The Changing Canvas of Life
Thank you from the bottom of my heart for sending me the spring 2000 issue of
inSpire. What I unexpectedly found on the inside cover was a painting of Miller Chapel by my home-church minister, the Rev. Yun-ho Ye. Sadly, the Rev. Ye died on February 5, 1999, and he is missed very much.
The photo brought back memories from my childhood when the Rev. Ye once kindly and patiently drew a portrait of me. His unique spirituality, his service to the poor, his voluntary poverty, and his love of beauty, both divine and natural, greatly influenced my decision to pursue theological training and ministry.
During my studies at PTS, the Rev. Ye sent me one of his drawings of the Bossey Ecumenical Institute in Switzerland as an expression of encouragement. I later dedicated my Th.M. thesis to him. I am now pursuing a Ph.D. in New Testament at Drew University, and, once again, am indebted to him for his influence in this decision.
May God bless your work in producing such a great magazine, which creates and recreates a global and generational network.
Hyunju Bae (’93B, M)
Madison, New Jersey
I am most thankful for inSpire—for the news of the Seminary, of classmates, and for the sense of connectedness I have with the PTS family. I am especially aware of the importance of being connected. Currently, I’m serving as an interim minister in Wrangell, Alaska. We’re somewhat isolated here because most of the churches in southeast Alaska are accessible only by plane or boat. Many of the cities and villages here are located on islands.
As you might imagine, in-person committee work is very difficult, and travel is both costly and inconvenient. Generally, one relies on ferry and airline schedules. And often it is not possible to travel by plane because of weather and equipment problems. Attending a committee meeting or engaging in Committee on Ministry work in a particular congregation can take three or four days because of travel considerations. Climate concerns are relatively minor when set alongside the challenges of being a connectional church here. As a result, I have found email and phone calls to be real lifelines for getting and staying connected. Thanks for all you do. I look forward to continued inspiration and joy with each issue of
Ralph Mueller ('88B)
Wrangell , Alaska
Foreign Policy and the Gospel
The juxtaposition of the article on the poor and Third World debt (“Breaking the Chains”) with the debate among the three new PTS professors (“Transformative Truth”) in the spring 2000 issue was significant for me. Turning seventy this year and having forty-five years of ministry behind me, I am never ashamed of Jesus Christ and the Good News that flows from his life, death, and resurrection. However, I am ashamed of the church when it seems content to argue the case over ancient texts, but fails to get behind the campaign to cancel Third World debt. In many cases, the gun lobby does a better job of promoting their issues in the political process than does the church!
For those of us outside the U.S., it seems that the country’s enormous prosperity is being enjoyed largely at the expense of the “Third World.” The strong U.S. dollar devalues all our currencies so that our debts increase simply by a paper American note—and that on money “lent” from already overflowing coffers.
Please note that this is not a put-down of the new scholars at PTS. We need them desperately for inspiration as we tackle these issues. Instead, this is a cry that they make their enormous talents effective by becoming aware of the U.S. government’s policies in the light of the Gospel. For example, they might ask, “What is it about our foreign policy that makes some people so desperate that, following the example of Jesus, they are willing to give their lives in protest by trying to blow up an American warship?” Or they might examine President Clinton's response—“We will bring these murderers to justice”—that did not face the bigger question, the answer to which may require change on the part of the American people.
As another article in the summer/fall 2000 issue noted, “Gun control is a religious
issue.” In any case, justice issues pertaining to U.S. foreign policy are central to the Gospel and to the continuing promise of life made by Christ to the world. Keep up the good work of keeping us informed and
Edward A. Johnson (’64M, ’90P)
Auckland, New Zealand
An Ongoing Influence in Latin America
Thank you for the excellent summer/fall 2000 issue of
inSpire. As a biographer of [former PTS president] Dr. John A. Mackay, I would like to provide information for Merle Crouse in St. Cloud, Florida, about
The Other Spanish Christ. A Spanish copy of this book is available from Casa Unida de Publicaciones, Heroes 83, Col. Guerrero, 06300 Mexico, D.F. Mexico.
This is one of Dr. Mackay’s most widely known literary contributions. The Spanish translation has four new editions published in Mexico and Peru under the title
El Otro Cristo Espanol spanning the years 1990 to 1994. I was honored to write the introduction for these.
In Latin America, there continues to be a keen interest in Dr. Mackay’s writings. Unfortunately, only a few copies of the English edition can be found in libraries around the world since the second edition of the original in English did not get the support of those holding the copyright. It is regretful that the English-reading world is now deprived of this classic that affirms the rightful place of Protestantism in Latin lands.
John Sinclair (’47B, '53 M)
Grace and Offense
Thank you for the sensitive articles and anecdotes in the spring 2000 issue of
inSpire. The one told about Bruce Metzger [PTS professor of New Testament language and literature emeritus] and the rain puddle was moving and illustrative of grace. However, one heading did alarm me:
“I Bet My Pastor Can Beat Up Your
Pastor.” As a professor of pastoral care who teaches a crisis ministry course in a local domestic violence program, I would appreciate more awareness of suggestive and violent language. The content of the article, however, was most appropriate and interesting since I also work to promote mind-body-spirit health and unity.
Jeanne Stevenson-Moessner (’75E)
We’re sorry that the attempted humor in our title offended some readers. We were in no way endorsing violence. (See the
summer/fall 2000 issue for a fuller
Violence Is a Religious Issue
Regarding Patricia Kitchen’s article (“Is Gun Control a Religious Issue?”) in the summer/fall 2000 issue of
inSpire, I believe it was mistakenly titled. Her article was addressed to the culture of violence in the U.S., and I agree [with her] that it is time for “a national rebellion against violence.”
However, it is violence that is the religious issue, and our degraded culture increasingly glorifies violence. The movies and TV are full of violence, and we are too soft on violent criminals. We need a Million Moms to turn off the TV, to boycott those who sponsor violent shows, to work in their families and communities to teach against violence, and to see that violent criminals are prosecuted and removed from society.
The issue is not guns, inanimate objects that can be used for good or ill. One reason the founders of our nation wanted to preserve the right of free people to keep or bear arms was that if the British had imposed gun control, as they tried to do at Concord and Lexington, the American Revolution never would have succeeded.
Governments that seek to impose tyrannical control over citizens always start by taking away their guns (cf. Hitler’s Germany and Stalin’s USSR).
Because it is politically correct these days to be in favor of more gun control laws, the media don’t report all the good accomplished by means of guns in the hands of lawful citizens: robberies, rapes, murders prevented or thwarted. (The thousands of gun control laws already on the books haven’t stopped violent crime. What does that tell you?)
In an increasingly violent culture, citizens need guns—the great equalizers—to protect the innocent. Criminals aren’t stupid, but they are cowardly. They only victimize the defenseless. They avoid perpetrating their crimes against those whom they think might be armed. And criminals don’t obey gun control laws either. They get their guns on the black market.
I wish that our culture was not so rude, self-centered, and violent, but until that changes, the innocent must have the right to protection. That means the right to keep and bear arms.
Paul Walker (’63M)