On If s 10 A.M. onna School Day—DonYou Know WhonHas Your Child?^nWith apologies to your chubby readers,nJane Greer’s rundown of the NationalnEducation Association’s Julynconvention in Los Angeles in the Decembernissue brought back memoriesnof the glimpses of it I accidentallyncaught.nThe NEA crowd had just hit town,nand the delegates virtually had takennover the hotel. Generally speaking,nthey were very bland, mid-Americanlooking, but what was really strikingnwas their weight. About 25 percentnweren’t just fat or plump or obese butncarried the sort of weight that routinelynindicates serious health problems. Annequal number were conventionallynoverweight.nI’ve been around large professionalnconventions and groups before, butnI’ve never seen such a socially awkwardngroup, judging from the talk in thenhall. They seemed to have troublenstriking up conversations, as if theynwere afraid others would see throughnthem. I couldn’t decide if they’dnflunked Dale Garnegie or were waitingnfor an official NEA small-talk guide ornwere just displaying a natural professionalnfear of hall monitors.nI spent a fair amount of time wanderingnaround, and I only heard sexneducation mentioned once. I think itnwas the only time I heard any methodologyndiscussed. Then, it seemed to benan icebreaker. I slowed down to findnout what a modern-day sex educationistnlooks like.nShe was in her late 20’s and had hairnto her waist and was Asian, so you’dnthink she’d be too smart to be mixednPOLEMICS & EXCHANGESnup with the NEA, much less sex ed.nBut she was fat.n—Norman StewartnHickory, NCnOn TrotestantnPoHtics, ReUgion,nand AmericannPubHc Life^nIn his excellent article, Mark Nollnclaims, “It was not theology that separatednthe Lutherans and the reformednas much as culture,” and he mentionsnseveral of Calvin’s and Luther’s differ­ning emphases. I really do not thinknthese are cultural, but theological, andnthey relate mainly to the two reformers’ndifferences over the law. Galvinntaught that the principal use of the lawnis as a guide and spur to believers tonobey God. Luther was at best suspiciousnof this so-called tertius usus andnat times speaks very harshly of the law’snpositive function. This suspicion of thentertius usus leads to his distinctionnbetween the two kingdoms, which obviouslynmilitates against a Galvinistnapproach to culture.nI sense as well a difference in theirnnnmanner of theological thinking. Calvinnalways strikes me as linear in the structurenof his thought, whereas Luther isnbipolar, even paradoxical. He is alwaysntrying to hold together in tension twonopposites. Witness his two kingdoms,nhis sharp distinction between the twoncovenants, and the hidden and revealednGod. I think this theologicalndifference is the chief reason Noll cannspeak so rightly of a “Lutheran irony,”nwhich is so lacking in American culture.nWe are still shaped by Winthrop’snreformed vision of a city set on a hillnand are convinced that we are a nationnchosen by God to bring redemption tonthe world. Consequently, our foreignnpolicy can never be justified by legitimatenself-interest alone, but only bynsome holy crusade for democracy,nwhether it be World War I, Vietnam,nCentral America, or South Africa.nA little Lutheran irony would benhelpful, as well as a realization that thenU.S. Constitution created our federalngovernment for our mutual defensenand general welfare. It did not andndoes not give the government licensento save the world. Of course, onenmight add to the Christian right thatndemocracy is not part of divinely revealedndogma. Theologically speaking,nthere was only one chosen nation, andnthe church, not any political, racial, ornnational entity, is the heir of that statusnunder a different divine economy. ThenUnited States is a nation which hasnbeen tremendously blessed by God,nbut that implies the responsibility ofnstewardship and not divine election.nWe are required by God as a people tonseek to do right and use our resourcesnproperly. We are not chosen by Him tonconduct a holy crusade.n— William IsleynLoures, PortugalnMARCH 1988 / 51n