It is no surprise, regarding abortion safety, to find Oregon second in the "most dangerous states" category ("State of the states," Jan. 10). Here abortion is seen as a choice that we should respect. Sadly, our governor is unwilling to recognize its dangers. The bottom three states (Vermont, Oregon, and Hawaii) need to learn the harsh consequences of abortion and learn from the example of the most protective states. As Christians, especially in the most dangerous states, we need to let our elected officials know just how serious this issue is.
For the first time, I strongly disagree with Mr. Belz ("Stubborn unbelief," Jan. 10). While Mr. Belz is correct in pointing out that none of us, Jew or Christian, should think that God owes us, God's promise to Abraham was unconditional. Furthermore, God unconditionally promises to bring His people back to Israel and protect them. Israel continues to be central to God's plan for all of us, and despite hearts that may be far from Him, God continues to watch over Israel.
I found Joel Belz's column to be absolutely stunning. It was the most unbiased and "on target" commentary about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict that I have come across. If finding a solution were left to the Jewish and Palestinian people, instead of the governments, they would find one beneficial to both peoples.
-Frank W. Russell
Mr. Belz need not be puzzled that a Christian Zionist, such as I, believes "that the state of Israel is somehow still deserving of the promises" made to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. They are not deserving. But maybe soon, when all nations turn against them, they will look to the God of Abraham for mercy. God has brought them back to the land and He will yet be merciful to them.
New Bloomfield, Pa.
If I may allow Tolkien himself, from The Letters of J.R.R. Tolkien, to comment on Gene Edward Veith's comparison of the One Ring to the Ring of the Nibelungs: "Both rings were round, and there the resemblance ceases" ("The free folk vs. the Orcs," Jan. 10).
Andrew Coffin's recent review of the Sophia Coppola film Lost in Translation ("Translation problems," Jan. 10) was thoughtful and well-written, but I felt that his negative critique of Ms. Coppola's presentation of the motivations and roles of the characters is misguided. The struggle for authenticity in the film is about a lack of understanding of one's own motivations and purposes. For Ms. Coppola to clearly define the characters' reasons for their "angst," to "spell it out," would hamstring the story. We'll have to wait and see where Ms. Coppola goes from here. Hopefully she'll end up at the only hope for real authenticity, good motivation, and a holy purpose: the feet of our Savior.
-Josiah Q. Roe
Regarding Andree Seu's "The wide way" (Jan. 10): Well done. Thanks.
I thought the interview with Charles Murray was interesting ("Gaining ground," Jan. 10). I especially liked the question regarding the source of universal standards of beauty and excellence. I appreciate Mr. Murray's honesty.
Many thanks for the interviews with current important thinkers, culminating in the recent Charles Murray interview. They are instructive, informative, and help us broaden our understanding of the strengths and weaknesses of others.
I have found WORLD to be a reliable source of news from a Christian worldview, and I appreciate all the effort that goes into it. My ambition is to go into journalism after college, and WORLD would definitely be my first choice.
-Ginni Tamez, 13
Having lived in India for many years, and having met Drs. Deivanayagam and Jothimani in Bangalore in 2002, I was interested to read "Echoes of Christ" (Dec. 20). Although the father-daughter team is quite sincere, their finding traces of the gospel in the Ganesh story just doesn't work out. Because many versions of Hinduism are syncretistic, and Hindu-Christian encounters in south India go back nearly 2,000 years, it is natural that many Hindus would try to assimilate some Christian themes. This has continued up into modern times, with the Ramakrishna Mission writing pamphlets about "The Christ We Adore." But all it proves is that Hinduism is syncretistic-nothing more.
-Jonathan W. Rice
Colorado Springs, Colo.
The search for trinitarian imagery in ancient India is a poor way to go, but the underlying issue is provocative. Whether Thomas was ever there is not as important as realizing that some penetration occurred a long time ago. Because God's Word will not return void, we can be sure that spiritual "salt" has seasoned Indian culture for a long time. Thanks for alerting me to that, and for removing the scales of my Western Christian blindness.
The showdown between the Amish and the New York bureaucrats will be interesting to watch ("Window pain," Dec. 13). Both are radically committed to exactly what their laws say. Mr. Veith did a commendable job considering both sides of the issue at stake. Should the Amish render to Caesar? It is hard to know just where to yield and where to keep fighting.
-Abby Johnson, 17
A great mission statement, excellent reporting, and timely delivery (OK, you can't win them all-at least not to Hawaii), but wow, what great writing. Andree Seu often hurts my heart, Bob Jones hits hard, but today it's Gene Edward Veith in "Window pain" with his observation that "neither side is willing to give an inch and a half." I wish your magazine were an inch and half-I'd still read it through each week.
Ewa Beach, Hawaii
The Last Samurai ("Cruise control," Dec. 13) is a violent film, not for children or even, perhaps, young teens. However, there was an emphasis on high character, honor, courage in the face of fear, gentility, treating enemies with respect, and moral purity-at least within the Samurai culture. These virtues and other factors were pitted against a driving modernization force, which is the essence of the movie, and a very interesting message for today. Further, Tom Cruise's performance was one of his best.
The allusion to the American lexicographer in the Jan. 17 Blog Watch (p. 11) was to Noah Webster.
Returning Washington Redskins coach Joe Gibbs won NASCAR championships in 2000 with driver Bobby Labonte and in 2002 with Tony Stewart ("Hail to the Redskins," Jan. 24, p. 36).