is ineffective to cure people of their selfishness. “Soul-saving” does not lead to a view of people as only souls, but correctly and usefully locates the source of all evil in the individual heart, which must be fixed before all else.

These truths – which do not play off Scripture against Scripture – are judgmental only in that they judge all people, including Christians. If there is hypocrisy among Christians, the correction is not to now start thinking of unbelievers as generally well-meaning and in need of a little loving direction, but to once more begin fearing the power of sin which remains in our own hearts.

The homosexual issue is a coming threat to the unity of the church, and the MB Herald does well to address it. Let us think harder about it than Mr. Rogers and Mr. Lupton.

Kris Peters
Linden, Alta.

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