Letters to the Editor

Choices not so simple

Despite the wishes of last month's letter writer, not everything falls into two neat categories, "the right to abstinence and the right to contraception." When contraception fails, as ours did, only one person in the couple will spend nine months pregnant or have to trust her life to someone who may be unqualified to end the pregnancy. Only one person is going to be held ultimately responsible (or endangered).
      It would be nice if it were as simple as she wants it to be, but it isn't. And the Bible doesn't help as she claims; there is no verse that says, "abortion is wrong." Thousands of women face this painful and complex choice every day. My experience of women who have had abortions is that whatever they choose has enormous costs: emotional, physical, financial, not only for themselves, but often for other children to whom they have a previous commitment.

The Rev. Andrea La Sonde Anastos
The First Church UCC of Deerfield
Deerfield, Mass.

Unborn child's rights?

In response to the article, "Women's reproductive rights under attack," what about the rights of the unborn child? As Christians we are supposed to support laws that reflect God's love and justice.
      Does God's love extend to the baby in the mother's womb? According to the Bible it does. Read Psalm 139:13-16, Isaiah 49:1-5 and Luke 1:14-15 and 36-45.

Bob Ross
Trinity UCC
Loganville, Pa.

‘Yes' for seminarians

I was greatly surprised by the Current Comment about seminarians not having enough social passion. I must report that my own findings about seminarians are not at all congruent with what you report. The seminarians that I teach and the others that I know across the denominations are not only acutely passionate about the common good, but are also growing wiser about how to address those issues.
      Might it not be more useful to look at the flawed ecclesiology and halfhearted witness to our theological rootage of the good news from whence comes the problem? Then we might be able to see that all of us—including people in the national offices—need to reflect and study more. Perhaps then one could support seminaries, for they are characteristically places in which passion for the claims of the gospel and the good news for the common good are peculiarly intense.

The Rev. Walter Brueggemann
Columbia Theological Seminary
Decatur, Ga.

Dad doesn't blame God

The "Focus on Faith" column by the dad remembering his son who drowned brought tears to my eyes.
      I am a mother of four. I know I could lose a child, but I cannot imagine what that would be like. But when he related to how Maria must have felt when Jesus died (I say Maria, because I am thinking in Spanish but writing in English), he helped me understand. She saw both the crucifixion and the resurrection, but he saw only the losing side. By faith, he has to wait for the resurrection.
      My heart went out to him, especially since he had only one child. He can't look at other children and see a similar smile, or hear a common phrase, or watch a familiar walk. That must be devastating, but still he doesn't blame God. Instead, his testimony helps strengthen our faith. I know he strengthened mine.

Ana Lewis
Cleveland, Ohio

Lord's Supper incomplete

In 30 years as a UCC pastor I have yet to sit down for a denominational meal where someone didn't offer a table grace. In the last 15 years I can count on one hand the number of times in similar settings I have heard a blessing offered over the bread and wine at Christ's Table.
      I do not understand why we need God's blessing on the ham sandwich and potato salad, but don't need it for the Bread and the Cup of Holy Communion.
      Some of us believe a communion service is valid only if it includes both the Words of Institution and an epiklesis, that is, a blessing of the bread, wine and people with the Holy Spirit; in other words, a table grace. Would planners of such events please be sure to offer grace, including an epiklesis, at our shared celebrations of Holy Communion?

The Rev. Robert E. Page
Columbia, Ill.

Thumpa, thumba, thumpa!

My wife, Ann, and I are celebrating our 40th wedding anniversary on June 11, which is pretty close to your 40th wedding anniversary in May. We both really enjoyed your Current Comment in the May issue.
      It was a nice coincidence to read what you wrote and to be thinking about the same kind of experience. And that's all I've got to say, but hey! That's a lot to say when you think about 40 years. And 40 years with someone that you love very much and you continue to love increasingly as the years go by.
      You are fortunate and I am fortunate. Well, Deborah and Ann are fortunate. So there!

The Rev. Dick Chamberlain
Brentwood, N.H.

‘God is smiling!'

I just read your Current Comment about your wife, Deborah, in United Church News. What a tribute! It is heart warming to read about such a special love. The two of you have given glory to God and have gifted the rest of us by sharing your story. Thank you. God is smiling!

Karen Nachtigall
First Congregational UCC
Glen Ellyn, Ill.

‘Way to Go!'

The May Current Comment warmed my heart. I just want to say, "Way to go!" I hope your example of love and marriage, and talking about it in a national forum, will help others plan for very important family times in their lives. God continue to bless you both.

The Rev. Chuck Ihloff
Casco, Maine

Send "Letters..." of fewer than 150 words to United Church News, 700 Prospect Ave., Cleveland, OH 44115-1100; e-mail goldere@ucc.org. Printed letters may be edited for clarity and brevity.

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