A Diamond Is for A Few Years

“To most people my diamond says I’m engaged. To me it says I’m in love.”

That’s the copy on a De Beers Consolidated Mines ad in the current issue of Psychology Today.

The ring is prominently displayed on the young woman’s finger as she embraces a young man, from a subordinate position, in a field.

I assume that he gave her the ring. If this is so, I’m puzzled by her words, “To me it says I’m in love.” Surely his gift of at least a carat to celebrate and bind their engagement should mean “He loves me.” But no, to her it means “I’m in love.”

Maybe I’m reading too much into a copywriter’s words. But words that cost $19,090 for space and additional thousands for preparation are not thoughtlessly chosen. They are meant to reflect the target audience’s attitude, not to mold it.

What’s the difference between “I’m in love” and “He loves me”?

Maybe the difference between Playboy and Song of Solomon, between narcissistic love and marriage love, between a marriage that will last a few years and one that will grow until death’s parting.

The woman in the ad has low expectations of her future husband, I suspect. Her experience leads her to delight in being in love, not in being loved by a man who—according to Christian teaching—must love his wife as Christ loved the church, even to the extreme of sacrificing his life for her.

—And for me: Does the diamond of grace mean that I’m in love, or that He loves me?


After Decades Of Reading

I have just finished reading the article “Pain: The Tool of the Wounded Surgeon” (March 24). I think this article is the most important single article I have ever read in my life and I am nearly 71, having been a Christian since my early teens. I know at least a dozen people who need this article—many of whom are suffering extremely.


Tacoma, Wash.

All the Facts

Congratulations on the excellent feature report on Burgess Carr and the problems of the All Africa Conference of Churches in your March 24 issue (News, “Varieties of Piety: An African Shakeup”). This is undoubtedly the best report to date on the subject published in either the secular or the religious press. This affair is so involved and complicated that it must have taken months to get all the facts. The person or persons who researched it are to be highly commended. DARRELL TURNER Religious News Service Protestant Editor New York, N.Y.

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• Associate editor Arthur H. Matthews researched and wrote the story.—ED.

Close Encounter Of the Right Kind

I would like to nominate Harold O.J. Brown for Best Motion Picture Review With Evangelical Content for his masterful and brilliant critique of Close Encounters of the Third Kind (Refiners Fire, March 10). His accurate analysis, interesting anecdotes, and biblical content were enough to provide any reader with a Close Encounter with the Word of God.


Spiritual Counterfeits Project

Berkeley, Calif.

I have just read the guest editorial “UFOlogy and Christianity” and the Refiner’s Fire “Fantasy of Alien Good” (March 10). I had hoped for a deeper discussion and a clearer stand on the UFO phenomenon and movies such as “Close Encounters.” Indeed, UFOlogy has become a religion and we must understand why and deal with it honestly. It seems to me that humanity is rebelling at the ultimate meaninglessness and lack of personal identity forced upon it by accepting scientific evolution and rejecting the “ancient religions.” In 2001, A Space Odyssey we are coaxed to believe that the human race is being raised from our evolutionary beginning to modern man by an alien intelligence that has not yet revealed its identity to us. In Close Encounters that alien intelligence reveals itself. This hope of the Ultimate Revelation of the identity of the alien intelligence gives meaning and identity to its believers: a modern, scientific identity to replace what scientific evolution stripped away. Some believe that all major religious prophets were alien visitors and that now humanity is maturing to the point that the alien beings can begin to accustom us to their existence and then finally, The Close Encounter. These believers anticipate that “Great Day” as we Christians anticipate the Coming of Christ.… It seems possible to me that Satan as the anti-Christ could easily establish his world government by promising peace and safety from the overwhelming throne of a space ship. Because of the association of the occult with UFOlogy I am convinced that the UFO religion is Satanic. It seems there is enough evidence regarding UFOs that it, too, demands a verdict. I would like to see CHRISTIANITY TODAY cover this in depth in a future issue.


Dexter, Ore.

I am amazed at the pointless depth into which people have written articles on UFOs and the films Star Wars and Close Encounters. It seems that no one any longer gives any consideration to the entertainment aspect of some films, books, etc. Brown discusses, at perhaps an overly high intellectual level, his inability to find an underlying moral or message in Close Encounters. As a result he termed it “contentless mysticism.” He seems to have overlooked the possibility that sometimes a film or book is produced for its face value: entertainment for the public, and money for the producers. True, more than surface effort went into the production of Close Encounters and Star Wars but a deep moral lesson or societal statement just isn’t there, and wasn’t meant to be.… It was a sad day for me when my English instructors showed me that most literature was written to present an idea or societal statement. It opened my mind, but lessened my enjoyment for the entertainment aspects of the written work. Brown is now doing the same for my appreciation of a truly entertaining film.

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Centerville, Ohio

An Issue Of Discrimination

Bishop Sims’s pastoral statement on homosexuality (Feb. 24) was so splendid that it seems a shame to take issue at any point. However, his statement, “The time is gone when in the name of Christ anyone may justly persecute a homosexual or mount a political effort to seek a policy of discrimination,” raises some searching questions. Apart from the ambiguity of the term “persecute” (is enforcing laws persecution?), I am most concerned with the implication that society has no right to restrict avowed and practicing homosexuals in forms and places of service. Is not the refusal to marry two homosexuals or to ordain a practicing homosexual a “policy of discrimination”? Yet Bishop Sims pleads for such refusal on sound moral grounds. Would not the same reasons extend to the rights of a community to ban a known and impenitent homosexual from the classroom? Are parents “persecuting” when they insist that their children should not be exposed to one whom the community—including the children—knows to be sexually deviant?

The fact that such a teacher (or soldier or policeman or city mayor) would “have no need to persuade the impressionable” misses the point. The knowledge of their identity and of the community’s tolerance would in itself be persuasive enough. A person with a bad cold does not need to design to infect others to accomplish it. The virulence of the cold will see to that. In the case of the homosexual the contagion is in the atmosphere of moral compromise and acceptance which would be inevitable and all-pervasive. It is this very acceptance by society of their lifestyle as harmless and proper which the gays are so vociferously demanding, and which apparently Bishop Sims would abet them in obtaining. But if communities succumb they needn’t be surprised if their children get the message that such issues no longer matter. What is needed is not this kind of capitulation (misguidedly in the name of charity) but a massive wall of opposition that says to the avowed and practicing homosexual, “Sorry—but some positions are not open to you.” And that wall can indeed be raised “in the name of Christ.” Anything else sacrifices the love of our children on the altar of a professed love for the deviant. Loving him in a Christian way does not mean placing no restrictions on him.

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Beacon Dictionary of Theology

Port Orchard, Wash.

Of the valuable and informative articles in CHRISTIANITY TODAY the recent statement by Bishop Sims on homosexuality was one of the finest. It is a remarkably calm and compassionate treatment of a wildly provocative subject.


Bothell, Wash.

Bennett J. Sims does well to recognize the sainthood of some homosexually oriented persons and to call for continued ordination of persons who are, with much discipline and grace, not acting out a homosexual lifestyle. It would be nice, though, for the homosexual celibate to feel free to be open with his congregation about this orientation and, through continued struggle, God’s sufficiency. How else can the church expect to honestly address sexuality and touch personal need?

True, we do not know Paul’s specific “thorn in the flesh,” but this not knowing need not be our example but rather, that many of us will need to live with some thorn or other. Bearing one another’s burdens requires that we share these burdens with each other. I can not imagine people close to Paul not knowing his thorn quite well. Still, his message is God’s redeeming power, that great strength available to human weakness.


Rosemead, Calif.

After reading the article one thing became very clear to me: Bishop Sims is using his “theology” to undercut the force of authority behind the Scripture.… He has forgotten apparently that God has not given the church any authority outside of his revealed will; or to put it bluntly the Bible dictates and the church follows.

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Staff Sergeant, USAF

Keesler AFB, Miss.

Bennett Sims makes many fine points, particularly when he says that “In regard to homosexuality, the most important witness of Scripture is not condemnation, but the promise of liberation.” But when he suggests that “the non-practicing homosexual who seeks healing” may be eligible for ordination, he is lowering the biblical standard for elders, in my opinion. The person who has publicly admitted bondage to any specific sinful tendency should be able to testify that he has been delivered from it, not merely that he desires such, before he is considered for ordination. “The overseer must be above reproach” (1 Tim. 3:6), and his testimony should have passed the test of time. Certainly there should be a place of ministry for those who meet Sims’s qualifications, but not in the highest offices of the local church.


Three Hills, Alberta

Something More

“What Is to Be Done About World Hunger?” This is a worthy question for Christians to consider, but I was saddened and disturbed at the way in which it was handled in the editorial of February 24. Three statements particularly upset me. “We are told, in essence, that poor countries are poor because rich countries keep them that way.” What I hear is don’t blame me! Remember Cain? “Then the Lord said to Cain, ‘Where is Abel your brother?’ He said, “I do not know; am I my brother’s keeper?’ ” (Gen. 4:9).

“The United States has a land area nearly five times that of Mexico. Is it any wonder that so many Mexicans illegally enter the United States each year?” What I hear is stay away from me! Remember Jesus? “For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me” (Matt. 26:35–36).

“It is unlikely that any combination of helpful or harmful actions by the richer nations will really have much effect, no matter how beneficial or repressive.” “Poor countries should take immediate and continuing steps to stabilize their populations.” What I hear is it’s your problem, not mine! Remember James? “If a brother or sister is ill-clad and in lack of daily food, and one of you says to them, ‘Go in peace, be warmed and filled,’ without giving them the things needed for the body, what does it profit?’ (James 2:15, 16).

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Surely a Christian periodical that is committed to the whole truth of the Scriptures must have something more to recommend that its rich Christian readers do about world hunger.



MAP International

Carol Stream, Ill.

The editorial seems like a classic instance of passing by on the other side. In essence the editorial says that America and other wealthy nations carry no substantial responsibility for the poverty of poor nations and that their poverty is their own fault because of overpopulation.

The editorial denies that colonialism effected a vast transfer of wealth from poorer to richer nations. I would hope the readers of CHRISTIANITY TODAY would not be satisfied with this blanket assertion before doing more substantive research on their own.… The editorial asserts that colonialism was not essential to prosperity and cites the cases of Spain, Portugal, and Britain to demonstrate that “the achievement of great colonial empires has not proved to be a permanent guarantor of prosperity.” But it was a great temporary source of prosperity and it is only because the colonies refused to continue pouring their riches into the mother country that the arrangement could not be permanent. Are we being told that colonial exploitation is above reproach because it has failed in its intention to be permanent? The readers of CHRISTIANITY TODAY surely deserve better advice.


Executive Secretary

Peace Section (U.S.)

Mennonite Central Committee

Akron, Pa.

First Place

This is just to let you know that I thank you for your magazine. The February 24 issue was my first copy. The first story I read was Song of the Lyre. It’s tremendous.


Antioch Christian Church

Los Angeles, Calif

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