Sexism And Father’S Day

It strikes me that Father’s Day is a rather obscure holiday in our churches. Mothers on their day receive roses for being the oldest or youngest or having the most children. But fathers—well, if the day is even brought up, there is usually a sermon castigating Dad because he is not spending enough time at home or not living up to his Ephesians 5:25 obligation.

Is it fair?

When we leave the church on Mother’s Day, my wife is wearing a baby or-chid and smiling, and, having been praised with Proverbs 31, feels like a madonna. I leave feeling like Archie Bunker, having had a sermon on “Lot of Sodom: A Failure as a Dad.”

Let’s face it, Mother’s Day ever upstages Father’s Day. Think of the folderol of the May event that is blatantly missing from the June day. I could name you a million sexist omissions: in May they sing “M is for the many things she gave me,” but in June do they sing “F is for the finer things he taught me?” When you put all the letters in the song together they spell “mother … a word that means the world to me.” But when you put F-A-T-H-E-R together it spells “bad news.”

Think of it. We speak tenderly of Mother’s Bible. Did Daddy have one or did he spend all his years reading Field and Stream? Whether or not there was a Mother Macree, we bless the dear silver that shines in her hair. But what of Father Macree? Likely he was bald, with no silver to bless—so why bring him up?

Here’s the one that most assaults me: “Rocking alone in an old rocking chair,/I see my old mother with silvery hair …” Who could object to eulogizing rocking-chair grandmas? But what of rocking-chair grandpas?

Could I suggest a new and concrete way to deal with this sexual inequality? We need a movement that could start gently with a lobbying effort to get state-by-state approval of ERFFA (Equal Rights for Fathers Amendment). If this fails, the overlooked male parents should march around card shops in early May protesting all the fuss made over female parents on Mother’s Day.

Rose-producing greenhouses could be napalmed, and all dads could refuse to pick up their socks for a month until every child was forced to send his father a card. All concerned American males could fast until “F is for the finer things he taught me” was No. 1 on the Hit Parade, and Father Macree had the silver in his hair—what was left of it—blessed by a sexist culture in repentance.


Bible Translations

The strong, positive word on the New International Version in “Bible Translations: A Guide Through the Forest” [Apr. 22] coincides with the responses we are experiencing at the Bible Society. It also confirms the success of our translation goals of clarity, accuracy, and communication.

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Our assignment of U.S. and Canadian commercial publication rights to Zon-dervan Publishers resulted in quality editions to meet every consumer demand through thousands of retail outlets. However, the International Bible Society did retain use of the NIV for evangelism and outreach. As a result, an increasing number of churches and mission organizations in this country and abroad are turning to Bible Society editions.

Some of the statistics in your article did not include Bible Society worldwide activity. Domestic and international distribution of the NIV is now over ten million copies. The translation process took 11 years, and costs totaled approximately $8 million.


International Bible Society

Brunswick, N.J.


On “Learning from Gandhi” [Apr. 8, 22], it is very encouraging to note that some evangelicals are able to look at a culture, a person, or a movement and weigh specific issues without rejecting the whole. Yancey has noted that we can indeed learn from Gandhi’s simplicity, love of the poor, and commitment to peacemaking. While we may question Gandhi’s tendencies toward universalism and legalism, it would be an injustice to dismiss him out of hand just because he doesn’t share the whole of our convictions. The trouble with Gandhi may be our trouble, not Gandhi’s!


chicago, Ill.

Grant it that Gandhi was stupendous in simplicity, self-discipline, humility, and the importance of human dignity, I sense in Yancey’s portrayal of him the usual seduction of cinema by humanism. In spite of all the clear-cut failures of the church (so vividly delineated), let us be reminded that even in America God has his people who follow not a leader, but the Leader, who does not need to be taught by any holy man. These are the people who labor (point three of Gandhi’s beliefs), but have moved on to point four, and would say that the life of Christ is really the life worth living.


First Church of the Nazarene

Placentia, Calif.


I have been a homosexual ever since I can remember. Your editorial, “Homosexuals in the Church” [Apr. 22], has been long overdue. How refreshing it is to read someone who presents his views on this controversial issue in a clear and intelligent manner, with no banner waving for or against. It is difficult being a nonpracticing homosexual, but no more difficult than being a nonpracticing alcoholic, liar, or thief. Thank you for differentiating between practicing and non-practicing homosexuals, and for making the suggestion that the latter be integrated into the mainstream of evangelical churches.

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Columbus, Ohio

You said, “In short, every major denomination has spawned its group of homosexual enthusiasts.” I am a Southern Baptist and I know of no such group in our convention. On the other hand, we have adopted resolutions that call homosexuality sin, and we have urged ministry to homosexuals.


Calhoun Baptist Church

Calhoun, Ky.


I appreciated “Why the Gospel Grows in Socialist Nicaragua” [Apr. 8]. It is a very difficult time for Nicaraguan Christians—both because of the tensions within their government and the tensions within their Christian communities. The revolution has in some ways helped and in other ways created tensions for the Christian community there, which is no small element in this complexity. Certainly the polarization created by those who would judge the Sandinista government strictly along East-West political lines is no more helpful than those who presume that a shift of ideology is a move for progress.

It is important for Christians who confess Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior, both Protestant and Catholic, to work together to transcend the ideological differences throughout the world and not allow themselves to become supports for either capitalist or Marxist rhetoric. On the other hand, it is important for Christians to be free to work with any system to the extent that they can then preach the gospel of Jesus Christ freely, teach people to read so as to open the Bible to them, and work together ecumenically for the unity of the church.


National Council of the

Churches of Christ

New York, N.Y.

Minnery’s report is a helpful antidote to the naïve evangelical moralizing about the evils of socialism that so often fills North American periodicals, and that frequently appears at least blind, if not hypocritical, to those in other lands.


Free Methodist Urban Fellowship

Chicago, Ill.

Pastoral Letter

As Christians, committed to justice and love, we must denounce before the world the atrocities committed by counterrevolutionaries attacking our country, of which our brethren are victims. These groups are clearly trained and financed by the government of the United States, which the U.S. press has on occasion exposed. They are planting death, panic, and desperation.

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For this reason we ask our sister churches in the United States to intercede with the American government on our behalf, that it might halt the undeclared war it is making against the Nicaraguan people. We, for our part, support all the peace efforts the Nicaraguan government has been making, along with the governments of Colombia, Venezuela, Mexico, Panama, and France.


Evangelical Committee for Aid

and Development (CEPAD)

Managua, Nicaragua


I would like to correct a news article [Apr. 8] in which there was a statement that the diversity of NAE “includes pacifist churches such as Mennonite and Brethren.” As a Mennonite pastor I was surprised to see identification with NAE, as I assumed we were not a member. There are a number of Mennonite groups, but the largest one, the Mennonite Church, is not a member.


Bancroft Mennonite Church

Toledo, Ohio


Yes, heaven still sounds boring [“Life in Heaven: Sometimes It Sounds Boring,” Apr. 8]. Not being ice cream, the idea that “the church [is] caught up in glorifying and enjoying God and frozen there forever” leaves me cold. This picture of eternity needs cropping less narrowly—or else a wider-angle lens.


Calvary United Presbyterian Church

Warren, Ohio

Graham In Holland

Contrary to your news item [Mar. 18], Billy Graham never asked Dutch churches “to furnish lodging for the 2,500 participants expected in Amsterdam in July” for the International Conference for Itinerant Evangelists. Nor was this nonexistent request “turned down” by the Council of Churches in the Netherlands. As planned from the beginning, virtually all of the 3,500 to 4,000 participants will stay in hotels.

Although some of its members voiced opposition to crusade-style evangelism, the council itself took no stand on evangelistic styles, and its letter to the churches gave Graham a clean bill of health. Many Dutch churches and church leaders are involved in conference preparations. In fact, according to leaders, there is more unity among the various church groups and factions about this conference than on almost any other recent event or issue in Dutch church life.

A Sunday “Day of Witness” will find Third World evangelists and others fanning out among the Dutch public to proclaim the gospel. Dutch Christians will be at their sides.


ICIE Director of Communications

Amsterdam, Netherlands

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