Letters to the editor: Nov. 6-7, 2021

The Shawnee News-Star

'What would Jesus do?'

Dear editor,

Some decades ago the phrase “What Would Jesus Do?” expressed as an acrostic on beaded wrist bands as ‘WWJD’ was in fashion. Of course, it was enigmatic and of little practical value other than to remind one that all our choices should be consonant with truths Jesus modeled and taught. Taken literally, it is quite a good model of Christian ministry.

My fourth observation about the fifteen [15] pastors I have experienced over 85 years is the rarity of this method of ministry being emulated. First, let’s look at the typical sermon I have experienced in 13 Southern Baptist [SB] Churches in which I have been a member.

I think the sermons I have heard are what they term “exegetical” meaning ‘Book to Life,’ or Biblical passages followed by an application to a modern circumstance. For about fifteen centuries following Jesus’s life on earth, only 10-15% of the average person hearing the gospel were literate, and far fewer owned even a fragment of the Scriptures. Consequently, the Roman Catholic Church had to bring the Word to parishioners through liturgy, stained glass windows, and the Latin Vulgate Bible—the language of the most residents of the Mediterranean world.

Beginning with translations by Wycliffe and personal Bibles made using Guttenberg’s movable type, believers slowly and increasingly had direct access to the Word. After the Reformation, Anabaptists were aligned with Luther as people of the Book basing our faith on ‘Sola Sciptura.’

Hence, in theory most adult members of SB church have, at least historically, a decent understanding of Scripture. What is needed is what, I think, Jesus did i.e., He ‘went about doing good.’ We have records of only two sermons involving ‘batch processing’ lost people i.e,.gather many lost listeners and share the gospel with them.

What Jesus actually did, as Luke recorded of 31 of the 35 miracles in his record. Jesus first did a history and physical as the Great Physician then either healed them immediately or gave them a prescription for healing. This is referred to as the “Life to Bible’ or topical method of preaching aka ‘homily’ [In the Latin Mass, ‘applying the Scripture to the particular needs of the parishioners.’ ] Typically, sermons I have heard over my 85 years have concerned personal piety rather than the public policies and programs so greatly affecting our lives.

My fifth and last point is a commendation for the labors and loves of SB pastors who are often underpaid and underappreciated. The Lord bless ‘em.

Bob Allison

Shawnee

***

Modern Day Lexington and Concord

Dear editor,

Talking heads, has-been political superstars, and a tsunami of media producers are probably wildly searching for historical terminology to describe the spell-binding election results from Virginia and New Jersey. As an old conservative constitutionalist, with a still working ballpoint, this letter is my morning-after amateur take on the election results:

1. Lexington and Concord served as the fuse that started the Revolutionary War. (Ralph Waldo Emerson said it best as he wrote the “shot heard around the world”.) Perhaps, just perhaps, this political shock wave will reach the White House and the Congress.

2. When U.S. General Patton and British Field Marshall Montgomery chased the German “Desert Fox” Rommel out of North Africa, allied spirits were high, probably too high. Prime Minster Churchill warned, “This is not the beginning of the end; it is the end of the beginning. “

3. I was an Al Michaels fan long before he became a sports castor icon. (Play-by play sports caster for the Cincinnati Reds baseball team.) The winter Olympics in Lake Placid, New York produced one of the greatest moments in sports history when the U.S. hockey team defeated the highly favored Soviet Union hockey team. Michaels spontaneously said in elevated voice, “Do you believe in miracles?” After last Tuesday night, much of America is starting to believe in political miracles. I sure do.

Glenn C. Peck

Shawnee

***