The June 19 exchange between James Dobson ("Why I Use 'Fighting Words' ") and John Woodbridge ("Why Words Matter"), which grew out of Woodbridge's earlier article, "Culture War Casualties" (March 6), produced yet more words from readers. Scores of letters arriving by mail, fax, and e-mail revealed little neutrality. While total response gives the edge in the debate to Dobson ("Dr. Dobson won!" wrote one), most writers sided passionately with one or the other. Yet many took the measure of each: "I had the feeling that both men are right," said Ruth Ann Arnold of Bedford, Texas. "We need Dr. Dobson's fervor, and we need to be reminded by Dr. Woodbridge that we cannot come to hate people we disagree with, and that there is no place for disrespect, distortion, and sarcasm." If nothing else, the articles served to get the juices flowing for many to think through this issue on a deeper level.
The June 19 cover article, "Why Evangelicalism Is the Future of Protestantism," by Alister McGrath, also elicited earnest response. Fred Hutchison of Columbus, Ohio, believes evangelicalism's problems are greater than the author indicates: "A large part of evangelicalism is spiritually shallow," he wrote. "Protestantism does not have much of a contemplative or deeper-life movement." Yet e-mail comments from Bill Burns found the article to be "exceptional in its breadth of understanding of the problems facing the mainline Protestant church in the twentieth century."
One war is enough
John Woodbridge's article critiquing the language and spirit of "culture wars" and James Dobson's response [June 19] were painful illustrations of another war. As a pastor in a university community working with academics, I know about the "paralysis of analysis." ...1
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