Truth or consequences
I have greatly appreciated your ongoing coverage of the impeachment hearings and the trial in the Senate ("Clinton's last dance," Jan. 23). I always look forward to receiving WORLD magazine, which I am also using as part of my government credit. But it is also nice to know that WORLD will report the truth in a world where everything seems to be spinning in circles. Since we ignore God we no longer have an absolute truth, but a relative one. One that is defined by majority. The only way for our nation to get back on its feet is for it to turn from its wicked ways and pray and seek God's face. But today our nation wants a feel-good attitude. A philosophy that as long as our country is economically sound, who cares what the president does? And if that is our creed, it is a dangerous one that will take us along the path of destruction. - Kyle Puelston (16), Farmington, Minn.
Let's be clear
Why does Bob Jones IV continue to focus on "presidential behavior" ("Clinton's last dance") as if that justified his removal from office? I too am disgusted by what the president did in his private life, and feel that he has morally disqualified himself to be president and should resign. But when he spotlights the president's moral failures as justification for his removal from office, he is completely misrepresenting the issue. This predicament the president has created is not an "opportunity" for disgusted conservatives to remove him from office. The president can only be removed from office if he is found guilty of committing a crime that jeopardizes his ability to govern. The U.S. Senate is now making that evaluation. Let's keep the issues clear. - Paul R. Hartley, Perkasie, Pa.
Home shopping a blessing
I'd like to provide a different perspective on the so-called "couch potato" lifestyle being mildly knocked in "Cyber-gnosticism" (Jan. 23). Shopping on the Internet has been a boon to the millions of us who are disabled or frail. I have a chronic illness that has robbed me of strength and stamina; a friend had a stroke that has paralyzed her left side and left her too confused to go out on her own; an elderly person may need assistance and/or mobility aids such as wheelchair or walker to get around. Just getting showered, dressed, fed, and ready to go out can exhaust our limited supply of strength. Driving to the nearest mall (which for us rural folks can be quite a trek), maneuvering our way through the parking lots and the long expanses of the stores, and standing in checkout lines becomes a torturous ordeal for some of us. A person with a computer is no longer the "shut-in" of yesteryear. We no longer have to make the tradeoff of taking care of the necessities but being too sick to have a real life. It's been a tremendous blessing for me to be able to save my strength for the things that truly matter: visiting with friends and relatives, going to an occasional movie or dinner, reading, or even just keeping up on my housework. Being able to go to the Internet for shopping, research, conversation, and entertainment has expanded our worlds in incredible ways. - Patricia Stegman, New Freedom, Pa.
Gene Edward Veith suggests that Amy Grant's singing is no more spiritual than the work of "machinists [and] lawyers" ("Ministry or vocation?" Jan. 23). True, she is not a minister in the church-government sense of the word. However, by preaching on God's truth (as she understands it) through her music she became a self-appointed, de facto teacher of the Word. Therefore she, as well as anyone who expounds on the Word of God as part of his vocation (such as, hypothetically, a columnist for a Christian-worldview magazine), should live and work in light of the higher standards that apply to teachers (James 3:1). - John J. Moll, Spartanburg, S.C.
Mr. Veith's column "Ministry or vocation?" said the notion that "everyone is a minister" erodes the distinct role of pastor. If churches are popularizing this idea, then they have missed the importance of the pastoral role. Scripture says that as members of the "priesthood of all believers," we each have a ministry, not that we are all ministers. Each of us has a spiritual gift to use in our ministry for the glory of God (1 Corinthians 12). Only some are gifted to be shepherds of God's people and leaders in His church. The rest of us must acknowledge-and submit to-the authority of these leaders. - Michele Reboulet, O'Fallon, Ill.
Praise, not polkas
If Amy Grant played the accordion in a polka band or made a living singing "The Wabash Cannonball," I would agree with Mr. Veith's ministry vs. vocation argument. However, her "vocation" caused her to stand before believers and make declarations about the Lord. That makes her vocation a teaching-type ministry. According to James 3:1, she should be held to a higher standard. She was not a secular artist who converted; her stardom began with and continued to include songs of praise and worship. At what point did she abandon her ministry for an occupation? - Larry Arnold, Bulverde, Texas
I think WORLD is "alarmist" in a positive way. (Paul Revere was another of my favorite alarmists.) I appreciate WORLD's letting us know that "the feminists are coming." The regular "loyalist" press would rather we stay asleep. In Joel Belz's column "Know thyself" (Jan. 23), he said: "Of 25 topics, you are most interested in abortion, education, and Supreme Court decisions. You are least interested in recreation, feminism, and sports" (emphasis mine). I thought this was alarming! Are we ever in trouble if conservative Christian readers rank reporting on feminism down at the bottom with recreation and sports! Besides the danger that ignorance of feminism's strategies pose to the church and the families within it, it shows a shallowness of understanding in evangelicalism to rate abortion at the top and feminism at the bottom. Where did the abortion lobby come from anyway? - Mike McMillan, Duncanville, Texas
From the teacher
What a delightful surprise to be reading through your article "Reader requests" (Jan. 23) and see Michael Dimick's name and his letter. I'm the English teacher! Michael is a very unusual young man who reads not only your magazine but often several others. He's a real "word watcher" (the name of my extra-point plan-five for each vocabulary word found in an outside source, along with the definition of each). This past quarter he had accumulated about 1,500 points-with most of the words coming from WORLD. Not only is he watching words, but he's getting world issues from a biblical perspective. Thanks for taking seriously Michael's letter. - Georgia Herod, Riverdale, Utah
And the student
I was just reading my WORLD magazine when all of the sudden my telephone rings. I pick it up and it's my 8th-grade English teacher, Mrs. Herod, and she asked me if I had received my WORLD magazine yet, and I told her that I was just reading it. She told me to flip to page 34. When I did I almost instantly realized that my full name was there. I was so happy and Mrs. Herod seemed very happy about it, too. I would just like to thank you for taking the time to write your column and use all those words. By the way, in that article I got 190 extra-credit points and from the whole magazine I got 225 points. - Michael Dimick, Riverdale, Utah
In the welter of world news that arrives at our house every day, I welcome WORLD as much for its conciseness as for its commitment to keeping Christians informed of the unvarnished truth about what is happening around us. Bravos, kudos, and huzzahs for Marvin Olasky's cleverness in complying with Michael Dimick's word-use request. He not only used all the words, but used them in the order they appeared on the list. And the content was current and made good sense. I will confess, I thought he had chickened out too soon until I found "whim" and "wistful" in the last two lines. - Blair Smith, Newark, Del.
Appreciated, but wrong
As much as I appreciate the spirit of Sherwood Wirt's comments on editing hymns ("Holy solemnity," Jan. 9), I fear his article is based on misinformation. According to Southern Baptist hymnologists (Handbook to the Baptist Hymnal), "All People That on Earth Do Dwell" originally contained the words "Him serve with fear" (à la Psalm 2:11). It wasn't until the publishing of the 1611 King James Version that the hymn was changed (in the Scottish Psalter) to "mirth," in keeping with the new translation's "serve the Lord with gladness" (Psalm 100:2). An interesting footnote to this discussion is the change to the line, "We are His flock, He doth us feed." The original stated "we are His folck" (an Old English spelling of folk). Someone along the line decided it was a misprint and "corrected" it to the usual present-day rendering! - Gary Roseboom, Peoria, Ill.
Are we as wacko as they say?
My family and I admire your restraint in not responding to the writers who are angered with anything less than perfection on earth (by their own definitions). Your patience with these folks is as astounding as some of their complaints. I disagree with perhaps 15 percent of what I read in WORLD, but it is one magazine that I can't ever see our family canceling. My kids are too old now (15 and 13) and we are not big VeggieTales fans, but come on-get serious! "Wolves in sheep's clothing"? "Sacrilegious and Bible distorting"? It's disheartening to think that the "wacko" characterizations many on the liberal side throw at us are really true of some of us. - The Gardners, Marietta, Ga.