Planning for funeral
I read Paul Bowen's op-ed in the Style section last Sunday with great pleasure, and I agree with him to plan. Of course, it doesn't matter what others think of his choices; music, especially hymns, is very personal.
My own mother did not tell us which hymns to sing at her funeral, but she made sure we knew what not to sing ("Amazing Grace," "What a Friend We Have in Jesus," and "How Great Thou Art"). The majority of readers would disagree with her, but it was her funeral.
My husband died early during covid and it was two years before we had a memorial service. I planned that thing three times in two years. Because I love my child so much, I have pre-planned my funeral and registered the plan with my church. My child will have enough to do without picking scripture and music. I encourage everyone to do this. It is a wonderful gift to your family.
My advice to Mr. Bowen is to help your family out; select the scripture, also.
Time change useless
Daylight saving time is one of the most useless things ever. The fact is, no matter if we are on daylight saving time or not, we still have the same amount of daylight hours in a day.
Daylight saving time does not change Mother Nature.
JOHN P. SELIG
Humans can change
Letter-writer Steve Bonner says that his expert training in "root cause evaluation" taught that humans cannot be "fixed," supposedly supporting the idea that everything dangerous, e.g., guns, must be made unavailable or fool-proof.
Really? If humans are hard-wired to continue as they're born, wouldn't nurture, discipline, education/training be useless? Hogwash! As a born-again Christian I know that humans can be changed. Call it "fixed" if you want. "I once was lost but now am found; was blind but now I see."
JUDY SIPES SMITH
I think one of the more odious concepts in modern life is "cost-effectiveness." Given two options, the more cost-effective is usually regarded as the superior choice. It's probably sound reasoning in some cases: Paying more for a pair of shoes that will last much longer than the cheaper ones can make sense.
But consider this choice. A pharmaceutical company produces a potent drug that helps millions but kills a very small percentage of the people using it, resulting in lawsuits against the company. The company scientists find a solution to the problem, but it would cost a lot to manufacture the safer drug. Cost-effectiveness suggests that the company collect data on the number of lawsuits resulting from deaths and the average settlement costs--weighing that total against the cost of changing the drug.
Or consider an automobile manufacturer that produces a model which bursts into flames in a very small number of cases, and those small number of cases result in lawsuits and payments. Again, someone in the company may compare the cost of fixing the problem versus the likely cost of lawsuits filed by the families of dead drivers. The choice would be characterized as "just good business."
As I said at the outset, there are situations in which cost-effectiveness makes good sense, but it can become reprehensible when money is the only basis for such choices. I haven't done the economic analysis, but I'd guess that slavery in the Antebellum South was cost-effective. Happily, that calculus was thrown out in favor of other values.
Hot Springs Village
Sayers served fully
Terry Mattingly's welcome report about the literary career of Dorothy Sayers (Oct. 28 Religion section) recalled a notable British Anglican woman of the last century.
Mattingly noted her well-known murder mysteries that featured amateur detective Lord Peter Wimsey, Sayers' very popular translation of Dante, and many theological essays. Omitted was her imaginative book, "The Mind of the Maker." In it, Sayers tapped our experience of creativity as a vehicle for describing divine nature and the mysterious Christian doctrine of the trinity.
Among Sayers' convictions was that men and women are equal to one another. It's reflected in the strong female character Harriet Vane playing opposite Wimsey in her novels. Recently, a young scholar of medieval literature (like Sayers), Beth Allison Barr of Baylor, cited Sayers' conviction when explaining gender hierarchy that Christian leaders uncritically inherited from their ancient milieu.
It's a belief that persists to this day among those Christians who bar women, no matter how devout or educated, from pastoring, preaching, or teaching with the same authority as men.
Sayers once opposed and surprised her good friend C.S. Lewis, who asked her publicly to join his opposition to ordination of women. She followed Augustine's understanding that all humans equally reflect God's image. So Barr sees Sayers as another hero in an ancient line who espoused their own value (without devaluing others'), defied hurtful bias, and served fully.
I just turned on my TV and it opened on the recent rally for Donald Trump. I was in shock to see the governor of Arkansas at the podium proudly expressing her support for Trump. The nastiness of Roseanne Barr in her comments, terrible language and then Don Jr. with his nasty comments about the leadership of America. Sarah looked rumpled, her dress looked wrinkled, hair uncombed, and I was ashamed to say this was our governor.
I know criticizing a person's appearance is not gracious, but it was the most revolting performance I have seen in a long time. Thank goodness my TV has an "off" button.