Find the real thing
I thoroughly applaud the many good efforts to reach out to our neighbors profiled in your latest issue ("Profiles in effective compassion," Sept. 1/8). Many on the evangelical left are trying to resuscitate the "social gospel"; we should try harder to discern the difference between this pale imitation and genuine evangelical care. Let's look for the real thing in our communities and get behind them with money and, more importantly, our time.
-Gary Martin; Platte City, Mo.
Thank you for a well-researched and encouraging issue. I noticed a recurring reference to "single mothers." As a nurse I have seen the explosion of births to unwed mothers. Meanwhile social workers discourage adoption, ignoring the predictable poverty and social pathology that follows. Yet most churches and teachers are afraid to warn of the results. More needs to be done to allow these agencies to deal with the problem of unwed mothers without invoking charges of religious bigotry and enforced morality. Nothing will lift women and children out of poverty like marriage.
-Priscilla Weese; Wheaton, Ill.
I thoroughly enjoyed "Profiles in effective compassion." Congratulations to the Arkansas Sheriffs' Youth Ranches ("Second-chance ranch"). It is refreshing to see an agency that emphasizes relationships, consistency, and caring, and above all else doing what is in the best interest of the child. As a Human Services professional, it is nice to see these core values at work even though they run counter to recent trends in the field that work against needed residential placements.
-Lou Catano; Strafford, N.H.
The Sept. 1/8 issue was outstanding, especially Marvin Olasky's column ("Giving wisely") and interview with Paul Collier ("'Development in reverse'"). Having worked 11 years in sub-Saharan Africa, I can only say "Amen."
-Glenn Verbrugge; Cadillac, Mich.
I found "Giving wisely" and "The Carnegie way" (Sept. 1/8) right on target. Outright gifts are often given as and accepted as "throw-aways," a crumb we toss to someone, or an entitlement received. The devices listed in "The Carnegie way" are methods for others to help themselves, promoting a positive, long-lasting work ethic. Welfare, in contrast, has not fostered a work ethic but an entitlement ethic. Let's continue to give to sustain dignity, helping others help themselves.
-George Nettleton; Willow Street, Pa.
"Giving wisely" addresses questions that we all must answer. The quote from Ralph Winter's book, Mission Frontiers, underscored the importance of tailoring our giving according to both the need and the ability of the recipient. Like those who win the lottery but are back where they started within a few years, some people have the need but lack the ability to use money wisely.
-James Daniel Marshall; Monroe, N.C.
It's a misconception to think that Andrew Carnegie's wealthy lifestyle was robbing the needy. The money he spent to build his mansion, buy the mountains of coal to warm it, and purchase expensive wines passed into the hands of working-class people who provided the labor and skill to make it happen. The money the rich spend on themselves benefits us all. The real wealth robber in our culture is vast, unnecessary, and inefficient spending by government agencies.
-Jeff Alexander; Visalia, Calif.
Hold it humbly
Thank you to Joel Belz for the exhortation we evangelicals need to hear: We have the truth so we don't have to be arrogant and nasty while holding onto it ("No need to be nasty," Sept. 1/8).
-Charyla Olsen; Hemet, Calif.
Christians "are so often known only for our in-your-face approach" not because we actually are "in-your-face," but because the left constantly slanders us as so. When Belz dismisses Jesus' use of harsh language he sounds just like those who dismiss everything Jesus said and did that conflicts with their agenda (and that's just about everything, save, "Judge not lest ye be judged").
-Paul Hair; York County, Pa.
Belz rightly tells us "good guys" to be nice to the "bad guys" in the tiresome days from now to the election. But can't Democrats and their media enablers use a bit of fairness? Think of their "stick it to 'em" fits with Bob Packwood, John Tower, and Trent Lott. Now recall their "give 'em a little slack" spectacle with William Jefferson, William Jefferson Clinton, and Barney Frank. End of story as to which party best takes care of its creeps.
-Robert K. Morris; Atlanta, Ga.
Eef vorry halp . . .
The advice in "No prowling wolves" (Sept. 1/8) about not worrying reminded me of my godly mother's take on the matter. Whenever she sensed one of us four kids worrying or fretting she would confidently counsel in her heavy Russian-Ukrainian accent, "Eef vorry halp . . . DEN VORRY!" Her advice never failed to quiet our hearts.
-Peter Kushkowski; Portland, Conn.
I can't relate to the devastating pain that must accompany losing a child. However, I can relate to the strain that comes with the anticipation of such an event. In my own family are members who continue to reject God. We must fervently petition the Father for the spiritual lives of our lost loved ones.
-Tim Leiphart; Red Lion, Pa.
Is Romans 8:28 to be as easily discarded as The Prayer of Jabez? Perhaps a well-meaning comforter can too flippantly let "All things work together for good to those who love God" roll off his tongue, but surely the abuse of Scripture doesn't negate its truth.
-Aaron Hoak; Bremen, Ind.
I take offense at "Green religion" (Sept. 1/8). The question of whether global warming is man-made or part of the Earth's natural cycles is totally irrelevant. Instead of bickering amongst ourselves and with scientists about the nuances of global warming, we need to be fighting for a cleaner planet.
-Kipp Bolt; West Peoria, Ill.
It's weird to see you recommend as "immensely entertaining" a "decidedly humanistic" movie, Death at a Funeral, that contains drug use, foul language, and nudity ("Gallows humor," Sept. 1/8). I draw a blank on how this movie promotes values that glorify God.
-Ruth Heberling; Beaverton, Ore.
I would add to Sam Thielman's review ("Becoming fiction," Aug. 25) that Becoming Jane, while not overtly sexual, does contain a fair number of sexual elements. I enjoyed the movie but came away feeling uneasy. I found the fictionalized romance a bit much, and I found it disturbing to assume that Jane Austen must have been able to write her excellent observations of human nature because she had an intimate relationship such as the film portrays.
-Peggy Judge; Berrien Springs, Mich.
I have great respect for Marvin Olasky, but I think "The August drumbeat" (Aug. 25) was off base in asserting that "the left's criticism of an overemphasis on homosexuality is correct." There must be friction on this issue because this is sin that the left is overemphasizing. When spreading the gospel the church is on offense, but for issues like this I think it can only operate on defense, and that means you defend the area of attack.
-Vic Tripp; Tucker, Ga.
What a sacrifice
"Driven to educate" (Aug. 18) was one of the most exciting and uplifting articles I have read in many years. I am thrilled to know there is a Connie Calloway out there who is willing to give of her time and abilities to help kids. What a sacrifice.
-Nancy F. Thomas; Westville, Fla.
I need to cancel my subscription. While I admire the quality of your articles and columns, I take issue with your movie and music reviews. I subscribe to Christian magazines to avoid Hollywood, not to bring such things into my home.
-Robert E. DesJarlais; Mishicot, Wis.
I really enjoy WORLD. My favorite sections are "Quick Takes" and the political cartoons. I am a Catholic and enjoy reading news from another Christian's viewpoint.
-Maggie McCord, 14; Tucson, Ariz.