Thanks to Marvin Olasky for reminding me that God is merciful all the time, even when we do not take the time to thank Him for it. - Cortney Johnson, Birmingham, Ala.
Ms. Chavez and Mr. Ashcroft could take courage ("Opening day defeat," Jan. 20) by memorizing a poem by Charles MacKay my Dad taught me many years ago: "You have no enemies, you say? Alas, my friend, the boast is poor ... You've hit no traitor on the hip; You've dashed no cup from perjured lip; You've never changed the wrong to right; You've been a coward in the fight." - Lucius B. "Cap" Pooser, Marianna, Fla.
Stay the course. WORLD can and will create the "Big 4" ("Impossible dream?" Jan. 13). It will happen with readers like me, who pass on articles and issues to those who would like to hear more of what I have to say when we discuss politics, social issues, faith, whatever. More readers will come. The other three will have to recognize it one day, or face a department-store demise through becoming obsolete without any warning. - Andy & Mary Hefty, Glen St. Mary, Fla.
My wife and I were thrilled to open the Dec. 23 issue and see the smiling face of Jim Wood ("The Half-Century Club"). Jim and his late wife, Anna Belle, have been instrumental in blessing the lives of many, many people over the years. Besides being faithful to their own flock, they have reached out across denominational and cultural lines to share Christ's love with countless others. I am very blessed to have been under his care for the many years I lived there. - Randal Russell, Gig Harbor, Wash.
WORLD's general news coverage and especially presidential election coverage has been outstanding. Keep it up. - Ted Bishop, Berryville, Va.
Thank you for publishing your Mailbag each week. Many magazines will not publish the letters that unhappy readers write. I think that we as Christians should be able to sift through the stuff that we don't believe in and still be able to use the information in the offending article. - Chris Stanton, 15, Willis, Va.
Like Maj. Maedo, the author of your article ("Disgruntled grunts," Jan. 20), my son resigned from the U.S. Army after serving for 10 years and reaching the rank of major. Twenty years ago, before "political correctness" and social experimenting, he would have made an excellent soldier. However, his dissatisfaction with a lack of materials and his senior officers drove him to the difficult decision to resign. I am the proud wife of a career Army officer (retired), and am equally proud of my son. Too bad the powers that be won't stop scratching their heads at the mass exodus of promising officers and ask them why they're leaving. - Bobbye Nelson, Page, Ariz.
Philippine Vice President Gloria Arroyo resigned from the cabinet of President Joseph Estrada (Nov. 11, p. 8; Feb. 3, p. 36).
- The Jan. 27 article "I will keep my oath" should have carried Bob Jones's byline. - The Editors
Chinese leaders should study what the Bible has to say regarding a Christian's relationship to government. Christians who are not forced into unbiblical actions make the best citizens. What other supposedly seditionist group would advocate paying taxes, being industrious citizens, and offering up prayer for the king? - Ken Fenger, Aliso Viejo, Calif.
Blowing away smog
Thanks to WORLD and Mindy Belz, American Christians can know how to pray for China's persecuted Christians. Mrs. Belz is clearing away some of the religious commercial smog, misinformation, and disinformation that is written about China-some of it by prophets for profit. - Eddie Karnes, Yelm, Wash.
Quiet, mighty work in China
Americans seem so eager to tell horror stories about persecution in China, such as your cover story on Nanjing Seminary, but we pay so little attention to God's blessing there. The real news from China is the miraculous progress of the gospel. With an estimated 50 million believers, it may be the greatest church growth movement in history-without the "essentials" that most of us consider necessary for effective ministry. There are countless stories of how God is blessing ministry activity associated with registered churches, house churches, and the growing area in between. Please let the problems be seen in the shadow of God's quiet but mighty work in China. - Stephen Kemp, Winthrop Harbor, Ill.
I enjoyed the article on the Philip Pullman series ("Very dark material," Jan. 27). I read the first book in the trilogy after Mr. Pullman was touted in Newsweek. I found his writing lacked not only a Christian worldview but also the wit and brevity that characterize The Narnia Chronicles. Mr. Pullman populates his first book with unique characters and then gives them little to do or say that is original. - Adrian Yelverton, Raleigh, N.C.
Thanks for "Playing or watching" (Jan. 27). Most of us struggle with thinking either lower or higher of ourselves than we ought to. Either is pride and a focus on self. I will put Andree Seu's question on my refrigerator: What is the sanctified man conscious of? He is conscious of God. - Beth Harner Parkhill, Concord, N.C.
Regarding Mrs. Seu's characterization of nostalgia and romanticism as "inferior modes of existence," I would agree that to live persistently in a self-conscious way is an inferior way to live, and that life should be one of involvement, not passive spectatorship. But it's not true that we should never look at the past or dream about the future and our part in it. If I find myself in the midst of romanticizing a future or waxing nostalgic about a past, I try to find God's message in those feelings and desires, not dismiss them out of hand as wasteful indulgences. - Timothy Michael, Bellingham,Wash.
Truth makes them beautiful
Thank you to Andree Seu for beautiful and insightful essays: not beautiful because they are nice but because they are true. This morning I went online intending to find and print one of her past columns, and an hour later I was still reading-through 2000, 1999 ... - Allison Kistler, Wheaton, Ill.
It's not that easy being green
A free-market approach to environmental issues, such as advocated by new Interior Secretary Gale Norton, has some strength, but it is missing an understanding of the doctrine of total depravity ("A green Bushie," Jan. 27). People do indeed have an interest in caring for themselves, but they do not necessarily have an interest in caring for their land in ways that do not benefit them. From the property-rights perspective, there is no incentive to protect qualities which are not of use to the owner. This falls far short of the command in Genesis "to keep" God's creation. - Jonathan Eerkes, Madison, Wis.
Lighting up cyberspace
I can't tell how much I appreciate the work you have been doing to enlighten readers concerning the myths, lies, and deceptions that float around in cyberspace ("Still can't count," Jan. 27). I pray we all learn to be discerning without becoming overly cynical. - Randi Nelson, Eugene, Ore.
This is personal
After reading about the opposition to John Ashcroft's nomination for attorney general in your Jan. 27 issue, I am concerned that it is becoming very personal; not only to him, but to me also ("'I will keep my oath'"). As I learned more about him, I realized we share a common value system; I know of no area in which he is being challenged that I would not be found equally wanting by his antagonists. Mr. Ashcroft has been confirmed, but the depth to which Christian values have been degraded by this process will not be easily overcome. I know our conservative upbringing tells us to deal with these types of challenges with dignity and logic. But, do we dare let this kind of madness dominate our congressional bodies much longer? Or must we each "stand up to the Senate bullies" in ways that may be more effective than dignified (Ups & downs of the week, Jan. 27)? - Greg Leaman, Oostburg, Wis.
Marvin Olasky's article helped remind me of all the countless Spirit-led (though I may not have realized it at the time) choices I've made and circumstances that have come my way, which have brought me to where I am today ("The banality of good," Jan. 27). There was the time my sister invited me to a friend's youth group, where I met Jesus; the decision to attend Urbana '79, where I came in contact with the mission through which I met my future wife; and the time in Haiti when we narrowly avoided a car wreck. And even when we make decisions that bring us to a place we don't really like, God gives us a chance to start over in the next choice we make. We are always at a crossroads. - Edd Russell, Bakersfield, Calif.
Thanks for the article on the purge of conservative faculty at Nanjing Seminary ("Caesar's seminary," Jan. 27). Three years ago I stood on the steps of that school talking to one of the professors. Five rural believers, who had traveled all day, walked up and asked if we knew how they could acquire a Bible. The professor was very hesitant to speak of the essentials of the faith, but when these brothers and sisters discovered that those in our group were Christians, they began to sing loud praises to the Lord. Seminary officials quickly came to disperse us because singing was not allowed. Their warnings fell on deaf ears. That experience and others involving leaders from both registered and unregistered churches left me with a sense that, despite the oft repeated denials of Three Self Patriotic Movement officials, persecution of Christians in China continues unabated behind a veneer of religious freedom. - Tom Ascol, Cape Coral, Fla.