I wanted to thank you for the thoughtful content of the December 2005 issue. As I turned the pages, I encountered so many articles that struck a chord with what I have been thinking. Jim Wallis’ reflections on Dietrich Bonhoeffer (“When I First Met Bonhoeffer”), the article on vitality in mainline churches (“Vital Signs,” by Diana Butler Bass), the story of Nelson Good (“‘Everything He Touched Turned to Community,’” by Dan Charles), the look at conflict in Matthew (“The Gospel of Conflict,” by William Loader), and particularly “Speaking of Maybe” (by Andrew Hoeksema) all struck me with their richness and pertinence.
As a graduate student of literature whose day-to-day life unfolds in the highly critical academic world, these pieces were both refreshing for the concrete ways they saw and interpreted various aspects of life, religion, and our social environment as well as captivating for the language they used. The emphasis on tradition, faithfulness, and wisdom in the “Vital Signs” piece, as well as Hoeksema’s choice of “maybe” as his focal point, help me to understand my faith in a way that is congruent with the uncertain—yet rich—environment of which I’m currently part. Words such as these are wonderful and rare—words I don’t feel I have to qualify, that don’t make me grimace, that allow complexity rather than skimming the surface of understanding. Thank you.