I agree with WORLD's critique that pumping more aid or canceling the debt of African nations will do little to help the millions of people dying of hunger, malnutrition, and the pandemic of AIDS ("Cause célèbre," June 25). Mr. Thornbury of the Kairos Journal points to the need for "spiritual transformation," and this is moving in the right direction, but it must be accompanied by a biblical worldview. Many of the people in Africa already profess Christ, yet an animistic worldview is a major barrier to the development process.
-Darrow L. Miller, Phoenix, Ariz.
The efforts to eradicate global poverty by "powerful names in Christendom" and "music moguls" are short-term and treat only symptoms. Root causes of poverty are successfully being attacked through legal reform steps advocated by Hernando De Soto of the Institute for Liberty and Democracy. These include establishment of the rule of law so the poor can bring their (surprisingly considerable) assets inside the formal economy, thereby reducing poverty, corruption, and black markets while increasing government revenues.
-John Pryor; Bakersfield, Calif.
I am very disappointed in your position toward the ONE campaign and canceling the debts of poor nations. If this campaign is going to bring awareness to a huge poverty problem, then I can't imagine why any Christian would have anything against this.
-Paul Maurer; Pensacola, Fla.
Congratulations to WORLD for highlighting the truth about these debt-forgiveness initiatives. Having lived in various Third World countries for over 15 years, I know it doesn't work. I have seen hospitals half-completed, abandoned after funds were mismanaged (stolen more likely). Ultimately, it's the poor who suffer, while corrupt politicians get rich off the generosity of well-intentioned individuals.
-Josue Sierra; Colorado Springs, Colo.
Just as I was pondering the wealth of Africa that resides in Swiss bank accounts, Mindy Belz gave me many more points to ponder on this ill-conceived bit of do-goodery. Especially relevant is the comparison of the amount and effectiveness of private donations to the amount and ineffectiveness of public donations.
-Judith Weber; Houston, Texas
In my ministry to students at Indiana University, I am daily shocked at the ill-conceived and unbiblical worldviews held even by the evangelicals on campus ("A nation of deists," June 25). Christians taught in public universities are experiencing the systematic erosion of their faith and, worse, they seem numb to it. Deism is the Novocain of the university culture. Christian students are soothed by the "presence" of God even as they are spitted on the moral fork of a tolerance that is intolerant of their faith.
-Jon Smith; Bloomington, Ind.
To "A nation of deists" I say a huge "Amen!" From Christian pulpits to Christian counseling, we've seen evidence of this dangerous Moralistic Therapeutic Deism. We all should re-evaluate our witness to make sure we're filtering it through the Bible, not a feel-good religion.
-Bradley Mattes; Cincinnati, Ohio
In "Trade winds" (June 25), Timothy Lamer didn't mention one important reason why conservatives should oppose CAFTA: It would submit the United States to a United Nations tribunal. While the economics may look good, the politics look really bad.
-Jeff Tyberg; Grantsburg, Wis.
As a graduate of Baylor University, the controversy over whether or not to hire faculty who confess Christ grieves me ("Waco warning," June 25). The university has operated on the fence in spiritual matters for a long time; these recent events have only brought to the surface what has been brewing for many years. May God in His mercy preserve the young hearts and minds who grace the campus.
-Lee Desmond; Lindale, Texas
Thanks for the "Waco warning." Former provost David Jeffrey is right; the Bible must be authoritative in a Baptist institution of higher learning.
-Paul W. Stephens; Austin, Texas
Although the autopsy offers helpful analysis of Terri Schiavo's physical condition, it cannot resolve the deeper issues (The Buzz, June 25). It would be deception to use an autopsy to justify the intentional death by dehydration of a brain-damaged person. Mrs. Schiavo was not a dying person; she was a dependent one. As a society, we must continue to explore questions about our moral and civic duties as caregivers for the incapacitated, and how we determine whether a life is viable and worth defending.
-Steven W. Cornell; Millersville, Pa.
I consider myself privileged to be a "fanatic" ("Joyful fanatics," June 25). This sinful world makes it easy to become discouraged when we are constantly bombarded. Thank you for helping us keep our proper perspective by keeping our eyes upon Him.
-Delia Thibodeau; Buckeye, Ariz.
A bit miffed
I have enjoyed and profited from your perspective but was a bit miffed after reading "Respectful silence" (June 25). The principal in this school, who suspended a student for refusing to answer a test question, is an excellent administrator. I have been privileged to work under her as a substitute teacher and have seen her handle difficult discipline situations.
-JoAnn Macan; Hoquiam, Wash.
Given your ridicule of Audioslave as the "usual inarticulate confusion and alienation of the perennially adolescent" whose "music is aging even faster than its practitioners' tattoos," I would like to see a little more venom in the review of Honkytonk University's frat-party-evoking cover, title, and songs (Bestselling CDs, June 25). If Audioslave's dealing with problems and serious spiritual issues makes them "adolescent," what is Toby Keith?
-Micah Tillman; Rising Sun, Md.
I bought the new Jars of Clay CD after reading Gene Edward Veith's review ("Timeless treasures," June 18). It is wonderful and I appreciate knowing about it. There is a richness to the old hymns, and I sincerely hope Jars of Clay is able to start a new trend in church music. Some of the current church music doesn't seem very rich in theology (like some of our modern-day preaching). I know we can't go back to the old hymn styles, but we can change the music and use the same words.
-Jill Kaltenthaler; DeWitt, Mich.
Thanks to Andree Seu for "Seventeen minutes" (June 11). My 3 1/2-mile commute takes about 17 minutes and I am sad to say that, though Christian music or sermon tapes are playing over my car's speakers during these drives, my thoughts are frequently aligned with this woman's. With the Apostle Paul I wonder, "Who will rescue me from this body of death? Thanks be to God-through Jesus Christ our Lord!"
-Chip Crush; Louisville, Ky.