Ray of hope
I read the Summer Books Issue, (July 3/10) as soon as it arrived, and it was right on! As a 16-year-old reading addict, I have been disappointed in my search for outstanding, well-written Christian fiction that isn't "geared mainly to entertainment, rather than reflection" or "written to sell, rather than to be a serious, complex work of Christian art." Hearing about some of the new authors on the market was a ray of hope. While I was disappointed that I am too young to enter your literature contest, I plan to continue honing my writing skills.
-Jessica Wallace; La Grange, Texas
Although I was disappointed that you couldn't supply me with a long list of wonderful authors I hadn't already tried, I appreciated both your analysis of the (mostly) trite and simplistic offerings of current Christian fiction and your leadership in creating the WORLDview Fiction Contest.
-Laura D. Brown; No. Scituate, R.I.
When I became a believer at age 35, in Christian fiction I found delightful tales full of love and adventure but salted with characters struggling and growing in their Christian faith. Conspicuously absent was the gratuitous violence, foul language, and cherished sin I had formerly devoured in mainstream novels and movies. I'm disturbed that Mr. Veith described the plots of the books I've read and enjoyed for a dozen years as predictable and preachy. My heartfelt conviction is that Christian fiction is alive, well, thriving, and feeding me richly.
-Elaine Neumeyer; Big Canoe, Ga.
Thank you for the interview with Bret Lott ("Blessed to be a blessing," July 3/10). I had seen his book, Jewel, at Barnes and Noble but was wary and didn't get it. Now I've checked it out of the library and am thoroughly enthralled. It is meaty and satisfying.
-Nancy C. Young; Phoenix, Ariz.
The majority of books I read come from your recommendations, including those from your best of the 20th century list ("The century's top 100 books," Dec. 4, 1999). Thanks for my ongoing education. I would never have heard of Whittaker Chambers's Witness but for you, and it is one of my all-time favorite books. On the other hand, The Education of Henry Adams, though perhaps important, bored me to sleep until I gave up on it.
-Barby Gifford; Lookout Mountain, Ga.
"Downsizing" (July 3/10) was very powerful. We are too easily captured by our culture when what is required of us is faithfulness to Christ our Master. -John M. Custis; Gresham, Ore.
I found the interview with Frank Schaeffer ("Fathers & sons," July 3/10) to be honest and insightful. However, I am somewhat mystified by his anger at congressional leaders whose children are not serving in the military. Is he suggesting that in order for congressional members to have credibility on the issue of war, they must order their children to enlist?
-Karen Rodgers; Charleston, W.Va.
We (parents of a soldier and in-laws of a soldier who was deployed in Iraq) empathize with Frank Schaeffer's feelings. My sense is that the experiences of us parents of today's troops and those of GIs in World War II are equally emotionally exhausting. I concur with Mr. Schaeffer that "the role faith played had nothing to do . . . with Orthodoxy . . . but to do with the absolute need for prayer and depending on grace." I have become much more of a praying woman because our son-in-law has been in Baghdad.
-Tina Thompson; Sugar Land, Texas
The expected deluge of pressure on Congress to stop same-sex "marriage" by passing the FMA has not materialized ("Marriage: 15 votes short," July 3/10) because many of us wonder whether the FMA will solve the problem, even if it can be passed. With high-profile leaders like James Dobson, Chuck Colson, and Tony Perkins calling for action for the FMA while others, like Mike Farris of Patrick Henry College ("Against the amendment," May 22), are arguing that the proposed cure will allow courts to establish same-sex "marriage" in everything but name, I am severely conflicted about what to do. As a result, I've done very little. Christian leaders need to come together around a highly principled, well-thought-out amendment so those of us in the trenches can get past our ambivalence and work vigorously for a robust constitutional amendment.
-Pat Hastings III; Lago Vista, Texas
The proposed FMA is too little, too late and detracts from focusing on the heart of the matter, which is that significant, influential segments in our nation and churches believe that there is nothing wrong with homosexuality.
-Jack Burhenne; Leroy, Ohio
HR 3313, the "Hostettler Bill," could be a part of a permanent solution to judicial tyranny. As you point out, a constitutional amendment is a long shot, given the current partisan gridlock. HR 3313 would prevent federal courts from hearing challenges to the Defense of Marriage Act. The bill invokes an explicit power of Congress to prevent judicial activism via Article III Section 2, which states that the Supreme Court has final appellate jurisdiction "with such Exceptions, and under such Regulations as the Congress shall make." Indeed, if this clause is not invoked from time to time, even the FMA itself remains open to judicial rewrite. HR 3313 would begin the process of restraining the courts in general as well as addressing the symptoms of bad decisions in one area.
-Mark Ramsey; Spring, Texas
Off and on
To describe Third Day as "grunge lean," whatever that means, is incredibly off the mark (Best-selling CDs, July 3/10). There is far more Allman Brothers than Seattle in Third Day, which is a pretty straight-up Southern Rock band with a few modern rock touches.
-David Forsmark; Flushing, Mich.
Thank you for doing a "best-selling CDs" chart of CCM and gospel music. It was interesting to see which are the most popular, though it was weird reading music reviews without an "objectionable material" section. I was especially pleased to see that Switchfoot's The Beautiful Letdown was on top, because that is my favorite band and CD.
-Faith Klett, 14; Tinton Falls, N.J.
Thank you for your biblical outlook on events that often seem so dark. My main response to current events used to be anger at the world's sin and corruption, but God has shown me that change will not always come as quickly as the young and impetuous would like. Instead, it will come in small ways: one soul at a time.
-Daniel F. Thornton, 16; Dumfries, Va.
Saved, after all
While Los Angeles relief pitcher Eric Gagne did give up two runs to blow a save and end his amazing streak of consecutive saves, the Dodgers ended up winning that game against Arizona 6-5, not losing as you reported ("Around the horn," July 17).
-Jeff Otterby; Wheaton, Ill.
Cracking the Da Vinci Code was written by Peter Jones and James L. Garlow ("Know nothings," July 3/10).