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Minority issues still cause for concern
When I read the article "Minority alumni urge trustees to make multicultualism a priority" (Summer 2001), I was taken back to my time at Calvin in the mid-70s. I was not Dutch, not Christian Reformed, short, had dark hair and had attended public school in New York State. Never had I encountered the harsh racism I met with my freshman year, and I was white. I hear with sadness and pain the reiteration of these alumni who tell of being "lonely, isolated, misunderstood and patronized."

I have been inter-racially married for 22 years and have four bi-racial children. I cannot in good conscience encourage them to go to Calvin for the reasons these alumni give voice to. Life is hard enough; being a black, or a hispanic, or an Asian youth in America is particularly hard these days without attending a college where the dominant ethnic culture is given religious superiority.

It was ironic to me that on the page opposite this article was a picture of the Calvin College Board of Trustees 2000-2001, which is overwhelmingly white male. Until there is a willingness to engage in a real sharing of power with people of color, racial interactions at Calvin can never really change. There is a lot of rhetoric about being "agents of renewal in God's world." For that to happen there has to be a giving up of power, and an ending to the myth of the supremacy of the white male. Call me a cynic, I don't see that happening anytime soon.

Joanne Gilbert-Cannon '79
Rochester, N.Y.

Global warming is political issue
Thanks to Henk Meeter for responding to my letter (Summer 2001). The gist of my letter (Winter 2001) was a response to the belief that there is consensus among scientists that global warming is fact. I wrote that according to my reading there is still doubt among the scientific community. Mr. Meeter suggests that if we lived in Europe we would be absolutely convinced because everyone there knows it's warmer. So on the one hand, we're supposed to believe the earth is heating up because sophisticated computer models tell us so. But on the other, "everybody" in "England, Denmark, Sweden and Germany," even the "conservative, older farmers" just know it's true. I'm sure Mr. Meeter knows this is anecdotal evidence. "Everybody" in Europe might be proven right, but can we determine global patterns by the observations of people who are simply recalling their past winters? We're talking melting polar ice, rising water levels, beach homes in Kentucky, penguins swimming past the penthouses of Manhattan; in short, the end of civilization as we know it-all predicted because we feel it's been getting warmer for the last 50 to 100 years. Please. I repeat. This debate is more heat than light and more politics than science. If global warming is true, then it's time to start looking for that big retirement cruising yacht, you know the one-no engine, 300 cubits long, 50 cubits wide, 30 cubits high, probably named Repent.

Jon Deur ex'74
Grand Rapids, Mich.

Congrats to Prof. Hoeksema
I was very happy to see that Professor Hoeksema was honored with the Presidential Award for Exemplary Teaching (Summer 2001). I graduated from Calvin with a degree in special education and Prof. Hoeksema had a great influence on me both as a teacher and as a Christian. He is a very kind and compassionate man.

I remember when I first met him as my advisor-I was having problems scheduling the classes I needed. I walked into his office and burst into tears. He sat me down mapped out the next three years of my life, got me into classes I needed and was a great help.

His influence on my teaching style is also evident every day that I am in the classroom. I have been teaching for 13 years now and the way I approach my students and treat them comes from the way Prof. Hoeksema taught. I often receive comments that I don't teach the way other teachers do. I believe this is because I approach my job from a Christian standpoint: how can I best glorify God with what I do? When I get frustrated with students I stop and think of what God would want me to do-something I learned from Prof. Hoeksema. So congratulations to Prof. Hoeksema for a job well done!

Julie Bouwman Cunigan '87
Galt, Calif.

Summer Spark shocking
First of all, it has been 17 years since I attended Calvin, but I still remember Professor Mary Ann Walters (Retirement Tributes, Summer 2001) teaching me English at Calvin. I truly enjoyed her method of teaching and her class.

Secondly, the Blue Man Group article was pretty shocking. It's impressive to know that another "CRC/Dutch" is in such a popular part of the entertainment industry, but I never in a million years thought that the three blue men would or could represent the Christian faith-the Trinity? That's hard to grasp. How many times do you think of the Bible during the Twinkies segment or the spitting of paint balls?

Ardy Vos Iwema ex'83
Lombard, Ill.

Family rivalry
Following up on the Calvin/Hope article in Spark (Spring 2001), I wanted to tell you our story. In January of 1999, our son David, a senior at Timothy Christian, came to us and asked if he could apply to Hope. All we knew about Hope at that time was that it was in Holland; it was affiliated with the RCA; it was expensive; and it was our enemy! David had already applied to Calvin and Wheaton, and we encouraged him to throw Hope into the mix, even though we were a Calvin family.

My father, William Post ex'48, had attended Calvin and later served on the Board. My brother, Dan Post '71, graduated from Calvin. My husband's two sisters, Nancy DeYoung '72 and Sue DeYoung '80, graduated from Calvin. My husband, John, and I graduated from Calvin in 1975, and our son, John, graduated just this past May.

David was accepted at all three colleges, and rather quickly decided against Wheaton. Then began a difficult process of deciding between Hope and Calvin. As you can see, he is now at Hope and we are convinced that that is God's plan for David. He is thriving academically, spiritually and socially at Hope, just as John did at Calvin.

What really made our rivalry interesting is that David played JV basketball his freshman year. We were faithful fans sitting in the Hope stands, missing only about four of his games. We never went so far as to buy orange clothes, however. Brother John was also a faithful, though quiet supporter of David.

So how do we handle the rivalry? We celebrate it! We fly both flags on our garage with sincere gratitude for each institution, and for what each has meant to our sons.

John '75 and Rachel Post DeYoung '75
Westmont, Ill.

Middle East understanding needed
Thank you so much for the article about the young lady in the Middle East, Lenore Vander Zee (Summer 2001). Our son, Jason, went to Calvin for his sophomore year and graduated from Seattle Pacific University. The fall of his senior year, he also was part of the Middle Eastern Studies Program, living in Cairo and spending time in Israel and the West Bank. Because of what he has learned from that exposure and his further studies (University of London and Georgetown University), our family has become so much more aware of how the basic human rights of the Palestinians are being violated. We have read books written by Father Elias Chacour and others who have helped us gain a better understanding of our moral responsibility regarding the Palestinian people. Just the other day, I heard part of a segment on NPR describing how the Palestinian Christians were leaving their country because of the oppression.

This article is a great summary of what we need to know and learn more about as Christians. How much I appreciate seeing this published in your magazine! We always enjoy receiving the Spark and are impressed with the quality of the publication and the academic excellence at Calvin.

Carol J. Odem
Seattle, Wash.

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