Letters December 2013
Feedback from study conference
I attended the BFL study conference in October. The premise for the conference was to discuss the topic of human sexuality in light of Articles 13 and 14 of the MB Confession of Faith. I appreciated much of the conversation. However, I felt we didn’t adequately address how we, as a body of believers in the MB conference, oppose all actions and attitudes that devalue human life (such as sexual immorality), while offering hope, healing, support, and counsel in the context of Christian community.
I pray that everyone who attended the conference will be convicted to turn from our own attitudes, acceptances, and actions, and become imitators of Christ every day. I pray my brothers and sisters will love me so much that they’re willing to hold me accountable to turn from my sinful actions, even when it hurts or takes years to resolve, to ensure I will be with God in eternity.
A place for all to worship
Re “Can I give you a hug? (Features, October). Kudos for focusing on people with disabilities – it’s exciting to see the ministry Willingdon and Northview are doing with kids. It would be interesting to know if any MB churches have a ministry for adults with disabilities.
About 17 years ago, my wife Erika and I started a Sunday school class for people with disabilities at the now-defunct West Clearbrook Community Church. Parents with disabled children and adults from a group home for the disabled attended. But then something totally unexpected happened. People who felt too broken and embarrassed to go to a traditional class came as well.
Many people with disabilities desire to be part of a church. When we make room for all, worship may not sound the way we expect, but to God, every song of praise is beautiful.
Addressing the reality of singles
Re “An orientation for single sexuality: The ‘do’s’ of purity” (Features, September). Karla Braun’s article is one of the best I’ve read on the subject of godly human sexuality. I’m an older, long-married woman who has been somewhat discouraged by our overly sexualized society. The pressures our children and grandchildren face are much more difficult now than in past generations, and our churches need to address this reality in a positive way. There are so many singles in our world and in our churches – Braun’s article should be a topic of discussion in youth groups, singles’ groups, and Bible schools.
Temptations we all face
Re “Unfinished business with John Howard Yoder” (Intersection, September). I appreciated the inclusion of Sara Wenger Shenk’s piece and agree we need to invite accountability. Theologian and writer Henri Nouwen noted that Jesus sent his disciples out in twos. When on assignment, Nouwen found it helpful to always have a L’Arche member accompany him. When doing lone-ranger ministry, it’s easy to get so filled up with our ego we’re led astray. It’s not just John Howard Yoder’s kind of problem. We must all be aware of the baiting of the evil one.
George H. Epp
Friends make the difference
Re “The hard work of gratitude” (Viewpoint, October). Shelaine Strom’s article reminded me of a message my pastor recently preached on gratitude, which deeply convicted me. “We don’t just absorb disappointment into our psyche and have it disappear into nowhere,” Strom writes. Far too often I find myself in that very situation, longing for the trials of life to simply vanish. I feel relieved to know I’m not alone in my plight of being truly thankful in the midst of anguish.
God made each one of us different. Some people deal with strife remarkably well; others pine away, never quite figuring out how to handle life’s turns. I can make the choice between “grumbling and thankfulness” due to the help of my Christian friends – my prayer warriors – the people God has placed in my path. Thanks be to God!