WOMEN AND WORK
Thank you, Amy Orr-Ewing, for ‘Why the Church Needs Working Women’ (March). The Church needs to support women to make a considered and personal decision, enabling them to be obedient to what they believe God has purposed for themselves and their family.
However, we need to ensure we do not make presumptions on either side. I am a stay-at-home mum and my choice to not return to work wasn’t one I made out of obligation or because I felt pressured by the church, nor has it been an easy choice financially. I would also urge that we are careful not to presume that a non-working mother’s ‘sole focus is her own children and house’. Many of the stay-at-home mums I know also do a lot outside their home.
In a culture that is at risk of greatly undermining the institution of family, the Church needs to stand against the untruth that being a mum is not enough. We must not underestimate or undermine the significance of raising our children to be loved, secure, instrumental men and women of God. All mums, whether they choose to work or not, must be supported and built up to fulfil their God-given role.
Esther Bird, via email
SEE THE MORMONS
Martin Saunders asks if we should ignore, embrace or campaign against the new musical The Book of Mormon (Should we Ignore the Mormons? March). Well, if you’re of a sensitive disposition or under the age of 15, I’d say ignore it. For everyone else, embrace it. Yes, the songs are potty-mouthed and profane. But they’re also very, very funny. Yes, there are potshots at religion and the wackier Mormon beliefs. But we still end up rooting for the Mormon characters. Christians needn’t judge the musical with a ‘blasphemy-ometer’ but as a piece of theatre. The Book of Mormon is quite simply a spiritual whoopee cushion of a show.
Cameron Smith, Emsworth
Justin Brierley’s interview with Rowan Williams (Profile, April) was a joy to read. Williams’ wisdom and humility shone through and no doubt his legacy will be remembered for a long time to come. I was so impressed with his honesty, particularly about the issues that have weighed heavy on his time in office. His commitment to unity and ‘getting people round the table to keep them talking’ was so encouraging. Let’s hope this is a mark that continues as Justin Welby takes the mantle.
Rachel Harris, via email
I read the article on welfare reform (Benefiting the Poor, April) with interest. There may well be a case that areas of welfare need reforming; however, I was disappointed that the article didn’t delve deeper into the failing ‘fitness for work’ tests for the sick which are causing untold misery to thousands of the most vulnerable in our society.
Applications for sickness benefit, Employment and Support Allowance, are now handled by a private company, Atos. The government’s own watchdog has criticised the government for not fining Atos for their woeful fitness for work tests which have a high rate of success on appeals. The high success rate for appeals clearly shows that the fitness for work tests are failing, and the human cost to our most vulnerable is high.
Name and address withheld
MEN AND INFERTILITY
As a man who has journeyed through infertility, IVF, and miscarriage, I was encouraged to learn of Christianity’s feature on infertility (Just the Two of Us, April). Ruth Garner was incredibly brave to share parts of her story with such a wide audience. Due to the nature of fertility issues, they have often become a ‘taboo’ subject for Christians. It is important for those who can to share stories so that those who can’t know they are not alone. To find others who are also bearing that burden is a blessing and a relief. I felt the article covered a wide range of topics in a sensitive and open way.
It was also nice to see men represented. Men are often stereotyped as not wanting to talk about issues like this. My experience is that this is not the case; rather, they just need an understanding environment first.
Like most pain and grief, the issues of fertility can affect us for a long time, and often pain and a sense of loss can come after months of peace. Articles like this remind us that God is not only a Father to the fatherless but to the childless too.
Nick Welford, via email
INFERTILITY: A COMPLEX ISSUE
I was excited and encouraged to see your feature on infertility. As a young woman struggling with this issue, I (and my husband) thought it was timely and relevant. It was a useful article in giving the Church a glimpse into this journey, explaining some of the issues. Hopefully it will raise awareness, kindness, and empathy.
I was, however, very hurt by the stark sentence with regards to egg/sperm donation in ‘The Ethics of IVF’. I would firstly argue that being the recipient of a donor egg or sperm is a completely different issue to that of IVF. To give it just two sentences, in a way which came across as ‘gospel’, boldly stating that it’s an issue of a ‘broken covenant link between a husband and wife’ was cruel and unbalanced to say the least. I’m not sure what spiritual authority Professor Wyatt has to make such a bold declaration, considering the Bible itself says nothing on the matter.
Finally, you didn’t mention embryo donation/adoption ? which is another option for many infertile couples.
Name and address withheld
@MissionLatte: Congratulations on a well-balanced piece on welfare reform. Sound analysis laced with compassion
@GoodNewsJunkie: Great article in @Christianitymag by @HeatherTomli re proposed welfare reforms. Whatever happens, looks like the church needs to get ready
@GodandPolitics: @HeatherTomli Good job on this month’s @Christianitymag article. Nice to see some fellow bloggers getting a mention!
@mambo_andrew: Just finished reading excellent interview with ex-ABC Rowan Williams in @Christianitymag wonderful humility #enjoyyourretirement
@mattcurrey: Just read a truly great interview with Rowan Williams in this month’s @Christianitymag a v inspiring story and such warmth and honesty.
@Longingtobeholy: @martinsaunders @christianitymag ‘Grace plays havoc with the idea of the future we deserve’. Good piece :)
CORRECTIONS AND CLARIFICATIONS
In the April issue of Christianity, we incorrectly referred to Andrew Selous MP as the chairman of the Christians in Parliament group (p39). This is not accurate ? the position is held by Gary Streeter MP.
Greg Downes’ article ‘Why Words are Not Enough’ quotes Gerard Kelly on p59. This quote was taken from the Spring Harvest website, and was referring to this year’s Spring Harvest theme ? The Source: Encountering Jesus Today’. For more information, see springharvest.org
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