It has been nearly a year since I laid the comments section to rest and begin inviting letters to the editor in its stead. It has been a blessing to receive so many hundreds of letters over the past year and to be able to share the best of them. Here are a few from the past couple of weeks.
Comments on Are You Going to Hurt Me?
Tim, thank you for writing the “Are You Going to Hurt Me” article. It brings to light the tension I have long felt as a woman, runner, (recovering) feminist, and friend of many good men.
As a woman, I walk around knowing that 50% of the population could hurt me if they so choose. Although I am strong for a girl, I am weak compared to men. Yes, I work out regularly, I lift heavy weights, I run, I do everything “right,” but I am weak. At best, I hope to be able to defend myself long enough to survive, to get away, or to get help; that is all.
As a believer, I walk around knowing I am equal in worth to men. I have strong parents who loved me and taught me true self-confidence, I am a daughter of the King. I have unique skills and talents because I am a woman that neither diminish nor are greater than a man’s unique skills and talents.
As a (recovering) feminist, I fight the lie that I have to be the same as men to be valuable. I fight the temptation to turn a blind eye to the unique image bearing of men and women. I want to be the strong, unafraid, woman confidently striding down the street or running down the dark path, but I am not. My ears are pricked, I eyes are peeled, and I’m always a little afraid.
As a friend, daughter, sister-in-Christ to many good men, I walk around with the security of knowing there are good, godly men who desire to protect me – even when I don’t want it. They care for me emotionally and yes, even physically. I know men who go out of their way to make me feel secure when I am running alone—they step to the side, they speak, their eyes do not linger with a lustful hunger. These men speak kindly, they walk me to my car, they hold doors—not because I am incapable, not because I can never walk alone to my car, but because they care. They remind me that my hope is not in myself, it’s not even in them, my hope is in the God who they reflect—the one who cares for me when I am alone and afraid.
Thank you for bringing this simple issue to light. It is a reality for many women and we need good men in all areas of our life.
—Taylor B, Greenville, SC
Sometimes I hate this world we’ve made. My wife says that even in our quiet neighbourhood she sometimes thinks these thoughts as she’s going for a walk in broad daylight and sees an unknown man walking. May Christ come back quickly.
—Mark C, St. Thomas, ON
I’m currently in counseling after having an incident where a man followed me around in a Walmart and then out to my car. It left me shaken and unnerved, and now when I walk outside, I cross to the other side of the street or change my path if I see other men walking/running nearby in the same direction. There are nightmares and startled responses, and I am suffering PTSD because this actually called up two earlier events in which I’ve been sexually assaulted. I cried as I read this article and thank you for being a man who loves and cares deeply for the needs of women, the hurting and the broken. Thanks for your love and that you are a sensitive Christian leader for those whose trust has been violated. Thanks for being a good picture of Christ Jesus, who heals and binds up the brokenhearted, and calls all of us to care for one another, weep for one another, and reminds us that we can always trust in the Father. Let us overcome evil with good.
—Beth L, OK
Wow. Thank you writing this article. It brought tears to my eyes as I recalled all the times I have prayed in a desperate panic for safety when I suddenly found myself alone and in a remote or vacant area. There have been too many fear-laden instances to count in my 34 years of experiences—and I consider myself a very careful and mindful individual when it comes to safety. While out on a run, I have turned around and quickly sprinted away more than twice because a man driving a pick up truck suddenly pulled over right in front of me on a less-populated street. You’re right: The fear IS real. Thank you for encouraging our brothers to start with at least looking for and acknowledging it. It is always a huge comfort to me to know that the men in my life (husband, father, father and brother in laws, pastor) are looking out for my safety.
—Emily A, Roseville CA
Comments on Christian Men and Their Video Games
Thank you so much for providing a refreshing, clear and morally/theologically balanced view of video games. Rather than submit to the petty bashing and equivocations that many of your Reformed Brethren resort to, you have risen above and given a perspective both balanced and personal.
—Aaron S, Brisbane, Australia
I’m so glad I sold my PS4 system a few months ago. I know that if I owned it now, your article would be all the rationalization I would need to continue in a losing fight to idolatry. The problem isn’t in your article’s content. I agree with everything you wrote; however, I constantly struggled with playing too much. Thanks for your thoughts, but I’m even more thankful for the conviction of the Spirit and a community of fellow brothers-in-Christ that help me accountable to sell the system.
—Tyson B, Torrance, CA
I’m thankful that you’ve touched on the topic of video games. In my earliest years of being a part of the church, I faced much condemnation and didn’t feel like it was valid. It can be quite a difficult topic to wrestle with and explain, and often has been confusing to me how many people easily justify sports (playing or spectating) but are quick to dismiss video games as entertainment. Although you’ve written about casual gaming, the one extension which could be discussed is competitive gaming (many elements are identical to physical sports). I’m one who has previously aspired to the world of competitive e-sports for the glory of God and I’m certain that we are in a generation of gamers where there is no presence of Christian athletes. It’s my prayer often that more people would try to understand the beauty that video games can bring, and enjoy it, but not get consumed in this tempting realm.
—Andrew K, Toronto, ON
Comments on Is Seminary Necessary?
As one who did attend seminary (for an M.A. in Christian Counseling) I can attest to the fact that, without such preparation, my ministry may have been reduced to parroting what others have written/spoken/taught from the pulpit. It certainly helps to know one’s theology to confront questions which might prove harmful to a congregant, if left unanswered, from a biblical point of view. Also, there seems to be an abundance of “canned” sermons from which a pastor can choose to preach, however, each pastor should have an even rudimentary understanding of how to interpret Scripture in its proper context and with an eye towards understanding both the intent and spirit of the passage. I did attend a church in my former hometown for several years whose pastor was not seminary trained but, because of his upbringing and studiousness, knew the Bible and its context better than many seminary trained pastors I’ve heard or seen. Seminary, then, may not be necessary but, I believe, is advisable.
—Justin M, El Paso, TX