Thank you for your cover story on novelist Anne Rice ("From vampires to Christ," Dec. 3). I have been a huge fan for years. Her rich, lush way of telling a story is compelling, and her ability to cast sin and redemption into every novel, despite her contrary beliefs, kept me buying her books sight unseen. I balked when I heard of her novel about Christ as a boy; this screamed blasphemy. Your story shocked me completely. Although I do not agree with Mrs. Rice's political views, it was very heartening to hear of the changes in her life.
-Linda M. Parker, New Brighton, Pa.
Encouraged by your article, I snapped up Anne Rice's book Christ the Lord from our local library. Fairy Tales, Fabrications and Deception would be a more apt title. The Apostle John tells us that Jesus' miraculous powers were not revealed to the world until his "beginning of signs" with the miracle at Cana. Luke's account reveals a serious, studious boy whose understanding was astonishing to the temple teachers. Is this what WORLD calls "orthodox balance."
-Nancy Richter; Kingsdown, Kan.
Could there be anything more presumptuous than attempting to write in the first person-as Jesus Himself-about His childhood, a time which is almost totally absent from Scripture?
-Jonathan Beal; Cherryfield, Maine
Please don't continue to allow such people to grace your covers or be written up in puff pieces. We shudder to think how many of your Christian readers will actually go out and buy Mrs. Rice's book because you made it sound so interesting, worthwhile, and well-researched. Shame on you!
-The Lin Family; Phoenix, Ariz.
Thanks for "The good new days" (Dec. 3). One of the most irritating customs in the Christian community is romanticizing the past. When anyone brings this up I always ask which period they like better: when whites owned blacks or merely refused to let them drink at white water fountains. Human nature has not changed, but human behavior has improved immensely since the 1850s.
-Karen Cox; Austin, Texas
I greatly appreciated "The next thing" (Dec. 3). As a hospital chaplain, I use the concept regularly in group sessions with psychiatric services patients. Frequently, their lives seem very unmanageable. I share with them that the minute I enter the hospital each day, I'm way over my head and can only do "the next thing." Living in the present is a concept new to most of these troubled souls, but always sparks hope in their eyes as something they may be able to manage.
-Phil Cox; Bland, Mo.
This year as the holidays approach, I'm watching my mother die of cancer. Amid the pressures of schooling younger siblings, trying to continue college, and handling my own grief, it's refreshing to be reminded that I'm not responsible for everything-there are some things that only God can handle.
-Laura Marshall; Purcellville, Va.
I was a little disappointed in the article about eating contests ("Feeding force," Dec. 3). A small word or two in condemnation or pity would have been appropriate. And since when are these spectacles a "sport"?
-Jack F. Seward; Media, Pa.
As surprising as it is that trim folks can eat staggering amounts of food, does that really deserve far more copy than the White Sox got for their World Series win? There were more stories this year in baseball than that White Sox fans no longer know what to do with the chips on their shoulders (I don't think I carried one until WORLD's coverage). We had to think the editor in chief's love for the Red Sox had something to do with the imbalance.
-Jenny Wiers; Iowa City, Iowa
Thank you for the article featuring Congressman Pence and Governor Sanford ("Good-mood conservatives," Dec. 3). Mark Sanford is my governor and he is among the small number of politicians who actually represent the interests of their constituents. South Carolina legislators complain that he isn't a good team player; in fact, our legislators are embarrassed to be resisted by a man of principles from within their own party. Our president could learn some lessons from Mr. Sanford about resisting a Republican majority that enjoys spending Americans' tax money
-Josh Jensen; Taylors, S.C.
The right thing
Christians need to beware of spending too much time in books like the Harry Potter series, but there is also danger in ignoring the books completely, as Mr. Veith suggests ("Potter grows up," Dec. 3). More and more the books are for older children, but a Christian who recognizes the themes of selfless friendship and the difficulty of fighting the good fight in Ms. Rowling's books can use them to introduce unbelievers to someone else who did the right thing, however unpopular-Jesus Christ.
-Nicholas John Dekker; Columbus, Ohio
It truly is appalling that Christ has no place in much of mainstream Christianity ("Silent witnesses," Dec. 3). My brother recently told me of his dismay upon looking through a children's Bible story book only to find no story about the cross or the resurrection, and little about sin.
-Bob Hayton; Saint Paul, Minn.
Regarding the suffering of the Dalits in India ("Left behind," Dec. 3), the work of Gospel for Asia provides some encouraging news on that front. GFA has been reaching out to the Dalits for years, bringing the hope of the gospel and meeting practical needs.
-Cristy Blaakman; Roanoke, Va.
Thank you for keeping the spotlight on the plight of hurricane victims ("No way out," Nov. 26). I just returned from the New Orleans area after helping people clean out their flooded houses. Many residents explained that they are not getting much help from the government or their local Catholic parishes, but that assistance from Christians from around the country has given them hope. People ministering there have noted how a great darkness and spiritual deadness has been swept away, and hearts and minds are now open to the gospel.
-Mark Fuller; Princeton, N.J.
The real standard
The website of the University of California states the university's commitment to achieving on each campus a student body that "encompasses" all the "diversity of California itself." But in the case of the Calvary Chapel Christian School ("Strange standards," Nov. 26), it appears that the real standard is anti-Christian bigotry.
-Robert Ayanian; Fullerton, Calif.
The Christmas tree Nova Scotia donated to Boston was 45 feet tall this year; also, the group partnered with Liberty Counsel's Friend or Foe Christmas Campaign is the Christian Educators Association International ("Christmas comeback," Dec. 17, p. 18).