Reader requests

Appalled, baffled, ravenous, sullen? Read on

Issue: "Justice to the Chief," Jan. 23, 1999

Some of our subscribers have probably heard this joke in other forms, but here goes: A professor asks his students to figure out the length of time and the temperature at which a 16-pound turkey should be roasted. He gives them complicated formulas for figuring out the bird's volume and skin density, the oven's heating capacity, and so on. The next day, so the story goes, all of the students but one come back tired from staying up late to do the pages of calculations that they turn in. The one student comes back full of energy and with a clean sheet except for a couple of numbers. The professor looks at the sheet, sees the answer is correct, and asks how the student solved the problem without any heavy mathematical lifting. The student responds, "Simple. I called my mother." In that spirit, I introduce to you a letter to the editor from Michael Daniel Dimick of Utah. Here's the gem: "My English teacher offers us five points for every vocabulary word that we show here. I am a frequent reader of WORLD magazine and would like to ask if you could add a few of these words in your articles so that I could get some extra points for my grade: admonish, adultery, appall, apt, baffle, bravado, cadence, candid, chronic, consumption, cumbersome, demeanor, despotic, empower, foster, goad, grotesque, harbor, illiterate, integrity, jurisdiction, knoll, lavish, lethal, obscurity, pomp, ravenous, scrutinize, stimulus, sullen, teem, turbid, unwieldy, vigil, vulnerable, vigor, whim, and wistful. They may be used in another word form." Michael, and Michael's teacher, I want both of you to know that I've been thinking long and hard about the events of last month, and here is my considered opinion: When congressmen admonished President Clinton for lying under oath after committing adultery, some appalled liberal pundits were even more apt than usual to write of how Christian conservatives baffled them. "Mere bravado!" the journalists sneered in cadence, as they pretended to deliver their candid thoughts about a supposedly chronic Republican tendency to give in to the "Christian right." The reality during 1998 was actually very different. Although reporters who consumed those cumbersome People for the American Way press releases may have believed that Republican leaders had a hangdog demeanor whenever the supposedly despotic James Dobson demanded personal empowerment, in actuality Christians in Congress during 1998 tried to foster an atmosphere that goaded only those who grotesquely harbored a biblically illiterate hatred for the integrity of the Ten Commandments and God's jurisdiction over all of life. In 1999 those who believe in the grassy knoll, conspiratorial view of Christianity will again lavish lethal attacks on previously obscure evangelicals who will find themselves libeled as pompous opponents of freedom. Ravenous scrutiny of even minor initiatives can be a stimulus to Christians to work all the harder, or it can leave many sullen. Our goal should be to plunge into the teeming, sometimes turbid waters of often unwieldy politics. We must maintain our vigil while accepting our vulnerability and fighting on with vigor. Michael's letter was one of a kind, but a frequent plea we get goes as follows: Could you give us a bit of biographical information on your editors and senior writers? Sure. Managing Editor Nick Eicher lives in St. Louis and is a former radio newsman and Capitol Hill staffer. National Editor Bob Jones IV lives close to the White House and has recently received a master's degree in history from Notre Dame. Cultural Editor Gene Edward Veith is a professor at Concordia University near Milwaukee and the author of seven books, including Postmodern Times. International Editor Mindy Belz, a former Capitol Hill staffer, lives in Asheville, N.C., but is not, contrary to reader rumor, the wife of publisher Joel Belz; she's his sister-in-law. Senior Writers Roy Maynard and Ed Plowman, based in Texas and Virginia, roam the country; Roy has also written five detective novels, and Ed has been covering religious organizations for decades. Senior Writer Susan Olasky is not, contrary to rumor, my sister-in-law; she's my wife, and has written four children's novels. Art Director David Freeland came to WORLD four years ago from Ligonier Ministries, and Features Editor Timothy Lamer has just joined our staff after eight years of press analysis with the Media Research Center. Both are 30-something-year-old, godly, intelligent, handsome, and single Asheville residents. Bob Jones IV is also single; the rest of us are married and have 18 children among us. We are members of nine different churches (Presbyterian, Lutheran, Baptist, and Bible). What's most important about the nine friends I've mentioned here, as well as our national correspondents Chris Stamper, Cal Thomas, and Lynn Vincent, and others on our editorial staff, is that they all love the Lord and want WORLD to serve our readers by telling the truth-and if we do so in occasionally whimsical fashion, we pray that our wistful readers will still come back for more next week.

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Marvin Olasky
Marvin Olasky

Marvin is editor in chief of WORLD News Group and the author of more than 20 books, including The Tragedy of American Compassion. Follow Marvin on Twitter @MarvinOlasky.

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