Understanding Working Mothers
Thank you for Ruth Tucker’s informative overview on “Working Mothers” [July 15]. The 70 percent of working women who are “single, widowed, divorced, or married to men who are either unemployed or earn less than $15,000 a year” surely need the support of caring Christians.
I am concerned, however, about those of the remaining 30 percent who are Christian mothers employed at “meaningful careers,” or, as stated in Karen Hiner’s letter in the same issue, those with “achievement needs that can only be filled in a career.” How do they support pursuing “achievement needs” scripturally? Jesus taught a life of “denying one’s self” (Luke 9:23) and “emptying one’s self” (Phil. 2:6). Where did he teach pursuing self-fulfillment, especially at the expense of one’s family?
Apple Valley, Minn.
“Working Mothers” is the best overview of the situation I have read. I am a career wife considering starting a family. One of my great fears is the large opposition I know I will encounter from Christians if I decide to continue to work. It is time for the church to support working mothers instead of condemning them.
LINDA VAN GRISVAN
Does CT really need to side with the fashionable view that puts working mothers ahead of those who work at home? At least you could have balanced this article with one that would articulate the biblical priority of the young Christian wife and mother.
MRS. TOM DODSON
Some mothers don’t have to work? Only those who hold salaried jobs outside the home are working mothers? When will conservative Christians, who supposedly hold motherhood and home life in such high regard, learn to avoid the kind of stereotypical language that implicitly trivializes those concepts?
Biblical Christianity has always been most powerful in its effect upon society by calling people to God’s higher standards, not by accommodating majority trends. Churches and their family ministries can best help Christian wives not by accepting their working-mother lifestyle, but by calling them to consider carefully their biblical roles above middle-class “needs” and self-realization.
The vast majority of married women in the paid labor force are there by choice; they are working not for survival, but because they are unwilling to accept the standard of living they would have on only their husband’s income. The notion that society is obligated to provide day care for the children of these mothers is ridiculous. Once we supply them with free babysitting, what will they demand next? Will we be asked to provide them with cars and gas so they can get to work?
In the city in which I live, the approximate average price of a home is close to $120,000. Perhaps the well-meaning Schlaflys and LaHayes should concentrate their energies on reversing the economic momentum of our country. Or, perhaps, they could expedite a little of this energy to unite our churches on the issue of good quality day care for the little ones whose daddies are not in the position to bring home $50,000 and above in order to provide a decent and safe home environment, therefore requiring both parents to work.
San Diego, Calif.
Needed: A theology of dying
Beth Spring’s article on the ministry of hospice to the terminally ill was excellent and needed to be said [“A Genuinely ‘Good Death,’ ” July 15]. Southwest Christian Church is to be honored for their caring and providing financing so liberally.
As a ten-year veteran of our local hospice, I know how hard it is to finance such a program. Seminaries need to revise their training to provide a theology of dying, death, and the hereafter.
ROBERT W. DINGMAN
Westlake Village, Calif.
Take Me Out To The Ball Game
Baseball’s got almost everything we want in a church: Excitement. Anticipation. Crowds. And maybe, just maybe, there’s something in America’s pastime that church-growth experts should be paying attention to. The thought struck me while talking with a friend from another church. They needed a youth pastor. We needed a second-string … er, substitute pianist. He offered a trade (their keyboard bench is deep). I held out for a preacher to be named later, and the trade fell through. But it started me thinking.
Instead of handing out bulletins, the ushers could walk up and down the aisles: “Programs! Programs here! Can’t tell your hymns without a program!” Inside, worshipers would find the pastor’s stats: won-lost record, errors (people already keep track of them), and EAA (Earned Amen Average).
At strategic moments during the service the organist could play “CHARGE”! If the soloist were especially good, fireworks in the choir loft could touch off a celebration.
Vendors in the aisles could replace stewardship drives, selling pens and highlighters to take notes. Or Bibles and commentaries. If the sermon ran a bit long, peanuts and chili dogs could ease the congregation past noon.
If the pastor were having trouble with his sermon, he could be pulled by the elders for a “pinch preacher.” Of course, if that happened too often he might be fired, or sent down to a minor league church. I could name several elders who already act like George Steinbrenner. And a few pastors who feel about as secure in their positions as Billy Martin!
There are still a few flaws in the plan, however. For instance, just think what cleats would do to the carpeting.
What middle of the road?
Julia Duin’s coverage of the Southern Baptist Convention in San Antonio was excellent, particularly in view of the way the secular media wrote it up [News, July 15]. I especially enjoyed her quotation of “moderate” Winfred Moore’s grandfather that “there isn’t anything in the middle of the road cept a yellow line and dead possums.” The “moderates,” including Winfred Moore, have been trying desperately to get in the middle of the road but can’t quite get there. A “moderate” Southern Baptist pastor recently tried for over an hour to convince me that his thinking was “in the middle of the road,” but made it abundantly clear that he didn’t believe in the articles of faith, in some of the miracles in the Bible, and in the historicity of Adam and Eve. Winfred Moore’s grandfather was right; there isn’t anything “in the middle of the road cept a yellow line and dead possums.”
JOSEPH J. BROOKS
Falls Church, Va.
Duin’s article creates more smoke for the clouds surrounding the real issues, which are a political power grab, definition of historic Baptist traditions and distinctives, and style of leadership.
Duin’s use of conservatives and moderates as defining the SBC factions does not accurately reflect the positions. Baptists have been and continue to be conservative people, committed to the Bible as their authority for faith and practice. The article itself recognizes more distinction than its writer was willing to admit when she wrote, “Theologically, the candidates were indistinguishable.”
The title for the article, “Conservatives Rule Southern Baptists,” implies that nearly one-half of the convention messengers are not conservatives simply because they did not vote as the other half did. The title gives credence to Criswell’s crude humor that moderates are liberals.
RODGER D. EAKIN
Your magazine reported that “… SBC conservatives completed a ten-year campaign to regain control of their … denomination.” If that statement isn’t a prime example of revisionist history, I don’t know what is! The Right-wing fundamentalist party that engineered the takeover of the SBC never regained control of anything because it never was their denomination to begin with. There was a time when it belonged to all Southern Baptists. To state they regained control is to legitimize one of the most deplorable cases of denominational bullying that has ever occurred.
EDWARD R. CARDOZA
An apalling decision
The judicial decision documented in Charles Colson’s column [“A Remedy for Christian ‘Homophobia’: Coercive Enlightenment,” July 15] was appalling. If the stated purpose of a religious organization is to discourage sin, and if that organization considers homosexuality to be sin, then it follows that to force that organization to fund a group that promotes homosexuality is to undermine its own reason for being. Ironically, in the name of pluralism, the leaders of Georgetown University have been forbidden to put their beliefs into practice.
Does the church have the right to do as the Bible says or must it do as the state says? What most people don’t realize is that because almost all of our Christian institutions are incorporated, the state has the final say as to the practices of these institutions.
The U.S. as democracy?
Thank you for Terry Muck’s rather serious editorial on the relationship between the U.S. and the USSR [“Still the Evil Empire?” July 15]. May I offer one bit of correction? The United States of America has never been, is not now, and (I pray) never will be a democracy. Our Founding Fathers recognized the dangers of democracy. John Adams declared that democracy “has never been and never can be so desirable as aristocracy or monarchy, but while it lasts, is more bloody than either. Remember, democracy never lasts long. It soon wastes, exhausts, and murders itself. There never was a democracy that did not commit suicide.”
“Democracy” is not mentioned in the “Declaration of Independence,” the Constitution, nor the Amendments. However, Article IV, section 4, of the Constitution asserts that “The United States shall guarantee to every State in this Union a Republican Form of Government.…” And if the states are republican, then so must be the federal government.
THOMAS L. NICHOLS
I am a student at California State University where it is not uncommon to hear others scorn Christianity. The message of the gospel of Christ is put down in large measure not because it is foolishness to the world, but because those who bring the message have made fools of themselves. Specifically, I am thinking of Oral Roberts’s plaintive call to raise $8 million to support his medical school—under the duress that should he fail to do so, God would take his life—and his subsequent reneging on the commitment to use the money as he said he would [“$8 Million Worth of Unanswered Questions,” July 15].
Aside from the outright deceptiveness of Roberts’s appeal, the theatrics he engaged in to raise the money were enough in themselves to bring justified ridicule of the church. Few voices within the body of Christ were raised in protest of Roberts’s bizarre and affected behavior. Such silence could only be interpreted by those outside the church as patent approval of his methods. It’s no wonder students in the university laugh contemptuously when presented with the claims of Christianity.
STACEY T. WARDE
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