I was quite surprised by the passionate letter of disagreement that was printed in the February 11 Journal, taking issue with your January 28 Blog. I was about to write to commend you for the tone and content of the piece, which brought up a number of issues that should be addressed in all our churches if they are going to be more healthy and grow in membership and influence.
The letter writer should be reminded that the title of your article was "Why I Go to Church," not "Why I Left the Church." Every church member should be involved in raising the kinds of questions you raised if they truly love their church. The tone was not critical fault-finding, but constructive self-improvement.
In my thirty-seven years as pastor of Altadena Baptist Church, I have known many solid, gifted, God-called pastors in the churches of the community. The really successful ones have learned early that they don't have all the answers, and they have always stayed open for the wisdom God wants to bring through average people in the pews. Those who don't, seem never to be able to reach their full potential.
I'm glad you also wrote your next article, "Dying in the Pew," [2-11-10] which is full of more wisdom. Keep up the good work. Maybe you'll stimulate others to share their insights, for the benefit of the entire Gospel witness in the Pasadena area through healthier and more fruitful churches.
Pastor George Van Alstine
Altadena Baptist Church