Congratulations on the 2003 special year-end issue of WORLD (Dec. 27/Jan. 3). The photos and text were synchronized in such a fashion that it made for a good read in the midst of getting ready for a large New Year's Eve gathering at our home. With many of us wrapped in busyness at this time of the year, you made this issue of WORLD so enticing that I had to stop and take a much needed break. Thanks, I needed that. - Judy Soine, Negaunee, Mich.
In response to the statement that Hava Rexha, the Albanian woman who died at age 123 on Nov. 8, "would have been the oldest person ever documented," you mean the oldest ever documented by the Guinness Book of World Records. God through Moses documented for us several thousand years ago that Methuselah lived to 969 years, beating Mrs. Rexha by about 846 years. - Art Bergquist, San Marcos, Calif.
I was disappointed to notice one glaring omission from your list of obituaries: surgeon Paul Brand. He wrote an award-winning book with Philip Yancey on pain and while working in India made great advances in the treatment of leprosy. Otherwise, another excellent end-of-the-year summary. - Jean Opelt, De Pere, Wis.
Right on the dots
Andree Seu's insight into the political correctness of the mainstream press was powerful, right-on, and provocative ("Connecting the dots," Dec. 27/Jan. 3): powerful in explaining the intramural battles within the gay movement; right-on in exposing the hypocritical timidity of mainstream media; and provocative in raising the next question: What part do the media play in defining that movable target of political correctness? And this delightful cake is once again iced with some of the best writing in the business. - Jeff Talley, Marietta, Ga.
I am amazed again and again at how much hype Christians are making about The Lord of the Rings, as though it were a gospel allegory. Sure the trilogy has clear ideas of right and wrong, but I find it difficult to reconcile Deuteronomy's warning against witchcraft with portraying a "Christ figure" as a wizard, and so forth. - Michael LeFebvre, Airdrie, Scotland
Sometimes we do not realize how much God is watching over us until we escape danger in our path. While driving on Interstate 270 south of Columbus over Thanksgiving, we drove past the car that was the target of the sniper; the ambulance was already there. "Columbus copycat?" (Dec. 13) brought back memories and made me realize that our van could have been a target on Nov. 25. - Kelsey A. Rollet, Vergennes, Vt.
After the approval of Gene Robinson, I decided to leave the Episcopal Church. My minister at that time was unable to inform me as to when all this madness would end and was uninformative about why these things were taking place. What if our enlightened, liberal hierarchy decided to appoint a transvestite to a pastoral position? It could happen at any given time. - Bill Michaels Jr., Indianapolis, Ind.
In your Sports section (Dec. 27/Jan. 3), it would have been nice to see a little coverage of Sports Illustrated naming David Robinson and Tim Duncan "Sportsmen of the Year." The rare occasion of nice guys finishing first and actually being recognized for it merits a mention, especially with David Robinson's strong Christian witness. - Debbie Lundberg, Tyler, Texas
Reflecting back on the ECUSA's performance in affirming their gay bishop, one can see "Bishop" Gene Robinson's utter selfishness and complete lack of concern for the greater good of his church in insisting on his right to the office while focusing primarily on his "right" to copulate with someone of the same sex (Religion, Dec. 27/Jan. 3). At the same time, he was self-righteously seeking to redefine the pure doctrine of the Christian faith to justify his philosophy. He gets my vote as the most obnoxious individual in 2003. - Dave Shaver, Arcadia, Calif.
Andree Seu correctly points out the compartmentalization in the thinking of mainstream journalism. How else can we explain the anger directed at the Catholic Church because some homosexual priests molested young boys while at the same time displaying anger toward the Boy Scouts for refusing to allow homosexuals to be placed as Scoutmasters in charge of young boys? - Carl Kellogg, Ada, Mich.
In the photo accompanying "The war after the war" (Dec. 27/Jan. 3), the "Mission Accomplished" banner was not placed on the USS Abraham Lincoln by the Bush administration. It was placed by order of the ship's commanding officer and was directed at the ship's crew and the air wing who had accomplished their mission, a 10-month deployment. - Anthony Gilbert, Fort Worth, Texas
Thank you so much for "The royal treatment" (Dec. 20). As a Tolkien fan and a Christian I really enjoyed it. It is so sad that the moviemakers don't even realize who gave Tolkien his talents. - Beth Hagensen, 12, Beaver Falls, Pa.
Richard Reid, the so-called shoe bomber, tried to bring down American Airlines flight 63 ("Welcome to America," Jan. 17, p. 14).