I had not seen my preacher friend Emeritus Thatcher for several months, when I met him coming out of Ace Hardware. He was carrying a shovel and he informed me that he was now in the business of renting holes.
“Well, not actually renting holes,” he explained. “I’m really digging wells, which are holes of a sort. I’m building a park in which I duplicate the wells that Abraham and Isaac dug. I think people will want to pay to visit these wells and renew their faith. It’s a step toward the deeper life.”
Emeritus is calling the venture “Wells Go Far,” and he hopes to establish branches in every major city. “You can always find a vacant lot,” he said, “and it just takes some elbow grease to transform it into a Wells Go Far park.”
At his first park, he featured dramas from Genesis, such as Abraham sacrificing Isaac, and Isaac meeting his bride. They were going to present Abraham casting out Hagar and Ishmael, but the local Arab nationalist league threatened to test an atomic bomb if they did. “We Christians have to expect persecution,” Thatcher declared.
The sacrificing of Isaac posed a problem at first because the ram kept getting loose from the thicket and running away. Emeritus solved the problem by putting iron on the ram’s horns and hiding an electromagnet in the bushes. When he pushed the button, the ram was free. “Of course, we didn’t really kill the ram,” he said. “The local SPCA threatened to fill up our wells if we did. But, we have to expect persecution.”
While studying his Bible one day, Emeritus hit upon the idea of also letting people build “faith altars,” just as the Old Testament patriarchs did. Now he has a collection of rocks near each well, and for only $5.00 a visitor can build his own altar the same way Abraham did. “Some people may laugh at this,” said Emeritus, “but many visitors have had life-changing experiences because of the altars. One man dropped a rock on his foot and had to be taken to the hospital. There he fell in love with his nurse and they’re going to be married at the park at the end of next month.”
Being a traditionalist, Emeritus calls the names of the wells after the same names Abraham used. “We were going to write the names in Hebrew, but some of the local kosher butchers threatened to dump their garbage in the wells if we did. But, we have to expect persecution.”
Well, well, well.
Cheryl Forbes, gifted writer and former CHRISTIANITY TODAY assistant editor, has concluded her six-month stint as Eutychus IX. Cheryl has the distinction of being the only woman Eutychus—but she will not be the last. As she lays down her (Eutychus) pen, Eutychus X picks up his pen and immerses it in a new bottle of ink for the next six months.
Courageous and Honest
A special thank you for Ted Ward’s article “The Church in the Intermediate Future” (June 29). It is more than good and insightful. It is creatively in touch with the future of the church. His works are a courageous and honest probing in awesome respect for the providence of God.
DONALD CHARLES LACY
First United Methodist Church
Christianity in America needs to return to its biblical heritage and thrust before its people the presence of God now. God will take care of tomorrow (the distant future).
God’s future is present when we can cast aside our three-car garage, our private pew, our tax writeoffs, and our secularity and become free to live according to the will of God.
REV. BOB WARD
Rapidan Lutheran Parish
The Virgin and the Vatican
In reference to the editorial “The Pope in Poland” (June 29), my husband and I both found one sentence in particular disturbing and paradoxical: “His excessive references to Mary notwithstanding, the evidence indicates that Pope John Paul II is Christ-centered in his thinking.” Rather, we feel that his excessive references to Mary indicate that he is not Christ-centered in his thinking.
BILL AND RUTH HOLLEY
As a Catholic who reads your periodical with interest, I must take exception to your editorial comments on the Holy Father’s visit to Poland. You indicate that Catholics have learned from Protestants in the area of Bible reading. This is true, but Protestants can and should also learn from Catholics. One area where this can be done is in devotion to Mary. Comments about “excessive references” to the Blessed Virgin are not helpful. Dialogue is a two-way street and we can all profit from it.
Why did you find it necessary to ruin what was otherwise a very positive editorial with what I and other Anglicans regard as a “cheap shot” about his “excessive references to Mary”?
As one who loves the Blessed Mother in the same manner and degree as does the Holy Father I find that this devotion (commanded by Scripture in Luke 1:48) not only adds a new dimension to my commitment-in-faith to her Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, but also provides me with an example of what through God’s mercy and my faithful obedience to his will and commandments I may one day become.
REV. FR. G. D. WIEBE
St. Martin of Tours Church
Walnut Creek, Calif.
I read your editorial, “The Pope in Poland.” I was very pleased to see most of your comments, but you allowed your Protestantism to overcome your Christianity by being disobedient to God and unscriptural in your reference to the Blessed Virgin Mary. Please see Luke 1:48–50.
We honor the Blessed Virgin Mary not for her person but for the God that came through her; not for the personal worthiness that she had, but rather for her obedience to God’s declaration to come through her and receive flesh.
GEORGE J. TZANGAS
Worldwide Orthodox Renewal for Christ
A Good Example?
Regarding your editorial “Taking a Costly Stand” (June 29): Certainly Christians are often called to take costly stands, and certainly all of us fail to live up to what we are called to. But I seriously question your use of Anita Bryant as a good example for evangelicals to look up to in this area.
Surely she is “forthright.” But in this forthrightness she has shown much ignorance and lack of love for those who struggle with homosexual problems.
Had evangelicals and priests taken a stand on the issue of homosexuality before Anita Bryant did, she would not have had to take a stand herself.
DAVID L. GERMAN
Ire over Ireland
I was both dismayed and disheartened by the lack of knowledge or understanding shown in the editorial, “The Travail of Northern Ireland” (June 29).
Neither Speaker O’Neill nor Governor Carey is my favorite political figure, but I can only applaud their courage in bringing to light a situation too long ignored.
Somehow your editorial seems to indicate that Northern Ireland “terrorists” were the only ones shedding blood in this horrible period. Or, alas, that it is only deplorable when British blood is shed. You do not recount any British provocation or participation. Are we then to assume that the British are the “good guys” while the Irish are the “bad guys”?
Thank you for your understanding editorial on the troubles in Northern Ireland. As one who is English, Protestant, and temporarily living in the U.S. with several Irish Christian friends, I have been appalled to discover how easily Irish-Catholic politicians in the U.S. can exploit the tragedy for themselves. Perhaps even sadder is the lack of understanding among U.S. Christians for their brothers and sisters in Ulster, both Protestant and Catholic, who do not want any more violence yet do not want union.
Bernadette Devlin—known for her support for terrorism—once announced that when union was obtained, the battles in the streets would really begin as a workers’ republic was founded! All is not always what it may seem on the surface.
PAUL D. GARDNER
I appreciated Jim Pennington’s comments in the June 29 Refiner’s Fire (“Christian Radio: Breaking Out of the Gospel Ghetto”).
I’ve been in broadcasting 13 years now and am grateful finally to see a handful of progressive stations and formats emerging. KNIS, for one, is a noncommercial Christian radio station serving Reno/Carson City/Lake Tahoe, Nevada. The format is 80 percent contemporary Christian music with air personalities making brief and thoughtful remarks in between cuts. If it can happen here, it can happen anywhere.
Program Director, KNIS-FM
Carson City, Nev.
Have something to add about this? See something we missed? Share your feedback here.