I work for a Christian conservation organization called A Rocha Canada here in British Columbia. As Christians all over the world have recognized the urgent need to protect and restore important habitats, A Rocha has become a family of projects working in Europe, the Middle East, Africa, North and South America, and Asia.
A Rocha has two field study centers in Canada, and I work at the location in Surrey, British Columbia (south of Vancouver). We do a variety of projects, from salmon habitat restoration to environmental education. We also have a small, community-shared agriculture project to highlight sustainability issues around food and get people connected with growing and producing their own food.
Jessica Nye ’00
Christian perspective appreciated
I appreciate seeing your perspectives in print because those views are not embraced by all Christians. You gave credibility to Christians who support the right to refuse or terminate life-prolonging treatment that is inconsistent with a person’s wishes.
Each day I am impressed by the courage and solidarity with which most families face painful end-of-life decisions. I hope that awareness of these struggles helps all of us to understand decisions to relieve suffering and to trust in a better life beyond this one.
Laurie Opperwall Medenblik ’85
More Petra, please
Gary N. Knoppers ’79
Proud of alma mater
An education from Calvin has given me the ability to critically analyze issues of politics and social justice from a Christian perspective. I’m proud to see that this strongly held tradition remains an active part of academic life at my alma mater.
Jill Helmus Lampen ’97
Graduation podium manipulated
By allowing the Calvin graduation podium to be cynically manipulated by Karl Rove for highly partisan purposes, and in the process displacing and disrespecting one of our own finest philosophers and interpreters of Christ, I believe that the college did exactly that. Flag and cross may inspire similar passions, and it may be tempting to confuse one’s own political interests and allegiances with those of God. But we should know better. The Bible tells us so.
David deBoer ’86
Discernment part of education
While I’m sure that you have plenty of people telling you on both sides that this issue is black and white, I’d like to be one who encourages you to continue to teach students how to discern the shades of gray.
This debate is precisely why Calvin exists. This debate is precisely why Calvin is distinct. This debate is precisely why Calvin matters.
Martin Wondergem ’93
More than one way
Saupe’s article carries a contrasting tone: “I can explain why I signed, but don’t dare claim certainty that it was the right thing to do.” Never does she criticize colleagues who responded in different ways.
Saupe and Bytwerk disagree on more than whether or not to sign the letter. They disagree on whether there can be more than one respectable way to think and act if one represents the Calvin — or Christian — community.
Bonnie Knaack Meyer ’77
Nelvia Geels Van’t Hul ’60
Letter signing made simple
For this reason, I think that much of the debate between Mr. Bytwerk and Ms. Saupe (Fall 2005) could have been condensed. In short, Mr. Bytwerk’s column should have simply stated that he didn’t sign the letter because he is a Republican, and that Ms. Saupe almost didn’t sign the letter because she is a Democrat. Like a stereotypical conservative, Mr. Bytwerk adamantly believes in the correctness of his position, regardless of whether he is wrong. Like a stereotypical liberal, Ms. Saupe’s beliefs collapse in the face of the oncoming conservative onslaught.
So now I request that the Calvin powers that be impose a remedy for all of us cranky and unashamed liberals: Let’s have this honorable institution invite former President Bill Clinton as the guest of honor at next year’s commencement. Then we’ll really see (1) if the great majority of conservatives connected to Calvin will hold their “sanctimonious” tongues as a liberal believer in Christ takes center stage; (2) if the conservatives will quietly sit back and accept the fact that it is their fault for not holding their tongues when chaos ensues; (3) if the national media will ascribe absolutely no meaning to the mere act of his visit with a school most folks have never heard of; and, of course, (4) how many liberals will throw in the towel and grudgingly support President Byker’s formal rescission of this offer and instead have someone substantially less innocuous come and talk to us about the same old anecdotes on Abraham Kuyper.
Peter De Vries ’01
Giving to Calvin
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