Dear Probers of Inner Space:
His Holiness Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, guru of Beatles, Beach Boys, and Mia Farrow Sinatra, had arrived in the New World. The Light of Asia had come to bear the message of transcendental meditation to the youth of America. Embarking on a nationwide tour with the Beach Boys of twenty appearances in nineteen days, the soft-spoken little Hindu from India assumed a lotus position on an early-American couch at Washington’s Roman Catholic Georgetown University and prepared to meet the press.
Attired in a silken robe, his gray-streaked shoulder-length hair flowing over a lei of twenty dozen white carnations presented by the Society of American Florists, the Maharishi easily stood out from the double-breasted, slash-pocketed, turtlenecked New York advance men who surrounded him. His nut-brown face, aglow with twinkling dark eyes and a smile that refused to be hidden by a wirey white beard and black mustache, projected his message of joy and tranquility. Plucking the petals of a yellow chrysanthemum, he spoke of “an underlying unity present in the different parts of life as sap is present in a plant here and here and here and here.” Meditation, he claimed, is the way to this unity that enables one to “live 200 per cent of life—100 per cent outer, material life, and 100 per cent inner, spiritual life.” Furthermore, if people would meditate, not only would wars end but also natural disasters, which are caused by “eruptions of hostile influences in the atmosphere.”
I asked him if his meditative plan was strictly humanistic or involved a relationship with a personal God. He said, “It is purely humanistic to start with,” but after a time “one easily finds his god.” His tactful reply to my question, “How do you view Jesus Christ, his death and his resurrection?,” drew a hearty laugh from the audience. “With all admiration,” he said, and joined in the laughter. When I called his attention to Malcolm Muggeridge’s reference to him as “a conman,” he said, “I sympathize with him.” But he disputed Malcolm’s ideas of self-renunciation. Said the yogi: “Renunciation does not belong to life.”
One can easily see that the Maharishi’s meditative mystique is transcendental hooey. But I haven’t quite decided if he is a faker or a fakir. Is the Maharishi an intentional victimizer of young minds? Or is he himself a sincere victim of clever publicists and promoters? That’s one I’m going to meditate on.
On the way to Nirvana,
Dr. W. Stanford Reid’s article, “Jesus Christ: Focal Point of Knowledge” (May 10), has presented in few words an excellent guideline for the Christians on our college campuses.
SOLON G. PEREIRA
Los Angeles, Calif.
In your editorial, “Is Education Losing Lasting Values?” (May 10), you allude to that amazingly ironic assertion of the McCall’s survey: “A [college student] is most likely to lose his religious faith at … any church-supported school.” Having studied, taught, and counseled at such schools, I submit that that statement is disturbingly tenable.
However, in the face of such an indictment, we who care about Christian higher education cannot afford the casual, one-sentence explanation, “… presumably because … courses in Bible … are taught from a liberal point of view.”
I teach in a Bible college (Vennard, University Park, Iowa) and am constantly with young men and women of A-1 character and talents, and motivation and goals. It is hard for me to visualize a generation of youth so lost, without God and without hope in the world, to use St. Paul’s expression.… It is surely a pitiful thing, and desolating, to think that our country is facing a future in which so many of its young adults will be “godless.” I have known for some time of the baleful effects of liberal—ultra-liberal—teaching of Bible in church-related colleges. I would like to say that Vennard College—and schools like it—must be a sort of an oasis in the educational desert.
CASSIUS G. MCKNIGHT
There is a knowledge that cannot be had from any book or institution of man.… It is not gained by the most severe intellectual discipline. No teacher, unmoved by the Holy Spirit, however brilliant or sincere, can impart it.…
Confusion in the religious world is the result of great minds, unmoved by the Holy Spirit, trying to think their way to God. It can’t be done. It takes more than a diploma, or a special kind of garb or denominational sanction, to authorize anyone to speak for God, or to lead anyone to God.…
While mental ignorance is far from commendable, an illiterate person who knows by personal experience the work of the Holy Spirit is a far safer guide concerning spiritual things than the most brilliant bishop who knows nothing of the Spirit.…
If our youth could understand this, they would not be bowled over so easily by the first college professor who poses as an authority on matters of which he is totally ignorant.
J. J. STEELE
ABOUT THE NEWBORN CHURCH
As one who attended most of the sessions of the Uniting Conference of The United Methodist Church, I would correct a couple of misstatements in “Racial Birth Pangs for United Methodists” (May 10). “Dedicated to the work in the Negro ghettos, the young churchman [Woodie White] is one of the founders of the Black Methodists group, which published a race-conscious daily paper, Behold, at the conference.” Instead it was a publication of the “more numerous white group,” Methodists for Church Renewal, as each copy plainly indicated.… Its chief emphasis was on church renewal, and it felt that racial attitudes needed radical changing, if there was to be true renewal. It comes from whites, appealing to the whites … to make those changes.
As to the $20 million sum asked for helping meet the urban crisis, … the vote for approval of it was strong, and nearly a half-million dollars was pledged by the members of the Uniting Conference and others.… The vote was not just to ask other people to give sacrificially.…
I talked with several Negro delegates and observers, and they were by no means all dissatisfied with the progress and pace of United Methodist efforts to deal with matters of racial discrimination both within its own structure and in American society. Some did fear that there would be a tendency to slow down too soon, feeling that the problems were all solved; it was toward overcoming this inertia that many of the efforts were directed. Even those who opposed some of the stands taken kept saying that they were not opposed to the general idea and the need for action in this area—but they objected to its being forced, or to having the leadership in the hands of a body in which representation from minority groups would be equal to, or even larger than, representation from the white majority. The fact that they had to keep denying that they wanted to return to the old ways, or to prevent true equality of treatment, said much.
MARCIUS E. TABER
FIRST TO LAST
When my May 10 issue arrived I almost read it from cover to cover before laying it down. Truly, “the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom”.… The nation could use an old-fashioned revival from shore to shore.
Baton Rouge, La.
May I express my gratitude for the April 26 issue. This was the first issue I have ever read from the first to the last page. Let me thank you for the finest magazine that comes to my desk.
First Baptist Church
GO AND STOP
I was not going to renew my subscription.… Then came the April 26 issue with all the fine articles on preaching and the realistic articles on Martin Luther King. I had been disappointed on what I had to listen to during Holy Week services. I decided I must have CHRISTIANITY TODAY.
MRS. R. W. RITCHIE
It is regrettable a good magazine has to propagate outrageous lies concerning Martin Luther King. This man has done more to disrupt our country, cause people to be killed, interfere with the law and lay it aside, and yet [he is] called a “non-violent leader.” I am not saying please stop my subscription; I’m demanding it.
Mount Olive Baptist Church
BRINGING SOCIAL REFORM
Dr. Bell’s column, “Civil Disobedience” (April 26), is overdue. It says very well what should have been said long ago.…
Don’t these wild-eyed preachers advocating revolution and shedding of blood to bring social reform realize the blood has already been shed on Calvary to accomplish this end? And we have been lax in our preaching these many years? Or haven’t they read that part of their Bibles?
GEORGE L. WILLIAMS
Richland Community Church
This article seemed to say everything my husband and I have been trying to teach our children about law and order.
DOROTHY J. FINSON
It surely hits the nail on the head, and I wish the various denominations who fell for the idea would realize what it has led to.
CARL A. STEVENSON
Just a word of appreciation for Dr. Bell’s sober appraisal of the cause and results of the civil-disobedience movements, which threaten the destruction of our society. Many are afraid to speak out courageously and sensibly as he has done. The riots, the campus disturbances, the alarming increase of crimes of frightful violence, are frightening for those of us old enough to remember the days of comparative peace and tranquility.
VARNER J. JOHNS
Loma Linda, Calif.
LET HIM BE BRIEF
“What Shall the Preacher Preach?” (April 26) is a mighty big question. But I fervently urge that whatever he preaches, he be brief.…
If, as most of the respondents suggest, the preacher preaches variations on the theme of the (literal) acceptance and authority of the Bible and “proclaiming Christ and him crucified” Sunday after Sunday, how will the congregation be able to stand the boredom of such repetition? Most Christians committed themselves to following Jesus long years ago. Now they want to go on from there. They want to study into what that commitment means, how they should live, what they should do in the world of today.…
The preacher is faced with the fact that whatever he preaches, whether fundamentalism, conservatism, or liberalism, there are going to be those … who disagree with him.… The charitable, honest, and considerate thing for him to do is to present what he sees as the truth, acknowledging that he, like every other person is a fallible human being.… Let him be humble enough to admit his limitations of knowledge.
But above all, let him be brief!
MRS. A. J. TERHUNE
Plantation Key, Fla.
HARDLY NEEDED ‘PAINS’
It was most unfortunate that you gave such poor publicity to the Evangelical Fellowship of Canada (“Canadian Growing Pains,” News, April 26).… The secular press could not have done any worse.…
The MacRury issue did not need any more airing! We members regretted that it happened but forgot about it overnight. The statement about the United and Anglican Churches “who are sensitive about domination by smaller groups” was hardly needed, either. The whole picture given was that the various churches were constantly pulling against each other. This was hardly the case.
We who attended received many blessings as we met fellow Christians who came from widely separated parts of Canada.… There is much need for this organization in a country where the evangelical churches ought to present a united front and a good witness in our secularized society.
First Christian Reformed Church
A DEAD MULE WON’T WORK
I don’t know just what “older image of the Pentecostal” (unless it be “holy roller”) you consider that Oral Roberts does not now fit—and the rest of us apparently still do—now that he has changed his ecclesiastical address (News, April 12 and 26); nor in what “cultural backwater” Pentecostalism is floundering and from which Roberts is doing a lot to save us; but I don’t think the suggestion you hinted, that we all flock back into the old-line denominations, would promise to be much of a step forward. As men such as Luther and Knox and Wesley have shown us by example, and as any hillbilly knows well, you don’t try to hitch a wagon to a dead mule.
Further, concerning Dr. Corvin’s fears about the theological trend at Oral Roberts University, the inroads are probably not so much existential as they are antinomian. The heavy emphasis on faith coupled with a liberal attitude toward theological codes has produced such a climate.
Such an attitude is pervading the entire neo-pentecostal movement—of which “charismatic renewal” has become the banner cry—until it is attempting to embrace men of even doubtful evangelical persuasion.
The curious result of this is that … men [are] being urged to tarry in the Upper Room who have never knelt at Calvary.
JOHN O. ANDERSON
Assembly of God Wilder, Idaho
WORD FROM CAMPUS CRUSADE
Your April 12 issue carried an excellent news article regarding the new emphasis upon grace and freedom in Campus Crusade for Christ.
Big Ten Regional Director
Campus Crusade for Christ
OPTING FOR QUAINTNESS
I’m opting for another year of CHRISTIANITY TODAY, not because I’m in agreement with your viewpoint, but rather that it’s a quaint and faithful reminder of what I once regarded as an adequate position.…
It seems to me that most of your articles raise questions that have already been answered or deal with matters that are of minor importance. However, you do a fine job in your wide coverage of news that is essentially church related, although in this you tend to be clearly editorial.
HOWARD J. HANSEN
Community Non-Denominational Church
Bradford Woods, Pa.
You might be interested in knowing that we use the brief news notes from CHRISTIANITY TODAY on our weekly … “Tomorrow Show” on Guantanamo Bay’s Armed Forces television station.
Isolated and cut off here in the remote corner of Cuba, people are happ̀y to receive a gleaning of all the religious news of the outside world. Your publication does a fine job.
LEX L. DAVIS
U. S. Naval Air Station
Guantanamo Bay, Cuba
Your editorials are timely, to the point, and fearless.
Oak Grove Church of the Nazarene
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