I had spent most of Jan. 30 in criminal court finding out that my husband would be spending time in prison. When I got to my mother's that evening I read your magazine and was almost stunned to see the "Letter from prison" (Feb. 3). It was such a beautiful letter and showed how God can use even prison for His glory. I will give this column to my husband to remind him that Christ is our blessed hope, wherever we are.
-Joan Eck; San Bernardino, Calif.
Robert Fahrbach's letter to Andrée Seu's son was very moving. I am involved in a prison ministry and shared the letter with a young man in prison in Kansas who recently killed his alcoholic father. It shouldn't, but it always amazes me how God can so completely re-create us sinners into His children.
-Dave Troup; Lee's Summit, Mo.
Fahrbach's "Letter from prison" is the most eloquent and moving piece I have ever read in any magazine. Truly, "he that is called in the Lord, being a servant, is the Lord's freeman."
-Ken Brooks; Danbury, Conn.
Honor the directive
I share Joel Belz's perplexity with the actions of the National Association of Evangelicals' vice president for government relations, Rich Cizik ("Evangelical steamroller," Feb. 3). Climate change is a tangential issue compared to clear public-policy battles that evangelicals can agree on and must respond to. Nearly two years ago the NAE leadership appeared to be moving toward endorsing a call for a limit on greenhouse-gas emissions. Early last year the NAE board, after a request from several evangelical leaders, directed the staff to "stand by and not exceed in any fashion [NAE's] approved and adopted statements concerning the environment." Would that Cizik might honor the spirit and the letter of that statement.
-Kenneth W. Chilton; Lake Saint Louis, Mo.
While it is grievous to read that sensual music such as rap is given a place among God's people ("Holy hip-hop," Feb. 3), church history reminds us that syncretism is nothing new-from Israel's golden calf to music with more "thump."
-Gayle Schulz Ataceri; Drexel Hill, Pa.
What an absolute shame that John Piper's ministry is being questioned because he hosted Christian rapper Curtis Allen. I cannot wrap my mind around the logic that says God cannot use a certain type of music. To preach Reformed theology in the style of rap calls to mind the apostles preaching the gospel to crowds of people, and how each person understood in his own language. God bless John Piper and other mission-minded pastors.
-Kimberly Loomis; Marysville, Wash.
Obvious to all
It was a terrific interview with Juan Williams ("Descent into destruction," Feb. 3), who said things that are obvious to all but could be said only by a black man. His quote of Bill Cosby referring to the black leaders who "rejoice in your hopelessness because they have jobs mismanaging you" is spot on.
-Tom Morgan; Hermitage, Pa.
Any change has to come from within the black culture itself. Hopefully, if enough people like Williams speak out, something will change.
-H. Steinbrueck; Upper Montclair, N.J.
Next to faith
I interviewed Colts coach Tony Dungy when he first arrived in Indianapolis ("Coach calm," Feb. 3). The team receptionist had told me he got hundreds of interview requests, and I was the editor of a small Christian publication, but he spoke with me alone for an hour in his office specifically because I wanted to speak with him about his faith. As important as football is to any NFL coach, Dungy made it perfectly clear to me that football was absolutely meaningless to him next to his faith in Christ.
-Chip Bayer; Lonoke, Ark.
Christian Smith, the creator of the "Christianity and Culture" minor at the University of North Carolina ("Classroom Christianity," Jan. 27), has done some very important work on youth and faith and on racial relations and Christianity. A stellar, evangelical talent, and highly respected sociologist, he is also one that got away, at least from Carolina; he now teaches at Notre Dame.
-Bill Harris; Grand Rapids, Mich.
Wake up, America
Thank you for taking Robert Reich to task for his recent comments on PBS about regulating homeschooling ("Homeward bound," Jan. 27). He lamented that when children are shielded from what their parents deem "sinful or objectionable," they are more likely to hold beliefs similar to their parents. Obviously, Reich thinks the state should determine what is objectionable, and he wants children to hold beliefs the state chooses.
-Douglas Daudelin; Hackettstown, N.J.
Reich's desire for regulation of homeschooling may indeed be to promote a "cultural hegemony." Homeschooling should be regulated in some way, but for a different reason. To assume that thousands of parents are suddenly credentialed to teach their children all subjects for all of the grades from K-12 is naïve at best and foolish at worst. While many homeschoolers do excel, many others slide by with no accountability.
-Aaron Hoak; Bremen, Ind.
I appreciated the column about Reich's and Shortt's opinions on homeschooling. I'm a homeschooler and very familiar with the stereotypes. Many people see us as timid, sheltered freaks with bad social skills. This judgmental opinion used to bother me a lot. However, I've come to learn that first, it's not true, and second, this is right where God wants me. As long as I'm following His will, it doesn't matter what people think.
-Carmen Schlosser, 17; Winchester, Va.
What it's called
I had an unfair advantage when I got to "Name that president" (Jan. 27). Having lived through World War II as a grade-school child, I recognized instantly the profile of FDR in the silhouette, before starting to read. However much our father disagreed with him in politics, our family recognized and honored his strong leadership as our president in wartime. This is called patriotism.
-Bernice Krahn; Fairfield, Idaho
Tailoring sheep suits
To obscure biblical truths dealing with life and marriage for the sake of elevating a political party to power ("Faith-based campaigning," Jan. 27) is not only disingenuous, it is a danger to individuals and society. Those political advisors (to say nothing of those who hired them) who claim to be followers of Christ and craft such deception are tailoring sheep's clothing for wolves.
-Bruce Henne; Kenosha, Wis.
I was somewhat disappointed with Joshua DeBois' assertion that there is a "constitutional and clear separation of church and state embedded in the fabric of our country." As Barack Obama's director of religious affairs, DeBois should be well aware that indeed there is not a constitutional separation of church and state. Whether or not the American people are confused on this point (as DeBois has demonstrated) is another issue.
-Rebekah Hamilton, 16; Tulsa, Okla.
Man's dark heart
"Cross-culture wars" (Jan. 13) was both truthful and disturbing. American culture is digressing into a morass of moral degeneracy, but for Muslims to insinuate that Islamic nations would be free of the same, but for Western influence, is wrong. Every society is plagued by moral decay, not because it is imported, but because of the nature of man's dark heart. Neither Western nor Islamic societies will be salvaged from the trash heaps of immorality unless and until the hearts of men are changed through Jesus Christ.
-Edna Kent; Missoula, Mont.
The 10 attitudes
I find it very hard to accept that a Christian would support the IBO curriculum ("One-world education," Jan. 13). It is based on the humanist worldview and is antithetical to the Christian worldview. It replaces the Ten Commandments with the 10 humanist values of IBO-UNESCO, referred to as the "attitudes and values" that are central to the IBO curriculum.
-Richard W. Hawkins; Lake Havasu City, Ariz.