Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
May 8, 1968

Overseen And Overheard

Christianity Today, Jefferson David Tant

The following is a description of a service that took place in New York City: "Blindfolded, barefooted and carefully guided by helping hands, worshippers at St. Clement's Episcopal Church received Holy Communion yesterday. Each communicant was led up flights of stairs and down again, and tossed bodily into the air. Each then crawled on his hands and knees over bread crumbs as a sign of "humble access" to the sacrament of the Lord's Supper. At intervals the blindfold was removed as the gospel was read and while colored lights were played on a white sheet, for a true-and-false test on the meaning of the Nicene creed and for the offertory. The sermon was a "dialogue" in which the communicant was asked why he was a Christian and what it meant...In the brilliantly lighted bathroom his blindfold was whisked off and a smiling individual with toilet paper draped around his neck flushed his sins away in a symbolic "declaration." (Miami News, 1/ 27/69)

Wonder if they passed out bicarbonate of soda with the Lord's Supper to help those who became nauseated during this farce? Will people never be satisfied with the beauty and simplicity of worship as taught by Christ?

AN INNOCENT LOOK - A flap has arisen over the cover photos of a record album depicting John Lennon (a beatle) and his concubine Yoko Ono. The photos are front and rear nude shots, and court bans were sought against their distribution. But along comes a psychiatrist to testify that the cover portrays "a certain primitiveness and friendship," not obscenity. He further stated that the facial expressions of the two as "calm and innocent and not a look that would appeal to prurient interests." I was not aware that such pictures were to be classified as per the "facial expressions," but according to the good doctor, no matter how filthy and obscene the rest of the picture, if you can keep a sweet and innocent look on your face, you are "home free."

BUT IT GETS WORSE - A Swedish movie entitled "I Am Curious - Yellow" has passed the censor boards (whatever is left of them) and is showing around the U. S. A. The movie depicts the sexual act on the screen in full color and detail. Are we just sitting back and allowing our nation and our children to be corrupted by a stream of raw filth without raising a voice of protest. Have you written your congressman or other government officials to express your ideas? I do not believe Romans 1:18-32 is a prophecy, but its description of present conditions in this nation is so vivid one might think it was written just last week.

ONE THING YOU CAN DO - I heard an interesting statistic today. Ten years ago 49% of the adult population attended church services on any given Sunday. Today only 43% do. This statistical indication of diminished religious interest does not surprise me, but it does point out the inconsistency of a lot of people I know. They are disturbed by the present irreligious atmosphere in this country, yet they are in the 57% who do not attempt to regularly worship God. They are contributing to national godlessness. They are a part of the problem they are worried about. -Dale Smelser

OBSCENITY IN THE CHURCH - One of the loudest and foulest rallying cries of the New Left has been "freedom of speech" - a euphemism meaning the freedom to inflict vulgar and obscene language upon a helpless public. Under the guise of seeking liberty for all, these radicals would rob the American public of its freedom to live in a decent society.

Now even within the Church there are those who, it seems, have not only embraced the idea that obscenity is an essential part of freedom, but have also begun to bring obscene language in to the Church. It is being used in "evangelism," in "Christian" education publications, and, as unbelievable as it may sound, even in worship.

As a part of the "worship" service at a recent youth conference in Atlanta, Ga., (sponsored by the Presbyterian Church, U. S.), college young people were encouraged to write anything that they pleased ("especially succinct graffiti that expressed how you are feeling or where you think it is this morn") on large panels at the front of the room. The remainder of the "worship" was conducted with vulgar obscenities (so bad that they cannot be reprinted here) as the focal point.

Is there any conceivable justification for such a blasphemous travesty? Some would say this is all a part of "telling it like it is." Certainly the Church is to tell it like it is, but too often the Church has forgotten just what it is supposed to be telling. We are to tell of the love of God that sent Christ to the cross so that men might be reconciled to God. We are to tell of a risen Christ who has the power to deliver men from themselves and from their sin. The use of obscenity in presenting this message is totally without justification - biblically, logically, or practically. It deceives men, distorts the Gospel, and dishonors God.

It is especially tragic that obscenity is being not only allowed but welcomed into the Church when the Church has been entrusted with a message and a dynamic to deliver men from the kind of living characterized by obscenity.