Thanks to Zondervan you can now either purchase the DVD or, even better, subscribe to their Master Class streaming service, to get the video series of Four Views of the Apostle Paul, it is based on the book, but better!
Now we all know that the apostle Paul was a vital force in the development of Christianity. Paul’s historical and religious context affects the theological interpretation of Paul’s writings, no small issue in the whole of Christian theology. Recent years have seen much controversy about the apostle Paul, his context, and its effect on his theology. In Four Views on the Apostle Paul, A Video Study, four leading scholars present their views on the best framework for describing Paul’s theological perspective, including his view of salvation, the significance of Christ, and his vision for the churches.
Four Views on the Apostle Paul, A Video Study, alongside the Counterpoints volume Four Views on the Apostle Paul, gives students the tools they need to draw informed conclusions on debates about Paul. New Testament scholar Michael F. Bird also covers foundational issues and provides helpful summaries in his introduction and conclusion.
– Reformed View: Thomas R. Schreiner
– Catholic View: Luke Timothy Johnson
– Post-New Perspective View: Douglas A. Campbell
– Jewish View: Mark D. Nanos
New Testament scholars, pastors, and students of Christian history and biblical theology will find Four Views on the Apostle Paul, A Video Study an indispensable introduction to ongoing debates on the apostle Paul’s life and teaching.
Here is my introductory video to the series:
Iran is portraying the United States as in retreat after the shooting down of a U.S. drone and President Donald Trump’s decision not to retaliate. But despite high tensions, and today’s move by the U.S. to sanction Iran’s supreme leader and eight commanders, leaders on both sides say they don’t want war. That has raised two questions: Could changing calculations be converted into fresh efforts to de-escalate? And could such changes yield a push for new negotiations?
Signs of restraint have surfaced. Iran says that, when it shot down the drone, it had a U.S. surveillance plane with 35 crew also in its sights, but did not fire. Mr. Trump said he “appreciated” that. This weekend, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo offered repeatedly to negotiate with “no preconditions.”
The real risk of an unintentional war may be central to the search to de-escalate. Although Iranian forces may be no match for American firepower, their asymmetric tactics could prolong a conflict and disrupt the global economy. That could potentially give Tehran a window. Downing of the drone “has provided an appropriate opportunity for Iran to enter the diplomatic phase,” says one former Iranian official.
Iranian military commanders could hardly contain their glee at shooting down a $130 million American spy drone last Thursday, escalating U.S.-Iran tensions and coming very close to triggering an American retaliatory strike.
And in the aftermath of the shoot-down of the RQ-4A Global Hawk drone – and news that President Donald Trump said he reversed his decision to attack Iran to prevent 150 civilian deaths and avoid a further surge toward war – Iranian officials portrayed the United States as in retreat.
“If they make any move, we can hit them in the head with our missiles,” declared Brig. Gen. Amir Ali Hajizadeh, commander of the elite Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) aerospace forces. “Once the presence of U.S. forces in the Persian Gulf was seen as a threat to our country. But today we have turned that challenge into an opportunity; they are now like our target [dart] board.”
Despite Iran’s moment of triumphalism, the U.S.-Iran standoff in the Persian Gulf remains at a perilously tense level. U.S. National Security Adviser John Bolton, an Iran hawk who has often called for military strikes and regime change, warned pointedly against misreading the president’s “prudence and discretion for weakness.”
Yet leaders on both sides say they don’t want a war that could quickly spiral beyond anybody’s control. That has raised two questions: Could changing calculations in the U.S. and Iran be converted into fresh efforts to de-escalate? And could such changes yield a push for new negotiations, especially if Iran now feels it is in a position of greater strength?
For more than a year, Mr. Trump has pursued a campaign of “maximum pressure” aimed at forcing Iran to renegotiate the landmark 2015 nuclear deal, which the U.S. unilaterally withdrew from in May 2018 but which is still backed by the European Union, Russia, and China. Until now, Iran has rejected any new talks unless Washington rejoins the nuclear deal.
Flashpoints continue to appear. On Monday, Washington imposed what it called “significant” new sanctions on Iran, which included targeting Iran’s supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and his circle, as well as eight commanders, among others.
U.S. officials say Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif – who negotiated the nuclear deal with top Obama administration officials – is also to be designated later this week. The sanctions add to the host of measures that have crippled Iran’s economy over the past year.
For its part, Iran – after taking no action in the year following Mr. Trump’s withdrawal from the nuclear deal – is set to violate the terms of the 2015 nuclear deal for the first time this week by enriching uranium beyond agreed volumes.
Yet signs of restraint have also surfaced. Iran has said that, when it shot down the drone on June 20, it also had a nearby U.S. surveillance plane with 35 crew members within its sights, but did not fire. Mr. Trump later said he “appreciated” that decision. This weekend, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo offered repeatedly to negotiate with “no preconditions.”
“We are near the peak of the crisis,” says Kayhan Barzegar, director of the Institute for Middle East Strategic Studies in Tehran.
“The feeling of threat from the U.S. is not over yet, and Iran is preparing itself for bigger threats resulting from the U.S. economic war: the collapse of the ‘state’ and the polarization of the ‘nation,’” he says, referring to divisions inside Iran. “No one wants war and increased escalation. Yet, using escalation as a means to de-escalate the war situation is something that is currently legitimized in Iran.”
The widespread interpretation inside Iran is that a bullet has been dodged, for now. And while many Iranian commanders and hard-line politicians praise military action alone, some argue that the drone episode also strengthens Iran’s bargaining position.
“Even within the White House, they have departed from the war mood and are moving further toward diplomacy,” said Heshmatollah Falahatpisheh, a senior reformist lawmaker, though he says renewed talks would require a “more secure environment [and] stronger guarantees this time.”
Carefully calibrated strikes
So far, the U.S.-Iran sparring has taken the form of carefully calibrated, unconventional strikes, such as Iran’s downing of the drone with a surface-to-air missile as well as reported U.S. cyberattacks targeting Iran’s missile systems.
“We can expect to see more of these types of activities in the coming weeks,” says Michael Connell, an Iran specialist at CNA, a research and analysis organization in Arlington, Virginia. But, he adds, “there is a great potential for miscalculation on both sides – that is the real danger.”
Indeed, the very real risk of an unintentional war may be a central factor leading both sides to seek ways to de-escalate.
Although Iranian military forces may be no match for American firepower, their asymmetric tactics could easily prolong an all-out conflict and cause significant disruption to the oil trade and the global economy. That could potentially give Tehran a window of opportunity to resolve the conflict on favorable terms, some military experts say.
Such a scenario doesn’t envision a U.S. military occupation of Iran or regime change, but rather reining in Iran’s offensive capabilities. Eventually, Iran’s “ability to operate in the Gulf would be eliminated. But it would take time, and it would be painful,” says Mr. Connell.
That now appears like a less immediate prospect in Iran, where widespread praise of the IRGC has led to a rally-around-the-flag effect, with even some reformist voices saying Iran now has the upper hand.
“Greetings to my brethren at the IRGC, who once again proved that they won’t allow any aggression on the soil and the sovereignty of this country,” said Elias Hazrati, a reformist lawmaker and newspaper editor.
Downing of the drone “has provided an appropriate opportunity for Iran to enter the diplomatic phase,” said Mostafa Tajzadeh, a reformist former deputy interior minister who spent seven years in prison on political charges. He said Iran can now “express readiness” to “de-escalate tensions,” if the U.S. returns to the nuclear deal.
Still, there are few signs from the top that Iran is ready for talks, and perhaps less incentive now that Mr. Khamenei, the IRGC generals, and Mr. Zarif have been targeted for sanction.
“Iran is determined to show that the U.S. maximum economic pressure policy will not change its strategic decision to resist against U.S. threats,” says Mr. Barzegar, the Tehran analyst.
The “no war, no negotiation” strategy of Mr. Khamenei also aims to increase unity, he says.
“The fact is that the current trend of no negotiation with the U.S. has a lot of legitimacy, as the U.S. disappointed the Iranians’ ambitions for interaction by destroying the nuclear deal and returning to the sanctions.
“The new situation cannot be reversed unless the current stalemate is changed in favor of Iran,” says Mr. Barzegar. “President Trump’s economic war against Iran has left no other choice than resistance for all the Iranian political forces.”
One of the ugliest boasts of so many of the churches created during the era of the Church Growth Movement was this: This is not your grandparents’ church. This was a slogan they proudly broadcast on signs outside their churches multi-function ministry centers, a motto they printed on postcards and mailed to nearby homes. Just about every upper middle class neighborhood in North America got at least a few of these in the late 90s and early aughts.
These churches meant to communicate “this is a new kind of church—one fit for the modern world.” They wanted to indicate that younger folk—those who had wandered from the traditionalism of their parents or fled the fundamentalism of their grandparents—would find a safe place to hear about Jesus and learn about the Christian faith.
But the slogan and the very model of church made something else all too clear: the elderly are not welcome. If it’s not your grandparents’ church it’s not likely to welcome your grandparents, is it? If it’s defined in opposition to what’s dear to them, it’s not likely to make a place for them, is it? In fact, it’s going to abandon the hymns they love, crank the music to levels they hate, drop the lights so they cannot see, and scratch ministry to the elderly in favor of ministry to the youth.
The “not your grandparents’ church” churches have proven themselves incredibly weak and fatally flawed. As Christians grapple with the fallout from the empty claims of the attractional model of church, it becomes clear: churches without grandparents are just as sick as churches with only grandparents.
Why? Because these churches were founded on a model that explicitly rejected many of the people nearest and dearest to God. After all, it’s gray hair, not a man bun, that God declares a crown of glory. We are to rise in the presence of the aged and wise, not the young and hip. It’s the weak who are most worthy of special welcome, not the strong. It’s the helpless who most merit our attention, not the affluent.
And here’s the sick irony: by driving off the elderly, they were driving off the people who, through their weakness, would bring a unique strength. They were driving off people who are necessary to the healthy functioning of a church. They were driving off the weak, and it turns out a strong church is made up of weak people. That’s because elderly believers bring a unique power in prayer and, while we see it illustrated at various points in the Bible, we see it beautifully described in Paul’s first letter to Timothy. There Paul addresses the issue of elderly widows in the church and insists that the church has a special responsibility to express love and make provision for them. And, in words that speak specifically of widows but which can easily be broadened, he says this: “She who is truly a widow, left all alone, has set her hope on God and continues in supplications and prayers night and day.” With her strength waning, with her resources spent, with her self-reliance shattered, she has drawn near to God. She has gained the ear of God in a special way.
Listen to one pastor as he describes what he witnessed when he visited the Ukraine after the collapse of Communism. He saw
how mistaken the Communists were when they allowed the older women to continue worshipping together! It was they who were considered no threat to the new order, but it was they whose prayers and faithfulness over all those barren years held the church together and raised up a generation of men and young people to serve the Lord. Yes, the church we attended was crowded with these older women at the very front, for they had been the stalwart defenders and maintainers of Christ’s Gospel, but behind them and alongside them and in the balcony and outside the windows were the fruit of their faithfulness, men, women, young people, and children. We must never underestimate the place and power of our godly women.
Yet the very people who sustained and built such churches through their prayers are the ones so many churches neglect or exclude. Philip Ryken comments:
The prayers of widows give strength to the church. Calvin said that “prayer by day and night is the special privilege of widows and the childless, for they are free from the things that very properly hinder those who rule a family from doing the same.” As a result of their intercession, young mothers with their toddlers, ministers at their books, missionaries in their fields, men and women on their jobs all receive spiritual help for their work. If you are a widow, God is calling you to enter into deep fellowship with him through prayer. In fact, one of the praying widows in my own congregation asks that I encourage other widows to join her. Perhaps the great work of your life is only just beginning: the great work of intercessory prayer.
Too many churches today continue to implicitly or explicitly reject older believers—widows and others who can bring their unique strengths to bear in the quiet, unglamorous, unseen, but crucial work of prayer. As for me and my church, may we welcome them into our midst, may we grant them special honor, may we gain the benefit of their sweet ministry.
“And my righteous ones will live by faith.” Hebrews 10:38 (NLT)
Life isn’t always perfect. Life can throw circumstances at us that we don’t like, but we get to decide about how to respond. We get to choose our lifestyle.
We ought to plan how to live by faith as the righteous of God. Just because we plan a lifestyle by faith, it doesn’t mean we won’t face challenges. We will. Guaranteed. So we need to face it by faith.
Have confidence, and trust and hope that things will turn out well. Okay, you might say, but where does confidence come from? We can either be confident in ourselves or we can place our confidence in something or someone else.
Your confidence level depends on how much you trust in God. When you put your confidence in God, you won’t choose to act solely on what you can see; you will also value what is unseen. That’s faith.
Our assurance and strength will be strong if we believe God is there to assist us and that he is on our side even when something goes wrong. Remember that we are in right standing with God, not because we’ve been so perfect but because God arranged for our deliverance from sin through Christ’s death and resurrection. Therefore, because we know God has done everything that needs to be done on our behalf, we don’t have to feel condemned. As part of accepting him as our Lord and Savior, we inherit his righteousness. Since we have been acquitted by faith, we also receive additional blessings by faith. We can have confidence in that.
Dear God, help me to live a lifestyle that pleases you. Grant me a strong faith so I can put my confidence in you in Jesus’ name. Amen.
By Fab Batsakis
Used by Permission
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This week the Monitor asks one of the most important questions in politics today: How could the abortion debate look different?
On the surface, the cover story is about one issue, and it is set in the United States. But really it is about much more. It is about how we view one another as human beings when we disagree fundamentally and vehemently. And that is what politics exists to manage.
Throughout history, disagreements often ended in catastrophic violence. More recently, they have ended in smaller outbreaks of violence – riots and terror attacks. Today, we are increasingly turning that violence inward through toxic partisanship and the contagious anger of social media, talk radio, and cable television. There is a slice of progress in today’s physical forbearance, yet the core problem – the poisonous effect of visceral disagreement – remains unresolved.
This is what Jessica Mendoza’s story hits head-on. How do we move forward when we so intensely disagree with someone that it weighs on our very sense of goodness and fairness?
Perhaps no single issue embodies this quandary more powerfully than abortion. Rendered at its most basic (and misleading) level, it asks: Whom do you love more, the woman or the fetus? There is no correct answer to this, and so society and politics spin in a cycle of despair and indignation. The current political dysfunction apparent across so many of the world’s democracies today is simply the expression of this dynamic in varying degrees and on various issues (immigration and LGBT rights, to name two).
What does Jess’ story tell us? It suggests that the only way out of this downward cycle is to embrace the humanity of those on the other side. Her story is part of a Monitor series on abortion in the United States, and she describes her purpose this way:
“We’re actively and simultaneously trying to not aggravate anyone and to create empathy in the discussion. So it’s about perspectives, bringing out the humanity in the people most involved. Trying to understand where people are coming from on abortion, why it’s so hard to talk about, and how it shapes our politics and lives.”
Today, when it is so easy to revert to judgment of the other side, that is no easy task, adds the Monitor’s Samantha Laine Perfas, who is producing a podcast series on the topic. She continues: “When you look at abortion coverage as a whole, you can very easily find ‘both sides’ of the issue. … In some ways, the series is different because it’s embracing the mess and discomfort of this issue.
“When you get beyond the noise you can begin to see the compassion and humanity that both sides bring to the table,” Samantha says.
This is no magical path to compromise or resolution. That’s because no such political path exists. In an issue as difficult as abortion, no side can claim a monopoly on conscience. Finding a deeper humanity, however, is a momentous step toward healing democracies bruised by rancor and disrespect. And that, in itself, can be transformative.
WASHINGTON (AP) — Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said Sunday he wants to build a global coalition against Iran during urgent consultations in the Middle East, following a week of crisis that saw the United States pull back from the brink of a military strike on Iran.
Pompeo said his first stop is Saudi Arabia, followed by the United Arab Emirates. Both U.S. allies work to counter Iran’s influence in the region.
“We’ll be talking with them about how to make sure that we are all strategically aligned, and how we can build out a global coalition, a coalition not only throughout the Gulf states, but in Asia and in Europe, that understands this challenge as it is prepared to push back against the world’s largest state sponsor of terror,” he said about Iran.
But even as Pompeo delivered his tough talk, he echoed President Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence in saying the U.S. is prepared to negotiate with Iran, without preconditions, in a bid to ease tensions that have been mounting ever since Trump withdrew the U.S. from a global nuclear deal with Iran and began pressuring Tehran with economic sanctions.
“They know precisely how to find us,” Pompeo said. A fresh round of Iran sanctions is to be announced Monday, he said.
It was a week of topsy-turvy pronouncements on U.S. foreign policy toward Iran.
Trump initially said Iran had made a “very big mistake” and that it was “hard to believe” that shooting down a U.S. military drone on Thursday was not intentional. He later said he thought it was an unintentional act carried out by a “loose and stupid” Iranian and called off retaliatory military strikes against Iran. On Saturday, Trump reversed himself and claimed that Iran had acted “knowingly.”
But Trump also said over the weekend that he appreciated Iran’s decision to not shoot down a manned U.S. spy plane, and he opined about eventually becoming Iran’s “best friend” if Tehran ultimately agrees to abandon its drive to build nuclear weapons and he helps the country turn around its crippled economy.
Then Trump’s national security adviser, John Bolton, stepped in Sunday with a blunt warning from Jerusalem, where he was traveling. Bolton said Iran should not “mistake U.S. prudence and discretion for weakness” after Trump called off the military strike. Trump said he backed away from the planned strikes after learning that about 150 people would be killed, but he said the military option remained.
A longtime Iran hawk, Bolton emphasized that the U.S. reserved the right to attack at a later point.
“No one has granted them a hunting license in the Middle East. As President Trump said on Friday our military is rebuilt, new and ready to go,” Bolton said during an appearance with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, himself a longtime and outspoken Iran critic.
On Sunday, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani blamed the United States’ “interventionist military presence” for fanning the flames. He was quoted by the official IRNA news agency.
Pompeo, who addressed reporters from the tarmac before he boarded his airplane in Washington, declared the goal of his talks with the Saudi kingdom and the UAE is to deny Iran “the resources to foment terror, to build out their nuclear weapon system, to build out their missile program.”
“We are going to deny them the resources they need to do that, thereby keep American interests and American people safe all around the world,” said Pompeo, who was due to arrive in the region after one person was killed and seven others were wounded in an attack by Iranian-allied Yemeni rebels on an airport in Saudi Arabia on Sunday evening, the Saudi military said.
The downing of the unmanned aircraft on Thursday marked a new high in the rising tensions between the United States and Iran. The Trump administration has vowed to combine a “maximum pressure” campaign of economic sanctions with a buildup of American forces in the region, following the U.S. withdrawal from the 2015 nuclear deal between Iran and world powers.
U.S. military cyber forces on Thursday launched a strike against Iranian military computer systems, according to U.S. officials. The cyberattacks disabled Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps computer systems that controlled its rocket and missile launchers, the officials said.
Throughout the recent crisis, Trump has wavered between bellicose language and actions toward Iran and a more accommodating tone, including a plea for negotiations. Iran has said it is not interested in a dialogue with Trump. His administration is aiming to cripple Iran’s economy and force policy changes by re-imposing sanctions, including on Iranian oil exports.
Associated Press writers Aron Heller in Jerusalem, Nasser Karimi in Tehran, Iran, and Aya Batrawy in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, contributed to this report.
Every day I scour the internet to look for interesting articles and videos. Sometimes I find far more than can fit from Monday to Saturday, and this was one of those weeks. Hence, here’s a Sunday edition of A La Carte.
I recommend watching Alistair Begg on “Knowing vs Feeling in Worship” at least once per year.
This is a very interesting article that poetically celebrates the gift and the mystery of sexuality. “I want to loosen my grip and tell them of awkwardness and shame, how our bodies make promises, break promises, and make up for broken promises still. I want to say something about the battle of being known, convey that every inch of her is worth fighting for, that better is one day lying next to her than a thousand elsewhere. But I hold back my words in the name of propriety, for the sake of honoring the mystery.”
You probably heard this week that Facebook rolled out a new currency. Lifehacker tells what it’s about and what it’s meant to accomplish. “A little like Bitcoin and a little like PayPal, Libra will be a new digital currency, one available to people without bank accounts or credit cards, but that could potentially be a major force for the rest of us, too. But first you have to trust Facebook with yet more personal data.”
Chick-fil-A managed its stupendous growth not despite a small menu (compared to its competitors) but in some ways because of it.
“My love of birds makes tears fill my eyes at the thought of a tiny sparrow huddled all alone in a storm while her Maker demonstrates his might. But I bet she trusts Him more than I do. In fact, I know she does.”
Mark Loughridge: “We were made a body-mind unity by God. The Bible paints a rich picture of the body as a gift from God, and of the mind as a gift from God. If we taught that our bodies are a presentfrom God, designed and given by Him to us, to be accepted and used for His glory by us—would that not help with issues of sexuality and many other issues?”
There is something very refreshing in this article. “A good pastor nearly left a good church. And for what? Not because of problems, infighting, moral failing or even being called elsewhere. It was simply a lack of numbers.”
Could this be the most printed typo in history? “No one noticed the triple mistake on the new $50 note for almost two years before 480 million were printed and rolled out across the country.”
“You are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden.” Matthew 5:14
Sometimes, it’s hard to know what other people need. But here’s one thing I can assure you: your neighbor needs a word of encouragement… It could be a mom who’s about at the end of her rope… Or it’s a friend whose husband just lost his job.
Ask the Lord to give you the right words to say. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been sharing my faith with someone–and frantically asking God to give me just the right words. And He puts the very words in my mouth that needed to be said.
Success in witnessing is simply taking the opportunity to share Christ in the power of the Holy Spirit… Then, leave the results to God. When you obey God–motivated by love–you cannot fail!
It’s what my husband Bill called, “No-fail witnessing!”
By Vonette Bright
Used by Permission
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“And my God will meet all your needs according to his glorious riches in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:19
Paul gives the Philippians this promise only after he has emphasized to them that he had found the Lord’s grace sufficient in good times and tough times, in times of plenty and in times of lack. The key to this promise is not just God’s provision, but also our trust upon him to satisfy what we most need in Christ Jesus. When our hearts yearn to be full of him, to be pleasing to him, to be blessed by his presence, to be given the assurance of life beyond death, surely we can rely on his supplying everything we truly need!
Give me eyes to see, O God, all the many wonderful ways you are providing for me and graciously providing the abundance you have poured into my life. I confess that my vision is shortsighted and narrow. I need to see the panoramic view of your graciousness. Yet the “little” part of your blessings that I am able to recognize is lavish, gracious, and fulfilling. I know you have blessed me with many more things that I do not see. Thank you for being so generous! In Jesus’ name! Amen.
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Readers write: Bernie Sanders feature, new design, a veteran’s preference, ‘Home Forum’ appreciation
Bernie Sanders feature
I thoroughly enjoyed reading the June 3 Weekly cover story, “Roots of Bernie’s revolution,” by Christa Case Bryant. It was so well written and informative.
I like the way Bernie Sanders voices his views, but the feature article gave him a persona I did not know: taking time en route to an event to cross frozen water and chat with ice fishermen, for example.
Almost everyone in the state of Vermont “has a Sanders story.” This article detailed his early years in office and showed his administrative, practical, and even tough side.
The new Monitor Weekly design is much easier to read than its predecessor. The “Points of Progress,” with its new white background, has been made much clearer. I appreciate that change!
But I miss the large map on the “Points of Progress” page so much because I’m a retiree who needs to have my geography skills sharpened. I hope you bring this back once in a while.
I feel very close to your publication and value it so much.
A veteran’s preference
The May 23 Daily article “What veterans want in a commander in chief” is rich with thoughtful insights. As one who served for 20 years (1959-1979), well before the 9/11-era veterans interviewed in the article, I would like to add my must-have qualities for a commander in chief. The article mentioned humility, integrity, and compassion. I absolutely agree.
I also submit these as requisite qualities: honor, intelligence, bravery, charity, fidelity, loyalty, and patriotism. My view is that these qualities are gained or proved in countless professions and forms of service to others – not just in military service.
David K. McClurkin
‘Home Forum’ appreciation
Thanks to Murr Brewster for the hysterical essay “In which I discover that coleslaw is not so simple” in the May 27 Monitor Weekly. Considering adding ice cream was the cream on the cake (or the coleslaw). I am having such a giggle.
Beverly Hills, California
“I was 3 for 10” from the April 22 & 29 issue was a fine and fun essay. Chuck Wilcoxen gets a rave review. He should write more!