Kudos to Joel Belz for highlighting a profound tension in missions today ("Not to be served," June 12). It may be most visible in medical missions, but it is far more pervasive. After 18 years of vocational involvement in the missionary enterprise, I am still a great fan of short-term missions.The downside, though, is that it easily becomes a substitute for long-term commitments, particularly when difficult circumstances are part of the package. Our youngest son is beginning college with a vision for long-term medical missions. Mr. Belz has correctly described the psychological and financial hurdles he will have to overcome. Perhaps his reminder will stir churches and Christians to greater encouragement of those like my son who hear plenty of advice to be less "radical" and less "extreme" with their life choices. - Gary R. Corwin, Charlotte, N.C.
Not all medical missionaries are relics of the past. I am preparing to accompany two doctors, a husband and wife team, to Nigeria this December, where we will serve in a 140-bed hospital. This couple has obeyed God's call to "Go ye ..." by giving up a family practice and ranch home to serve the Lord as career medical missionaries. - Jamie Kiesle, Temple, Texas
A small price
The point you missed is that all of us professionals should be willing to sacrifice two weeks of our vacation time to support the people who are out there every day of the year. It is a small price to pay. - Larry Reagan, Lusby, Md.
Our reluctance to leave comfortable situations leaves me wondering if we just don't consider our message important enough. - Alicia Emery, Kamiah, Idaho
In my experience as a pastor who has led short-term missions trips, a short-term mission is more likely to renew the call to the mission field than to kill it. - Dale Ribble, Lincoln, Neb.
Mindy Belz's "Another day at the office" (June 12) captured the life of a fighter pilot in combat better than any non-flyer I've read or heard. If there can be any heroes in this sad Serbian affair, it is our airborne warriors who answer the call regardless of the motives of their political leaders. - J.D. Wetterling, Association of Christian Fighter Pilots
A great one
I was pleasantly surprised to see Gen. Dan Leaf on the cover of your June 12 issue. I had the pleasure of serving with then-Col. Leaf in my previous assignment in Korea. He is truly a great officer, leader, and warrior. - Scott A. Printz, Montgomery, Ala.
I agree wholeheartedly that failure to set firm boundaries (within the context of unconditional love, respect, and a strong, active faith) is criminal negligence ("Hating our children," June 12). It stems from our falling prey to an all-consuming materialism rendering us capable of indifference, even toward our own children. - Bud Kuppenheimer, Barrington, Ill.
Abuse in disguise
"Hating our children" showed clearly the hypocrisy of many educators, psychologists, and child-welfare experts. The "expressive theory," which advocates unrestrained self-expression, is nothing more than child abuse disguised as child advocacy. Children who test the limits of acceptable behavior are longing for discipline and are let down when no one steps forward to fulfill that biblical role. - Gary Miller, Pantego, N.C.
I was reading your article, "Hating our children," and saw mention of a copycat shooting in Atlanta, fortunately not fatal. I thought you might be interested in knowing that there was also a copycat shooting in Taber, Alberta (Canada), and one child was killed. - Lynn Michie, Austin, Manitoba
Injustice served here
We will never make significant progress on school vouchers until we convince the public that all schools are religious, not just Catholic, Protestant, or Jewish ones ("The rain in Maine," June 12). Justice is not being served when taxes are collected from all, regardless of creed, and then distributed only to secular humanists. - Elsie P. Palmer, Wayne, N.J.
The 4,000 people who recited the Lord's Prayer at a high school graduation ("To the front of the bus," June 12) should get a standing ovation for "standing up" to the ACLU. - Tommy Cheng, Torrance, Calif.
I am sorry I am late renewing my subscription. I can't tell you enough how much I enjoy your magazine and am edified by it. I think your biblically based commentaries on current events, societal trends, and trends in the Christian community are well-researched and spiritually sound. I wish I had started receiving your magazine years ago. - Kenneth B. Bennett, Westfield, Wis.
Missing for action
I was sorry to see you miss the opportunity ("Ready ... or not?" May 29) to mention the obvious missing piece of the puzzle regarding the failed recruiting quotas of the Army and Navy. In the past 25 years we as a nation have slaughtered by abortion nearly 38 million children, and very few recognize or admit the effect it is having on availability of young people to man our military or support our economy with a work force. - Tom Ritchie, Grand Rapids, Mich.
Concerning the letter-writer who canceled his subscription because he was "tired of reading about this sin-infested world" ("Mailbag," June 19), he may want to quit reading the Bible. In it are world leaders who had adulterous relationships, people who murdered, and others who entertained themselves sinfully, all right there in the genuine leather copy that we tote to church. I appreciate WORLD reminding us of this generation's subtle influences and how we can be better Christians "in the world" although not "of the world." - David Remiger, Le Sueur, Minn.
Who needs it more?
I was very encouraged to see SBC President Paige Patterson's remark ("Decline of the NIV," June 5) about overtranslation of the English Bible. Maybe the church will think seriously about the nearly 2000 languages that don't have any portion of the Bible. The 440 million people in these languages should receive a higher priority than the host of special-interest groups that are plaguing the American church. - Jonathan Nelson, Melbourne, Fla.
At a crucial time in American history, when we are about to lose most of what our forefathers helped create, we do not need less involvement in the political process by the body of Christ ("Cal Thomas & Ed Dobson respond," May 15). We need more. In 1996, 48 percent of professing evangelicals never bothered to vote. That is a national disgrace. And frankly, having been a pastor for 40 years myself, I blame our timid preachers who are so afraid of being branded "controversial" they will not even urge their members to get out and vote. Central to this debate is the false impression that the Moral Majority, the Christian Coalition, Vision America, and other patriotic Christian groups somehow tried to get Christians to focus on politics and not on winning souls, building our churches, or founding Christian schools. That was never our emphasis. In fact some of the best soul winners and church builders in the country joined us. For what could possibly be wrong with urging pastors to encourage their members to register to vote, become informed on the moral issues of our day, and launch a get-out-the-vote campaign every two years? Anti-Christian liberals in the media have intimidated many pastor shepherds into silence and some into speaking against us. Somehow our objective of restoring the values this country was founded upon-through prayer and the ballot box-was made to look ugly. But if we fail to enlist at least 10 percent more of the noninvolved Christians into the voting booth in 2000, we will assure the appointment of three more ACLU-type Supreme Court justices, and the ACLU mentality will decide what is legally right and wrong. How much freedom to win souls, found Christian schools, and build churches do you think such thinkers will permit future generations? - Tim LaHaye, El Cajon, Calif.