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Spring 2006 | Volume 29, Number 2

Letters to the Editor

my appreciation for your exceptional articles on C.S. Lewis [Winter 2006]. They painted a fresh and vibrant portrait of this engaging writer. The illustration of Reepicheep, in particular, reminded me of my stint at playing this character while working at Camp Casey in the summer of 1988. I never knew a mouse costume could be so hot and stuffy, but that’s another story.

The writings of this author — from the popular Chronicles of Narnia to the out-of-print collection of essays titled Fern-seed and Elephants — have all profoundly directed my family’s spiritual journey. His works have also served as both an encouragement and a powerful influence upon my own writing endeavors for children. He points out, for instance, that the best children’s books are also loved by adults. We should not be writing down to them, but consider them as equals. The works of C.S. Lewis, along with other towering writers of faith such as Saint Augustine or Saint Thomas Aquinas, remind believers that we need not fear the juxtaposition of faith and reason. True faith, in fact, cries out for the use of our reason and intellect in our constant pursuit of what it means to be a follower of Christ in the modern world. The meaning and value of a sacramental church, for example, was not something glossed over by Lewis (or Tolkien) in his writings — especially perhaps as found in his letters and the shorter essays.

Given Lewis’ humility, however, I have to wonder what he would think of all this attention. I suspect he would not be any too pleased with it and would likely attempt to divert our attention to the headwaters of his literary stream, toward G.K. Chesterton and George MacDonald. The loving readers of C.S. Lewis recognize, however, that his deep humility only serves to set him further apart and highlight his great literary contributions to the world and remind all Christian faithful that the best is yet to come, because the Lion is “on the move.”

Karl Erickson ’91
Salem, Ore.

I HAVE READ The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe — thank you for sending me a copy! I haven’t seen the movie yet, though, because I wanted to read the story first. It was good to read C.S. Lewis’ book along with others in the SPU community. In his Response article, “The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe: A Fairy Tale for All Ages,” Earl Palmer advises us to let The Chronicles of Narnia “happen over and around you in their own way and without interpretation.” As I read, I experienced something of what the children encountered as they entered into Narnia: the testing of their childlike relationships, learning whether to trust another person’s word, banding together for a journey, walking into new situations, fearing being lost or captured by someone more powerful, going through challenges, giving up something (one’s life) for someone else, and experiencing a love that is given for/to another. These were just some of the things that I experienced with the characters of the book. Now I should probably go see the movie to compare what I just read!

G. Lee Kluth
Pastor, Trinity Lutheran Church, Everett, Wash.

REVEREND EARL PALMER'S article [Winter 2006] caused me to reflect on my personal view of C.S. Lewis and how it has evolved during the last 15 years under Earl’s teaching at University Presbyterian Church (UPC) in Seattle. It began with Earl sketching in a portrait of a man, but over the years, that portrait has evolved into a complete watercolor with immense depth and background.

Every UPCer has to deal with Lewis because Lewis is enmeshed in Earl’s life. My own voyage has included several stages. Initially it incorporated the essential facts of Lewis’ life, times, friends, teaching, and service. Later, of course, it led to the “enough already!” stage, but that was only briefly. Somewhere down the line came the revelation that the “facts” about Lewis were beginning to come into relationship with his writings. Add to this mix the obvious glee with which Earl shares Lewis with his congregation (Earl’s vocabulary is constantly scattered with “Lewis words” such as “joy,” “whimsy,” and “surprise”), and what begins to emerge is a breathtaking image of forgiveness, sacrifice, and redemption. Now that’s a story — God’s story!

Kudos on a terrific issue of Response and a great layout. The wonderful sidebar on Mike MacDonald points us all to Kingdom service. Well done.

Dan Rupert
Seattle, Wash.

YOUR WINTER 2006 issue highlighting a “Return to Narnia” was outstanding. ... I just read a news report that more than 60 million copies have been sold [of The Chronicles of Narnia] since they were first published, and this is very good news in a world majoring in bad news. I think the record-breaking movie of The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe illustrates that most people want quality with moral underpinnings... . Keep up the good work.

Bruce S. King
Hamilton, Mont.

THE BOOK The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe was a delightful read. C.S. Lewis did a masterful job of writing a fiction book with great scriptural overtones. Several family members asked to borrow it when I was through reading it. Every year, I look forward to your book giveaway program. This year, it was nice to be caught up in a book that was current in the media as well as on the SPU campus. Thank you for all the coverage in the Response.

Phyllis Mentzos ’74
Snohomish, Wash.

Parenting Is a Big Job!

MY HUSBAND AND I were very interested in the recent article [Winter 2006] “The Faith of the Next Generation” about American teenagers’ spirituality. Thank you for focusing on the subject, both as the Day of Common Learning theme and as an article in Response.

The article gave us a clearer understanding of the world our teenage sons are growing up in. Yikes! Their world is so different than our own. ... Our boys are well-grounded through home, church, and, for one of them, several years of Christian school. In spite of that, the influences of this pervasive culture impact them more than we could have anticipated.

At times we find the option of hiding in a corner while the world marches on to be quite appealing, but that’s not what we’re called to. And it sure wouldn’t benefit our kids. Instead, we’ve been reading and discussing Christian Smith’s and Melinda Lundquist Denton’s book, Soul Searching: The Religious and Spiritual Lives of American Teenagers. We are trying to keep our relationship with our sons current by listening to their music, integrating practical faith into family conversations, and praying with them for their friends. We look for dynamic, godly people to come into our boys’ lives, maybe as a dinner guest or as a longer-term mentor. And we have an email list of praying friends who receive a monthly update from us, people who have shown a special interest in the needs of our children and uphold them (and us) in prayer.

Parenting is a bigger job than we ever imagined! We are grateful for all the resources available to help us raise our kids for Christ.

Ginger Fosket Kauffman ’72 and Tom Kauffman ’70
Stanwood, Wash.

The Perfect Alumni of the Year

WHAT A WONDERFUL ARTICLE was written about Jerry and Kathi Teel in Response [Winter 2006]. We cannot think of a more deserving couple than them. They epitomize the Christian values and spirit of Seattle Pacific University, and they have given their body, soul, and spirit without reservation to ensure that the legacy of their forefathers continues. They were the perfect couple to be chosen for Alumni of the Year 2006.

Joel Paget ’67 and Lorilee Nyholm Paget ’66
Bellevue, Wash.

WHAT A PLEASURE IT WAS to read in your Winter 2006 issue the great story about Jerry and Kathi Teel! Your coverage captured so much of what we all love about these two — their deep faith, their devotion to family, their scrupulous business ethics, their incredible generosity, and their love of Seattle Pacific University.

My wife, Lorinda, and I came to Seattle Pacific in the fall of 1968 when I was a young instructor. We met Jerry and Kathi in the Samaritan Sunday School class at First [Free Methodist] Church and quickly grew to love them. Most of us in the Samaritan class started having kids at about the same time, and we learned much from watching the Teels as they parented their girls. Looking back, it feels as if we — friends, couples, and kids — all grew up together in those years.

Lorinda and I left SPU in 1978 to move east, finally returning to Seattle just this past fall in time to be present for the chapel service and lunch honoring Jerry and Kathi. What a homecoming that made for us! Thank you, Response, for honoring two alums who represent the University so well. And thanks for the memories.

Daniel K. Church
President, Bastyr University, Seattle, Wash.

Working Alongside John Perkins

DURING WINTER BREAK, I had the opportunity to travel to the South to visit with one of the great civil rights leaders, Dr. John M. Perkins, who wrote about Katrina relief efforts in the Winter 2006 issue of Response. I was accompanied by eight other SPU students who had the drive and passion to work alongside Dr. Perkins. We assisted the Perkins Foundation and some of those who lost their homes from the fury of Hurricane Katrina in any way we could. During those two weeks, I worked at the Perkins Foundation in Jackson, Mississippi, and traveled several times to New Orleans, Louisiana. After I came back from Jackson and hearing John Perkins’ testimony, my life and journey with Christ has taken on a whole new meaning.

The devastation of Hurricane Katrina was horrific. Words cannot describe the destruction my eyes have seen. Houses were off their foundations, bodies were buried in rummage heaps, and the smell was 10 times worse than a city dump. It was approximately six months after the hurricane struck, and the Ninth Ward in New Orleans still looked as if the storm had just hit. Government relief efforts had been appalling to say the least. It is only by the grace of God that various churches of all denominations gathered together to help rebuild New Orleans. I applaud Dr. Perkins for his recovery efforts all the way from Jackson to New Orleans.

I’m overjoyed that I had the chance to help a lady by the name of Miss Lilly. Her house was nearly demolished by the hurricane, and we were able to help repair, paint, and rebuild most of what was left. It makes my heart glad to see people, from all over the world, come together as the body of Christ to help each other out during this time. ... I echo the words of Dr. Perkins in Response: “Hurricane Katrina has provided yet another opportunity for us to live out the principles of holistic Christian community development, to focus on ministering to the physical, emotional, and spiritual needs of God’s children.”

As we move through the season of Lent, I would beseech every believer to use this time of fasting and praying not only for the victims of Hurricane Katrina, but also for the Perkins Foundation. The work of reconciliation goes far beyond racial lines. Most of reconciliation starts with reconciling ourselves with Jesus and the Body of Christ. We must all learn to love one another with grace and to come alongside each other with humility. Many lives have been lost and changed due to Katrina, but many lives are still yet to be saved.

Marcus A. Hill
SPU Junior, Seattle, Wash.

Keep Those Issues Coming

I WANT TO THANK YOU for the incredible job all of you are doing in the publishing of the Response and the resultant growth for those of us who read in our walk with Christ. It’s fun, informative, and edifying. Keep it up!

Joyce Marston Enright ’52
Coupeville, Wash.

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