What are the chief concerns of a Christian mother who seeks to maintain a happy and dedicated home life amid Nuclear and Space Age tensions? How is she to meet these concerns? What mental priorities must she establish?
CHRISTIANITY TODAY asked prominent Christian mothers to consider these questions and record their reactions. Here are their statements:
MRS. PERCY CRAWFORD, wife of the noted TV-radio evangelist: “We know that Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today and forever. The principles of the Bible and human nature remain the same. I feel that the old-fashioned Gospel will weather the Space Age regardless of what it holds in store for us. In times like these let us be sure our anchor grips the Rock—Christ Jesus.”
MRS. HERMAN E. EBERHARDT, wife of the director of the Central Union Mission in Washington and “Mother of the Year” for the District of Columbia: “A Space Age mother needs to keep her feet on the ground and her heart in the heavenlies. The man in the moon will never replace the man in the home with a dedicated mother working with him to raise a Christian family. The answer is to put our thoughts and deeds in the right orbit. ‘Seek ye first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added unto you.’ The home that is in orbit around the Lord Jesus Christ will never fail in the countdown.”
MRS. V. RAYMOND EDMAN, wife of the president of Wheaton College: “We know our future is in our Lord’s hand; and while we work for him we wait for his coming.”
MRS. EDWARD L. R. ELSON, wife of the minister of National Presbyterian Church, Washington, D. C.: “My chief concern as a mother has been increasingly that each child should achieve that inner poise which comes only from an understanding of his own individual worth and of a life purpose which God has for him. To meet this, we try to uphold them always with our constant love and faith in them and by our prayers with them. Even my own feeling of inadequacy helps me to relinquish their hands in mine to God’s own encompassing love and guidance which must sustain them in their pilgrimage beyond our home and beyond this life we share together on earth.”
MRS. LOUIS H. EVANS JR., former actress, now the wife of a distinguished Presbyterian minister: “In this age of speed, noise, super-activity, etc., one of my chief concerns for my children is that they might learn the secret of being quiet—that they might learn to ‘be still and know’ that God is God—a balance between service and activism and periods of stillness, without which service loses its proper motive and power, and the individual loses all sense of peace and contact with his God. I long for this balance in the lives of our children—in short, I want them to be part of the answer for the world, not part of the problem.”
MRS. BILLY GRAHAM, wife of the world-renowned evangelist: “In the Scriptures God has plainly staked out the course for Christian mothers. My chief concern, or certainly one of my chief concerns, is that of diversion—of being sidetracked from that course. Even legitimate, worthy undertakings, such as house cleaning, community projects, or personal hobbies, can sidetrack one from the main purpose. We have the Guide Book, and we have the Guide—the rest is up to us. It will involve pruning from our lives anything that would tend to divert us from this main purpose.”
MRS. E. C. MANNING, wife of the premier of Alberta, Canada: “A mother’s whole energies are directed toward the constructive task of rearing her children in a sound, consistent Christian atmosphere. So far, the primary emphasis in nuclear research has been destructive. Christian mothers should band together to press for peaceful, constructive uses of nuclear energy.”
MRS. EARL WARREN, wife of the Chief Justice of the U. S. Supreme Court: “In the rearing of their children, every generation of mothers must meet additional problems that growing complexities of the world thrust upon them. But their solution does not call for a new formula. It is the same in the ox cart and the space ages. There is but one solvent—Christian love.”
The Motherly Tribute
The “Mother’s Day” concept has a long history of religious connections which in modern times seem to have been predominantly Christian.
In ancient Greece, the idea of paying tribute to motherhood was given expression with a regular festival tantamount to mother worship. Formal ceremonies to Cybele, or Rhea, the “Great Mother of the Gods,” were performed on the Ides of March throughout Asia Minor.
For Christianity, the concept seems to date back to establishment of England’s “Mothering Sunday,” a custom of the people which provided that one attend the mother church in which he was baptized on Mid-Lent Sunday. Gifts were to be offered at the altar to the church and to worshippers’ mothers. The concept was divorced of any “mother worship,” but nevertheless perpetuated its religious association.
U. S. observance of Mother’s Day, too, has been characterized by church ties from the start. The first general observance of the occasion was in the churches of Philadelphia after Miss Anne Jarvis campaigned for a holiday for mothers more than 50 years ago.
• A Doubleday book published this month, The Power of Prayer on Plants, claims proof that seedlings made the object of prayer were superior to others grown under identical laboratory conditions. Author is Dr. Franklin Loehr, Presbyterian minister and a trained chemist.
• A statement from Clarence House, London residence of the Queen Mother, denied that any religious significance was attached to a call that Princess Margaret and her mother were to make on Pope John XXIII this month.
• Directors of the Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod last month authorized some $2,000,000 worth of construction for their colleges.
• Gordon College says it has received a $25,000 grant from the Kresge Foundation to be applied toward a science laboratory building.
• Portions of the Bible now appear in at least 1,136 languages, according to the American Bible Society.
• Travellers reaching Hong Kong from the mainland report that the Red government is considering appointment of a “pope” to head the schismatic Catholics in Communist China.
• T. G. Peters, Sunday School superintendent of the First Baptist Church in Alice, Texas, attached a green trading stamp to a letter mailed to the congregation’s members. Come to Sunday School, he said, and get two more green stamps for each one received by mail. Attendance rose substantially.
• A 22-foot wooden cross was dedicated in a Youngstown, Ohio, cemetery this month in tribute to the late Rev. George Bennard, who wrote the hymn, “The Old Rugged Cross.”
• The U. S. Post Office Department is authorizing a special slogan cancellation to honor the 50th anniversary of Hesston College, a Mennonite institution. The slogan, to be used on mail at Hesston, Kansas, from May 1 to October 31, reads “50th Anniversary, Hesston College, 1909–59.”
• A new Armed Services Hymnal, seven years in preparation, was being distributed to service chapels this month. Like the Army-Navy Hymnal it replaces, the volume has Protestant, Catholic, and Jewish sections. Much of the music has been transposed to keys appropriate to choirs and congregations of predominately male voices.
• Mrs. Loriana Nunziati Bellandi said this month she will seek a legal separation from the man she married in an Italian civil ceremony which aroused the ire of the Roman Catholic Bishop of Prato. The Bellandi couple subsequently brought slander charges against the bishop.
• Missionaries have legal rights to enter Alberta Indian reserves under a ruling of the provincial Supreme Court. Persons not living on the reservations normally are barred.
• Construction is expected to begin in July on another Southern Baptist college, this one located on a 238-acre site in Louisville, Kentucky.
• The government of South Africa reportedly decided this month to take over all hospitals for non-whites which are located in non-white areas. The move was said to have affected 22 hospitals financed by missions.
• The National Evangelical Film Foundation voted Gospel Films’ “Centerville Awakening” the best movie of 1958.
• Harvard theologian Paul Tillich will lecture on the Galesburg, Illinois, campus of Knox College May 4–13.
• The 40th annual meeting of the Associated Church Press, largest fellowship of U. S. Protestant magazine editors, adopted a resolution registering “concern and protest over the tendency of governmental agencies to hinder the free flow of information between the churches of the United States and other nations.”
• A new $1,623,000 world head-quarters building for the Church of the Brethren was dedicated in Elgin, Illinois, this month.
Continent Of Australia
Coming To Life
It now appears that religious historians will need an extended chapter to properly record Billy Graham’s Australasian crusade of 1959. For thought the American public has heard comparatively little of the developments, there has been nothing to compare with this year’s revival-like enthusiasm “down under”—even when considered in Graham’s own phenomenal background.
Graham’s crusade seems to constitute Australia’s top news story of the season and virtually every daily on the continent is treating it so. But in Graham’s America, where “play” is often proportional to the geographical remoteness of a news story, communications media have generally failed to cover crusade news adequately. Despite the fact that Graham is “good copy” for the overwhelming majority of U. S. editors and TV-radio news directors, coverage has been small compared with the copious reports of, for example, the New York crusade. Yet the New York meetings, inspiring as they were, are far surpassed by the enthusiasm and response in Australasia. Here are the three major steps in Australasia’s coming to life:
—Melbourne saw a four-week crusade that drew an aggregate attendance of 719,000 and produced 26,400 decisions for Christ. The final meeting with between 135,000 and 150,000 was a record attendance in Christian evangelism.
—An abbreviated New Zealand campaign concentrated on just three cities in ten days, but attracted a total of 355,000, 15,982 of whom stepped forward to make commitments to Christ.
—A month-long crusade in Sydney, Australia’s largest city, began with a Sunday afternoon meeting attended by 50,000, largest opening day crowd Graham has ever experienced. At that service, more than 3,000 made decisions, also a record for the opening day of a Graham campaign.
North Americans can follow Graham’s current meetings most directly via hour-long weekly telecasts.
The outreach of Graham’s messages has been extended through the use of “landlines,” telephone cables which enable groups across the country to hear the meetings. “Landlines” were used in New Zealand and were to be set up this week for the remainder of the Sydney crusade.
The opening meeting on April 12 was chaired by the governor of New South Wales, Lieutenant General Sir Eric Woodward, joined on the platform by leaders of all major denominations.
More than 500 buses and thousands of cars jammed streets around Sydney Showground, site of the rally. The day began with overcast skies and showers, but these gave way to an afternoon of brilliant sunshine.
Graham’s text was John 3:16. Great international problems, he said, are “refractions of our personal problems.”
At Carlaw Park
“ ‘He made them sit down in flower beds,’ says the Greek text in one account of the feeding of the five thousand. It looked like that.”
So E. M. Blaiklock, CHRISTIANITY TODAY correspondent in New Zealand, described Billy Graham’s initial appearance at Carlaw Park in Auckland. Here are Professor Blaiklock’s impressions:
“The white mass of the choir, 2,000 strong, filled the wooden grandstand. A multi-colored 15,000 made a human mountain slope in the huge concrete stand. Another sweep of humanity covered the grass of the railway enbankment. And the ground itself, filled with seating, was a sea of men and women. A fifth of the city’s population was there, 60,000 in all.
“I became aware of a strangely thrilling portent. The sky was smeared with cloud, but two stars broke fire, the glittering pair of the Pointers, which carry the eye to the great constellation of this hemisphere, the Southern Cross. Then we watched fascinated as a patch of cloud thinned—and there was the Cross! It hung there for half an hour, the four stars of the Cross and the two Pointers, with no other star visible. It was a moving sight.
“Graham did precisely what the heavenly sign portended. He pointed men to Christ, passionately, compellingly, with Bible in hand and God’s Word lacing his speech. The mighty crowd listened like one man. Then came the invitation, and the people began to move. From far and near they filed down, leaving patches of green showing on the embankement, thinning the plank seats on the ground. Three thousand, seven hundred, another Pentecostal harvest, crowded the space before the rostrum. I bowed my head and remembered how I used to state with confidence that mass conversion was a vanished phenomenon, and the era of revival past. May God who taught us this week to ‘mount up with wings as eagles’ teach us in the months ahead to ‘run and not be weary, to walk and not faint’.”
The first report on evacuation of Protestant missionaries from Iraq said 14 of them had been forced to leave. Another eight or ten were said still to be somewhere in Iraq, according to the report received early this month by an agency of the National Council of Churches.
Dr. Barnerd M. Luben, chairman of the Near East committee of the NCC’s Division of Foreign Missions, said that no reasons have been given by the government for expulsion of the missionaries. “We believe they are political,” he noted.
Luben said a compound has been confiscated which includes a hospital, a church, and four missionary residences. According to him, the property is to be converted into a public park.
The United Mission in Iraq makes up the country’s chief Protestant witness. Churches cooperating in the mission are the United Presbyterian Church in the U. S. A., the Presbyterian Church in the U. S., the Evangelical and Reformed Church, and the Reformed Church in America.
Religious News Service estimates the Christian community in Iraq as a very small part of the total population of 5,000,000. Roman Catholics are said to number about 200,000 and Protestants hardly more than 2,000.
The Bible And Israel
Tribute to the key role of the Bible in the colonization and modern development of Israel was paid this month by Premier David Ben-Gurion.
“But for the Bible, Israel would never have returned to its land,” Ben-Gurion told a Bible study congress.
“No book,” he declared, “has ever exerted such influence on any nation as the Bible has on Israel.
Farmers mingled with clergymen and statesmen among the 1,500 delegates.
The congress, sponsored by the Israel Society for Biblical Research, was devoted to lectures and discussions on the books of Jeremiah and Ezekiel. The congress is an annual event.
Dominion Of Canada
On Second Thought
Have British Columbia’s troublesome “Sons of Freedom” Doukhobors changed their minds about returning to Siberia?
In an unprecedented move early this month, the fanatical sect invited to a meeting Royal Canadian Mounted Police officers. A brief handed the RCMP, according to one source, indicated that their year-old plan to return to their homeland had been called off.
During the meeting, about a dozen men and women disrobed. Nude parades are well-known to “Sons,” sect members claiming that nudism is a religious symbol of equality before God. The “Sons” have defied governmental authority repeatedly, calling themselves pacifists even while setting off bombs and burning property. They claim they have been persecuted in Canada.
When news of their cancelled migration appeared, the sect branded it a distortion of the facts and wired a denial to the Russian embassy in Ottawa.
Doukhobors, natives of Russia, moved to western Canada about 50 years ago.
West Virginians next year will vote to ratify or reject a religious preamble to the state constitution.
The legislature-approved preamble reads: “Since through Divine Providence we enjoy the blessings of civil, political and religious liberty, we, the people of West Virginia, in and through the provisions of this Constitution, reaffirm our faith in and constant reliance upon God and seek diligently to promote, preserve and perpetuate good government in the State of West Virginia for the common welfare, freedom and security of ourselves and our posterity.”
Is anti-alcohol legislation a hopeless cause?
The question took on new prominence this month when citizens of Oklahoma voted to legalize liquor sales. The repeal left Mississippi as the only state where “hard liquor” is sold in violation of state law.
“It’s a temporary setback,” said Clayton M. Wallace, executive director of the National Temperance League, “but we were not surprised.” He declared that the wets’ victory could be attributed to well-financed use of mass communications media. More money is being poured into liquor advertising, he added, because the industry is concerned that increases in alcohol consumption have not kept pace with the population rise.
Wallace called for greater use of mass media by temperance forces and more activity at grass roots level in support of local option laws.
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