How about extending the Hugh Hewitt's "open source journalism" principle ("Year of the blog," Dec. 4) to academia? With mainstream academia growing increasingly loopy, we can use the New Media, such as blogs, to allow amateur students of the arts and sciences, especially among homeschooling families, to network their contributions. If amateur journalists can step on the toes of the professional media, why can't amateur scholars share their observations outside the peer-reviewed hegemony of the ivory tower?
-Jay Ryan; Cleveland, Ohio
Our grandkids know that when it comes to a discussion about the usefulness of computers, Grandpa's "harrumph" is not far behind. Now you've gone and taken the wind out of his sails by this excellent article. Long may the freedom of the blogosphere wave.
-Nancy Richter; Kingsdown, Kan.
I am outraged to hear that the Salvation Army, an organization that provides at this time of year relief to so many needy Americans, has been disinvited from soliciting funds outside of Target stores ("Bell curve," Dec. 4). Thanks to Wal-Mart for continuing to allow solicitation at their stores. They will be getting my future business.
-Jon Isaac; Atlanta, Ga.
The seemingly sad and desperate story of the Salvation Army's struggle to place bell-ringers did not mention that in early 2004 the organization received a $1.5 billion gift from Joan Kroc, the widow of McDonald's founder Ray Kroc, one of the largest charitable gifts on record. I work with a Christian organization that places and supports missionaries worldwide; if donations were down for us I would hope in those circumstances that we would still be singing the praises of God's ample provision.
-Doug Pruiett; Sandy Hook, Va.
Gene Edward Veith asks, "Are Americans stupid?" (Dec. 4). Absolutely. If we Christians possessed even a wee bit of the intelligence that Mr. Veith believes we do, we would have long ago turned away from the Republicans and devoted our political energies toward establishing a viable party based on God-honoring principles.
-C. Michael Holloway; Yorktown, Va.
Mr. Veith reminded me of a comedian in the '50s who quipped that a liberal is someone who has been educated beyond his capacity. After 50 years, I find it more accurate today than ever.
-Betty Harrington; Brookhaven, Miss.
Andree Seu writes that it is "simple people who obey the Bible because they don't realize how complicated it is" ("Simple faith," Dec. 4). The more I considered that, the more overwhelmed with gratitude I became for the faithful service of godly housewives who teach the Scriptures in our weekly Bible studies. I am grateful also that the Holy Spirit empowers us simple-minded folk to read, understand, and obey the Scriptures, and that theology floods the many hymns we have memorized so that His "complicated" Word can be recalled and depended on at a moment's notice.
-Shirley Windham; Madison, Miss.
What excellent insight by Andree Seu in recognizing that gnosticism is not a "dead church issue." As one writer observed, the church created the professional theologian, who read the Bible as if it were a "crib sheet for speculative questions." Steve Schlissel added that "the Bible is only on occasion written to pastoral people; mainly it is written to the man on the street. We have interposed a class of people between the two."
-Pete Andreas; Pella, Iowa
Joel Belz argues that we should let the market work in education ("Ownership in education?" Dec. 4). That works well where parents care about their children's education, especially among Christians and affluent groups. But some parents don't care about their children at all, much less about their education. We have seen parents pull their kid out of my wife's district to send them to one that is almost bankrupt and is currently under state and federal investigation for mismanagement. As believers, we need to care not only about the education of our own children, but also about the education of those children whose parents don't care.
-Steve Brown; Dallas, Texas
I'm all for school choice, but today's public schools are saddled with students who are handicapped by lack of parental involvement. Also, the school systems are required to provide an education for students no matter how disruptive they may be. School choice, as wonderful as it may be, would skim the cream from the public-school system and leave behind a ghetto.
-Judith Weber; Houston, Texas
As a member of the State Central Committee of the Republican Party in Louisiana and a voter in Congressional District 3, I believe that your assessment of the race was very accurate ("As Louisiana goes . . . ," Dec. 4). The Republican Party's early endorsement for Mr. Tauzin split the party activists. Had Mr. Tauzin not attacked his fellow Republican in the primary, we likely would have had a run-off with two Republicans and a sure win for the party. A negative campaign produced only a 15 percent turnout and neither candidate inspired the conservative base. Mudslinging does not motivate the electorate; candidates of character do.
-Kathryn Goppelt; Gonzales, La.
Happy and sad
I read your less than complimentary review of Christmas with the Kranks and almost passed on it ("Unhappy holiday," Dec. 4). Fortunately, my husband and friends talked me into going, and we saw one of the funniest, most delightful movies we've seen in a long time.
-Jane J. Smith; Kirkwood, Mo.
Mr. Coffin's review of National Treasure was so sad ("Guilty Treasure," Dec. 4). It was such a fun movie and it was so refreshing to see an incredibly positive view of our history.
-Carrie Kimball; Shreveport, La.
Your story on Princeton philosopher Peter Singer was just another example of how low man can sink when he attempts to live a life apart from the wisdom of God ("Blue-State philosopher," Nov. 27). It is ironic that the horrific legacy of the Holocaust, which took the lives of Mr. Singer's grandparents, has not tempered his belief that a human life is worth only what man, not God, arbitrarily determines it to be. We can only hope that Mr. Singer may finally conclude that a philosophy that leaves God out of the discussion really is "intellectual child's play."
-Robert L. Gray; Bellingham, Wash.
I took issue with Carla Barnhill's suggestion that we mothers are so absorbed serving our families that we fail to serve the larger kingdom of God ("Multifaceted moms," Nov. 27). I think mothers witness to the larger kingdom every day by the way we interact with our children in the grocery store, the library, and the mall.
-Laura Weimer; La Verne, Calif.
Paul's traveling companion in Acts 13-15 was Barnabas ("How early Christians lived," Dec. 11, p. 41).
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