You mean, like, shallow?
Bless Andree Seu's heart for attempting a positive look at the uproar over The Prayer of Jabez ("Nugget of gold," June 23). For all her effort, however, your original take on the book, "God as cosmic bellhop," was a lot closer to the mark (Bestsellers, May 19). The whole Jabez phenomenon is gold all right, fools' gold scattered across a Christianity 3,000 miles wide and one inch deep. - Jerry Sweers, Lexington, Ky.
Definitely a mantra
"Nugget of gold" shows a lack of discernment. Mr. Wilkinson, in his preface, says that the prayer of Jabez is "a daring prayer that God always answers" and "the key to a life of extraordinary favor with God." He also makes claims that have no scriptural support; for example, that after praying this prayer Jabez's "life was spared from the grief and pain that evil brings." Mr. Wilkinson's teaching about seeking increased opportunities for ministry is a noble one, but we cannot justify twisting Scripture to support it. Mr. Wilkinson has taken an obscure prayer and made it into a mantra to ensure God's blessings. - Glenn E. Chatfield, Swisher, Iowa
Regarding Pete du Pont's comments about the Social Security system running out of gas (QuickTakes, June 23): I agree about the baby boomers forcing a smaller tax base to carry the burden, and am not opposed to personally managed retirement accounts rather than tax increases or more national debt. But I find it extremely shortsighted on the part of Mr. du Pont and others to overlook an obvious solution to Social Security solvency-more taxpayers. Why are Americans not being encouraged to have more children? The federal government should be encouraging larger families via tax incentives with this long-range goal of Social Security solvency in mind. - Marc Linn Freiberg Sr., Hobart, Ind.
Check, then send one
Thanks for the quick instruction on giving ("May I recommend ... ," June 23). May I point out, however, that Mr. Belz omitted one important area of giving: Full-time missionaries need support to carry on the work of God. Check them out as closely as you would any organization, but help them do the work to which God has called them. - Craig Harvey, Rockford, Ill.
Dr. Laura made quite an insightful statement, quoted in the June 16 article, "Now back to her regular programming": "The left personalizes things. They go after people. We go after ideas." Democrats have proven this over and over, ever since Republicans took Congress and with the character assassinations of Dan Quayle, Clarence Thomas, and others. While I'm sure that the Republicans have not always been free from such things, the Bush White House certainly has represented a refreshing contrast. - Kerry Dougan, Los Corralitos, Dominican Republic
Couldn't take any more
The June 16 issue had one article after another that caused me sorrow upon sorrow, but when I came to the article about the libraries and pornography, I screamed and cried and threw the magazine across the floor ("Faltering over filtering"). That was more than I could take. The only real hope for the USA and this world, as far down as we have come, is for the Lord to return. - Karen Griffin, Yucaipa, Calif.
As a long-time WORLD subscriber, it gave me mixed pleasure to open a July issue of ABA Journal and find that "The Lawyer's Magazine" is five months behind WORLD in reporting on the issue of prison rape. Your well-written article, "Brutality behind bars" (Feb. 3), raised an issue that I now hear about frequently in all media, no doubt due at least in part to WORLD making this issue an issue. But my pleasure is tempered by the thought that a powerful organization that purports to represent those who do justice daily has, at best, been slow to recognize this grave injustice. - Jason H. Foster, Reynoldsburg, Ohio
Your own copy
I was introduced to your great publication through my church's library and am now pleased to be getting my own issues that I can highlight, dog-ear, and mark up any way I wish. I need the Christian worldview to keep my perspective as I live and work in an anti-Christian environment. - Janet Simross, Heath, Ohio
Regarding "The view from Yakima" by Mr. Olasky in the June 23 issue, I am a minister and would not take any government assistance that had strings attached, either. The government has for years been going in the opposite direction from Christian beliefs. I fear that this trend will not improve, but get increasingly worse. May the Lord open the eyes of our people. With the people at the Yakima Union Gospel Mission, I agree that tax breaks are the safest alternative. - Stanley V. Robbins, Ironton, Ohio
Chill out, grumps
After watching Bruce Wilkinson's The Prayer of Jabez take it on the chin from so-called protectors of the faith (heaven forbid anyone get the idea that God is generous and pushing full-throttle regarding His own will and purpose), Andree Seu gracefully tells the rumpled grumps to chill. She gives eloquent voice to those of us who see the book as a call to boldly ask great things from a great, redemptive God, rather than a grifter's formula for tricking the Almighty out of His wealth. In the spirit of the Puritans, she has reminded us that holy audacity in prayer-for our own development and our influence upon our world for the kingdom-is an essential mark of the grace we have received in Christ. - David Webster, Hattiesburg, Miss.
I was disappointed that your review of The Prayer of Jabez focused on the possible misuse of the prayer it discusses. That does not mean that the book itself is bad. Those who understand the purpose of the book are finding help and encouragement in their Christian lives. - Jonathan Wedge, Grand Rapids, Mich.
When the body mass index (BMI) first came out, I noticed that, according to the government, I had become obese ("Hold the mayo," June 23). Later the BMI scale was moved down and so I became very obese. I went to my doctor to discuss the matter, and he explained that the scale doesn't account for the differences between male and female, or differences due to bone structure and bone density. I suspect that this standard is just a way for some government agency to justify its existence. - Joseph Brown, Fullerton, Calif.
Big Brother, little joy
Regarding "Now that's good news" (June 23): We are deceiving ourselves. Is it really of benefit if any Christian group gets to use a public school? I fear that we have lost the cultural battle, and so small victories at the hands of a secular authority may have larger consequences. Let us keep the real battle in sight, and not get too excited when Big Brother sends us a little joy. - Gary Lindberg, Olathe, Colo.
When I read Bob Jones's June 16 article, "Cloning to kill," I was horrified. Scenes from concentration camps flashed before my eyes, and then Israel's descent into idolatry came to mind. The Bible describes how the Israelites sacrificed their children to Molech, burning their babies in an effort to appease the pagan god and, they hoped, improve their own lives. When we propose to clone humans to free ourselves from illness and chronic disease, how are we any different? - Rachel P. Graves, Tavares, Fla.
Regarding the article about pornography on library computers, filters aren't the only or even the best means of preventing such use. Filtering software can't stop every dirty word or pornographic image-anyone who uses a spell checker should understand how that can be-and relying on it to solve the porn problem will yield a false sense of security. Moreover, these programs can block out the good as well as the bad. The best thing is to have a concerned librarian working within sight of the screens. Patrons who abuse library privileges can lose them. Let's not restrict everyone for the abuses of the few or confuse reservations about filtering with support for pornography. - Steven L. Singleton, Fayetteville, Ark.
Write and ask
I appreciated your article on the risk of smallpox reappearing in the United States ("Vials of terror," June 2). I think we should write to state and federal health organizations and politicians to request that smallpox vaccine be made available to the public once again. It is appalling to me to think that I am protected against smallpox but my children are not. - Carolyn Knudsen, Hutchinson, Kan.
One European country, Romania, has ratified the Kyoto Treaty. It is the only industrialized nation to do so (June 30, p. 5). - The Editors