Thank you to John Piper for providing a truthful response to the tsunami ("Mercy for the living," Jan. 15). The Chicago Tribune devoted a page of its paper several weeks ago to the responses of various clergy from various religions to this calamity. They left me empty. I wish they had asked for Mr. Piper's. After reading his article, I am now full of truth, understanding, and Scripture. But, most of all, I am full of repentance.
-Karen Blaauw; South Holland, Ill.
John Piper's column on the providence of God in the tsunami tragedy hits the mark. It's wonderful that WORLD turns to Pastor Piper when events call for us to understand God's sovereignty and our need to repent.
-Genie Ragin; Cumming, Ga.
I understand Mr. Piper's desire to find "design" in the pain. Yet, it is impossible to imagine God causing this torrent of suffering. I do not believe God would deliver a "call to repent" in the form of death and destruction.
-Ann Kohl; San Antonio, Texas
The most terrible tragedies on the planet are results of man's misuse of his free will. So man is terribly hypocritical to point his bloody fingers at God, accusing Him of injustice, while ignoring his own guilt and responsibility to stop the greatest tragedies on earth, such as abortion and the incredible suffering in Sudan.
-Eugene A. Brumbaugh; Silva, Mo.
That the earthquake "caused the very Earth to wobble on its axis, to lose a fraction of a second and to force global positioning satellites into recalibration" caused me to catch my breath and pause in awe ("Cataclysm," Jan. 15). But I would submit that it was the second-largest natural disaster in recorded history, after the Flood.
-Kathryn Hendrix; Knoxville, Tenn.
The "how could God allow this?" question implies an expectation that God should have prevented the bad thing from happening ("Shhhhh!" Jan. 15). Do we expect God to prevent every bad thing from happening? That would require God to destroy every sinner or to take away our free will. When so many people die in such a way, our sense of tragedy and injustice is so great. Yet the real tragedy is this: Yesterday, today, or tomorrow, we all must die, because we are all under that curse.
-Kevin Braun; West Chester, Pa.
It is not up to us to think that we have to know everything God allows. We need to make sure we know our own destiny through sins forgiven in Jesus Christ. Focused on Him daily, I can then respond to the tragedies.
-James Tozier; Dedham, Mass.
Stand and fight
Mr. Veith's column, "Our two towers" (Jan. 15), struck a resounding chord with this hobbit. It is rare these days to read anyone who has the courage to draw battle lines. Instead we speak of the "peaceful religion of Islam" and make every effort to "reach out across the aisle." Oh, for a leader like King Theoden who, after he was informed that he could not defeat his enemies through force of arms, did not step down the rhetoric, or seek for a pragmatic compromise, or speak of the next elections. Instead, he set his jaw like a flint and snarled, "but we shall meet them in battle nonetheless!"
-Robert McKinley; Greenville, S.C.
While watching The Return of the King at home, we noticed aspects of Tolkien's "allegory," especially when King-to-be Aragorn exhorts his army: "I bid you stand, men of the West!" We just love it.
-Alessandra Hernandez, 14; Alexandria, Va.
One has to wonder if Tolkien realized his Lord of the Rings characters Saruman and Sauron represented Western intellectual liberalism and totalitarianism. It is very curious that libertine left-wingers would embrace murderous Islamic-fascism, a marriage made in hell that is tantamount to a death wish. Our leftist friends better be careful what they wish for. They just might get it.
-Ron Mele; Pinson, Ala.
As a public-university student, I am exposed to the subtle wiles of contemporary Sarumans on a daily basis. Surprisingly, the greatest attack on Christianity comes not from blatantly liberal government professors nor evolutionary science classes. Nihilism is most rampant in lectures on literature, psychology, history, or any other discipline where Christians have let down their guard. After the miraculous destruction of Sauron, our victory over darkness will not be complete until we have scourged the Shire.
-Emmilee J. Peterson, 17; Spokane, Wash.
Wave upon wave
With about a million abortions in the United States each year and now more than 200,000 people killed in the tsunami, about every 10 weeks Americans abort enough babies to equal the number of tsunami victims. Thanks for reminding us of this bloody tidal wave of grief ("Two tidal waves," Jan. 15).
-Larry Bottemiller; Cottage Grove, Ore.
I was haunted by two numbers in the Jan. 15 issue: the tsunami death toll approaching 200,000 and the number of babies Planned Parenthood killed in 2003-244,628 ("Climate change"). The juxtaposition is amazing. The responses to these enormous losses of life are different, too: grief, sorrow, and relief aid from multitudes around the world versus a bloody knife that digs deeper still in its defense of "choice." The new year affords all of us the opportunity to come to the aid of those around the rim of the Indian Ocean and those still alive in the womb.
-Addie Rouse; Wake Forest, N.C.
I couldn't agree more that it is time for post-abortive women to get the word out. I am a leader with Healing Hearts Ministry, which ministers to women who have had abortions. Our vision is to see God raise up in churches across the nation leaders who have struggled with the sin of abortion to tell their stories. There is hope, and God is working to free post-abortive women from the shame and guilt that has kept them in bondage for so long.
-Kathy Larson; Rochester, Minn.
The passing of NFL star Reggie White at Christmas ("Sleeping giant," Jan. 15) left a hole in our holiday, especially for my husband and his brother, a respiratory therapist who is familiar with sleep apnea. He mentioned a simple and effective therapy, a breathing mask that blows air into the nostrils keeping the airway open. That leaves me with a nagging question: If the NFL had gone on the offensive, routinely testing all players for sleep apnea, might we still be hearing about the ministries of the "Minister of Defense"?
-Sarah M. Aldridge; Madison, Wis.
The phone number for John Sorenson at Evangelism Explosion International is (954) 491-6100 ("A tie that binds," Jan. 22, p. 6).
In Tolkien's The Two Towers, Saruman's agent in King Theoden's court is Grima Wormtongue ("Our two towers," Jan. 15, p. 31).
One of the co-stars of the movie In Good Company is Topher Grace ("Aiming higher," Jan. 22, p. 13).
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