Thank you to Joel Belz for straightening out our metaphors ("Shooting the 'wounded,'" June 15). I too have tired of hearing the accusation that "the church is the only army that shoots its wounded." It would be more accurate, I believe, to say that the church is the only army that honors its traitors and deserters. There are several examples of men who have failed morally yet remain in ministry. They and the church would be better served by humble, sorrowful, and restorative church discipline. - Richard Guisinger, Tucson, Ariz.
I commend Mr. Belz's stand on church discipline. This year I received discipline from our church leadership (sexual impurity was not the issue here-the tongue is a raging fire). A gentle, private rebuke did not restore me to fellowship and we left the church. Word of my complaints got back to our pastor and he, after much prayer, publicly rebuked me in an open letter. I was mortified and angry for a long time, but eventually confessed my sin to the Lord and apologized to my pastor. We have also returned to our church. I have since gone back and reread the letter of rebuke, and see in it the love and the Father heart of God. - Susan H. Price, Ocklawaha, Fla.
Our little secret
I wonder how many happily married men felt that Mr. Olasky was telling the world our little secret ("Marriage month," June 8). It was not our careful planning or good judgment that got us through our "hormonal" years but the protective hand of our loving Father. If not for His intervention and introduction of my wife into my life, I too would be among the saddest of men. The blessings of a Christ-centered marriage are beyond worldly measure. I hope I have passed that wisdom on to my children. - Rob Leiendecker, Northville, Mich.
It was disheartening to read about the pro-family groups who oppose the proposed Federal Marriage Amendment ("The marriage amendment: For better or for worse?" June 8). The Christian right has significant political clout but too often holds back from putting it to use because of a misplaced disdain for political compromise. If "words are wax," as Mr. Connor suggests, why does he try to do anything legislative? I believe that a constitutional amendment would almost surely be an impediment in the way of the other side and a benefit for ours. - Sam Dargan, Florence, S.C.
For a Dopey Award, honoring America's miseducators, I nominate the people of the Harrisburg (Pa.) Area Community College, who are fawning over newly elected student body president Alberta Hamm, a 61-year-old transsexual ("Dopey awards," June 1). As an alumni of HACC, I found the gushing story about Mr. Hamm in the local newspaper bitterly amusing. - Paul Hair, Dillsburg, Pa.
As a product of a broken home in the 1960s, I am well aware of what the lack of a father in the home does to a young man ("Welfare gifts," June 15). The absence of a male presence in my home allowed me to run roughshod over my mother. Occasionally she would "rise up" (that's hard when you're only 5'2") and discipline me, but it went in one ear and out the other. I became an angry and sometimes violent young man. Thankfully, God provided a high-school teacher who took me under his wing, set up some moral fences in my life, and provided me with a healthy role model. I am still a "work in progress," but by God's grace I feel assured that I am a better example of a father for my three teenage children. - Craig Doty, San Diego, Calif.
I appreciate Joel Belz's reporting on the debate between Cal Thomas and myself ("Fine-tuning the nuances," June 8). I want to correct one minor error, however. Mr. Belz quoted me as saying that Focus on the Family "spends only 5 percent of its annual budget on political action." I believe I said we spend that much money on lobbying activities. As a nonprofit, 501(c)(3) organization, Focus is barred from spending any money at all on partisan political activity. - Tom Minnery, V.P., Public Policy, Focus on the Family, Colorado Springs, Co.
Regardless of U.S. Postal Service delays, ("Logs in the stream," June 1), I always find your content timely and thought-provoking from cover to cover. Keep rowing. - Frank E. Cook Jr., Bartlett, Tenn.
I do not always agree completely with any of WORLD's columns, but they always help me to have a better Christian view of the world around us, prompting me to figure out why and in what way I believe a bit differently. Thank you in particular for Andree Seu's columns. They are like a conversation with a good friend, even when I want to argue a point. I almost want to frame "Death by detail" (June 1) and hang it above my very own archaeological oddity with a desk underneath. - Mary Lou Brown, Otego, N.Y.
When I first got your magazine I wasn't very happy. It seemed thin and didn't cover the world like another weekly newsmagazine I was subscribing to at the time. Then the tragic events of 9/11 occurred. I realized that WORLD's perspective was invaluable, something like the difference between wisdom and knowledge. Thanks and God bless. - Jerry Peach, Fowlerville, Mich.
Reread and weep
Joel Belz's column about men "filling in the gap" for "lost boys" deeply moved me ("Step in for the missing man," May 18). Unable to have biological children, my husband and I were foster parents to three young boys. Despite some troubling years, I am glad that we gave 14 years of our lives to two boys and five to another. Maybe we should all reread James 1:27 with renewed vigor and determination to make a difference in a world of darkness. Thank you, Mr. Belz, for speaking out in a culture that is obsessed with itself, while all too often the church also becomes obsessed with itself. - Debbie Ball, Asheville, N.C.
Orchids to Stu Epperson for his call to "step in for the missing man" (May 18). After their father was killed, I tried in vain to encourage the men in our church to show some interest in my young sons, then 11 and 13. I even went to a board meeting, resulting in one Saturday-afternoon fishing trip. If I had asked for a check, without a doubt I would have received it. By God's grace, one is now a pastor and the other a carpenter. - Grace Smith, Zeeland, Md.
"Orphaned again" (June 22) focused on 32 families trapped by the Immigration and Naturalization Service's freeze on Cambodian adoptions, but more than 300 families in all have been frustrated by the shutdown. Some prospective parents saw photos of potential adoptees on the Internet-generally not a good way to proceed, because children thus displayed may be unadoptable or dead-but many worked through reputable agencies. HIV-positive Cambodian children have not been slated for adoption. Fees of $15,000 or more paid for an international adoption include air travel, hotel, translation fees for documents, and $1,000 for INS fees; about half of the fees typically remain in the United States to pay for U.S.-based adoption agency employees and overhead. The portion of the fee sent overseas is typically the only source of financial support for children remaining in packed orphanages, in a country where government support is limited to $4 a month per child, and private orphanages receive no governmental aid. (Legally, abandoned children are generally classified as orphans.)
The 18 American soldiers killed in Mogadishu, Somalia, in Oct., 1993, were Delta Force and U.S. Army Rangers (June 15, p. 63).