Preserving the myth
I commend WORLD for exploring the deeper implications of 13-year-old Jesse Dirkhising's senseless and brutal death at the hands of two self-avowed homosexual men ("Small-town predators," Nov. 20). The Northwest Arkansas community, especially the otherwise quiet town of Lincoln, is outraged and disturbed by this crime. The silence of the secular national media toward this story speaks volumes about its self-conscious sense of political correctness. What major news network or magazine would even dare to appear to antagonize the gay and lesbian culture that they have so recently and effectively championed as a persecuted minority? Portraying homosexuals as murderers or child molesters simply does too much damage to the current myth. - Chris Rush, Lincoln, Ark.
I was saddened by the story about the rape and murder of Jesse Dirkhising. Despite all the rhetoric, name calling, and fingerpointing, the Shepard and Dirkhising families have lost their sons. That void will never be filled and only faith in God will heal all the wounds for those involved. - Peter Todd, Irving, Texas
The story of Liz Anderson ("Blessing in disguise," Nov. 20) made my blood boil. Have we become such a secularized society that using the innocuous phrase, "Have a blessed day" is enough to warrant possible job dismissal? - Ronald Mele, Pinson, Ala.
"Blessing in disguise" troubles and grieves me. In my opinion, it teaches that Christians can defy their employer for unbiblical reasons. Ms. Anderson offended her employer's customers and jeopardized her employer's business relationships. What biblical principle compels her to disobey her employer in this instance? - Henry Schuyten, Brighton, Mich.
A troubling departure
Having devoted almost 25 years to Baker Book House, the last eight and a half as director of publications, I can assure you that the decision to publish Greg Boyd's God of the Possible ("Marketing heresy?" Nov. 20) represents a significant departure from the company's previous theological commitments and direction. This decision was made after I left on April 16, 1999, and it troubles me greatly. - Allan Fisher, Rockford, Ill.
Hats off to fellow Calvin College alumni Dwight Baker and Baker Book House for publishing God of the Possible. Too bad WORLD couldn't present this story in an unbiased, nonsatirical tone. - Trevor Wagenmaker, Mason, Mich.
Thank you for your alert regarding Baker Book House. God of the Possible denies a basic evangelical belief: that God is all knowing. If God is not omniscient, it casts doubt on the biblical prophecies and the reliability of Scripture. - N. Blake Vickers, Euless, Texas
I could hardly believe that such twisted logic is being incorporated into students' history books ("Whose standards?" Nov. 20) to justify Indian torture of white men and denounce the American forces who fought in World War II. I'm 14 years old and have great pride in my country and its history. I am in debt to those men who fought to make us free. If my time comes, I will go willingly to fight for this country that our Lord has blessed us with. We should do nothing to disgrace it, and I hope that these "revisionists" are ignored. - Wilson Hunter, Montgomery, Ala.
We're all Phantoms
I was surprised that you found Phantom of the Opera "sadly forgettable" ("Phantom of the Box Office," Nov. 20). I find the story thought-provoking and relevant. I see the Phantom as a man whose outward appearance reflects the inward disfigurement that sin produces in every human being. Like all mankind, his greatest desire is for unconditional love, which in the end frees his spirit from the need for vengeance on the human race. - Susan H. Price, Ocklawaha, Fla.
Nobody to root for
I completely agree with your review of Phantom of the Opera. I saw it last Christmas and was awed by the costumes and amazing sets, but the characters were so unsympathetic. There was nobody to root for. - Cheryl Fanning, Kenosha, Wis.
Jedediah Purdy's definition of irony as "a quiet refusal to believe in the depth of relationships, the sincerity of motivation, or the truth of speech-especially earnest speech" ("Everything is a joke," Nov. 20) would not have been recognized by John Ransom, T. S. Eliot, C. S. Lewis, or other great Christian poets and writers. Ransom called irony one of the great gifts of the poet. Jesus often used a quite sophisticated irony to confound the Pharisees. Mr. Purdy is quite right to identify the corrosive power in the shallowness and smugness of popular culture, but these corrosive elements are not irony. The real enemy of the "common things" that make a society cohere is misnaming of all kinds- the bearing of false witness-motivated by ideology. - Warren Smith, Charlotte, N.C.
Your article on The Rare Jewel of Christian Contentment ("Not thankful?" Nov. 20) shows how books about anything as consistent as human nature are timeless. I was ironically surprised at that fact when I went to add the title to my ever-growing Christmas wish list. - Michelle Schaefer, Kansas City, Mo.
Got a better idea?
In his discussion of the Microsoft case ("Wrong without a remedy," Nov. 20), Mr. Belz seems to suggest that justice is no longer possible in the United States, but offers not a hint of a suitable alternative to the Department of Justice. - Boyce Ruegsegger, Lakewood, Colo.
A pale update
Your review of The Bachelor (The Movies, Nov. 20) failed to note that it is actually a pale update of the 1925 Buster Keaton silent classic, Seven Chances. There's no meaningful creativity left in Hollywood, so I'm not surprised. - Greg Day, Roseville, Calif.
It seems to me that the ministry budget for Ned Graham's organization, East Gates Ministries, should not decrease in quantity and percentage of the total budget ("Ministerial oversight? Nov. 6). I also take offense at his answers to WORLD's questions. He dodged the first question about alcohol treatment, and committed a Clintonesque feat with the one about fidelity, claiming to have been faithful for 18 years whereas his marriage had lasted 19. His staff claimed his answers were not absolutely true but "factually correct." Does this not sound suspiciously like President Clinton's "legally accurate" lies? - Hugh Henry, Dahlonega, Ga.
Sees the effects
I was troubled by Cal Thomas's editorial on the environment ("Let them eat crude," Nov. 6). As a fan of Mr. Thomas and a conservative both politically and religiously, I was saddened that he discounted the real adverse impact of chemicals on susceptible individuals' health. I support neither Mr. Gore nor one world government nor "bogus science," nor do I worship "Mother Earth." But I do work daily with patients who have become sensitized to chemicals in the environment and who are physically sick or disabled because of the exposure. - Philip D. Ranheim, M.D., Everett, Wash.
You equate "Christian" with politically ultraconservative and anti-environment. I expected your editorial slant to be "Christian," not sarcastic and lacking in grace. Please cancel my subscription. - David McCracken, Moses Lake, Wash.
As I write on Thanksgiving Day to renew my subscription, I am reminded of how thankful I am for this magazine. Weekly you remind us of our challenge as Christians in this nation and of our constant supply of redeeming grace. - Jo Ann Paules, York, Pa.
Few articles have struck me as much as "Harvest of shame" (Oct. 23). As a child, I could not fathom how the Israelites could sink to the practice of cannibalism; it sickens me to know that I live in a society that is no different. Where is the outcry? I fear that God's people have grown morally cold. - Beth Smith, Loveland, Colo.