This time they have gone too far. You mark my words: they will pay for it.

I didn’t complain when they cut back on the school milk program. I wrote only two mild letters when they attacked Bible reading and prayer in the public schools. But this time, I am really worked up.

The courts have forced The Lone Ranger to take off his mask!

Those of us who remember when the West was young simply will not tolerate this judicial mayhem. The next thing you know, they’ll force Orphan Annie to get pupils in her eyes and Superman to stay out of telephone booths.

I was unable to get to the Masked Man for an interview, but I did spend a few minutes with the Great Horse Silver. He was prancing around in great excitement and seemed to be pleased with the action of the court.

“You seem to be feeling your oats today,” I remarked. “Are you really happy over the court decision?”

“Of course I am!” he replied. “It’s about time they made him take off his mask.

“But, why? Without his mask, he isn’t The Lone Ranger.”

“And that’s good! Now maybe the crowds will start paying attention to me. He can get along without a mask, but where would he be without a horse?”

“So you feel he’s been taking all the glory all these years?”

“Absolutely! And just think of what I’ve had to go through. How would you like to hear ‘Hi ho. Silver!’ shouted in your ears day after day? I always had to run faster than the other horses, and that so-called fast draw of his was only a trick. They’d stop the cameras for him.”

“I see. You think that without his mask, he’ll have to develop some real skills to hold his own.”

“That’s right. He needs to quit horsing around (if you’ll excuse the term) and come to grips with reality. In a couple of more years, he won’t even need a mask. The bags under his eyes will do the job.”

“In other words, you think there’s too much masquerading in show business.”

“Far too much. Why, Lassie is a male! And Peter Pan was played by a lady who happened to be a grandmother. Let the masks come off! Just don’t remove the feedbags.”

Come to think of it, there is coming a day when all masks will come off, and we will be revealed as we really are. Maybe Silver has some horse sense after all.


Splashy Churches?

The articles by Ron Sider and Tom Howard (“Cautions Against Ecclesiastical Elegance” and “Expensive Churches: Extravagance for God’s Sake,” Aug. 17) make some powerful points. To wit: in building a church one may not forget other continuing obligations; in the worship of God one just does not count or compare certain costs.

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Denver, Colo.

Since the congregation of which I am a lay pastor decided to sell its church building and move to an interracial house church model, I see Sider’s article as more biblically authentic.

The American evangelical church might humbly learn some lessons from the social movement, Alcoholics Anonymous. AA took steps to forbid institutionalization and professionalization. It owns no buildings, keeps no membership statistics, and has no professionals running the organization. Lay persons run the movement. Almost all time and energy is spent on their message and mission.

The church through the power and guidance of the Holy Spirit ought to be able to do as well or better than AA. May the church in America be willing to “diet” (drop off its commitment to the unholy trinity of racism, materialism, and individualism) so that it might once again become lean and mobile as it devotes itself to the message and mission of Jesus Christ.


Associate professor of sociology

Spring Arbor College

Spring Arbor, Mich.

I have often remarked that Thomas Howard is the American C.S. Lewis. After reading his article, I think I may have to revise my opinion. I doubt whether C.S. Lewis could have written that well on the topic!


Fuller Theological Seminary

School of World Mission

Pasadena, Calif.

Big is not always bad. Neither is it always the most expensive. Large buildings often cost less per person accommodated than smaller church buildings.

Instead of discussion about elegant church buildings versus Third World economic inequities, why not a study of how church leaders can assure that the church building and its location are not hindering the program and growth of the church? Real estate and financial assets need to be put to optimum use in spreading the gospel of Christ. Comprehensive planning today can save greatly on unnecessary expenditures tomorrow.


Director of Corporate Services

Church Growth Services

South Bend, Ind.

Jewish-Evangelical Dialogue

Congratulations to Morris Inch for an excellent, timely article (“Jews and Evangelicals: A Breech Born in Heaven?” Aug. 17).

Might I add: the average Jew finds it almost impossible to differentiate between Gentile and Christian. He cannot be swayed from the belief that many of the church-attending Nazis who participated in the torture and killing of six million Jews during the Holocaust must have been Christians.

I personally know of at least two Christians who attempted to participate in “dialogue” in an absolutely sincere manner with rabbis in Israel, and they ended up with complete nervous breakdowns. You just cannot be faithful to our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ and at the same time equate Judaism with Christianity.

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Dr. Inch’s article should be posted on the door of every church.


The International Hebrew Christian


Palm Harbor, Fla.

Thanks from CBA

I read with great appreciation your editorial concerning the CBA convention (“CBA Gets Beyond the Flaky Fringe,” Aug. 17). I believe you are the first Christian consumer magazine which has taken the time to research and grasp the federal regulations under which our convention, as an international trade show, must operate.

The federal government views CBA as a trade association, not as a religious organization. We are under obligation to receive exhibitors based on their right of access to the religious bookselling industry, not on the preference of their product. The nonbook Christian product has been with us since the very first convention 30 years ago. These items have a way of appearing and disappearing according to customer demand.

Nevertheless, we are very thankful for the high spiritual plane of the 1979 convention.


Convention Manager

Christian Booksellers Association

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