The Case Of The Clammy Hand
The other night my children were yuk-king it up about the night of Dad’s hand under the bed. Although none of them were yet alive when it happened, the story has become a part of our family folklore.
It all began when one of my seminary professors asked my wife and me to occupy his house during his vacation. Our duty was largely just to watch the house, which was located on a remote road used mostly as the local lovers’ lane.
I usually find it hard to sleep in a strange place, and my difficulty was increased by the circulation in that arm.
We knew of the reputation of the road but not what it would mean practically. The house was situated so that the lights of every car coming down the road flashed into the master bedroom.
I usually find it hard to sleep in a strange place, and my difficulty was increased by the continual flashing of auto headlights.
Finally, I put my arm over my eyes to block out the lights and dropped into an uneasy sleep. Unknowingly, I also cut off the circulation in that arm.
Since there was no night stand on my side of the bed, I had put my glasses on the floor just under the bed. In the wee hours of the morning some sound woke me. I sat up, causing my now feelingless arm to dangle over the edge of the bed, and as I groggily reached for my glasses I encountered my own now cold and clammy hand.
With a shudder of horror I jumped to a standing position in the middle of the bed and shouted, “There’s a hand under the bed!”
At that my wife bolted out of bed and began groping along the wall for the light switch. I joined her in the frantic search. Neither of us could remember where it was located.
Suddenly a thought came to me: “Why am I using only one hand?” Even before I found the light switch, the awful truth had dawned on me, and I knew of the years of total recall my wife would have of that night.
The moral of this story—all my stories have morals—is that when a member of the body loses contact with the head from whom the whole body is joined and knit together, no end of mischief can result.
I am very happy and grateful for the article “A Biblical View of the Novel” by Rolland N. Hein (Jan. 5). I often feel somewhat guilty when reading a novel, not because of the quality of the novel, but because I wonder if I should be spending that time reading the Bible or other Bible-related literature. Dr. Hein’s article points out that the Bible is a book of human experience and illumination. When we can read novels that help us evaluate human experience and that give us illumination, we can be of better service and closer to our fellow man. I was especially interested in a statement in the next to last paragraph, “An unbelieving novelist … generally takes the hard questions of meaning more intensely than his Christian counterpart.” In reading this article, I believe I will be able to enjoy good novels by accepting them for the insight and expression of human qualities and failings, and by applying the Bible to these new insights.
(MRS.) ELAINE D. HOGAN
I am grateful for the basically fair National Council of Churches General Assembly account given by David Kucharsky in the January 5 issue. An irenic spirit came through to me—one in which an honest desire to identify with the hopes and aspirations of the churches that make up the National Council was discernible. Our thanks to Mr. Kucharsky. It is only as a real desire to love and understand other Christians is given us by the Holy Spirit that victories in unity and evangelism can come to the Church. So often the dagger sheathed in silk is sensed in Christian journals of variant theological positions.
Many of us of communions in the National Council yearn for closer fellowship with Christians who are not part of this cooperative mission body. Too long the warped images of each other have held sway rather than honest attempts to pray with one another and for one another, and, in trust, listen to one another. We pray that the following phrase of the NCC preamble will become reality: “Relying on the transforming power of the Holy Spirit, the council works to bring churches into a life-giving fellowship and into common witness, study and action to the glory of God and in service to all creation.”
ROBERT W. KOENIG
Church Federation of Greater
Indianapolis Indianapolis, Ind.
The report does not in any way convey either the content or the spirit of that Assembly. Kucharsky’s emphasis on conflict is so out of balance that it is dishonest. There was in fact a difference of opinion about the appearance of Imamu Amiri Baraka (Leroi Jones), but it never surfaced on the floor, and his appearance and speech were received with little open reaction or response of either a negative or positive nature. To devote nearly half of his “report” to one hour of a four-day intensive program is hardly objective reporting. Why did he choose to leave out the stimulating morning spent in discussion and strategy planning on evangelism and renewal, highlighted by a dialogue between David Hubbard and Colin Williams? Why did he leave out the fact that the emphasis was on the demands of the Gospel, not on the presence of conflict? Would it have done disservice to Kucharsky’s apparently prejudiced categorizations to quote Edwin Espy in his report: “Unity for the sake of unity is not the pressing agenda. Unity for the sake of mission is the wave of the future”?
I attended this assembly as an observer with no ties whatever to the NCC. I had (and still have) no axes to grind. How strange that my observations of the NCC assembly should be so different from Kucharsky’s. Other evangelicals to whom I talk had similar feelings that here was a deep concern for mission and for doing God’s bidding.
The Reverend ARNOLD R. BOLIN
Benton Harbor, Mich.
It was a shocking experience to me, a believing and conservative Christian, to see my work The Other Dimension, in your book review of December 8, 1972, referred to as “not recognizably Christian” and myself as “another Catholic author who, with Bultmann’s demythologizing of the New Testament for his guide, has begun his pilgrimage to the contentless mysticism of the East.” This last statement was supported by the observation that “the last third of the book is devoted to texts out of the East.”
The observation is false and the statement slanderous. Anyone who opens the book can see that in the last third (187 pages) only 16 pages deal with “texts out of the East,” and they do so in a very critical way (cf. pp. 505, 506). My own conservative position is stated right at the start (pp. 2, 3), my Christian experience and ignorance of the East on page 8, my basic rejection of Bultmann on pages 273 and 274. The very purpose of my work was to oppose radicalism and specifically the innovations of secularists, theologians of hope, and demythologizers. Several reviewers have pointed out my conservatism (among others, America, April 15, 1972; The Critic, May–June 1972; New Catholic World [qualified]). Your reviewer may have missed all those points (he admits that the book was “wearisome” to his flesh and that he “plodded” through it), but this ignorance does not justify him in questioning my Christian orthodoxy. It is the reviewer’s privilege to judge a book on his own terms but not to make false accusations against the writer’s faith.
Washington, D. C.
Your editorial “Britain Into Europe” (Jan. 19) wrests a quotation from Churchill completely out of context; attributes to Tennyson a phrase of Kipling’s; and declares that Britain’s entry into the EEC has unified Europe without adding that it has divided Britain. St. Andrews, Fife
J. D. DOUGLAS
Thank you and Harold B. Kuhn for his incisive, perceptive review of R. S. Alley’s Revolt Against the Faithful (Current Religious Thought, Jan. 5), demonstrating conclusively how the “critical-historical method” of biblical interpretation, basically operating with false presuppositions and goals, makes both the Scriptures untrue and its Gospel uncertain.
PAUL M. FREIBURGER
Trinity Lutheran Church
We have just received our January 5 issue of your fine magazine and have read the first article by B. P. Dotsenko “From Communism to Christianity” … It is the finest witness for Christianity that we have read.
MARGARET AND DUANE OGDEN
What an outstanding witness for Christ and his cause!… I believe that every young person should read this article, particularly many of our teenagers who have been brainwashed by the Communist propaganda. Dr. Dotsenko “tells it like it really is” behind the iron curtain. He very aptly explodes the propaganda that the people have religious freedom, in Russia.
HARRY E. HASSLINGER
College Park, Md.
I am inexpressibly grateful for “From Communism to Christianity” by B. P. Dotsenko.
Thank you for the very informative article, “From Communism to Christianity.”
THE REVEREND CHARLES MCCALLUM, JR.
New Castle, Ind.
I would like to thank CHRISTIANITY TODAY for printing the interview with Dr. B. P. Dotsenko. Since I was arrested and interrogated for two days by Russian police in the Ukraine last year for the “severe” crime of smuggling “subversive literature” (fifteen Russian New Testaments), I can in some small way sympathize with Dr. Dotsenko. However, I would like to take exception with Dr. Dotsenko’s statement in reference to President Nixon’s trip to Moscow.… It is my opinion that President Nixon’s visit to the Baptist church in Moscow did great disservice to our Christian brothers and sisters who live under the terror of Communism. Our President’s attendance at that puppet church gave the West the impression that, indeed, there is religious freedom under Communism. Dr. Dotsenko had already commented in the interview that the churches which are open in key cities in Russia are open primarily as propaganda showcases to the Christians of the West. Certainly, our President furthered this propaganda, and I do not think the American people can be proud of that.
Christian Action Fellowship
Young Harris, Ga.
The January 5 issue of CHRISTIANITY TODAY contained the very best in Christianity today.… I was thrilled to read “From Communism to Christianity” and the news story “Deep in the Heart of Eastern Europe.” These items made me remember the wonderful spiritual experiences that I had with many Russian Christians after World War II in West Germany when I had just become a born-again Christian.
Stevenson Methodist Church
I was fascinated to read the lead article in the January 5 issue. Certainly it was refreshing to read of one man’s testimony and his reasons for belief in Jesus Christ. But another reason stands out for me at this time. I teach English in a high school, and currently in one of my classes we are studying Orwell’s book, Animal Farm. The Dotsenko discussion of Communist theory and practice served beautifully in explaining the satire of Orwell’s novel.
DANIEL W. GEHMAN
The exclusive interview was a brilliant and motivating article. However, I was disappointed with his statement that God “cannot be treated as the cause of all causes.…” I personally think that if causality is to be established at all, it must be established on the principle that it is only events—events being occurrences which have a beginning—which need and demand an adequate cause. Since God’s being has no beginning, he would not be an event and therefore would not need a cause to account for his existence, he himself being the first cause.
El Monte, Calif.
I applaud your very fine interview with the ex-Soviet scientist. This type of factual eyewitness reporting is priceless in separating truth from fiction. I wish you would make reprints of this article available for distribution throughout our congregations and Sunday schools. Can you be persuaded to do it?
REV. DR. IGOR B. BENSEN
Raleigh, N. C.
• We have. Reprints are available—ED.
In letters I am never lyrical;
Too much vers libre has wrought the miracle!
It’s time the poets who stirred this fuss Should listen to long-suffering us.
Rob Frost compared the free-verse set To tennis-players without a net.
“Free verse” says great bard Robert Graves,
“Is heresy.” And that depraves!
It’s often just some common prose
That’s staggered-out in jagged rows.
The formula is quickly noted;
If followed well you may be quoted.
A fractured phrase can make three lines,
A splintered sentence, strange designs;
Lest these too readily make sense,
Transpose the verbs and split the tense.
For bold transitions be elliptic;
This helps to make the meaning cryptic.
Be sparing of your punctuation
To multiply the obfuscation.
Eschew the rhyme, dispense with meter—
Cacophony is beat and neater;
To further set our minds ajar
Make all your metaphors bizarre.
Absurdity’s become the Thing—
Get with it, poets, and really swing!
You’ll always find some artsy-smarties
Applauding at the poetry-parties.
And we who won’t—we’re just unschooled.
We kid you not, you are self-fooled!
Dear Ed, to boost your magazine
Let fewer free-verse pomes be seen.
Of heresy we’ve had enough;
Let’s have more less-pretentious stuff.
How to achieve this consummation?
Give Poetry-Ed a long vacation;
For parting words, a wishful promise:
Three Shantihs by the great Saint Thomas.
Glen Ellyn, Ill.
In a recent letter to CHRISTIANITY TODAY, (Jan. 5) a Reverend O. T. McRee accuses your journal’s reporting of the controversy in the Missouri Synod of being prejudicial, one-sided, and poorly informed. As one more conversant with what is happening in the Missouri Synod I wish to say that your reporting has been honest, fair, and remarkably well-informed.
However, I am sorry that you published (no doubt out of the same attempt to be fair) the unfortunate letter of Mr. McRee. For he not only misrepresents facts but in doing so maligns the president of the Missouri Synod. If certain individuals and publications favored Dr. J. A. O. Preus for president of the Missouri Synod prior to the 1969 convention and made this fact known, there is nothing sinister or wrong about that; nor is President Preus in any way responsible for it. President Preus shows in his letter to your journal that he is not “indignant” over new election procedures for president of the Missouri Synod, as McRee asserts. McRee’s further implication that President Preus’s motives as a candidate for president of the Missouri Synod are less noble than Dr. Oswald Hoffmann’s is judgmental, cruel, and false.
ROBERT P. PREUS
St. Louis, Mo.
It is clear that McRee is prejudiced, one-sided, and poorly informed, as his intemperate letter to you indicates. Either he has a brand-new gift of the Holy Spirit, omniscience, or he is Dr. J. A. O. Preus’s confessor. Whichever it is, we would like to know his sources of enlightenment concerning Dr. Preus’s election to the presidency of the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod in 1969, and the coming election in July, 1973, together with the candidacy of Dr. Oswald Hoffmann. Could it be that the real source for his allegations is Lutheran Forum, or Info, or another of the liberal-oriented publications?
WALTER A. ANDERSON
Trinity Lutheran Church
SEEKING TO DESTROY?
Ironically, the shortcoming of John H. White’s review of The Wilderness Revolt [which I co-authored], The Roman Siege of Jerusalem, and Jesus and the Politics of Violence (Books in Review, Nov. 24) is precisely that which characterizes the studies of George Edwards and S. G. F. Brandon which he criticized.… In seeking to defend the orthodox portrayal of the pacific Christ, both your reviewer and Edwards seek to destroy the nationalistic portrayal of Jesus found in Brandon. Greatest offense is taken at Brandon’s presumed connection of Jesus with the revolutionary “politics of violence.”
Edwards, Brandon, and White in CHRISTIANITY TODAY fail to fully appreciate the possibility of Jesus being part of an active and militant but nonviolent revolutionary nationalistic movement. All three works are typified by an artificially imposed dichotomy between a “pacifist” (in this case the pacific Christ) and nationalistic revolutionaries.… It is a shame that discussion of Jesus … fails to take into account the possibility of a nonviolent revolution which embraces both the notion of the self-determination and liberation of all peoples, and the concept of the sanctity of all human life. If indeed “the only consistently Christian way is the way of nonviolence,” as White asserts in his review, such a conviction need not seek its defense or justification in an apolitical Jesus. Nonviolence and revolution are not mutually exclusive!
R. SCOTT KENNEDY
“Science Joins Religion in Ranks of Prejudice,” (Dec. 22) Arlie J. Hoover either overlooked or purposely omitted, except by implication, a point which I think should have been hammered home. He said that the evolutionary hypothesis of origins has some explanatory value for the facts that we do have. What he should have gone on to emphasize is that for any theory or hypothesis the facts themselves explain nothing; they are interpreted. And it is the interpretation which either supports or fails to support the hypothesis. Facts as such are twice removed from supporting any hypothesis; they must first be interpreted and secondly formulated in an explanation of support.
NORMAN R. COPPIN
BETWEEN NEWS AND VIEWS
Your otherwise commendable and to-the-point lead editorial in the January 5 issue (“Evolution: Theory or Dogma”) is flawed by the inaccuracy of the first sentence, which contradicts [my] news story in the same issue (“Those Evolving Textbooks”).
The California State Board of Education did not rule that the creationist view of the origin of life must be presented alongside the evolutionary one when life sciences are taught in California schools. The news story takes pains to point out, as did responsible stories in the daily press the day after the December 14 decision in Sacramento, that the bid to insert creationism alongside evolutionism failed.
To be sure, there may be further attempts to mandate creationism, but what form these will take and whether they will succeed will not be known until future meetings.
May I suggest a more careful correlation between news and views, so that your readers will be led to conclusions based on facts?
E. RUSSELL CHANDLER
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