Forum, Dec. 4: Caring Police Officers

Sunday, December 03, 2017
Caring Police Officers

After some discussion about what we are thankful for, and thinking of all the negative press the police get, we just wanted to share experiences we had with two local police officers, and to say how grateful we are to have such caring police officers in our area.

A few years ago, we called 911 for a medical emergency at our house, and the first person to arrive was an officer from the Norwich Police Department. He was so calm and caring, and went above and beyond to help. After the ambulance left with my husband, he stayed to make sure I was OK, and I was able to drive myself to the hospital.

The second incident was just a couple weeks ago. Another medical emergency, and this time I was driving my husband to the emergency department at 1 in the morning. I knew I was driving over the speed limit, but he was sitting in the passenger seat in pain and needed to get there as quickly as possible. Blue lights came on as we were about to enter the driveway into the hospital. I put on my emergency flashers, and the cruiser followed us to the emergency department. The Hanover Police officer then proceeded to get the wheelchair for my husband and helped get him into the hospital. He was a calm, caring and very professional. And because of the circumstances, he assured me I was not getting a speeding ticket.

So thank you, to both the Norwich and Hanover police departments, for having such caring officers.

Ellen Pelton


Calvin, Faith and Mystery

In “Lost in the Reformation: Mystery” (Nov. 26), columnist Randall Balmer laments “the Protestant rejection of a robust sacramental theology” which has robbed it “of a sense of mystery and set it on a path toward rationalism” and decline. He traces this state of affairs to John Calvin, the 16th century reformer, who rejected the doctrine of transubstantiation, the Roman Catholic account of the presence of Christ in the Eucharist. Wrote Balmer, “I’m prepared to argue that the Protestant rejection of the doctrine of the real presence has deprived believers of mystery and has devalued the faith. No, the notion that Christ is really present in the bread and wine of the Eucharist cannot be reduced to rational explanation. It’s a mystery, and one that must be taken by faith.”

Whatever one might claim about rationalistic trends in contemporary Protestantism, it is astounding to attribute them to Calvin, given what he actually said. True, he did not believe that Christ is literally in the bread and wine, but he did believe that Christ is conveyed to the faithful through the bread and wine. Calvin had an instrumental, rather than a material, understanding of Christ’s presence. The consecrated elements are channels of grace, not containers. They unite the believer to Christ in a transforming intimacy.

“If anyone should ask me how this takes place,” says Calvin, “I shall not be ashamed to confess that it is a secret too lofty for either my mind to comprehend or my words to declare. And to speak more plainly, I rather experience than understand it … Whenever this matter is discussed, when I have tried to say all, I feel I have yet said little in proportion to its worth. And although my mind can think beyond what my tongue can utter, yet even my mind is conquered and overwhelmed by the greatness of the thing. Therefore, nothing remains but to break forth in wonder at this mystery.” From Institutes of the Christian Religion, Book IV.

Calvin, then, was anything but “the pre-eminent rationalist” Professor Balmer makes him out to be. In fact, when it comes to mystery, they are allies.

David R. Adams