I've "packed the pews," knocked on strangers' doors, dragged people kicking and screaming through the Four Spiritual Laws, and watched most of them walk the aisle and out the church door, never to return. For me, all those methods were painfully awkward. After enduring decades of well-meaning extroverts trying to "fix" me, I bless you for giving me permission to be an introvert ("Evangelism for introverts," Oct. 7).
-Kathryn Presley; Bryan, Texas
I concur wholly with Mike Bechtle's acceptance of e-mail as a legitimate evangelistic tool. As an individual who uses "e-mail [as] a tool, not a crutch," I labor long and hard in researching and crafting my messages before sending them. Much e-mail abuse is due to the hordes who thoughtlessly forward inanities, ad nauseam, and urge their recipients to do likewise.
-Peter Kushkowski; Portland, Conn.
So was Jesus a friendship evangelist who simply hoped that people would see what a great life He lived and everyone would long for what He had? How about the fact that He was mocked, spit on, beaten, and crucified for the life He lived and the Word He proclaimed?
-James Lee; Westland, Mich.
I think the interview was wonderful, being very much an introvert myself and having concluded long ago that most churches that are strong on evangelism tend to think the ideal Christian is an extrovert. It's important to take the time and trouble to develop the relationship, not just spring the gospel message on someone the first time you get the chance.
-Pauline Evans; Muscatine, Iowa
Defending the pope
Thanks to Joel Belz for "Missing the pope's point" (Oct. 7). Although I am thoroughly Protestant, I respected Pope John Paul and now Pope Benedict. I have prayed for them as they play a crucial role in defending Christian truth and the veracity of Scripture in a world that, as Francis Schaeffer taught us, is post-Christian.
-June Ruyle; Sun City West, Ariz.
Belz is the one who missed the point. With Muslims, there is no discussion, no dialogue. Of course the pope was correct in his premise, but he should have realized the consequences of voicing it.
-Don Curtice; Bloomfield, N.Y.
Westerners did indeed miss the pope's point, especially contemporary evangelical Christianity. The pope assumed a level of understanding that is not generally present in our culture. Another issue is the tacit reluctance of some within the evangelical camp, the avoidance of things "Catholic" lest this further rapprochement with the Roman Catholic Church. We should be defending our brother in Christ.
-Dave Costilow; Chillicothe, Ohio
Just before reading "Missing the pope's point," my wife and I passed the marquee of an evangelical church that read, "Have a nice day, Compliments . . . God." This off-hand, almost smart-alecky irreverence seems to characterize so much of evangelical Christianity. Not until we recognize that God is awe-inspiring and holy will we have the right to speak to Muslims about Him.
-Randy Kleine; Milford, Ohio
I speak regularly on abstinence in public middle and high schools, and find that it is rare that the kids have even heard of HPV, much less know that it is the most common STD out there ("Stalking a silent killer," Oct. 7). While I don't believe in mandatory vaccinations, I do believe Christian parents need to see that their teen daughters, even those who have held on to their purity, get the vaccine. Why? Recently two of my friends lived through the tragedy of the date-rape of their daughters. That's reason enough for me.
-Tori Libby; West Chicago, Ill.
I am livid that the federal Vaccines for Children program is distributing Gardasil with my tax dollars. This is yet another tool that the enemy of people's souls will use to promote unsafe, ungodly sex.
-Alicia T. Hoesch; San Diego, Calif.
Thank you for your article on HPV. It was very well done. I work for a Pregnancy Resource Center and we've put your article out for all the staff and volunteers to read. The recent TV commercials have only added to the confusion regarding this deadly virus. Not every woman can get it; those who save sex for marriage and are faithful in marriage won't. Thank you for not remaining silent about this silent killer.
-Jana Finley; Joshua, Texas
I was very surprised at how undereducated you reported the general population to be with respect to HPV. At the public high school I attended, information about HPV and its connection to cervical cancer, as well as how it can be transmitted, were part of our regular health class curriculum.
-Kasey Craig; Houston, Texas
Over 30 years ago, when I first joined Alcoholics Anonymous, there were still folks around who participated in AA's earliest beginnings ("The quiet hijacking," Oct. 7). I once met Clarence Snyder, who acknowledged that Jesus was the real and original "higher power" of Step No. 2. As a concession to the haze of alcohol, early 12-steppers tried to meet petitioners at their level. Yet the words, "The care of God as we understood Him" (referring to how AA's founders originally understood God) somehow became "The care of God as I understand it" and is today accepted as such at most AA meetings. Thus the higher power became a doorknob or broom or some other impotent idol while references to Jesus dried up. Still, I thank AA for keeping me alive long enough to find victory in Jesus-over alcoholism, and for recognizing my failures and need for forgiveness.
-Ron Lindner; Brainerd, Minn.
Loved left tackle
My family and I love WORLD but I am disappointed with your review of The Blind Side by Michael Lewis ("Blind-side ball," Oct. 7). This worthy, humorous, and encouraging book, while generally about the value afforded offensive tackles in pro football, is really about a young, inner-city African-American man named Michael Oher. He is befriended, loved, and adopted by a suburban, white, well-to-do Christian family in Memphis. Lewis details this young man's football talents, education process, national recruitment, and assimilation from the projects to a Christian high school to a major state-college campus. The term "blind side" is more descriptive of how Christ's love, exhibited by this young man and his surrogate family, overcame a myriad of obstacles and continues to do so.
-Lance Minor; Memphis, Tenn.
I appreciated Andrée Seu's personal account of the process of forgiving another person ("The thing we don't do," Sept. 30). We are so used to rushing on to the next event in our lives that we neglect to take the time to do the work of forgiveness. Instead, we take the deceptively easy path of "forgive and forget" that doesn't really work but sounds godly anyway. We're willing to do the work of serving in the church nursery or on the outreach ministry team but wonder why we're not really all that joyful about it. Of all the work there is to be done in this world we forget to do the hardest work of all, the work Christ modeled for us-to forgive each other as completely as He forgives us.
-Kelly Casebeer; Vancouver, Wash.
More on Balmer
I had hoped that since Randall Balmer is not a politician, I might hear something besides sound bites from the left side of the spectrum ("Balmer's lament," Sept. 23). Sadly, he seems just as embittered and ready to attack as any secular liberal. Marvin Olasky asked a number of insightful questions that could have led to a profitable dialogue or at least food for thought.
-Susan Roby; Findlay, Ohio
Balmer's ideas are going to work out really well after he gets to heaven.
-John Palmer; Grass Valley, Calif.