Recently United Methodist leaders resolved that “sexual preferences” (such as homosexuality) should no longer be a bar to admission to the (Methodist) ministry. Predictably, there were loud objections raised to this decision, particularly by those concerned about the morality taught by the Bible, the decline and fall of Western civilization, and related matters. It is not our place here to quarrel with such objectors, except to point out that if they suppose they will be able to influence the decisions of any major denominational body with concerns of this nature, they may be overly naïve.

In any event, it is not really our task in this column to look to the past; our eyes are on the future. (Those interested in the past may find that the Methodist demarche goes far toward recovering some of the Canaanite and classical pagan strands of America’s multi-faceted religious heritage.)

What really concerns us more is the way in which these administrators, in their zeal to end some traditional forms of discrimination, have crudely and harshly overlooked one of the oldest and at the same time most oppressed alternative life-styles. We are referring to those who have “unconventional” preferences as to what (or whom) they consider edible (gastronomically qualified). Heavily value-laden words such as “cannibalism” have served to prejudice people against the long-standing custom of recycling edible human portions. Serious consideration of viable options has been shifted.

It is well known to many animals, not only to man, that the human organism, particularly if well fed, is highly nutritious. In an age of burgeoning population pressures and increasing stringency of non-human meat supplies, it seems short-sighted to insist on closing one great source of food value to a hungry world. Ecclesiastical bodies, as a first step, ought to drop the foodist term “cannibalism” and either speak scientifically, of anthropophagy (which sounds quite harmless), or else put the question into its sociological context by speaking of “gastronomic democracy.”

Those who prefer gastronomic democracy should no longer be subject to prejudice and discrimination on the basis of what (or whom) they consider edible. Only when gastronomic preferences have been abolished as a criterion for the ministry will our Methodist friends be able to feel with satisfaction that they have carried out the total transformation at which their recent action on sexual preferences hints.

Article continues below
Revealing Controversy

The West Virginia textbook controversy reveals much about the current ambivalence of American Christians seemingly caught up as much or more in the American way of life than a distinctive Christian way of life. The varied reactions that you reported among Christians involved in the debate not only illustrate the appalling lack of solidarity in the Body of Christ in the United States but provide some insight into the reason behind the absence of a Christian consensus of any sort (News, “West Virginia Uproar: Contesting the Textbooks,” Oct. 11). It seems that when it comes to the everyday realities of life like work, education, play, economics and politics, we Christians tend to find our identity not in Christ but as Americans.…

We must not think that the problem of providing a Christian education can be solved simply by trying to patch up the old public education system with a little religious surgery and some Bible-verse Band-aids. We need to work on setting up an alternative network of Christian schools on all levels showing the world that the healing power of Christ’s redemption extends to the realm of education as well. Certain groups of Christians (such as the Christian Reformed Church) have always recognized Christian education to be a priority. It is time that the millions of American evangelicals do likewise.

The Christian Government Movement

Pittssburgh, Pa.

About Time

Right on in regard to the editorial “Laziness in the Church” (Oct. 11). It is about time that someone had an editorial on this subject.

Petersburg United Methodist Church

Petersburg, Pa.

Another Side

Jesus ’74 was a beautiful thing, but it did have it problems (News, “Farm Fellowship,” Aug. 30). Most of them stemmed from the inexperience of the leadership. The first words spoken to me by the directors were, “The only problems we’ve had so far were those caused by musicians. If we had our way, we’d never again invite musicians to a Jesus festival”.… At Jesus ’74, each enlightened group was more defined. Larry Norman, according to popular belief, was no longer a Christian. Several factions boycotted the evening programs and designated special prayer services for Andrae Crouch because his music was “too rock ’n roll.” And during the performance of The Randy Matthews Band, the Board of Directors pulled the plug because, as they admitted later, they didn’t appreciate the style of music. At the same time, a small group backstage was praying that the demons be cast off-stage. Is it really any wonder that performers get discouraged?

Article continues below

Personal Manager for Randy Matthews Dharma

Nashville, Tenn.

Adam Next

Meg Woodson deserves thanks for a fine article (“He Loved Me—He Loved Me Not,” Oct 11). She shows great sensitivity to the biblical account, showing the fall to be the great tragedy it was.… Now let’s have Adam’s story!

Dallas, Tex.

As a brisk chill of autumn fresh air feels renewing after a long, hot summer, so it was with the reading of Meg Woodson’s story. [It] was told with a life and a creativity capturing the birth and death of innocence and of us. After hearing that “story” literalized, demythologized, and scrutinized from Sunday school to seminary, it was refreshing to read what Eve had to say.… Previously, only in C. S. Lewis’s Perelandra have I read words so weighted down with the heavy reality of the Fall. I must thank Meg Woodson for the creative freshness with which she told of our beginning “in the beginning.…”

Drexel Hill, Pa.

By Phone

I want to thank you for the editorial “Serving by Phone” (Oct. 11). You have written supportively of our efforts to help people by providing Christian-based telephone counseling, crisis-intervention services. Let me report that we now have sixty-two Contact centers in twenty-three states and another dozen in preparation. These teleministry centers involve 8,000 lay men and women who are responding to an average of 800 calls a month in each center.

Executive Director

Contact Teleministries U.S.A., Inc.

Harrisburg, Pa.


Our November 8 cover listing “Revival and Repression in Romania” had already gone to press when the decision was made to postpone the story.

Have something to add about this? See something we missed? Share your feedback here.

Our digital archives are a work in progress. Let us know if corrections need to be made.