Letters: Choirs changed, but not gone

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Choirs changed, but not gone

I read “Downbeat forecast for church choirs,” and on further investigation I saw that this came from Religion News Service. It really does not represent Baptist churches at all, so I do not know why this was even printed in the Baptist Standard.

I fear Texas Baptists will read this article and assume that this is a downward trend, but I could not disagree more. Choirs are making strong comebacks, especially in larger churches. In fact, according to the Baptist General Convention of Texas music department, 17 out of the 20 most influential churches in America have choral led worship (I heard this in one of the worship summits last year.)

The article mentioned Abington Press shutting down the choral music publishing arm, but I do not know of any Baptist churches that have ever purchased anything from them at all. I would be willing to bet that publishers like LifeWay, Prism, Brentwood-Benson and Word have seen a rise in choral music.

The article quotes Charles Billingsley, and I agree with him, that church choirs have changed but they are certainly not gone.

Greg Hall


Mental illness & ‘retreat to the past’

It is ironic LifeWay is studying mental illness  while the Southern Baptist Convention has destroyed the only ministry they had for addressing mental health needs.

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Within the past 10 years, the SBC seminaries have retreated from empirical-based, best-practice, therapeutic, counselor training. They dismantled the pastoral counseling programs that met the state requirement for professional licensure.

Now that the fundamentalist resurgence has fully matured, the only counseling education offered is nouthetic or biblical counseling. The root meaning of “nouthetic” is to admonish. There has been a retreat from treatment informed by scientific research. They have re-embraced an uninformed “it is a sin problem based on the Fall” simplistic mentality.

I predict the mighty SBC will continue to lose influence, respect and membership as they retreat to the past and ignore the mental health needs of their membership.

Ed Mahan


Estimated mental-health negative interactions too high

In “Mental health not about churches ‘fixing’ people, Baylor prof insists,”  Matt Stanford says, We find 30 percent of interactions of mentally ill persons are negative

I sincerely doubt that. We earn to the millions, hold every university degree, and every professional, white and blue-collar job. Our interactions are primarily positive; no different from other people.

I enjoyed the love illustrated in the remainder of the article. 

Harold A. Maio

Fort Myers, Fla.

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