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Summer 2004 | Volume 26, Number 7 | Letters to The Editor

Letters to the Editor

Yes, I can verify that “World War II POW Jake DeShazer chose a life of love not hate” (Spring 2004 Response). As his daughter, I’ve had a front- row seat to watch my dad and to observe the rock-solid commitment to the Lord he made in the Japanese prison, his commitment to his marriage to mom and his commitment to bring others to the Lord. I feel very blessed and honored to have such a genuine, loving, honest and supportive father to model my life after.

It has been almost 60 years since dad was released from prison and his surprising announcement of God’s call on his life to return to Japan as a missionary. It’s also been almost 30 years since his retirement from a lifetime of missionary activity in Japan. Yet dad’s story is still relevant today; people remind me time after time of how his story continues to be shared amongst friends, pastors, military people, schools and churches all over the world. Yes, all because he chose love!

Thank you, Clint Kelly, for depicting dad as he is. Thank you, President Watson and the SPU family, for giving my dad such a warm welcome on your campus. Thank you also, SPU, for equipping and preparing him for the great mission that lay ahead. You encouraged and supported him on his journey of trusting God for everything in life.
— Carol Aiko DeShazer Dixon ’79, Chicago, Ill.

I WAS VERY DISAPPOINTED with your glorification-of-war issue of Response (Spring 2004). While the editor reminded us “seldom has there been a greater demonstration of the principles of Christianity to peace …,” the photos you chose were all about war. Anyone who has talked to Jake DeShazer knows that the bombing raid lasted a few hours, and his ministry was what he put his whole life and soul into. Pictures speak louder than words. Your full-page cover is a picture of a bomber like the one he spent a few hours in. Your huge, two-page opening spread is another bomber. Your last full picture is Jake showing off his medals. What are you saying really? I wish the emphasis of the pictures could have been on his ministry, which was so powerful, rather than the hardware and medals of war.

It was the gospel of forgiveness from a man who had every earthly right to be bitter that opened the Japanese hearts to the gospel of Jesus. … While Jake DeShazer might have embodied the Sermon on the Mount and the Golden Rule, this issue glorified the opposite for me. You can do much better. Please do.
— Michael Bade ’77, Seattle, Wash.

Inspired by Brooks and DeShazer

WHAT AN EVENING OF inspiration I had tonight reading the current issue of Response! In particular, the articles relative to David Brooks were superb. What a good thing it was to have him on the SPU campus and in Seattle. … And the Jake DeShazer story — including the informational editor’s note — were outstanding.

Strangely, as I read the “Footnotes” section, which I always do, it struck me what an advertisement those quips are for the best in Christian higher education. SPU has a host of alumni who, everyday in places all around the world, demonstrate the qualities David Brooks is looking for in upcoming leaders. The SPU alumni have been doing this for a long time.
— John F. Sills, Cascade College ’62, Portland, Ore.

“It’s Like Mount Rainier Is Gone”

WHAT A WARM FEELING came over me as I opened the cover of the Spring 2004 Response and realized SPU had not forgotten my dad: President C. Hoyt Watson! He held sway during those war years, when my world fell apart as I received word of my husband’s death in France. The Allan Fisher ’40 Memorial Chapel was created on campus in honor of the SPU veterans who gave their lives for their country.

When the news broke that POW Jake DeShazer was released from prison, my dad invited him to enroll at Seattle Pacific. I remember well greeting Jake as he appeared in the library his first day on campus. …

The week following my dad’s death, I was at Safeway on Queen Anne Hill in Seattle, looking down into the frozen foods section, when suddenly [the late Seattle Pacific Professor of Economics] Mendel (M.B.) Miller’s head appeared next to mine. He quietly said, “It’s like Mount Rainier is gone.”
— Lola Watson Fisher Pettengill ’37, Seattle, Wash.

Toshiko’s Story Is My Story

I READ WITH INTEREST the recent Response article about Toshiko Senda. When Japan attacked Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941, the lives of the Japanese in America — citizens and aliens alike — changed overnight. We came to be viewed as potential enemies of the American war effort. …

My family received official orders to leave our home on Bainbridge Island in six days. Armed soldiers came to pick us up on March 30, 1942. Our destination was Manzanar Reception Center in the dry, hot desert in Owens Valley at the foot of the High Sierras. This camp was in the process of being built and provided only the basic necessities of living. Measuring 1 square mile, it was enclosed with barbed-wire fence and had watchtowers manned by armed guards.

Eventually, essential services were provided: post office, general store, schools, hospital, city council, recreation programs, beauty shop, barber shop, etc. Protestant, Catholic and Buddhist churches served the spiritual needs of the evacuees. My parents were Buddhists, but my close friends started to attend Sunday school at the Protestant church, so I tagged along. Soon I became a believer and enjoyed the fellowship with Christians. A good thing came out of difficult circumstances.

… The day after V-J Day, we left camp, free at last, to return home. Our strawberry farm was overrun by tall weeds, and my parents had to start all over again. I was able to complete my junior and senior years of high school with my classmates. The principal, Clifford Axelson, an SPC alumnus, introduced me to Seattle Pacific. I enrolled in September 1947 and completed the nursing program in 1952.
— Yaeko Yoshihara ’52, Bellevue, Wash.

I WAS INTERESTED in Sarah Jio’s story: “Dear Toshiko.” The story evoked my own memories of the Japanese-American citizens’ incarceration during World War II. For 30 years, my father was pastor of the Japanese Baptist Church in Seattle. I was 5 years old in 1942 when our church was vacated and locked. Our people had been sent to Minidoka, an internment camp near Twin Falls, Idaho. We followed them and rented a house nearby.

I have vivid memories of the indignities we endured while continuing ministry in the camp. … If a picture of the camp were juxtaposed to a picture of the Nazi concentration camps in Europe, one would be hard-pressed to tell the difference between the two.

Toshiko’s story is part of my story. Thank you for printing her story so we would not forget the injustice and prejudice suffered by American citizens during World War II.
— E. Brooks Andrews ’62, Stanwood, Wash.

Editor’s Note: Response readers helped us solve the mystery of whether Toshiko Senda was able to attend her 1942 Commencement (click here for the story).

Rick Steves and the War

I SO ENJOYED THE ARTICLE on Rick Steves. It made me hanker for a European vacation. I loved his emphasis on the people and not the monuments. That’s the way I’d love to travel.

Thanks also for being forthright about Steves’ position on the war. This is such a polarizing issue, and I’m refreshed to see SPU being open to the many varying Christian responses to it. I am a longtime pacifist, by the Quaker influence of my mother, who sent me to SPU. After spending so many years around Republican Evangelicals (beloved Republican Evangelicals!), … it is refreshing to see, as an SPU alum, that liberals are also welcome in the fold.

Thank you for an intelligent and inspiring publication.
— Katherine Grace Hotchkin Bond ’86, Duvall, Wash.

The Da Vinci Code and Women in the Church

THANK YOU FOR YOUR review on The Da Vinci Code. Professor Vogt answers a number of questions that naturally arise when one reads this page-turner, but he seems to have missed one aspect that really needs to be mentioned.

Regardless of what one believes about the historical accuracy of the book, it does raise questions about how women are viewed in church today. It seems hypocritical to me for the church, which has been one of the leading champions of women’s issues worldwide, to say that women should not be denied any opportunity based solely on gender, and then to turn right around and say that women cannot occupy certain leadership roles within the church itself based completely on gender.

The Da Vinci Code requires Christians to re-examine our stance on the role of women in our churches. I have never been convinced of the traditional interpretation of Scripture on this subject, but I am convinced that if we do not re-examine this issue, we will continue to be seen as irrelevant and outdated. …
— John Matas ’84, Manitou Springs, Colo.

Graceful Commentary on “The Passion”

DR. [ROB] WALL STATED (in the Spring 2004 Response) that believers must “voice graceful commentary” to correct impressions made by Mel Gibson’s film “The Passion of The Christ.” Allow me to attempt graceful commentary in response to Dr. Wall’s comments.

If Gibson’s film is not an attempt to provide a literalistic take on the gospel of Christ, then what is it? It certainly isn’t “Godspell,” “Jesus Christ Superstar” or “Last Temptation of Christ” — each of the aforementioned, it can be argued, are “artful commentaries” or “exposi- tions on biblical texts.” Certainly, Mel Gibson has taken artistic license in some areas. But many Christians, Protestant and Catholic alike, have viewed this film and have been able to separate that license from the gospel narrative.

Second, Dr. Wall believes that the film is anti-Jewish. But if the film is anti-Jewish, then one must assume that the four gospels are anti-Jewish as well. Even if the conflict between Jesus and the Jewish establishment of the day was given greater context, I don’t see how a faithful interpretation of Christ’s life avoids the fact that the Jewish leaders ultimately rejected the Messiah, and arranged to have him executed as a common criminal for political reasons.

Finally, contrary to Dr. Wall, I think one reason this film is so powerful is that the viewer is given an insight into the suffering of our Lord. If all I know is that a debt was paid for me, then I might have a muted sense of gratitude to the one who paid it. But if I realize that my debt was infinitely beyond my ability to pay it, then my sense of gratitude becomes much more profound. What this film did for me and for many other believers was remind us of how much it cost for Jesus to redeem us.
— Patrick McBurney ’88, Richland, Wash.

No Need for Other Subscriptions?

done it all: missions/ spiritual journey/history/the Iraq war/art/book and film reviews/cultural issues/travel (just returned from Paris where we toted Rick Steves’ Paris 2004)/stewardship/AIDS awareness/sports/news. Let’s see: Toss in a recipe or two (no, please, just kidding), and I can cancel all my other magazine subscriptions. Well done!
— Marilyn McGinnis ’61, Glendale, Calif.

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.