Letters to the Editor
January - February 2001

Keep the kids away?

Is the Bible a good resource on sex? I suppose it does turn on one's reading. If the sexual norms of the Bible stand in dramatic contrast to those of the ancient world, imposing significant limitations on such terrible "institutions" as warfare and slavery, granting women a status and dignity unparalleled in the Mosaic or Roman periods, extending to almost complete reciprocity in the teaching of Jesus and Paul, and holding men to remarkable standards, even by contemporary American measurements, in support of a high concept of marriage and sexual fidelity, then yes, I would say the Bible is a pretty good resource on sex.

If on the other hand, one reads the Bible as blessing warfare, slavery, rape, sexual abuse, and total sexual unaccountablility for males—then, yes, by all means lock up the scriptures and by no means let the kids get anywhere near it.

Rick Allen
from a Discussion Forum

Hearts go out to strangers

We have learned a new thing. When a national tragedy such as the bombing of the USS Cole with its unspeakable loss of life occurs, each man or woman wounded or lost becomes a brother or sister, son or daughter, grandson or granddaughter to each of us. Our hearts reach out in care for hitherto strangers as well as friends and loved ones who mourn, even as we continue to mourn the violent death of our stepgrandson, Patrick Howard Roy.

We give thanks to God and express gratitude to you for the sympathy and support you give to us and, through us, to the family of our daughter, Anne, and her family. Your sharing of faith and love comforts and sustains us. You have reminded us of what a large and loving family surrounds us all.

Avery and Peg Post
Norwich, Vt.

Give massacre figures

As a long-time UCC member and a three-time protester at the U.S. Army School of the Americas, I was glad to see United Church News give it coverage in the December issue. But I would like to have seen more details of the meaning of "low intensity conflict" tactics and "commando training" and the general term "atrocities."

If you cover the issue again, you should give some of the massacre details and figures, like the El Mazote massacre where an estimated 400 adults and children were slaughtered, an entire village with the exception of one woman hidden under a bush. Of 12 officers cited, 10 were SOA graduates. Children and babies were tossed in the air like a game and speared on the soldiers' bayonets.

These details are grizzly, but I think it is really important to make it clear what this protest was really all about.

Ruth E. Bull
Denver, Colo.

Whistling up until Lent

I just want to say that I'm SOOO grateful for the wonderful new Christmas songs in The New Century Hymnal!

"Nu Oli" really made the season joyful for me this year and I'm sure I'll be whistling it up until Lent. "Sing a Different Song," "Carol Our Christmas," "My Heart Sings Out," "Sheep Fast Asleep," "Who Would Think That What Was Needed"—they're fresh, they're wonderful and I'm glad and grateful for them.

These are the kinds of gifts that, for me, have come "deep from God's bag of abundance".

Marian Conning
from a Discussion Forum

Self-critical and courageous

I am proud of the UCC because we are the prophetic voice of the church.

I don't always agree with the stands taken and there are others I wish we would take, but I have to say I was deeply moved when I was at General Synod in 1999 and the cost of some of our stands was acknowledged and then those stands were affirmed.

The UCC is like John the Baptist—often seeming shrill and annoying but still the voice crying in the wilderness that calls us to repentance. With all of our many flaws, we try to be self-critical and courageous—there is no more genuine expression of discipleship.

Mark Lukens
from a Discussion Forum

Let's be thankful

I greatly appreciate the fact that we belong to a diverse denomination which tries to reach out to all. We may not always agree and we may wish that the time tables for changes were different, but let's be thankful that we can come together in Christian fellowship and work at coming to better understand of one another and our faith.

R.L. Davies
from a Discussion Forum

Regrettably, we must execute

I suspect that as long as we really believe deep down that we can achieve an ideal solution to the question of the death penalty, we will be deceiving ourselves. None of the positions is clean, all are stained with sin. We need to admit that, and that in a fallen world, while we must strive to find a better way, we still must, regrettably, execute some for the safety of society.

R.J. Stohler
from a Discussion Forum

Summing it up

Taking life is a sin. The state has no business doing such.

Scott Shenkman
from a Discussion Forum

Bumblebees DO fly!

At a recent gathering of UCC clergy, the Rev. John Thomas, our new General Minister and President, spoke to us about trying to get on board. He said his plan was to be "bold and humble."

One of the other ministers quipped that the combination of "bold and humble" is "bumble"—and we all laughed together. I couldn't help but reflect later that a bumble bee—according to every scientific expert—is not supposed to be able to fly, yet somehow manages to do so anyway.

I left that gathering with a real sense of hope about the future of our United Church of Christ as it follows John's leadership, which is sincere, searching and strong. Some say the UCC will never overcome its many discouragements and difficulties. I say that with John's help we may just fly, no matter what some experts say.

The Rev. Harold Steindam
Westerville Community UCC
Westerville, Ohio