May 7, 2012

Web Letters

Right on Target
I’m writing to thank Hyveth Williams for tackling the issue of abuse in the church in her column “Another Story About Mary” (Apr. 19, 2012). She is right on target when she writes, “Our silence and our sometime callous attitude are detrimental to those who need and seek our compassion when it comes to the secret sin of intimate and domestic violence.”

May God open our eyes to those in our midst who are hurting, and give us the grace and compassion to listen to them, believe them, and help them.

--Carla Baker
Laurel, Maryland

One Solution
Regarding the article “Lost Sheep?” by Addison Hudgins (Apr. 19, 2012): As a young person in my 20s I struggled with the same issues of coming to church as were mentioned in this article. Now in my 40s I am back in church. After going through a churchless time in my life and looking back one thing comes to mind more than any other that drew me back and keeps me there now: active involvement.

Coming to church as an observer is what many of our members, including youth, do. They are encouraged to go to their classes, but how often do we ask them to take on more responsibility? As I sit on our church Nominating Committee, I see many of the same people doing the same things year after year.

It’s time we looked harder to find youth and those who are uninvolved and encourage them to not just participate in their Sabbath school, but to be part of the body of the church. Each of us have gifts and skills. It’s time to get our youth off of the “bench” and “into the game.” Giving our youth more responsibility shows them that we value their opinions and want them involved. Among other things, it builds character and will help them in their future careers.

Maybe it’s time to stop trying to “entertain” our youth. Is it really possible to make church more interesting to them with all the distractions that the world offers them? What better example can we make than to be fully engaged in our churches ourselves?

--Christian Yaste
Charlotte, North Carolina

Lighting the Future
In “My Grandfather’s Medal” (Apr. 19, 2012), Mark Kellner distills in one page the immense blessing that truth can give when it orders our priorities.

Called to be good citizens wherever our life is cast, our vision of the “prize” of Philippians 3:14 must never be obscured by the glitz, glamour, or even the heartache that comes to us. With truth as our guide we need not be entranced by the one or embittered by the other. The future remains bright.

--Richard Burns
Cleveland Tennessee

Looking for a Better Day
Most of your readers could undoubtedly relate to the emotional wounds expressed in the articles “Waiting by the Pool of Bethesda” and “Resurrected Hope” (Apr. 12, 2012). One of the most frequently asked, anxiety-laden questions has to be “Why has this happened to my parent/sibling/spouse/child/friend?” when they are smitten by a unique or common degenerative life-threatening disorder. Only when it dawns on us that we are living on a sin-struck planet do we remember that “an enemy has done this.”

A second perplexity adds to the apprehension: “Why did God allow this to happen?” Fellow wounded humans are unable to give an acceptable answer; often questioning prayers seem to go no further than the ceiling. For many of us it is one of those questions we will have to wait to have answered satisfactorily in the hereafter. . . .

In bewildered confusion we ask, “Why does God not intervene for the benefit of the sufferer?” We question whether in the twenty-first century He is still able to say, in effect, “take up your bed and walk” or “go and wash in the pool of Siloam”? In our immediate and personal concern for our loved one we forget that there are legendary instances of God’s intervention in modern times. We have to remind ourselves that God has told His children, “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways. . . . As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts” (Isa. 55:8, 9). We do not now comprehend or understand as we ought the degenerative effects of sin since Adam. . . .

When, as a result of the accumulated degradation of centuries of sin, the messengers of Satan buffet us and our loved ones with untold maladies, may the compassion, tenderness, and love of Christ be awakened in us. When we apparently do not get the answers we expect to our prayers, may we remember that an omniscient, omnipresent, omnipotent, loving, and gracious God has His divine reasons for not intervening. . . .

God still grants us the peace of His grace until “He will wipe away every tear. . . . There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away” (Rev 21:4). Maranatha!

--Eric A. Korff
Silver Spring, Maryland

Back in the Garden
Thank you for featuring Sandra Blackmer’s article, “Miracle Greenhouse” (Apr. 12, 2012). It was so encouraging to see the good news of Adventist education being featured; especially in a time when Adventist academies struggle and have to deal with the perception that they are unaffordable. It was good to see our schools being innovative and providing opportunities for students to not only pay down their bill, but to be instilled with a work ethic.

In an age when even the Eden diet is being laden with pesticides, chemicals, and genetically modified, it is encouraging to see how some academies can be a part of the health message and bless their communities with organic produce that is healthier and tastes better. I hope more academies can provide similar work opportunities for their students, and health ministry opportunities through their organic products as a result of this article. Reading it did my heart good.

--Jason Belyeu
Ridgeland, South Carolina

The feature article about the miracle greenhouse at Sunnydale Academy prompted many memories.

Years ago, shortly after the death of my father and before I was a baptized member of the Adventist Church, I chose to attend Walla Walla College. I desperately wanted a college education. And when I learned about the Christian atmosphere and work/study options at Walla Walla, I decided to leave my home in Albuquerque.

It took five years to earn that degree. I was responsible for every expense from toothpaste to tuition. More than four decades later I still thank God for the blessings of Christian education, which led to my 43 years of service in the Adventist Church.

Some years later my three daughters attended Highland View Academy in Maryland, where there was a work/study program similar to that at Sunnydale. What a blessing for our family!

Over the last couple decades we have witnessed the closure of too many of our campuses in North America. Unfortunately, it appears more closings are to come. It is, therefore, heartening to read about the success of Sunnydale, Great Lakes, and Ozark Academies. I wonder, is there a model for others to pursue here?

--Bill Skidmore
Spokane Valley, Washington

Practice What You Write
In “The Peril of Being Glib” (Apr. 12, 2012), Stephen Chavez adroitly warns against providing glib answers to complex problems. He proposes that they do not reflect well on God.

Later in the same issue a headline proclaims, “Does God Care About Education? Sunnydale Academy says YES.” Should this answer be construed as “being glib?”

Paraphrasing Chavez, “Stop. Think. Write.”

--Frank McMillan
Altamonte Springs, Florida