Dear Humans With Hang-Ups:
On a jagged outcropping of California’s breath-taking Big Sur coastline, the Esalen Institute offers experimental workshops to help free its well-heeled patrons of their hang-ups. Named after an Indian tribe that formerly roamed its 110-acre site, Esalen explores “trends in the behavioral sciences, religion, and philosophy which emphasize the potentialities and values of human existence.” A main objective: to break down people’s inhibitions and replace them with joy.
When I strode upon the institute’s grassy knoll, I saw three men and a woman huddled in one gigantic embrace with eyes closed and hands caressing one another’s heads and bodies. Nearby, a bearded man gently led a closed-eyed girl down a rocky path to the hot spring mineral baths. All were involved in new types of human encounter and sensitivity training. Such activities are a part of Esalen’s emphasis on touching and cuddling, exposure of one’s deepest secrets and dreams, psychodrama, sharpening of the senses, and exploration of the sexual, communicative, and mystical realms.
The seminars held in Big Sur and San Francisco draw heavily upon the meditative principles of Eastern religions and the interaction emphasis of Gestalt psychology. Most five-day workshops including lodging and meals cost $165; two-day, $65. The fall line-up of over 100 courses includes some dandies. “Psychological Karate” will increase one’s tolerance for conflict, anxiety, and frustration (a chop to the super-ego, a lunge at the id?). “Couples and Lovers’ Marathon” will involve participants in a 24-hour day-night group session. “The Scientific Study of Reincarnation” will study fifty reincarnation cases and disembodied consciousness. “The Hang-ups and Hopes of Emergent Global Man” conducted by United Church of Christ executive Willis Elliott will focus on a new global life-style.
Esalen’s efforts to unmask hypocrisy, establish authentic human relations, and bring joy to life are admirable. But the irrational road of humanistic mysticism leads to a dead end. The only real way to overcome life’s hang-ups is through Him who is the way, the truth, and the life.
Your Emerging Global Man,
Probing Soft Spots
Your September 13 issue was superb from cover to cover!… Dr. Kuhn’s article on Marshall McLuhan presented some thoughtful probings that reveal the soft spots in a highly lauded, but unproved, theory.
Ringing The Bell
Carl Henry has “socked it to us.” Man, his article on “Demythologizing the Evangelicals” (Sept. 13) was great. We evangelicals have too long been on defense, all gathered behind our correct doctrines and creeds, while, out yonder, the world of non-Christians goes miserably on its way to damnation. Man, we need to generate some offense!… Hooray for Henry, the bell-ringer!
St. Elmo Presbyterian Church
It was like a breath of fresh air in this day of theological negatives and defensiveness.
Midwest Bible Church
In a time when so many people seem to be asking the questions that just beg for the Gospel as the answer, I would submit with Dr. Henry that our best defense is an offense. Now is the time to infuse our evangelism with the strategy of joy.
Princeton, N. J.
Such an excellent and affirmative statement buoys my spirit.
The Palma Ceia Presbyterian Church
Shake On That
Of all the editorials since I have been a subscriber of CHRISTIANITY TODAY, “The Kings Are Coming” (Sept. 13) is the masterpiece, and I would like so much to shake the hand of whoever wrote it and to say “thank you.”
International Order of St. Luke the Physician
I’m glad CHRISTIANITY TODAY was generous to insert a favorable article of the International Council of Christian Churches (“Fundamentalists on the Beach,” News, Sept. 13) … It is gratifying to learn of the progress of this conservative fundamentalist movement … The Rev. Dr. Carl McIntire is labeled as a “happy warrior” … There should be a definite union between the ICCC and the National Association of Evangelicals. “The things that are impossible with men are possible with God.”
First Covenant Church
Los Angeles, Calif.
Chicago And Charlie Brown
I think the evaluation of the demonstrations in Chicago (“Chicago as Armed Camp,” News, Sept. 13) is, although brief, a fair assessment. I was not personally involved in any of the confrontations … but was in attendance at meetings where “recruitment” was made.… It was stressed that only those persons who could be counted on to be respectful and orderly were to participate in these physical manifestations that would reflect desired change in the present political process.
I do not think the majority of the participants were either intentionally mean, criminal in motive, or stupid in belief. Neither were they trained in any kind of tactics to violently disrupt the convention. Those with whom I am familiar were no more terrorists then Charlie Brown. They represented students who had spent the summer working in Neighborhood Houses, camps for disadvantaged children, and the like.…
Some of those in the large gatherings that numbered in the thousands were no doubt of another stripe.… If these commit foul deeds they are to be justifiably held responsible. But to judge the many by a few is unwarranted.
Director, Wesley Foundation
St. Cloud State College Campus
St. Cloud, Minn.
Thank you for publishing the excellent and thought-provoking article by Howard E. Butt on witnessing (Aug. 30). I pray that pastors, lay ministers, and people everywhere will give the essay careful attention. The cause of Christ will be edified when all Christians decide to become witnesses through the power of God, and stop this nonsense of playing church and judge.
Highland Crest Baptist Church
Green Bay, Wis.
Out Of The Book
Your news article on “Disciples Turn Corner” (Aug. 30) was effective. There is no doubt but what the yearbook has lost at least 1,500 church listings and will lose many more as soon as the people realize that they are losing their freedom of conscience in the connectional relationship of restructure.
National Association of Free Christians Center, Tex.
It is difficult to “lose” something that has not been possessed. By and large this article is very true and interesting. However, the implication is that the 1,124 churches which have already withdrawn their names from the Disciples of Christ Year Book actually belonged to the Disciples of Christ. For most of the churches involved this is not true. Most were listed, not out of choice, or membership, but because at some time they had contributed to an organization (such as a school or home) currently associated with the Disciples of Christ. Most of these institutions were begun, not by the organization, but by cooperative efforts of individual churches.…
The allusion to a listing by the North American Christian Convention is misleading to say the least. The North American Christian Convention has no official relationship to any of the churches cooperating in its yearly assembly … [It] was begun as a “preaching convention” and has remained that.
I have no idea where you obtained your information, but your deductions are inaccurate and misleading … The provisional design of the Christian Church to be voted on at Kansas City in September does not deny local church autonomy … The statement that all churches appearing in the present year book would be recognized as a part of the new denomination is false, and misleading. First, the denomination is not “new.” What is really happening is that what has been done for years is being put on paper. Each church will determine its own relationship to the Christian Church.…
You say that the provisional design will have its authority in a general assembly dominated by clergy and professional churches. The design calls for all ministers to be delegates, but it calls for two delegates from each church and an extra delegate for each 500 members over the first 500 … The laymen will outnumber the ministers about 2 to 1, unless they just do not attend and participate.
I cannot speak for the Disciples, of course, so what I have said here is my own interpretation of the facts.
Bethany Christian Church
No Sunday Disappointment
You would rightly expect some reaction from your large and loyal group of Seventh-day Adventist readers to Dr. Armerding’s excellent article on the Lord’s Day (Aug. 16), and I wouldn’t want to disappoint you. The point that neither the day nor the commandment is “passé” is well made, but how tragic for the human finger to write “one day in seven” where the finger of God wrote “the seventh day.”
Imagine my surprise and heartache when I read in the review of The American Far Right (Aug. 16) that my Christian anti-Communist organization … “is not actually Christian and … may be as dangerous to the country as … Communism.” Every Communist publication in the world has attacked me and Christian Crusade. The National Council of Churches has done a good job attacking me because of my opposition to their theological liberalism and Marxist-inclined political internationalism.…
The writer of this anti-Hargis and anti-anti-Communist vicious diatribe is guilty of everything that he would accuse me of name-calling, character assassination, guilt by association.… I have always stood in defense of the faith.… I believe that America is God’s greatest nation under the Living Son.… I am so opposed to Communism that I feel led of God to expose it. In twenty-one years, I have never been sued for libel. No one has questioned the veracity of my remarks. Not even the most vicious liberal publications in the country that have run articles against me and Christian Crusade have dared suggest that my minisery is as bad as Communism. Have the editors of CHRISTIANITY TODAY sold out to the Communists? Does this [book review] truly represent the philosophies of the editors and owners of CHRISTIANITY TODAY? Do the editors of CHRISTIANITY TODAY sincerely believe that they share no blame for this vicious, satanic article which likens Christian Crusade to godless, anti-Christ communism?
I shall take steps to broadcast the unfairness of this article to the American people via our radio stations and our publications. I will do the best that I can to answer these unfair attacks in your publication by the use of mass communications afforded us.… I can only say, “Father, forgive them. They know not what they do.”
That Czech Freedom
I am one of those who attended the All Christian Peace Assembly last spring in Prague. I was overjoyed to see the evidences of new freedom and the atmosphere of hope contrasted with the police-state atmosphere seen in a visit in 1963 and attending the assembly in ’64.…
I believe your editorial, “The Czech Caterpillar Keeps Stirring” (Aug. 16), is correct in stating that the liberalization moves more slowly in the churches than elsewhere—but it does move. The Methodist Church, for instance, refused to confirm a government-nominated leader this year and waited until it could elect its own.
It is a shattering experience to stand by and watch the use of military force to destroy freedom. We can pray and work toward further peaceful developments of freedom there and in other places and keep our own policy clean so that in future developments our moral bankruptcy, such as Viet Nam, will not prevent us from bringing to bear the moral influence which should be ours.
St. John’s Methodist Church
Sown In Atlanta
The forty ministers who met at Atlanta (are you sure they were of the Church of Christ?) could not have spoken for anyone but themselves (Church Panorama, News, Aug. 16). Whoever they were, they could have saved their breath for their own congregations, instead of sowing to the wind. I pray these were not of the Lord’s church!
Church of Christ
Ore City, Tex.
What’S In A Name
A slight correction should be made in my review of The Situation Ethics Debate (July 19). “John C. Bennett (Baptist)” should read “Henlee H. Barnette (Baptist).” The correction is relatively minor unless one’s name is Bennett or Barnette.
I would like to comment upon the excellence of most of your cover designs. It seems that in our days, the idea of Christian editors in general is to make their cover designs as unattractive and old-fashioned as possible. Your magazine can be counted among the few which make an effort, at least most of the time, to present to the eye a challenge together with a build-up of expectations. Your artist knows how to use space well, has fresh ideas and approaches, is contemporary and even daring. Allow me to express my sincere gratitude and appreciation for your attitude of caring and concern with the modern mind that is demonstrated already in the cover designs of your magazine.
Bethany Baptist Church
Vancouver, B. C.
I have been impressed by the general quality of poetry in Christianity Today. The level seems to me generally to surpass that of most other religious periodicals, not only in poetic skill and ability, but also in theological insight.
I have enjoyed reading … the magazine … Many articles are certainly most timely, even for us in the Eastern Orthodox world, which is, in a cultural sense at least, quite removed from the general tone of American Protestantism.
Eastern Orthodox pastor
New Fairfield, Conn.
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