A Confusing Philosophy

Your article about outcome-based education was very timely [News, Sept. 13]. I just retired from 25 years in the public elementary-school classroom, and I have had grave concerns about this philosophy of education. It has been mandated in our state; in our county, it seems opponents have been encouraged to retire for “not seeing the vision.” I found OBE to be confusing, necessitating learning a whole new vocabulary, and giving credits to students when they got the wrong answer but followed the correct thinking or procedure.

I think the school system has been under so much pressure to become “accountable” they are willing to hop onto any “new” idea that will “prepare the children for the twenty-first century.”

Mrs. Jean M. Hammond

Upperco, Md.

Jewish evangelism made hard

I can appreciate that your purpose in publishing “What the Rabbi Taught Me About Jesus” [Sept. 13] was to offer a new theological perspective on our Lord. But I object to its inclusion in a magazine that supports evangelism; this defeats the entire purpose.

As a Jewish believer, I can tell you firsthand how difficult and often frustrating Jewish evangelism can be. If an unsaved person or a newly saved believer reads this article, he will likely question Jesus’ teachings, making evangelism that much harder.

Lisa Kooper

Lynbrook, N.Y.

Sensitivity to divorce

What a sensitive and true statement regarding divorce in Speaking Out for September 13 [“Don’t Blame Divorce’s Victims”]. I agree that the church has a ways to go in gaining sensitivity and understanding on this issue.

Few divorces seem mutually desired, leaving most with a spouse bent on ending the marriage and the other determined to do all possible to save it. I came out of mine with low self-esteem because, after all, I was 50 percent responsible for the end of the marriage. I chose to move on in my life with the Lord of new beginnings, who is sensitive and understands—even when others in the pews do not.

Nancy Capels

Albuquerque, N.M.

Colson no New Ager

As a student of the New Age and its world-view, after even a simple glance at the world-view Charles Colson has in his writings, [I find it] mind-boggling that Texe Marrs should accuse Colson of being a born-again New Ager disguised as an evangelical Christian [News, Sept. 13]. By whatever definition Marrs uses to decide if one is a New Ager, Paul’s world-view surely would have been judged guilty when he preached the Unknown God to the Athenians. Marrs knows it is impossible for the world-view of a non-Christian to allow for intelligent discussion of subjects often used in Colson’s articles.

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Larry Turner

Dallas, Tex.

Texe Marrs accuses Sir John Templeton of being a “pantheistic New Ager.” An interview in Religion and Liberty for August–September 1991 would indicate otherwise. But when Marrs suggests Colson may be a “wolf in sheep’s clothing, a born-again New Ager disguised as an evangelical Christian,” he exceeds the bounds of propriety. He owes Colson an apology.

Paul Evans

Rockford, Ill.

Disciples’ boycott no done deal

I am writing to correct a statement in the news item that reports the election of Richard Hamm as our new general minister and president [News, Sept. 13]. The article states, “The Disciples of Christ also passed resolutions warning Colorado that it would pull its 1997 meeting out of Denver if the state refuses to protect homosexual rights.” That is incorrect. The resolution in question merely empowers the general board to consider that possibility if Colorado’s Amendment 2 has not been repealed by the 1994 meeting.

Your news article implied boycotting Denver was a done deal. It is not. I and many other Disciples hope to convince the general board to keep the 1997 assembly in Colorado regardless of the status of Amendment 2.

Pastor Mike McConachie

First Christian

Church Paris, Mo.

Wally’S World Revisited

A year ago I told you about my nephew, Wally Watts, who pastors in Southern California. He had produced a new hymnal for his upwardly mobile congregation. His new tunes shifted from conventional terms (“wretched” and “worms”) to more self-actualized expressions (“Glorious Things of Me Are Spoken”). Well, his hymnal was a smashing success—so much so that he took on an assignment to develop volume two for a fellow pastor with an even more “upwardly mobile” church.

Wally’s recent hymnal offers a “profession-specific focus” (PSF), including tunes: “So Sue I You” and “When I Can Read My Title Clear” for successful attorneys. Airline personnel will get a lift out of “Low! He Comes, with Clouds Descending.” Medical specialists and real-estate brokers are respectfully identified by “Open My Eyes That I May See” and “There Is a Green Hill Far Away.” Forgetful carpenters were not forgotten with “Is Your Awl on the Altar?” while police officers in unmarked cars were honored with “Pass Me Not.” Finally, hoping to avoid neglecting any group, Wally dedicated a number for migrant farm workers: “We Plow the Fields, and Scatter.”

Forgiveness a difficult question

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Thank you for “Holocaust and Ethnic Cleansing” [Aug. 16]. Many people must be tired of hearing about the war in Yugoslavia, but I have never truly looked at it in such a different light as when you presented it asking, “Can forgiveness overcome the horror?” That is truly a difficult question. I have had firsthand experience with a Bosnian protest. Those people are hurt, and they are mad. But yes, I think forgiveness can overcome the horror. But I don’t think a person can ever really forget.

C. Marie Britt

Wilmington, N.C.

Last May I was able to witness the forgiveness Yancey wrote about as part of a team of women who taught in Austria at a Bible school for students primarily from Yugoslavia and Romania. One afternoon I accompanied about 15 young Serbian men and women to a refugee camp for Bosnian Muslims. Aged grandmothers and grandfathers, mothers and small children met us with faces masking the doubt in their minds. With love and an unspoken seeking of forgiveness in their hearts, the Serbian Christians sang of God’s love and dramatized the forgiveness all people receive through Christ’s Cross.

The Muslims warmed. By the end of an hour, old Muslim men were shaking hands and laughing with young Serbian men. Muslim children giggled and squealed while playing games with Serbian women. Most of the camp followed us to the gate. Smiles lighting their faces, they waved good-bye. Only Jesus Christ could have executed such an unforgettable moment of triumph over hate.

Christine McKie

Prescott, Ariz.

God needs no reconstruction

Elizabeth Achtemeier’s article “Why God Is Not Mother” is long overdue [Aug. 16]. As a biblical feminist, I have been very disturbed by the demands for “inclusive language.”

Projecting human sexuality onto God amounts to idolatry, reversing the roles of Creator and creature. Radical feminism ultimately deifies humanity, particularly the feminine gender. The revealed character of the holy and perfect God, not our human experience with the fallen male or female gender, defines our concept of God as heavenly Father. Insisting on the alteration of God’s written revelation, motivated by women’s unpleasant experience with patriarchal oppression, is like adding more graffiti on the wall. It is not the Person of God but the human heart that needs reconstruction.

Theresa Ip Froehlich

Fresno, Calif.

“Why God Is Not Mother” was explained from another point of view by the brilliant psychoanalyst and author Erich Fromm. He pointed out two kinds of love a child receives from a mother and a father within a balanced family.

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Healthy mother-love tends to be unconditional, accepting the child as he or she is regardless of the child’s behavior. A father’s love tends to be more provisional, with approval given as the child meets certain standards of behavior and obedience. When both kinds of love are given and internalized, Fromm points out, the growing child has a healthy self-acceptance even when he strays from accepted behavior, while possessing the self-discipline to correct himself and continue growth toward high standards.

It follows that a healthy culture holds forth a father God who sets standards of conduct leading people to growth and does not condone or excuse disobedience. A declining or decaying or degenerate society, on the other hand, longs for a mother-god who loves, suckles, and comforts regardless of corruption, while imposing neither authority nor discipline. Need we wonder which kind of love, and which gender of god, our society would increasingly prefer?

Bruce Brander

Monrovia, Calif.

Ezzo program is “divisive”

Thank you for having the courage to publish “The Brave New Baby” special report on the Ezzos’ Preparation for Parenting curriculum [Aug. 16]. We have observed the growing popularity of this program with concern, and then outright alarm, over the past few years.

Your article barely scratched the surface of our concerns. The program is filled with claims that are unproved, unprovable, and/or false. We have observed the lack of compassion it can produce in parents toward their own children, produced by the denial of any God-given parenting instinct or emotion.

Students are forbidden to disagree in the classes and taught that differing views are unbiblical and stem from humanism—even if the source is a respected Christian authority. Our ministry has taught a thoroughly different approach for 15 years, based upon biblical principles, and with proven results. Yet we are stymied in our attempts to reason with parents exposed to the Ezzo program because they immediately brand us as humanists, unable to present a biblical viewpoint.

Kathy F. Nesper

Apple Tree Family Ministries

Artesia, Calif.

I felt the bias in this story was more reflective of secular journalism. I have known and worked with the Ezzos for a number of years and have a grasp of both their sensitivity to the needs of people as well as their commitment to the orthodoxy of Scripture. Never would Gary or Anne Marie advocate a harsh, unbending commitment to scheduled feeding and/or parenting when the physical welfare of an infant was at stake.

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Harold J. Sala, Ph.D.

Laguna Hills, Calif.

I was disappointed Tom Giles did not address the way in which Gary Ezzo uses Scripture in his courses. Verses are yanked out of context and stretched to new meaning; statements are said to be “biblical” while giving little evidence for that claim. I believe this is the most dangerous aspect of Gary and Anne Marie’s teachings.

Rebecca Prewett

Santa Maria, Calif.

Tucker at Cornerstone

Thanks for the fine writeup about Cornerstone ’93 [News, Aug. 16].

One correction: author/professor Ruth Tucker spoke on biblical equality, not the New Age movement. I found her refreshingly liberating and true to biblical text and context.

Sharon Landon

Killbuck, Ohio

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