Shortly after scanning Andree Seu's column on Chicago, I saw it with some friends. What a big mistake. The movie should be rated R. The sexual innuendos, the language, and the whole storyline is not one that guides a believer to live a life that is holy and acceptable. - Wendy Lee Courtright, Houston, Texas
This title, that title
As a law-school librarian, I am extremely disappointed in the unprofessional behavior of the periodicals librarian Joel Belz met at his local state university ("Getting shelved," Feb. 22). Any librarian worth his or her salt should be able to produce a copy of the collection development policy and defend it, if necessary. Periodicals are extremely expensive and complicated for libraries to manage. Even for a gift subscription, staff must check in each issue, find space for it, have back issues bound or replaced by microfilm, and so on. As a Christian librarian, I cringe reading accounts in my professional literature of well-meaning but misguided brothers and sisters who storm the gates of libraries across the country demanding that this title be removed or that title be added. To be effective, WORLD readers should consult their library's collection development policy and follow that up with a polite, reasoned argument to show how WORLD fits those criteria. - Phyllis Post, Columbus, Ohio
WORLD doesn't meet the political-correctness standards of the local agent for the American Library Association? There really is a place for WORLD up on the shelf with Mother Jones, The Nation, The New Republic, and other magazines. I look forward to seeing the exacting standards those journals meet that WORLD, evidently, does not (and I pray you never do!). In the meantime, my back issues of WORLD will still wind up in doctors' waiting rooms and employee break areas. - Brad O'Brien, San Antonio, Texas
What God wants
Thanks so much for your recent article about the political and religious situation in Tamil Nadu, India ("Rise up and roar," Feb. 22). My daughter and I visited the Hindustan Bible Institute in Chennai with a team of evangelical Christians from South Carolina last November just after the anti-conversion ordinance was passed. When I asked Christian child-care workers and orphanage house parents if they worried about the law, they just shrugged, "No, we will do what God wants us to do." Some of the newer and less seasoned Christians in Chennai were, understandably, a bit worried. A few Christian families in Chennai had been asked by their landlords to vacate their homes. Despite concerns, New Calvary Church in Chennai sponsored an outreach to start new evangelical churches in the southeast sector of the city, and one started up soon after we left. - Pamela N. Sakovich, Columbia, S.C.
I can't speak for all, but I can say how many of us soldiers here in Kuwait feel: Send us to do the job and then send us home ("Watch & wait," Feb. 22). We understand the dire need for action all too well. We continually train on chemical warfare because we know Saddam has the capabilities and will use them. We understand that he is a tyrant and an evil dictator. Concerning our commander in chief, the media seem to be against him and portray a nation that wavers in its support of the president. Soldiers swear allegiance to our nation and our president, but our support runs deeper than that oath. I and many others watched as George W. Bush choked up when speaking with the family members of the soldiers who gave their lives in Afghanistan. During the State of the Union address, we packed a tent at 0500 hours to hear our leader. He touched our hearts when he looked at the camera and spoke directly to us. Let it be known throughout the United States that soldiers awaiting battle will follow their president. We desperately want to do what we came to do, and we desperately want to get back to those we love. We are ready. Send us! - Cpl. Bryce D. Mitchell, Third Infantry Division, Camp New Jersey, Kuwait
On any brink
In his review of Gods and Generals ("Onward, Christian soldiers," Feb. 22), Mr. Veith asks rhetorically: "And if both sides could boast such honorable men and such devout Christians ... why were they slaughtering each other?" Abraham Lincoln, who "comes off poorly" in this movie, spoke with unparalleled eloquence to this question in his second inaugural address. "The prayers of both could not be answered. That of neither has been answered fully," he said. And he suggested that God allowed the war as a providential judgment upon a nation that had sanctioned and practiced a peculiarly evil institution. The Civil War reminds us that religious certitude alone secures neither justice nor victory-something worth keeping in mind on the brink of any armed conflict. - Jack Wyman, Dallas, Texas
Great review of Gods and Generals. I appreciated Ron Maxwell's portrayal and accurate depiction of the characters. Thanks to Mr. Veith for his concern for relevant cultural issues. - Sarah Bowman, Cedarville, Ohio
As a Christian and a black person, I found your review of Gods and Generals disappointing. Of course Mr. Turner was bashing Christianity. What better way to do it than to portray a Christian general who reads the Bible and then goes out to kill to defend a pathetically un-Christian institution? You say that "slavery, in this film, is not the issue." That doesn't change history. - Shina Amachigh, Round Rock, Texas
Learn to laugh
Thank you for your musings on Chicago ("The only Christian way?" Feb. 22). My wife and I went out on a limb with Andree and thoroughly enjoyed ourselves. The entire cast was laughingly despicable. It was a glitzy farce, and I loved it. We evangelicals will condemn this movie, but maybe we should learn to take a joke and laugh once in a while. - Jim Urish, Colorado Springs, Colo.
Thanks for Andree Seu's venture into the discussion about if and why Christians should enjoy movies. Let's be honest. We want movies to entertain us, divert us, or give us something to think about. Scripture does not forbid that. But if we really care about secular culture, we learn about it by volunteering in crisis centers or by taking a personal interest in a widening circle of acquaintances. - Lane Walker, Manchester, Mo.
I agree with the statement that "I don't go to brothels to understand prostitution." For goodness sake, how many times do we need to watch sin being portrayed to "understand our culture"? - Betty Nelson, Riverside, Ill.
Most of my neighbors don't go to brothels, but they do go to movies. As Jesus trafficked with the sorts of people He did 2,000 years ago, I think He would traffick at the movie house today. No doubt rich conversation and new parables would follow. - Jim Darin, Stone Mountain, Ga.
Andree Seu makes some great points, but when she elaborates on the graphic script of Chicago and says she "just described the Bible," she makes a wrong turn. The Bible's depictions of sex and violence, while to the point, are nothing like the lurid narration of many novels, and do not leave vivid visual impressions lingering in people's minds like film. - Cheryl Hemphill, Westminster, Colo.
As a struggling young artist asking the very same questions as Andree Seu, I too have enjoyed Franky Schaeffer's helpful words about the place of art in the Christian life. But it was the elder Schaeffer who explained that, for the Christian artist, hope should indeed follow any material about the fallen world, but that need not happen in a single work. The artist finds his identity and purpose in the work done over a lifetime. I liked the movie as well. It is so shockingly nihilistic. I don't think anyone leaves the theater wanting to be like those people-sing or dance like them, maybe, but not be like them. - Jessica Taylor, Austin, Texas
As a novelist who is Christian, I still wrestle with the question, How should I then write? I try to portray my characters warts and all, but this often attracts slings and arrows claiming the Christianity is "tacked on." In the end, the worldview makes the difference. The Christian clings to Jesus Christ, knowing he is lost otherwise, while the secular humanist asks, "What's to forgive?" - Frank Simon, Plano, Texas