1983 Last Word Columns

Practicing the principle of ‘the greater need’ (January 1983) – What happens when a person or church — or a national ministry — receives a gift someone else needs more than they do?….

A dad remembers and rejoices (February 1983) – Dear Bonnie: Your call from Tulsa, telling us that you are expecting your first baby, has filled the old home place with joy…

My statements don’t carry as much weight as they used to (March 1983) – For years I’ve watched my fat friends lose weight then condemn the rest of us fatties for not being as spiritual as they are…

The death penalty. Is it right? (April 1983) – Last fall a young Spirit-filled couple who lived a few miles from us opened their hearts to a lonely Cuban refugee. One morning when the husband called his bride from work she didn’t answer. Worried, he hurried home. He found her naked body sprawled on the floor. There were 17 stab wounds and she had been sexually tortured before she died. An 11-inch butcher knife protruded from her neck…

The greatest serenade (May 1983) – I’ve missed the song of the whippoorwills in the early morning hours this year. Each year, since we have moved out into the pine trees in the rural section of our little Florida community, the whippoorwills have returned in February. Nocturnal songsters, they have serenaded me with their plaintive calls coming through the tall trees in front of our house, wafting their echoing voices into our upstairs bedroom long before dawn…

Bibles bound in shoe leather (June 1983) – I thought the fighting had died down, but it seems the evangelicals are still shooting at each other over the question of whether the Bible is “inerrant” or merely “inspired.” It seems to me, though, that unless the Word of God is transferred from book to heart, the  question of inerrancy is meaningless. It all came to mind this last week when I was cleaning out my bookcase and found an old Bible with the pages half-missing and the cover chewed away by roaches. The sensible thing was to throw it away, but somehow it didn’t seem right to drop a Bible in the trash can…

What If My Floppy Disk Flaps (July 1983) – An article in The Wall Street Journal begins “Real men don’t ear quiche. Real women don’t pump gas. And real managers don’t use computer terminals.” The writer is saying that managers should manage people who in turn use computers…..

Child rearing: a remembered art (August 1983) – One affliction common among grandparents is the urge to take over. I’ve watched my mother, who is 85, do this to our children. Now, as my own five children grow up, marry and start having children of their own I find myself doing the same thing. In fact, it’s hard to keep from taking over when you know you can do it better — and with my five grandchildren I am no exception…

Good news is news also (September 1983) – Recently one f America’s leading journalists, George Cornell, ripped into some o his fellow editors at a gathering of the Associated Press managing editors. “Why,” he asked, “do most newspapers carry and entire section of sports events daily, but only one page of religious news weekly?”…

The deception of divorce (October 1983) – I’ve just hung up the phone after talking to the aged mother of a young minister whose wife had filed for divorce. The old woman was crying. Great convulsive sobs. “But what will become of those two precious grandchildren?”…

I was scared. I didn’t go (November 1983) – In March of 1975 I received an impassioned plea from an ad hoc committee of missionaries in South Vietnam. The letter was written and signed by a Christian and Missionary Alliance missionary representing a large number of missionaries from many denominations…

Their roads just stop (December 1983) – Irian Jaya is — quite literally — earth’s uttermost part. Lying six degrees south of the equator in the South Pacific, it makes up the western half of the island of New Guinea. Even the Indonesian travel brochure stuck in the seat pocket of the Garuda Airlines described it as “primitive” with extreme heat in the snake-infested jungles…