The Magazine of The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America


Mental illness articles aid understanding

Kids in worship, movie review, Marty, editor, bishop, birthdays stir readers

Just what we need
Articles on mental illness (May, page 16) are so badly needed. They open up discussions to help quell the stigma surrounding mental illness and encourage those affected to get treatment. I am the director of the Knox County, Ohio, affiliate of the National Alliance on Mental Illness (www.nami.org). I have heard the same heartbreaking stories as told by Deb Karch and Bob Mitchell every day — they are not alone. I pray that the articles encourage congregations to address this subject, reach out and help. Education is awareness and awareness is prevention.

Dodie Melvin
Mount Vernon, Ohio

Prayer for the well
As a volunteer chaplain I lead weekly worship and Bible study with homeless and low-income folks. Their conditions are accompanied by mental and emotional trauma, substance abuse and sleep deprivation. Amid their great suffering, I find great gifts, deep faith and spiritual insight. A mentally ill guest had a profound prayer request. He asked that we pray for “the people who are well.” Then he added, “So they can understand what it’s like to be sick.” Amen. 

The Rev. Roger Fuchs
Portland, Ore.

Sounds of a future
I can’t agree more with “What you don’t see” (May, page 26). I always enjoy seeing young children at worship. They are welcome to come and sit by me and my wife. If the pastor’s sermon is getting too long or disconnected, it gives me an excuse and someone to play with. When our daughter was young, we brought her with us to worship. She learned how to worship, what it means to be Christian and to grow in her faith at a very early age. My father-in-law, a Lutheran pastor, said, “God made little children noisy, fussy and squirmy. So if they are noisy, fussy and squirmy in his house, it is God’s problem and not anybody else’s.” A church that welcomes and has little children at worship is a church with a future.

Dick Schmidt
Bonney Lake, Wash.

You need to find someone other than the Brussats to review movies. Noah (May, page 44) was one of the worst movies I’ve seen in recent years. I went hoping to see at least a somewhat biblical version of Noah only to find a fantasy that was 90 percent Hollywood and 10 percent Noah. There were about 45 people in the theater — three walked out about midway. The only reason we stayed was to see how they handled the ending, which was no better than the rest of the movie.

David E. Miller
Mesa, Ariz. 

Good as ever
As usual, Peter W. Marty opens the dusty covers of the Ten Commandments (May, page 3) to give us the light they offer. He also knows how to find a great closing line as he quotes professor Thomas G. Long’s words on the big 10: “wings that enable our hearts to catch the wind of God’s Spirit, and to soar.”  Uplifting.

Catherine Boone Shealy

Decision to blame
The editor got it wrong in “A conversation about money” (April, page 4). It is a conversation about what the ELCA stands for. It’s not a coincidence that the drop in donations started in 2009. This drop is a direct result of the ELCA Churchwide Assembly decision of that year to roster openly gay clergy.

Don Brohm
Chesterfield, Mo.

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