Joel Belz's Jan. 1/8 column was great ("Too close to the center line"). I agree that Mr. Bush has compromised as far as possible, if not too far. The "moral values" issue put him over the top in the last election; the reason we got out the vote was to see these values protected and enhanced, and we felt that Mr. Bush would do it. What a disappointment if he doesn't stand up for values. There may be repercussions for the GOP in future elections.
-Fred Manning; Chattanooga, Tenn.
I made a photocopy of "Too close to the center line" and I'm sending it to the president with a big "Me, too!" in the margin. This wonderful piece describes exactly how I feel.
-Roy D. Hall; Diboll, Texas
Your year-end issue had an advertisement for a $9,500 desk, yet simply turn the page and you are staring at a stark photo of a malnourished Sudanese toddler crying in a sandy slum ("Slow-motion genocide," Jan. 1/8). What a strange contrast. May God grant me the courage to be a faithful steward of my finances.
-Chris McCrea; Chesapeake, Va.
Great magazine, but we thought Pat Tillman's photo should have been twice as big as Christopher Reeve's ("Obituaries," Jan. 1/8).
-Linda G. Wilson; Woodbury, Ga.
"The ick factor" (Jan. 1/8) is pretty icky. I do not believe Andree Seu's opinions are biblical. I am very close to not renewing my subscription and encouraging others to do the same.
-Bill Yeakey Jr.; Tulsa, Okla.
I have been homeschooled in a conservative Christian environment all my life. This winter, after being a freshman at a state university, I happily told my friends and family about my new friends, including a person who was born male and is now a female and a lesbian. I was surprised to see shock and disgust on my friends' faces, yet this person has proved to be a good friend and a blessing to me, and I have had the chance to share my faith with her. Recently I asked why she was so kind to me. Her answer: "Because you don't treat me like some kind of freak."
-Kelley Muldoon; Petaluma, Calif.
I believe that Chattanooga newspaper reporter Mr. Pitts owes an apology to Sec. Rumsfeld and the soldiers he prompted to ask that question ("Too close for comfort," Dec. 25). But that was the right question to the wrong person. Mr. Rumsfeld has a budget forced on him by Congress, so Mr. Pitts should be asking that question in the faces of some of our senators.
-Carla Kliewer; Mountain View, Okla.
I have another suggestion regarding Marvin Olasky's proposal that, to ease the burden on Social Security, we should not retire until we really need it ("A resolution to work," Dec. 25). My proposal: a resolution to volunteer. Christians can lead the way in retiring and then volunteering at a Christian organization. Imagine what that would mean for Christian organizations and missions all over the world. My husband and I hope to volunteer on a Mercy Ship when he retires. I can't wait. I want him to retire before we are too old to help.
-Launi Metzler; Coatesville, Pa.
You noted that the German government predicted growth of 1.8 percent this year ("Indian summer," Dec. 25). However, news media here report that the government's figures are inflated, and that Germans are extremely worried about their economy and job market. Unemployment in Berlin hovers around 17 percent to 18 percent. A recent BBC documentary explained how both Germany and France have so loaded down their economies with regulations and labor laws that many companies simply cannot make a go of it. A series in a German publication enviously observed how Americans are still deeply religious and, as a result, maintain family values and a work ethic-as well as a high enough birthrate-to support the society and to ensure a growing economy.
-Lorna Clevenger; Berlin, Germany
According to "Flew the coop" (Dec. 25), the highly complex information system encoded in DNA has led the formerly atheistic philosopher Antony Flew to believe that there is a God who created the world. However, he rejects the Christian God because he can't believe in a God who would consign anybody to hell. I wouldn't love a God who consigns anybody to hell, either. I would hate him. I believe that the second death by fire for those who reject God's offer of salvation is a permanent state of oblivion.
-Hannelore G. Orrick; Paradise, Calif.
Clear the pews
I found "The dance" (Dec. 18) quite interesting. Some writers have suggested that the members of the Trinity relate to each other and to creation as a kind of dance. The Psalmist tells us to worship God with dancing, and a man after God's own heart "danced before the Lord with all his might." Dancing would provide an avenue for one to engage his whole self in worship. Maybe Christians ought to reevaluate our attitudes and perhaps tear out five or six front-row pews to leave room for reverent yet exuberant dancing.
-Nelson Banuchi; Glendale, N.Y.
Contra dancing is a great experience. Real dancing needs a place in society again. Thanks for showing me I'm not the only one.
-Cedar Stoltenow, 17; Great Bend, N.D.
"Lifetime giants" (Dec. 11) caught my eye because my father had been a doctor who served as a missionary. He was a giant in my eyes and, as I learned at his memorial, to many others. In rural New Mexico he set broken bones, delivered babies, stitched up wounds, and sometimes his only pay was a chicken or beans. In the Air Force Reserves in Vietnam, he used his time off to minister in villages. Later, serving in a small college town in the Rockies, he witnessed to a young Jewish hippie who today is leading a Messianic congregation. Dad went on to serve short term in Mexico, Central and South America. His service here as a humble family doctor was profound and has had an impact around the world.
-Jewel Smith; Dayton, Tenn.
Yes, we're doing things that might reduce the number of "Lifetime giants" from just a few to none at all. People have questioned why my daughter is going to South Africa for a second short-term missions trip instead of serving in the United States. What people don't seem to understand is that some are answering a call by God to spread the gospel.
-Donna Pheneger; Lake Wales, Fla.
A man who survived the tsunami by clinging to a jungle gym ("Mercy for the living," Jan. 15, p. 47) said, "I am left with an immense respect for the power of nature, and even more for the power of God."
The correct number for Evangelism Explosion ("A tie that binds," Jan. 22) is (954) 491-6100.
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