Noodles: A New Symbol?

Noodles have become the foundation of church potluck dinners today. Once they were only a colloquialism defining the addled and trivial, but now they have risen to a place of honor as a basic food of American evangelicalism.

In a recent newsletter from a rather large church, I noted a curious article:

“Please check your Corning Ware dishes. Last week at the fellowship supper someone picked up the wrong dish by mistake. They both had noodles left in them, but one was bigger than the other. If you took home the wrong noodle casserole dish by mistake, bring it to the church office and pick up yours.”

I can’t be the first to react to casserole Christianity. I have no doctrinal objections to eating in the fellowship—while Acts 6 shall stand—but across the years I find myself becoming more and more prejudiced about the rise of the noodle in church life.

My objections are not only peptic but philosophical and symbolic: could the noodle casserole become the cold and sticky matrix of modern church fellowship? Noodles are as cheap as the popular view of grace and are mortared together with bits of tuna, chili, and chicken, thus fitting into any matrix, holding any identity.

But just consider all the unpalatable aspects of this symbol. Noodles are plastic. Noodles are dry—often. Usually they are yellow, an uncourageous color. Noodles are chummy when they are warm, gummy when they grow cold; cheesy at times, and unable to stand firm in hot water.

Of course, koinonia can grow sweet around the noodle, so we should never avoid the church where these bits of pasta are the regular potluck fare. After all, this is the age of the noodle. But beware the fellowship where they seem to be a congregational symbol!


Veiled Mysteries

Thank you for the excellent articles on the Creation-Evolution issue [Oct. 8]. No amount of research, logic, argument, or discussion will resolve the problem of whether the universe is old or young, or when the events of creation week took place. These mysteries are veiled from our view by our Creator.

Most creationists today still operate on a Newtonian view of time and space and are not thinking relativistically as the modern physicist does, and too few creationists spend enough time in the Scriptures to dig out the additional amazing clues to creation tucked away there for our benefit. As a result the Christian “scientific” view is all too often far out of date and not very competitive with what the well-informed non-Christian scientist holds to be the nature of the universe.

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SRI International

Menlo Park, Calif.

A major contribution to seeing human evolution as a problem is reflected in the editorial: “Though a physical being a human is not just a physical being but also possesses a nonphysical soul/spirit.” But the Bible does not teach that a human being has or possesses a body/soul/spirit unity. It is not that we have things called souls or spirits, but that we are soulful and spiritual because God has formed us in his image. Soulfulness and spirituality are attributes of what that whole human being made in the image of God is. This biblical perspective leaves open the possibility of the emergence of totally biblical human characteristics through God’s activity describable as evolution.


Stanford University

Stanford, Calif.

One small correction: according to the calculations of Bishop Lightfoot, it was man (not the world) that was created on October 23, 4004 B.C. Lightfoot’s calculations led him to the conclusion that the week of creation took place from October 18 to 24, 4004 B.C., with Adam’s creation occurring on October 23 at 9:00 A.M., forty-fifth meridian time.


Bethel Theological Seminary

San Diego, Calif.

I feel CT failed its readers when doubt was cast upon the literal interpretation of Genesis 1. The Bible plainly teaches that God created the world in six days. Any other interpretation of periods of time limits the power of the Creator and contradicts his truth.

When the poor science of sin-degraded man today contradicts the Bible presentation of Creation and the universal flood catastrophe, it behooves the Christian observer to stick with the plain Bible truth. Deviation from this can only add to the great amount of confusion that already pervades Christendom today.


Collegedale, Tenn.

Please cancel my subscription to CHRISTIANITY TODAY. Although a nonevangelical, my reading of CT had aroused my sympathy for evangelical doctrines. Your evolution issue, however, brought me up short. Your respectful attention to the scientific charlatans of the Institute of Creation Research and your weak failure to denounce the utter absurdity of the so-called young earth theory (which not only contradicts modern biology and geology, but the whole system of modern physics, chemistry, and astronomy) forced me to recognize the intellectual dishonesty evangelicals manifest when faced with the findings of modern science. Any system of belief that requires such sacrifices of intellectual integrity simply cannot be valid.

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Rochester, N.Y.

As a science teacher at a Christian university, I was pleased to see the excellent article by V. Elving Anderson in your magazine. He is well respected in the scientific community and speaks for many Christians in the sciences.


Birmingham, Ala.

I must take issue with Duane Gish’s application of the second law. His claim that “the evolutionary hypothesis contradicts the well-established science of thermodynamics” is patently untrue and such statements are at the root of the ridicule that not only creationists but all Bible-believing Christians are receiving at the hands of many scientists.

The second law of thermodynamics has a much more limited scope of application than Gish claims. It has to do only with the transformation of energy. What the second law says is that when any changes take place within a clearly defined system, the sum of the entropy of the system plus that of its surroundings must always increase. To put it another way, the amount of energy available to do useful work in both system and surroundings must always decrease. That is all the second law says.

Though there is evidence in this for the existence of a Creator, I believe we Christians should advance this argument with some humility. We know only what happens in a small corner of our universe—that is, that entropy increases here. Whether there are natural processes, yet undetected, that might somehow rewind the universe’s energy clock, we cannot say for sure; we simply haven’t found them yet. So the apparently universal increase of entropy, when the universe is considered as a whole, is to be thought of as evidence for creation—though not, as Gish contends, as evidence against evolution.


Philadelphia, Pa.

Feathers, not Features

There was an error in my article “It Is Either ‘In the Beginning God’ or, ‘… Hydrogen’ ” [Oct. 8]. It is stated that “Some evolutionists argue that Archaeopteryx should be considered transitional, although it had 100 percent modern-type bird features, wings, and flew.” This should have read “… modern-type bird feathers …”


El Cajon, Calif.

Take an Honest Look

The Evangelical Women’s Caucus appreciates your editorial endorsement of “equal rights” for women and your call to evangelicals to “search for fair and righteous laws for every human, but especially now for the women of our land” [“Killing ERA Didn’t Cure the Patient,” Sept. 17].

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It is time for evangelicals to look honestly and rationally at what state ERA laws have and have not done. It is time to stop perpetuating sexist, homophobic, moralistic, and sometimes just plain silly propaganda slogans.


Evangelical Women’s Caucus

Atlanta, Ga.


A correction to your notes [News, Oct. 8] on revisions to the Episcopal Hymnal: “Battle Hymn of the Republic” was deleted back in 1940; the committee preparing the current version simply rejected appeals that the song be restored. Fortunately, the committee’s decision to omit “Stand Up, Stand Up for Jesus” as overly militant was overruled by the convention delegates, who apparently recognize Ephesians as an appropriate Christian text.

More interesting than the hymns excluded are several that found their way into the new collection. Most intriguing was the adoption of Shaker theology in “ ’Tis the Gift to be Simple,” perhaps as a gesture of posthumous ecumenism toward that early American cult. Fascinating!


New York, N.Y.

Wrong Source!

Your article “Did Two Scientologist Spies Come in from the Cold?” [Sept. 17] contains the statement, “When Reader’s Digest ran a two-part series attacking Scientology, it was [Ford] Schwartz the editors asked for a list of organizations that could help families of Scientology members.”

While Schwartz sincerely believes this to be the case, his recollection may give your readers a false impression. I was the editor-author of the two articles referred to and met Schwartz about three months before the second of the two articles appeared and after it was, in fact, already written. After our meeting, Schwartz telephoned me several times in his assumed role of anti-Scientology activist and more frequently after our research department, following our standard procedure of checking every fact mentioned in the magazine, contacted the Spiritual Counterfeits Project in which his wife Andrea was working.

Schwartz’s phone calls aroused my suspicions that he might be a Scientology agent, but I treated him as fairly and courteously as I do any potential source, and in response to my questioning, he gave me the names and his evaluations of several anticult activists and organizations. None of those were listed in our article. The three organizations we listed were chosen by me long before I met Schwartz, on the basis of my personal acquaintance with people in the organizations. Schwartz did not know, nor did I tell him, that our article was already on the presses, and hence he was under a false impression as to his influence upon its contents, which was nil.


Reader’s Digest

Pleasantville, N.Y.

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