As I read your "Remembering 1998" (Dec. 26), I was overcome with a great sadness. Thinking back over this year I could see it certainly was a year of ups and downs; not only here at home in the United States, but all over the world. The downs have far outweighed the ups. So much has occurred in a mere 365 days. From the little known (China's leaders ordering 140 members of underground Christian churches to be arrested and beaten, while Chinese president Jiang Zemin was shaking hands and sharing smiles with men such as our own president and clergymen) to the much talked about (President Clinton's affair with Monica Lewinsky). He remains in office only because our fellow Americans cannot decide whether his perjury is crime enough to bring about his removal from office. The problem is they don't know the answer to a key question: What is truth? It is the same question that stumped Pilate. The answer is in John 14:6, where Jesus declares: "I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me." - Sarah Durkee, Livonia, N.Y.
Trekkies rise up
Having recently seen the movie Star Trek: Insurrection in its entirety, I cannot help wondering if Chris Stamper did not ("Technological constants," Dec. 26). If he did, he seems to have missed the whole point of the movie. In my opinion, the main theme was that those who base their lives on principles (e.g., the Prime Directive) can weather rough times; those who ignore principles (living primarily to satisfy their own desires) are bound for disaster. - Bill Brown, Golden Valley, Minn.
Chris Stamper could have been more careful with Star Trek: Insurrection. The only constant I've seen with sci-fi films is that they are often misunderstood. The reason that I love sci-fi, and Trek in particular, is because of its incredible good vs. evil storytelling. So, we must strive to get the story correct, or it will be lost in the retelling. The Ba'ku merely want to be left alone; the whole universe cannot reside on their single planet, after all. The plot to destroy their planet and capture the life-extending particles from the rings is part of a blood feud between angry children and their parents. Picard manages to uphold the Prime Directive, save the planet's inhabitants, and reunite children and parents. Let's give due credit to the writers. - Erin Haddix, Santa Clarita, Calif.
Wish it were longer
Just wanted to say I enjoy your online magazine and consider this magazine what Christianity Today should have been. I think you cover the issues very well. I just wish your magazine were larger with more, more, more. I breeze through it in a short time and that's it. I would be nice to have more to read. - David Hale, Rockford, Ill.
Fainting from fear
I definitely agree with Joel Belz's argument in "Tired of Y2K?" (Dec. 19). It is obvious that public confidence in government-and in anything, for that matter-is low. When people get information about "possible" problems associated with Y2K, I believe there will be a rush on staples, gas, and cash (and perhaps, guns). As he stated, the problem itself isn't the big problem. The way we react to it is. We must involve ourselves in educating people to see the problem as one that will pass. Indeed it will, unless we lose heart. Maybe Luke 21:26 is applicable, "Men will faint from terror, apprehensive of what is coming on the world...." - Vernon Ball Jr., Saluda, S.C.
It is encouraging to see WORLD magazine addressing theological issues with integrity. Although religious belief is easy to misunderstand, honesty is still the only policy worthy of followers of Jesus Christ. R. Albert Mohler did a service to both evangelicals and Roman Catholics (Dec. 19) by honestly pointing out the watershed issue of indulgences. In his accompanying article, Edward Plowman astutely pointed out the hesitancy of modern ecumenists to openly discuss this historically divisive issue. Claiming to temporarily set aside such issues as indulgences, baptismal regeneration, and sacramental grace, Evangelicals and Catholics Together has declared a unity based upon some beliefs that are supposedly held in common. This is like trying to build a house without a secure foundation. On either side of this theological divide, for leaders to set aside fundamental beliefs in order to declare a unity that does not exist is simply dishonest and unbefitting followers of Christ. - Jerry Moser, Theriot, La.
I am concerned about your name-calling in the Dec. 26 issue ("Slick Willie" and "Wacky Iraqis"). Isn't there a way to disagree with somebody honorably and respectfully? These people are, after all, made in the image of God! - Melody Nisly, Copeland, Kan.
From the mouths of babes
Excuse me for juvenile thinking, but I personally don't have an ounce of respect for President Clinton. How can he run this country if he can't even run his own sex life? Like staying in one bed! - Diana Myrvang (15), Poulsbo, Wash.
No moralism here
I just finished reading every word of your last issue of 1998. I noticed that I did so with a goofy grin on my face. May I tell you why? I love WORLD. I love everything about it. It is an in-your-face, aggressive, well-written, well-laid-out magazine presenting an unapologetic Christian worldview to a world and society that attach too high a premium on getting along, often at the price of conviction. WORLD has so many strong points, where do I begin: I appreciate a conservative Christian magazine that does not indulge in Pecksniffian moralism, but describes the world and those who must live in it in realistic terms; I appreciate your acknowledgment that believers can disagree on fundamental issues without causing one to doubt the other's salvation; I appreciate your insistence that some issues are not as complicated as they might seem; there are black-and-white issues of right and wrong. - Dan C. Younger, Harrah, Okla.
In college I majored in philosophy. Never in my wildest dreams did I ever expect to see the resolution of a best-selling novel center on the writings of a classical philosopher. That made Man in Full temporarily exhilarating ("Zeus or Christ," Dec. 26). But the book is billed as a story of Atlanta as much as the story of Charlie Croker, and I doubt that few in Atlanta outside of Emory's philosophy department have ever heard of Epictetus. Atlanta, however, does have a lot of Christians, although one would never suspect that from reading Mr. Wolfe's book. Wouldn't the book have better fulfilled its mission if, instead of locating one-third of a book about Atlanta in California so that a disciple of Zeus could come to Charlie's aid, Mr. Wolfe had created a Christian character in Atlanta who could introduce Charlie to the grace of God? Then a very good (but flawed) book would have become a great book. Are you saying that Mr. Wolfe knew better but substituted Zeus for Christ so that the book would sell better? If so, he's no better than the worst of his characters in both this book and Bonfire. - Donald L. Herrick, Topeka, Kan.
Lame excuse does not amuse
I noted the review of Tom Wolfe's book ("The culture's lone Wolfe," Dec. 26) and avoided this pseudo-Christian writing. But Mr. Olasky's review/recommendation is unfortunate for its effort to palm off a weak and Christless ending with the lame excuse that it would not sell if conversion and Christ were extolled. - William H. Doan, Mt. Carmel, Ill.