The Christian Mother Goose Study Guide

Every devotional book that sells more than 100,000 copies seems to come out with its own study guide. For those fed up with deeper life study groups and alpha-omega cells, I suggest a book that to my knowledge does not yet exist, and desperately needs to be written: the Christian Mother Goose Study Guide.

Think what could be done with:

Little Miss Muffet

Sat on her tuffet

Reading the living Word,

Till a scholar there came

With a New King James,

And Miss Muffet felt very absurd.

Using this text, the main group could break into three cells. Those in group A could discuss the wisdom of paraphrases, group B could prepare a discussion of the infallible, Elizabethan text of the old King James, and group C could discuss whether Miss Muffet or anyone should trust the psychology of the person who spends too much time with paraphrases.

Or, let’s take this one:

Little Boy Blue come blow your horn,

The sheep are on the Left,

And the goats are in stealing corn.

But they’ll be sorry on judgment day,

When the goats are burned

And the sheep get away.

This rhyme could use four groups. Group one could discuss Little Boy Blue’s millennial position; group two, of course, could discuss the probable eschatology of the sheep; group three could do the same for the goats; and a final one could discuss whether the goats go through a time of testing before the end.

But if these subjects don’t appeal to you, you may meet to discuss social consciousness in the subgroups using this one:

Hark! Hark! The dogs do bark,

The beggars are coming to church.

Should we wine ‘em or dine ‘em

Or jail ‘em or fine ‘em

Or just leave ‘em all in the lurch?

Or for those more athletic, they could choose Christian aerobics classes, diet for a week, and exegete:

Jack Spratt could eat no fat, [Here discuss the Christian and cholesterol.]

His wife could eat no sole; [Here discuss the eating-fish-on-Friday syndrome.]

And so they both would go to church

For tuna casserole. [Here discuss how church potlucks contribute to poor Christian health because of too little study given to balanced meals in the church.]

The possibilities are endless.

Has anyone ever answered satisfactorily for the church such questions as these: Why was Bo Peep moral? Is the baby rocking in the tree top an evidence of child abuse? Have the Three Blind Mice ever consulted a Christian Science Reading Center? Would Mary, Mary have been less contrary if she had been involved in a discipleship group? Does Hey Diddle Diddle bear any reference to the spacious firmament? Does Humpty Dumpty harmonize with Romans 10:13?

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There clearly needs to be at least one study guide to help Christian understanding in this elementary realm.


Burden Or Leader?

As cochairman of the Congressional Prolife Caucus, I must take issue with some of the statements made in “Jesse Helms in the Dock” [Mar. 4].

Senator Helms is not a burden to the prolife cause, but a proven, capable leader in the struggle to win legal protection for unborn children. His prolife convictions have earned him the admiration of his friends and the respect of his foes here on Capitol Hill.


Fourth District

State of New Jersey

Reference is made to a memo critical of Senator Helms written by the National Right to Life Committee’s legislative director, Douglas Johnson. “Privately,” Spring writes, “all but a few prolife organizers agree with Johnson’s assessment.” She fails to mention that Johnson’s own board disagrees with his assessment and at the January meeting of the board of the National Right to Life Committee a resolution was unanimously approved commending Senator Helms for his years of courageous prolife leadership and staunch defense of the unborn, and expressing our distress at the stories reporting otherwise in the press due to the unjustified Johnson memo.


National Right to Life Committee

Louisville, Ky.

It was disappointing to find the undocumented repetition of assertions first launched against him by the Washington Post during its dubious coverage of the Senator’s filibuster against the gas tax bill.

It is a groundless slander against all senators to suggest that a nameless ten would actually change their votes on important issues because of personal antipathy toward a colleague. No one in the Congress can afford, politically, to cast votes on that frivolous basis. Even if they would sometimes like to, there are constituents and interest groups with which to contend.


Republican Policy Committee

United States Senate

Wash., D.C.

Helms is a recognized master of Senate floor proceedings. His encyclopedic grasp of Senate rules makes him a formidable force even when his views place him in the minority.

I find your allegation that “between six and ten Senators automatically vote against anything Helms supports” outlandish. Last summer, the Senate killed by a single vote, 47 to 46, a sweeping antiabortion measure that Helms sponsored. Three months later, the same Senate considered a much less comprehensive measure sponsored by Jeremiah Denton (R-Ala.) and championed by the highly esteemed Budget Committee chairman, Pete Domenici (R-N.M.). Helms played only a perfunctory role in the debate. That measure also lost by one vote, 49 to 48. Apparently those 6 to 10 anti-Helms votes are anti-Domenici as well.

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Christian Action Council

Washington, D.C.

Thank You!

Kantzer and Fromer missed the nail by a country mile in their editorial. One good question deserves several others: What “divinely ordained duty” does government have in education? What constitutes the “minimum” of education with which Kantzer and Fromer insist the state is “properly concerned”? Is the issue one of quality or control? And finally, does it undermine law and order to try to preserve biblical and constitutional rights?


Juanita Community Church

Kirkland, Wash.

After months of reading the secular news media’s jaundiced view, it was refreshing to see an intelligent, evangelical perspective on the Faith Christian School issue.

And thank you, thank you for the editorial, “When Should Christians Stand Against the Law?” [Mar. 4]. At last, a sensible evangelical-fundamentalist view of this fiasco.


Lincoln, Nebr.

Orthodox Or Nonorthodox?

Please give my thanks to the editors and Wesley G. Pippert for the thoughtful interview, “Jimmy Carter: My Personal Faith in God” [Mar. 4]. The introduction and review of Keeping Faith gave a well-rounded and balanced view of Carter that was too often missed while he was President.

In my mind, he is a modern-day hero for Christians around the world. His consistent faith and life are an example of using power that people with power in all walks of life should examine.


Madison, Wis.

Jimmy Carter is presented as an aggressive, witnessing, born-again Christian while at the same time he endorses such men as Reinhold Niebuhr, Karl Barth, Dietrich Bonhoeffer, and Paul Tillich. This looks altogether too much like the neo-orthodox technique of using the language of orthodox theology with non-orthodox meaning. It is much like putting poison in milk.


Community Reformed Church of the Valley

Canoga Park, Calif.

Mr. Carter is quoted as saying, “I saw the major peaceful weapons were a basic morality and an adherence to principles that other people admire.” I strongly agree with that, but how could a professing, born-again Christian line up that basic belief and come out on the side of homosexuality, abortion, and many of the other family-destroying philosophies, including ERA, that seemed to have Mr. Carter’s support? Could it be that mixing sound scriptural theology with the rationalizing of Niebuhr, Barth, Bonhoeffer, Tillich, and other such theologians produces fuzzy thinking? I wonder?

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Fort Collins, Colo.

Everyone’S Battle

We would like to publicly thank Leslie Leyland Fields for the poem “Let Truth Be Hard” [Feb. 18]. As pastor of a small church in a small community, we sometimes feel we are out of the mainstream of the battle. Fields’s words remind us that we are in fact on the front lines. May we all struggle harder to teach the hard truth of God’s Word, and not “dribble drooling words” filled with “mealy pap.”


Coalinga, Calif.

China: A Fertile Field

Your article “Contemporary China: Responding to Realities” [Feb. 18] underscores the care with which mission agencies must proceed today in approaching mainland China. Two issues that we have discovered in our work were not included in the article: (1) The difficult years of the revolution have cultivated the once “rocky soil” of China into a fertile field. The new generation knows virtually nothing of the traditional animistic religion that shackled their forefathers. (2) Chinese Christians are now able and willing to evangelize other Chinese.


Living Bibles International

Naperville, Ill.

With All Due Respect

In a news report [Feb. 18] on the rising student quotas at the Roman Catholic seminaries in Lithuania and Latvia you stated: “The former Baltic States are the only part of the USSR that traditionally were predominantly Roman Catholic.” This is only half true. Lithuania is definitely a Roman Catholic stronghold, but with due respect to my Roman Catholic brothers and sisters, Latvia, as one of the first areas outside of Germany to embrace the Reformation, still remains a Lutheran state.


Chicago, Ill.

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