The Giggling Guru

Several weeks ago I accidentally turned the TV on to the Merv Griffin show. Within moments I realized that this hour would be a big moment in my life. (That’s the impression Merv conveyed to me.) And it would definitely be another high point in his.

You see, the most honorable Maharishi, driving force behind Transcendental Meditation, was going to appear live on Griffin’s show. Griffin was overjoyed. Ever since Merv had discovered Transcendental Meditation and the teachings of the Maharishi, he had become a new creature. And it appeared to me that in the process Merv’s objectivity had also changed—it had disappeared! (A conversion characteristic of other than TM enthusiasts.)

So instead of the usual talk-show setup—several chairs, a small table, and the like—the studio was arranged like a mini-worship center. A special high-backed chair had been set up for the Maharishi. It looked as if it was covered in satin (but who can tell you when your TV isn’t doing its job?). And there were flowers everywhere; it seemed that everyone in the studio audience held one.

After movie star Clint Eastwood had been introduced and had given his TM “testimony,” the Maharishi made his entrance. Merv stood in awe. So did Clint and the rest of the studio audience. I sat. The guru, dressed in a white flowing robe, pitty-patted to his place smiling his patented, inane smile. And this was his most significant action during the show. From then on, he proceeded to giggle as Merv and Clint gushed over him.

Basically, the whole program made me sick.

I could never imagine Jesus appearing on Merv’s talk show like that. I think he would have wanted a regular chair, and I’m certain he would have responded to questions with much more than a silly giggle. If he had responded with giggles, I don’t think I would have responded to him.

And I’m also certain that the talk-show crowd would have been much tougher on Christ than they were on the Maharishi. In fact, I couldn’t believe that so many supposedly sane, educated people would leave their minds on the floor when the Maharishi came in.

Then later it hit me. Isn’t that true of much of Christianity today? We think we worship a giggling God who requires little more than a few flowers, a special chair, and the adoration of a celebrity.

I wonder if that makes God giggle?


On The Ewc

I should like to correct several misconceptions which Elisabeth Elliot’s letter (February 13 issue) might have left in the minds of CHRISTIANITY TODAY readers.

First, the Evangelical Women’s Caucus national conference included no workshop on lesbianism. In the opinion of EWC leaders, an opinion based on reputable anthropological and psychological studies, there is no causal connection between feminism and lesbianism. On the contrary, most authorities consider it probable that a widespread reduction in sex-role stereotyping will lead to a reduction in homosexual activity.

Secondly, part of my keynote speech was concerned with the significant amount of feminine imagery in the Bible concerning each member of the Trinity. Although this imagery has been present in the Bible all along, the Church has paid little attention to it. Our theological purpose at the conference was to study the Scriptures in light of current questions and seek answers which have always been present but which tend to be overlooked until social conditions raise our consciousness and stimulate our concern in new areas. That was the spirit of the whole EWC conference, and I regret that Ms. Elliot found it a “horrifying experience.”


Chairperson, Department of English

The William Paterson College of New Jersey

Wayne, N. J.

Which Benet?

In your February 27 issue there was an article “Sniffing Out Science Fiction,” by John Vernon Lawing, Jr. (Refiner’s Fire).… His memory played him false when he tried to recall “By the Waters of Babylon.” It was not written by William Rose Benet, but by his brother, Stephen Vincent Benet … Thanks for this, and for the fine magazine you put out, which we enjoy very much.


Riverside, Calif.

Exceptional Issue

I want to thank you for the exceptional articles that were printed in the January 30 issue. It is very informative and I’m sure that many readers shall catch new insights regarding the Negro churches.



World Christian Training Center

Los Angeles, Calif.

It is unfortunate that John Warwick Montgomery did not first read Clarence Hilliard’s article “Down With the Honky Christ—Up With the Funky Jesus” before expounding on an “Encounter in Florence” (Current Religious Thought). Mr. Montgomery writes, perhaps not intentionally so, but with much egotistical disdain.… This one article for me detracted from what was otherwise one of the best issues of CHRISTIANITY TODAY that I have had the pleasure to read.


Columbus, Ohio

The article by Clarence Hilliard is especially valuable because it puts very hard truths in language which should strike Christians deeply. The cost of Christian commitment is indeed great.… This article puts that cost in terms we can all understand.

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Teaming that article with an interview with John Perkins was an excellent idea. Here is an example of the sorts of actions Christians should have been taking for years and years.…

The portion of the Christian church served by CHRISTIANITY TODAY needs such issues as this one. Keep them coming.



InterVarsity Press

Downers Grove, Ill.

Clarence Hilliard’s article is so far out that it misses the whole point of the humiliation of the Son of God.… There is no evidence that he was ever involved in raising the living standard of one group by insisting that others provide financing for everything from “hot-dog stands” to “pawn shops.” … Some of us rich (?), white Christians … missed the trip to Lausanne in 1974. Did it ever occur to Mr. Hilliard that the fare would have more than paid for a “hot-dog stand”?


Lopez Island Community Church

Lopez, Wash.

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