Letters to the Editor 2013 Fall


Fall 2013

Service-learning salute

Thank you for highlighting Calvin’s ongoing commitment to volunteerism, service learning and civic engagement (“Calvin receives highest federal recognition for service learning,” summer 2013). The 2,200 students who were involved in service projects last year deserve great credit and recognition for their dedication to making the world a better place. I’m thankful that Calvin, led by Jeff Bouman at the Service-Learning Center, has deepened and further integrated service into the educational experience at the college. I encourage other alumni to consider getting involved and supporting this important work. Financial gifts directed at the Service-Learning Center are used to help defray costs associated with service-learning projects and ensure that all students have the opportunity to participate.

Jon Terry ’93
Falls Church, Va.

BosschersReunion teed up

My wife, Gayle Ver Hoef Bosscher ’73, daughter Beth Bosscher ’03 and I were hiking at Maroon Bells near Aspen, Colo., when another hiker commented on my Calvin alumni tee. Turns out it was Carl VandePol ’76, who was chaperoning a group from West End Christian Reformed Church on a mission work trip to Denver. We grew up together in Burton Heights Christian Reformed Church in Grand Rapids, Mich., and had not seen each other in nearly 40 years. Good Calvin reunion thanks to a hat and shirt!

Rob Bosscher ’73
Orlando, Fla.

Pictured, from left: Beth, Rob, Gayle, Carl

Glory Day details

The recent article about the undefeated 1960–61 team brought back memories! I got out my 1961 Prism, and tucked between the pages was the “Glory Day” program! I don’t think the author of the article had access to the program because a few details are different. “Glory Day” was March 1, 1961, and the program was preprinted. In fact, the score of the Kalamazoo versus Calvin game was two question marks! The undefeated cross-country team was also honored, and photos of both teams are in the program.

Although there may have been a chapel service, the main events were a “student body foot parade” from the Franklin campus to the Grand Rapids Christian High gymnasium and a “rally” in the gym that featured presentations by the reigning homecoming queen and talks by members of the local press. The rally ended with the presentation of a huge cake from Saga Food Service. They said it was the biggest cake ever made in Michigan! There were no classes that day, and the local YMCA, a skating rink and three bowling alleys opened their doors to Calvin students for free or at very low cost. The main things I remember were the huge (and delicious!) cake and spending a school-day afternoon bowling for free!

Gail S. Bangma Baker ’64
Niceville, Fla.

Excessive toleration?

In the spring 2013 edition of Spark, a letter by Harold Bontekoe ’62 did not deserve the courtesy of a response let alone be published. His references to the “…dreaded…verses regarding ‘servants obey your masters, for this is right,’’’ to the Sermon on the Mount in which “…there is weirdness and attention to strange, and to us moderns, irrelevant detail,” to the Bible which “…is a product of the culture of its time, containing some universal truth and some nonsense” and the Biblical canon which “…from the first, the biblical authors contradict one another…” reflect a flat contradiction of what Calvin represented to me as a 1959 graduate.

This letter is to express my disappointment to the staff of Spark for thinking that you needed to publish what was deserving of the round file. Excessive toleration inclines people to become oblivious to untruth and devoid of conviction. Calvin is apparently experiencing some difficult economic times, and this kind of publicity doesn’t help. Unfortunately the pseudo-intellectualism and academic arrogance reflected in Bontekoe’s letter and in our modern liberal culture give some conservatives another stick with which to beat on the college and an excuse for non-support.

Bob Korthuis ‘59
Billings, Mont.

Editor’s reply: Thank you, Mr. Korthuis, for your perspective. Our editorial policy is to be as generous as possible with alumni submissions so the Calvin community can be aware of the diversity of opinions and interests among graduates. Neither the letters nor every alumni-submitted class note in the magazine are intended to reflect the views of Calvin College or its leadership. In addition, we’re not trying to exhibit “excessive toleration” here, but rather what former Calvin professor Richard Mouw advocated in his book Uncommon Decency when he shared this idea from scholar Martin Marty: “People these days who are civil often lack strong convictions, and people with strong religious convictions often are not very civil. What we need is convicted civility.” Hopefully, Spark models “convicted civility.”