In all my 51 years, I have never been affected by a magazine cover as I was when I pulled your Oct. 6 edition out of the pile of mail. The subtlety, the truth, and the impact of this image made me catch my breath and put an instant knot in my stomach. I was not disappointed in the featured article, either. - Karen Sommer, Wadsworth, Ohio
Thanks for "Governor of all" (Oct. 6). I have received such a blessing from studying the verses used to express how, in everything, God works in our lives to bring glory to Himself. - Adrienne McLaughlin, Sarasota, Fla.
Things could have been much, much worse. God allowed this assault, but we have seen God's mercy in the wake of the attacks. Could it be that for the sake of those in America who love God, He spared this country greater harm? The attack on our country has not crushed us, but instead it has prompted this seemingly frivolous nation to sober up fast and take stock of what really matters. Overnight, the values of countless Americans have changed. Many have turned to God. We must pray and work to make these changes permanent. The very instrument with which they tried to destroy our nation and our faith has (by God's grace) reminded us how precious is that faith and the freedoms that were built upon it. - Mary Marshall Young, Bristol, Tenn.
The left is screaming "censorship" since FedEx and Sears voluntarily quit sponsoring Bill Mahr's Politically Incorrect ("Bill marred," Oct. 6). So what do those on the political left call efforts to get sponsors to quit supporting Dr. Laura's radio program because of her anti-homosexuality comments? Can you say, "double standard"? - Tony Hudson, Wartburg, Tenn.
Offering what's ours
"A faith of peace" by Joel Belz poses a very good question and makes one wonder why Islam is the fastest growing religion in America (Oct. 6). Man has an innate spiritual hunger and a desire for moral limits. Sadly, modern Christianity, for the most part, no longer offers solutions for either. Some of the mainline denominations debate the very existence of God and deny His Word, while there is too often moral laxity even in the conservative camps. To so many people, Islam offers what we have abandoned. - Allen Brooks, Sheridan, Wyo.
Myth of peace
"A faith of peace" was exactly right. Islam needs to be held accountable for the myth of "peace" and the mountain of hate it has been teaching for the past 1,400 years. - Jim Romaine, Columbia, S.C.
Let's do lunch
I applaud Marvin Olasky for "Ethnic profile" (Oct. 6). I loved it so much it made me cry. Hamid Andalib's story was so inspiring and uplifting. His life is what the American dream is all about. I am a homemaker, and my hope is that my children will always appreciate America. If I am ever in Chattanooga, I will want to eat at Mr. Andalib's restaurant and shake his hand. God bless him and his family. - Amy Wende, Flower Mound, Texas
Clarifying the call
Your opening and closing columns by Joel Belz and Marvin Olasky were profound. Mr. Belz clearly articulates newsworthy distinctions between Christian faith and Islam, distinctions that most of the American media (and politicians) attempt to blur. Mr. Olasky's profile of Hamid Andalib helps us understand that the gospel is meant for people of every tribe and tongue. As Christians, we should be reminded that while our duties to our earthly kingdom-the United States-may require us to fight a war against Islamic regimes, our call in the spiritual kingdom is to continue to reach the people under those regimes with the true faith of peace, the gospel of Jesus Christ. - Drew Thompson, Roswell, Ga.
The picture of Mary Ortele on the Sept. 29 cover was deeply troubling and illustrates the grief of those who suffered loss on Sept. 11. But I also see in the picture the sweetness of memories of two people in love. It is a consolation to know that the only way to take sorrow out of death is to take love out of life; no one should be willing to pay such a high price to spare themselves sorrow. Ms. Ortele's grief makes each of us more aware of how temporary life on this earth is. We were touring the White House on Sept. 11. We count our blessings each day. - Grant Ipsen, Boise, Idaho
The cover of the Sept. 29 issue was a terrific picture; so candid, so representative of our grief, and yet so poignant. This dear lady has been cried out and all that is left is the wretched look on her face. - Ralph E. Thomas, Canton, Ohio
Lacking the lingo
"Feel lucky?" in the Sept. 29 issue expressed my reaction to the events of Sept. 11. I suggest there are three possibilities for our perceived lack of a "religious" vocabulary. First, perhaps the mainstream media conveniently omitted references to Almighty God. Second, perhaps people do think about God in religious terms, but have been conditioned into thinking that it is inappropriate to use such language in public. Of course, it is also possible that we as a nation have had our hearts hardened and God has left us to our natural inclinations. If so, maybe through this tragedy God will call Americans back to Him. - Alan P. Friz, Huntingburg, Ind.
Contrary to your opinion, I feel Jerry Falwell's timing was right ("Will unity last?" Sept. 29). Jeremiah, when Israel was lamenting the painful fall of Jerusalem, said that the Lord has "fulfilled His word ... He has caused an enemy to rejoice over you." He did not wait until the grieving was over. Are we more concerned about our pain or about our sin, which is an abomination before God? I fear our cry to God could be a last resort instead of a first resource. - John Larson, Huntsville, Texas
I kept watching my mailbox, and finally it arrived. I was not disappointed. Your Sept. 22 Special Report, "9/11," is another keeper. Clear, concise, and to the point from cover to cover. - Joe LoGiudice, Lakewood, Calif.
A month later
A month has passed. Jolted by horror and apprehensive of what may be still to come, I hold onto the wisdom of St. Francis de Sales: "The same everlasting Father who cares for you today will take care of you tomorrow and every day. Either He will shield you from suffering, or He will give you unfailing strength to bear it." So, then, I do not understand, but I trust that since God did not shield us from this suffering, He will give us strength to bear it, strength to help those who suffer more than we do, and strength to continue to live our lives. The presence of evil in this world does not confirm that God is unloving or powerless. It just proves how much we need Him. - Laura A. Hulce, Holland, Mich.
Thank you for "Loving our enemies" (Sept. 22). I have shared it with several people and believe it is an excellent description of personal forgiveness walking hand-in-hand with public justice. A young friend of mine recently asked if it was OK to support America's attempt to wipe out terrorism because she knew the Bible says to "turn the other cheek." I was excited to be able to give her the column as an explanation. - Lee Ann Brookens, Colorado Springs, Colo.
This evil attack was not just aimed at innocent civilians, but at the heart of our country. We are wounded and hurting, but I do not believe God is finished using the USA. He has allowed us to exist despite our many sins. Perhaps this will help us to reflect and repent. We need now to pray for wisdom and seek justice. Please pray that God's will be done and that He will indeed "Bless America." - John A. Rager, Van Wert, Ohio
Our president has taken up our cause in a way that should make every American proud ("War in the shadows," Oct. 6). He is unwavering in championing our cause and, in the process, giving us a portion of his courage and confidence. We owe our gratitude to his cabinet as well. They are showing us their mettle as men placed in office for such a time as this. Congress should also be applauded for laying aside most of their differences and standing in support of the president. In attacking American principles and the support we give to Israel, the Osama bin Ladens of the world will find out that we are a formidable opponent. May we not lose our collective will to crush this evil, and at the same time, possibly liberate peoples far away with the same desire for freedom. - Peggy Kelley, Sodus, N.Y.