The Single’S Pilgrimage

Julia Duin’s “We Must Learn to Celebrate Celibacy” [Mar. 21] captured the struggle in my own life and ministry. Once, I was uncomfortable as a single adult pastor, but in my pilgrimage I have found I can now celebrate my singleness. I hope the church is hearing what singles are saying.


St. John’s United Church of Christ

Fredonia, Pa.

Duin assumes all single people are virgins—what about the widowed, divorced, and single victims of incest and rape? It is high time the church proclaims that virginity is an attitude of the heart, not a matter of physical abstention.


Durham, N.C.

I am a Christian, single, and celibate. What friends I don’t have on earth maybe I’ll have in heaven.


Dayton, Ohio

I’ve known fine, talented Christian single adults who have discarded the church and faith because they were tired of being ignored, cloyingly (and hypocritically) patronized, or made to feel like a “fifth wheel.” Paradoxically, singles are generally accepted and loved more in the secular world.


Boulder, Colo.

What Duin says certainly isn’t true in single adult seminars led by people such as Jim Smoke, Carolyn Koons, Terry Hershey, Mike Cavanaugh, Rich Hurst, or myself. To publish her statement implies accuracy in her rather “limited” assessment of the overall single adult market. This harms single adult ministry.


Tear Catchers

Kansas City, Mo.

The “Killer Instinct”

One of several professional athletes in our congregation asked me: “Can you be a true Christian and a winner?” It was great to pass on to her Shirl Hoffman’s thoughtful piece on Christianity and the “killer instinct” [“The Sanctification of Sport,” Apr. 4]. Thanks for not dodging the hard issues with which my parishioners and I wrestle.


Castleview Baptist Church

Indianapolis, Ind.

Beyond External Christianity

The editorial by Nathan O. Hatch, “Keeping the Church Doors Open” [Mar. 21], was magnificent. It is time evangelicals were confronted with the grave long-term dangers of political alignment. Do we want a “Christian republic” that defines Christianity by externals or a free republic that encourages a Christianity that is internal?


Seventh-Day Adventist Church

Concord, Calif.

Hatch states “on any given Sunday morning, over 40 percent of the population in the United States attends church.” I believe this is a greatly inflated figure—and a major cause of a pervading complacency among evangelical Christians. I have been an army chaplain for 20 years and observed churches in many parts of the U.S. Approximately 7 percent of the population here (in the heart of the Bible Belt) are in church on a typical Sunday—a generous estimate. Using misleading figures permits Christians to think spiritual conditions are better than they really are.

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LAWRENCE E. HAWORTH Department of the Army

Texarkana, Tex.

Celebrating Jesus, Not Bunnies

Three cheers for Charles Colson’s “Beware of the Easter Bunny [Mar. 21]. It is time we Christians took a serious look at what we do and why we do it. No one wants to prevent children from having fun, but the result of promoting the Easter Bunny (or Santa Claus) is that we take our (their) eyes off Jesus.


Springfield, Ohio

If the Easter Bunny is a threat, then shouldn’t it be our Christian duty to do away with Santa Claus, Halloween, wedding rings (of pagan origin), and books other than the Bible (they are not inspired) too? I think any child can be taught to know the difference between the Easter Bunny myth and the reality of the Resurrection.


Chattanooga, Tenn.

Eastern-Bloc Christians

Brian O’Connell refers in his “Soviet Christians One Year After Gorbachev” [News, Mar. 21] to my identification of 254 organizations concerned with the plight of Christians in the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe. Actually, my research suggests approximately 206 East European missions, but considerably more than 254 groups if all interested are taken into account: denominations, councils of churches, research and public action groups, Bible societies, theological dialogue forums, Christian peace movements, human rights organizations, political emigre bodies, and others.


Asbury College

Wilmore, Ky.

A significant surprise on my visit to the Soviet Union was the large number of children, teenagers, and young adults in most of the Baptist churches we visited. Visit those in Novosibirsk, Alma Ata, and Tashkent on Sundays and week nights and you will be impressed with the presence and involvement of children and youth. It’s not America—but how often here do we see children able to sit through a two-to three-hour worship service?


Twinbrook Baptist Church

Rockville, Md.

But When Do We Eat?

Christians, by nature, are not very fond of four-letter words. There is, however, a major exception. It’s a word that brings us together, one powerful enough to get people out to a Sunday night service even in a blizzard. Here’s a clue: you can always find this word immediately following the words “fun” and “fellowship.”

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If you guessed “food,” you’re a winner.

Food is a unifier. Yes, we have our theological differences. But food is ecumenical. Here is a cause we can all rally around! Food can never be disuniting (unless there’s not enough to go around).

Will people come out to hear the church choir just because it’s worked hard for three months on its spring concert? Doubtful. But they will come out for the ice cream sundaes afterward. And they’ll probably end up enjoying the concert.

Will trustees roll out of bed on a Saturday morning for a board meeting? Probably not. But they’ll get it in gear for a cheese Danish and some java, and no doubt end up accomplishing a thing or two, in spite of themselves.

Food’s power, in fact, is unmasked at almost any church meeting. No matter how trivial the meeting’s agenda may seem, everyone perks up at one, crucial question: “When do we eat?”


The Carter Administration

Your review of Jimmy Carter’s speech [“Jimmy Carter Speaks His Mind,” News, Mar. 21] provoked this Presbyterian elder to outrage. As a Christian and a Southerner, I voted for the man in 1976. As a Christian and an American, I voted against him in 1980. The Carter administration was a joke that escaped being a disaster only through the providence of God.


Dothan, Alabama

I did not vote for Jimmy Carter in the 1980 election; as I look back at Carter’s postpresidential activities, I realize it was one of the worst mistakes I’ve ever made.


First Baptist Church

Mason, Mich.

It is difficult to express my disappointment when the March 21 issue arrived, and I found two entire pages had been wasted on a fluff piece about Rosalynn Carter’s husband.


Tempe, Ariz.

The Ct Institute: “Helpful”

The recent Christianity Today Insitute on “Biomedical Decision Making” [Mar. 21] was very helpful and informative.


Bethel Gospel Tabernacle

Hamilton, Ont., Canada

I was disturbed that you omitted a Christian professionally trained lawyer or judge. The lawyer and judiciary are a part of the medical practice team.


Chicago, Ill.

The responses to “Case History #2, The Surrogate Mother” were excellent from a Christian ethical standpoint. The problem with this hypothetical case is that its basic presuppositions are flawed.

The reason Christians need to warn against surrogate birth is that during the time of adolescent identity establishment, the fact of the “surrogating” will probably be very difficult for the individual to integrate into a healthy self-concept. We know this because many adoptees find themselves in need of extended counseling in adolescence, to help them deal with what they perceive to be “rejection” by their birth mother.

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Timonium, Md.

Lust Vs. Love

Thomas Minnery’s article [“Pornography: The Human Tragedy,” Mar. 7] is timely and poignant. As an expert witness in pornography trials, I observe that the central offense of obscene pornography is the separation of sex from responsible committed love. The essence of Christianity is love. My exposure to pornography teaches me it violates love relationships with God, others, and self.


Phoenix, Ariz.

A short time after I received my March 7 CT, I heard a disturbing radio advertisement. In it Bob Guccione, editor of Penthouse, asks listeners to patronize stores that carry Penthouse because those owners are “the good guys.” It gave me hope to know that the editor of one of the highest-selling porn magazines was feeling the impact of the anti-porn movement enough to have to strike back.


Menlo Park, Calif.

Your cover makes pornography appear enticing without counterbalancing this portrayal with one of its tragic ramifications. Employing this technique is using the ends to justify the means.


Roxboro, N.C.

Aids And God’S Judgment

In “Jogging Past the AIDS Clinic” [Mar. 7], Philip Yancy chides us for interpreting the AIDS epidemic as God’s judgment against homosexual practice, because innocent persons also are struck by the disease. I think he’s wrong. Didn’t innocent children die at Sodom? The city’s destruction was clearly God’s judgment.


Snohomish, Wash.

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