I was thinking about joy in my life as I read "Joy." I have felt it in many moments like Mr. Olasky's baseball game. It could have been a sunset, a song, a mountain view, or a "come-here-a-minute-Mama" moment, just to name a few. That baseball game moment describes the life of one of my sons so perfectly right now. It helped me to understand his ambiguity and strange need, now that he's 21, for solo trips to the ocean. - Judy R. Carlson, Fort Rucker, Ala.
Ann Morse, in her column on Massachusetts Gov. Jane Swift's plan to continue working right after bearing twins ("Not so swift," June 30), reminded me that one of the toughest challenges for me as a mother has been giving up my perceived right to do what I want, when I want. The fact is, mothers are the only people in a child's life who can and will make that sacrifice, painful though it may be at times. The practice of self-sacrifice for the good of my children has contributed deeply to my own emotional maturity and well-being, not to mention the benefits to the kids. More women in America need to hear that their time spent at home with children is not potential wasted, but a precious gift to them and society that only a mother can give. - Amy J. Punkay, Baton Rouge, La.
Since when have children become merely an accessory to the all-American life? Caring for a home and family is a full-time job in itself. I ought to know; I've watched my mother do it for the last 18 years. I've also experienced firsthand the incredible impact a stay-at-home mother can have on the lives of her children by doing so. - Jennie Radosevich, Kalispell, Mont.
Thank you for the article on the 213th General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), and especially for reporting on the Confessing Church Movement ("Stricken standards," June 30). Like God showing to Elijah the 7,000 in Israel who had not bowed to Baal, He has shown us that many in this denomination have not bowed to the liberal agenda. As of June 28, The Layman Online (www.layman.org) showed nearly 200,000 in 576 congregations pledging support of the CCM. Is that enough to return this 2.4 million member denomination to the God of the Bible? As a member of one of the first three churches in Wisconsin to declare support of the CCM, I see God's Spirit affirming us. However, as with Elijah, most of the resources of our minority effort may be consumed by the attempt. We need wisdom to see God's leading. - Greg Leaman, Oostburg, Wis.
More for Maine milk
Before we toss out the New England Dairy Compact, that "highly regressive tax on milk drinkers," consider this: For many dairy farmers, the dairy compact's price guarantees provide the tiny margin between staying in dairy farming and going out of business ("Consumers get milked," June 30). If the compact disappears, the price of milk may decrease temporarily, but the costs of transporting milk from other states could push the price up again. This Maine family would rather pay a little extra per gallon for Maine milk than end up paying that much more to have milk trucked in. - Mary MacDonald-Murray, Logan Murray, Freeport, Maine
Please, take mine
Mr. Belz's cheery experience in New York reminded me of my only trip there in the 1970s ("The Apple's polished," June 2). New York had always symbolized everything evil to me, but twice in one morning those heartless New Yorkers, as I saw them, insisted on giving up their seats on the subway so that I could sit next to my wife. "Judge not, lest ye be judged" kept coming into my mind for the rest of the trip. - C. Malcolm Powers, Ann Arbor, Mich.
Of course not
If you think Jesus would be so judgmental about everything from movies to politics, keep being as closed-minded and bigoted as ever. When you are unnecessarily judgmental it reflects poorly on Christians and God. But I'm not writing to act as your moral compass. - Emily Tuchel, Graton, Calif.
Peter Wallace, new president and executive producer of The Protestant Hour radio ministry, previously worked with Walk Thru the Bible Ministries for six years. - The Editors
Little-league life lessons
I read "Joy" in the June 30 issue with pleasure, and laughed out loud in blissful reminiscence when Mr. Olasky described the playing of the "Hallelujah Chorus" after Carlton Fisk's homer. As a widowed mother of three, two of whom are very involved in our county's Little League program, I am amazed at how many similarities there are between baseball and the Christian life. I have tried to teach my sons: Take direction; suck it up when you don't like what the coach tells you to do; be a man, not a whiner; trust that the leader knows better than you do; do not whine all the way home in the car, as it is unpleasant for the listeners and degrading for your own soul; trust that God has allowed you to be placed on the dreadful, losing team this year, the same way you never questioned when He had you on the cool, winning team last year. I want my two players to read this article, so they can see that someone besides Mom the Lecturer believes that baseball and God go together. - Renee E. Bush, Winchester, Ky.
Face it: Baseball is a kids' game that provides them invaluable lessons for and about life while they are growing up, but adults should be engaged in putting those lessons into practice instead of trying to re-live, vicariously or otherwise, past glories. Rome had its gladiators; America has its grown men playing a child's game for the entertainment of masses of adults. In which of these was there more reality and less fantasy? - John Novotney, Prague, Czech Republic
I agree with Anne Morse's conclusion that children need their moms. But they also need their dads. I have to wonder why our Christian culture doesn't seem to have a problem with dads being away from the home for extended periods of time while on business. If Tarzan can do it, why not Jane? - Kevin Hale, Wheaton, Ill.
Ms. Morse is mistaken in the judgmental tone of her article. Her article is right in line with the Christian pop-culture mantra that "you're not a Christian family if your kids go to public school and the mother works." In fact, where I live, this idea is is talked about even among non-Christians. WORLD should resist such hysteria. This article made me feel ashamed as a working mother, but I also thought of my thankfulness to God that He has called me to provide care for my own children first, and then to other hurting families as a social worker. I would sincerely prefer to stay home, even at the expense of luxuries. However, in God's providential plan, this is not how my life has come about. - Julie Goesling, Bakersfield, Calif.
Living counts most
I disagreed with "Goin' to the chapel" (July 7). This summer I attended a Christian wedding where the bride and groom wrote their own vows; their promises of love and loyalty came from their hearts. But, the ceremony is not what counts. What really matters is the daily living out of the vows. - Abby Johnson, Powhatan, Va.
A difficult problem
Regarding Mr. Belz's June 16 column, "Society's debtors," it is unfair to stereotype incarcerated people as a "drag on society" before they were jailed. I, for one, have met a lot of inmates who were productive members of society before incarceration; they may be after. Mr. Belz is right that the issues are many and hard; the three inmates in the Federal Prison Camp with whom Mr. Belz spoke are definitely making a positive contribution. - Rickey Medlin, Oakdale, La.
I find it ironic that the same issue with a cover story called "The abolition of C.S. Lewis?" also updates the debate over the use of human embryos in medical experimentation ("Cloning to kill," June 16). In Lewis's book, The Abolition of Man, he explains that "man's power over nature turns out to be a power exercised by some men over other men with nature as its instrument." In That Hideous Strength, Lewis examines the depths of depravity such control will produce; the demon-possessed cadaver Alcasan is brought to life by "science" and presents a terrifying picture, devoid of humanity. Human embryos, cloned and designed for research, may not only result in children without parents but in beings without humanity. It is predictable that the process of debunking C.S. Lewis takes the same path he described in The Abolition of Man; that is, to take the heart out of his works. - Michael L. Westendorf, Piscataway, N.J.
What I like most about WORLD is that you don't straddle the fence; in each article it is Jesus or nothing. I like the Mailbag best. It just kills me the way you publish even the negative letters from displeased customers. I always read that section first and look for letters from offended readers. It's hilarious. - Jacqui Sloan, Gonzales, La.