Don't be used
In addition to the excellent suggestions Mr. Smith made in an open letter to Gordon MacDonald, spiritual counselor to the president, I would add one ("Dear Gordon," Oct. 17). Don't go on national television with Tony Campolo and tell any details of your counseling with the president. Even to characterize it as you and Mr. Campolo did, as "we aren't just quoting Bible verses," gives the impression that something substantial is happening. Professional counselors, ministers, and physicians should not discuss private conversations or even characterize them. This is privileged information. To do so only lends credence to those who say that the president is using you to clean up his tarnished image. Genuine repentance has yet to be demonstrated by the president, and your public statements only complicate the matter. When the president wants to reveal what is happening, his actions will inform us all. - Thomas A. Moorhouse, Roy, Utah
Thank you for "The new state church" and "Dear Gordon" (Oct. 17). Gene Edward Veith brought out the reality of eventual church persecution as I had never before thought of it. It is interesting to note the liberalism that is now embraced by the three current leaders of England, Germany, and the United States. It is clear to me now that persecution worldwide is now feasible. William H. Smith gives an excellent description of the Southern stereotype. - Donna Anderson, Newport News, Va.
Gone and made a fool of himself
William Smith makes a fool of himself in "Dear Gordon" with a gratuitous insult to the South. The traits he describes are no more Southern than Sicilian. If Mr. Smith feels the compulsion to thumb his nose at some cultural group, I would suggest the fable-makers in the dominant television-driven culture who convince the gullible that religious hypocrisy is somehow a peculiarity of the southern United States. - Dick Davison, Bryan, Texas
William Smith's "Dear Gordon" article was well done. He had two excellent points in his final paragraph that I want to emphasize. President Clinton, if he really is a Christian, needs to repent of his support of sodomy and the murder of unborn (and being-born) infants. And, like him or not, we still need to pray for him, as God commands. - Ron Van Rossum, St. Paul, Minn.
Unwilling to sacrifice
The plan of pulling Christian kids out of public schools will never work for a very simple reason. All the Christian parents I know cannot afford to send their kids to Christian schools because they cannot afford the tuition. But some would rather spend their money on two expensive cars, big houses, swimming pools, entertainment for themselves and their children like Disneyland, Sea World, etc. They even complain about the cost of homeschooling. Try to get some young Christian parents to sacrifice a little now for their children and you are up against a stone wall. - Gil Luft, Costa Mesa, Calif.
Public school problems
I was very interested to read your article, "Death to the schools" (Oct. 17). I am a student teacher in a supposedly excellent Arkansas school district. In fact, I was thrilled when I found out where I would be student teaching because I thought I would have the opportunity to be part of an outstanding educational program. Unfortunately, in the two months that I've been there, I have been shocked at the incredible lack of education that is taking place. On top of the poor academic situation, the behavior problems in our school are atrocious. The vast majority of students with whom I've been in contact have no regard for the teacher's authority. Another issue which should concern Christian parents is the preparation of the future teachers of America. For example, one recent lesson to my fellow student teachers and me included instruction on how to give students more control in the classroom. According to experts in the field of education, students should make up the classroom rules because the process will give them a sense of ownership and control. - Abigail Bailey, Fayetteville, Ark.
I was disappointed to hear what Mr. Belz had to say in "Death to the schools." The reasons for getting out of public education, as listed there, are: (1) Leaders have hardened their hearts to conservatives. (2) Leaders have a hostile attitude toward Christians and others of religious faith. (3) The context is so biased that those with contrasting views will not be encouraged to pursue positions within the system. (4) The system undermines religious belief. (5) Testing and training methods "weed out" self-conscious Christians. I was disappointed because the same reasons could be given for Christians to begin an exodus from the fields of science, medicine, entertainment, politics, and journalism. As long as your magazine is printed I would like to subscribe, but if you follow this line of reasoning I guess you will be announcing your closure very soon. We'll miss you because it encourages those of us who are committed to eating and drinking with sinners. - Nate Meiers, Mansfield, Ohio
Your column entitled "World serious" (Oct. 17) provoked much thinking and discussion in my home. At first, I thought you were not serious in what you were saying, and then I realized that you really were. It is ironic that such a column should come under the name of a regular weekly column called "Remarkable Providences." Suffice it to say that there is so much questionable material in this particular piece that I would not have room in a letter of this type to discuss it. However, here is a serious question I would like to ask you-forget about whether we all like sports (baseball in particular), whether exercise is good for the body, balanced worldview, and all the rest-Why does WORLD magazine continue to give credence to professional sports, as you do in almost every issue, when these people make their living by breaking the Fourth Commandment? Sports is not a "duty of necessity and mercy" as the Westminster Confession expresses it. - Wayne C. Herring, Memphis, Tenn.
Marvin Olasky's "World serious" article is wasted space. He tries to draw a parallel between a game of no significance and real life, but the two are of different worlds. While I applaud the use of involvement in sports to promote fellowship, team work, and personal achievement, I think Americans worship sports. Justifying submersion in sports by comparing sports to movies and plays just puts this vice in with all the other worthless vices. - Fred Jarka, Canton, Ohio
I would like to take a moment to express my appreciation for Mr. Olasky's article, "World serious." It articulates a clear, even, and Reformed perspective concerning sports and life. - Joseph A. Thacker, Chattanooga, Tenn.
What kind of specious reasoning is this that God ordained Mark McGwire's one-season home-run record? Here is a man who admittedly enhanced his performance with training, perseverance, and other means. Does he not have the responsibility and receive the credit for such stellar activity? Come on, gimme a break. While God is the sovereign of the universe, he does not micromanage the lives of each and every individual on earth. He made us free to choose and then holds us responsible for our actions resulting from those choices. - Seaburn Daniel, Bedford, Va.
I have subscribed to WORLD for about two years and have anticipated the arrival of each issue. Of the many insightful articles and editorials I have read over the months, few have been as generally appealing and pleasing as Joel Belz's article on the Linotype machine. I am anticipating seeing the Linotype at your office someday soon. I have memories of being absolutely entranced by the ancient Linotype used at the Record, a weekly newspaper in the small South Carolina town of Kingstree, where I lived from 1970 to 1975. A friend's father worked for the newspaper and I was often able to visit the pressroom. I remember handling the hot lead slugs of type and being fascinated by the machine. For several years, I remember having a lead cast of my name that the Lino operator made for me. I lost it many years ago and hadn't really thought about it until reading Joel's article. It is odd the catalysts God uses to enable your memory of a simpler and easier time. Thank you and may God continue to bless World with vision and courage to speak the truth in love. - Peter Gravely, Morganton, N.C.
Perhaps your article about the Y2K drill in Lubbock (Oct. 17), described as a city in the "south plains of Texas" should have been titled "This is only a (geography) test." Most Texans (even former ones) consider Lubbock to be in the north. - Darren Cofer, Minnetonka, Minn.
Bothered by cartoons
As a relatively new reader of WORLD, I am bothered by the content of Mr. Stayskal's cartoons in the past three issues (Oct. 10, 17, 24). In my opinion, the cartoons to which I refer express inappropriate comments about our president and the White House. I believe such innuendos and statements are evidence of the fact that we as Christians have allowed ourselves to be sucked into adopting the world's thinking-lack of respect for our leaders and government, sarcasm toward authority, distasteful jokes, etc. - Jerald K. Kimble, Peru, Ind.
Thanks again for a great magazine. I thought I was reading a letter I could have written in last week's magazine. We also homeschool, and we use "God's World News" each Monday for our Current Events discussion; we also look up and read out loud the Bible verses related to the editorial; and my girls take the weekly quiz to help them read all the articles. We are grateful for the excellent journalism you provide! - Ruth Hill, Ishpeming, Mich.