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Spring 2004 | Volume 26, Number 6 | Letters to The Editor

Letters to the Editor

Response just keeps getting better and better with every issue. It is so good these days that I read it from cover to cover. The Winter 2004 issue with a focus on business was of particular interest to me since I have found myself in recent years speaking at management seminars for such international business groups as Samsung Aerospace and Rolls Royce International. Although my fields are theology and Asian studies, I have found that business leaders are interested in doing the right thing and that there is a deep concern for building character as well as making a profit. Response and SPU are to be complimented for providing leadership in the world of business, and doing so from a Christian perspective.
Daniel James Adams ’65, Jeonbuk, Korea

I JUST READ THE MAX DEPREE interview in the SPU Response. I want to thank President Eaton, the University and especially Sarah Jio and Jennifer Johnson Gilnett for this great piece. I’ve had the privilege of being a member of the Herman Miller family for the past 26 years, the past 15 in Seattle. This interview captures Max as he lived and led Herman Miller. He is the real deal. Thanks for honoring and featuring a great leader and a man of God.
— Jerry Koster, Herman Miller, Seattle, Wash.

THE ARTICLES AND LETTERS in Response draw me to write with a plea for balance, particularly as it relates to the magazine’s recent emphasis on “successful” businesspersons taking “biblical” principles to the world. Not bad in its own right, if admitted as a bias, yet problematic in a pluralistic society and age. A worldview that perpetuates the dichotomies of society in terms of sacred/secular, Christian/ non-Christian business and the like, equating this blend of market spirituality with living a spiritual life, undermines any honest attempt to serve together with diverse communities to get anything worthwhile done. Until the purveyors of this outlook recognize they are shutting out a majority of the world and, I would say, a large segment of God’s people, we will never move beyond the Us/Them thinking that has held back a full expression of E Pluribus Unum, a fundamental of our nation many of the “faithful” can’t seem to handle.

My nine years as a chaplain among homeless persons has revealed mountains of tensions between the life of faith and the “success” orientation of American society, or Seattle Pacific. I’m not saying that all these folks you exemplified in Response aren’t doing great things or aren’t good people. I think I’m reacting to the slickness of the “beautiful people” who are the focus because they are “successful Christians.” That’s a bit scary to me as a spiritual leader, as a person who works with wonderful friends of all religious traditions, and as someone who learned long ago that while we all focus our attention on the Great People, it is the Little Folks who often bring the message, the good news, we most desperately need to hear.
— Chris Highland ’78, Chaplain, Interfaith Homeless Chaplaincy, San Rafael, Calif.

Congratulations to the Alumnus of the Year

Alumnus of the Year Ed Vander Pol and his company, Oak Harbor Freight Lines, allows Northwest Harvest to provide a diverse selection of nutritious food to our clients. To get by, many of our clients feed their families the same low-cost packaged foods day after day. The hundreds of thousands of pounds of fruit and vegetables we receive through Oak Harbor Freight Lines improves both their physical health and their spirit, as this client shares:

“Today I came to your food bank with my niece, because I didn’t have enough food in my house to make a meal or enough canned goods and dried food items that would stretch until next Friday at which time I would have some money. The caring and friendliness that your staff showed my niece and me was unbelievable.... When I walked out of your door I felt renewed, with a little more pep in my step because Northwest Harvest showed me that people care. Again, thank you.”

On behalf of this client and the thousands of others served by Northwest Harvest, I would like to extend my gratitude and congratulations to Ed Vander Pol, a true leader in the fight against hunger.
— Shelley Rotondo, Executive Director, Northwest Harvest, Seattle, Wash.

Thoughts on Science and Faith

I’VE DAWDLED OVER WRITING my reaction to a letter in the winter issue of Response. The writer was dismissive of scientific knowledge and repulsed by current stem cell research. Time has persuaded me that unless supporters of science speak up in the ongoing — and dare I say “unnecessary” — debate over creationism versus evolutionary evidence, the battle will be lost to those who cherish literal readings of the Scriptures over the observable phenomena of our planet and our universe.

It appears that the religious fervor that led to the destruction of the libraries in Alexandria 1,600 years ago — an event that did immeasurable damage to the progress of civilization — is still a force today. Religious faith — that “incredulous leap” in the words of theologian Paul Tillich — does not require science for support just as science must be founded solely on physical observations and extrapolations instead of faith.

Sadly, I recall sitting in a Survey of Physics class at SPC in the early ’50s and being told that space travel was an impossibility “because a force exerted in a vacuum would bring no movement.” (The professor was oblivious to the fact that the opposing force is exerted against the front of the expelling container.)

It is even sadder that, with all of its efforts and excellence in the SPU science departments today, the scholarly reputation of SPU is diminished by the presence of the Discovery Institute on campus. Promoting an “intelligent design” theory seems to demonstrate a lack of faith. One’s faith should not be so fragile that one is compelled to resist any theories that confound a literal interpretation of Genesis.
— Dan Näsman ’55, Port Townsend, Wash.

Editor’s Note: Although SPU has co-sponsored some events with the Discovery Institute, people have on occasion assumed a connection between the organization and SPU that does not exist. Vice President for Academic Affairs Les Steele says, “The Discovery Institute is not on campus nor is there any official relationship between Seattle Pacific University and the Discovery Institute.”

A Team With Passion, Leadership and Class

CONGRATULATIONS TO THE SPU women’s basketball team for another phenomenal season! What Coach Presnell, his staff and the players have accomplished over the past two seasons is truly amazing. They’ve been such a joy to watch, and they’re great representatives of SPU. With all the negative things reported in the media about sports and athletes, the SPU women’s program is a shining example of what is good about athletics. These women play hard, smart and as a team, and the results over the past two seasons have been incredible.

My daughter, Betsy, is in the sixth grade, and has gone to the Falcon Girls Basketball Camp the last three summers. As a result, we have come to know several of the women players. These women are not only great basketball players on the court, but great people off the court. I can’t begin to explain what it has meant to our family, especially Betsy, to be able to watch this team, and to see such effort, passion, leadership and class. … These are people and experiences that Betsy will remember forever.
— Steve Kingma, Bellevue, Wash.

MY WIFE AND I WERE convinced that watching Falcon women’s basketball was the sports bargain of the Seattle area. We watched a TEAM and not a group of individuals. Coach Presnell again assembled a talented group of young women who played an enthusiastic, selfless, disciplined and exciting game. … The team was our team and made us proud to be associated with Seattle Pacific University.
— Andy Montana ’51 and Kay Montana, Edmonds, Wash.

Memories of a Favorite Professor

Editor’s Note: The following is a recent campus email conversation about the late Seattle Pacific Professor of Economics M.B. Miller.

“HEAVEN IS THE LAST PLACE I want to find myself.” M.B. Miller. This was one small part of [Professor of Theatre] George Scranton’s “JB” lecture in UCOR 1000 plenary session Wednesday last.
— Michael Macdonald, Professor of European Studies

MICHAEL, ET AL.: For “newer” faculty members: M.B. Miller was a “legend in his own time,” and greatly admired by us (then) “younger” faculty. He was noted for his wit and wisdom, his liberality and his laughter — and his many “quips.” As he would get up from the “faculty” table in the SUB (where many of us would gather for coffee), he might say, “Well, I have other fish to fry that are not of this pan,” or “I have other sheep to fold that are not of this pen.” The quip that I quoted, which Michael alluded to, was classic M.B. and has now come true. Since his death a number of years ago, he is now in the “last place he wanted to find himself — in heaven.” May his memory still remain with us who are not yet there. He was one of those grand faculty members who make SPU the kind of place in which I have been able to live, love and thrive.
— George Scranton ’69, Professor of Theatre

SEEING THE REMINISCENCES of M.B. Miller reminds me of my student days at SPC. Frequently, the highlights of my week were hearing him read chapel announcements in the mornings. It wasn’t that I had such a pathetic lifestyle, but that M.B. was exceptionally gifted, making the mundane delightfully humorous.
— Lyle Peter ’72, Professor of Chemistry

CELEBRATING THE MEMORIES of M.B., quite simply, make my day. May his memory (continue to) be blessed.
— Frank Spina, Professor of Old Testament

WITH ALL OF THE CLASSES I took from M.B. … I should have all kinds of M.B. quotes. The only thing I can remember is that in one of his classes he said that the population explosion was due to the invention of the station wagon.
— Mel Gimmaka ’66, Priest, St. Innocent Orthodox Church, Everson, Wash.

Encouraging Tired Saints

ORCHIDS TO YOU! As a still-functioning member of the class of ’52, I am always thankful for Seattle Pacific and that I was blessed to have my four years of undergraduate study there. As for your publication, I have watched it through the years and am thrilled to see the caliber to which it has come. To Jennifer and staff, I would say God bless you. You are making a difference in God’s kingdom as you encourage often tired saints and give cause for praise and thanksgiving to many alums serving all over the globe.
— Harry Oldenburger ’52, Retired Pastor, Vancouver, Wash.

What Do You Think? Don’t be shy!

We’d like to hear your opinion about Response or any articles printed in the publication. To tell us what you think, send email to, or visit You may also write Editor, Response, Seattle Pacific University, 3307 Third Avenue West, Suite 116, Seattle, Washington 98119–1922. Letters must be signed and will be printed as space permits.