I am a long-time subscriber and reviewed with great interest the July 26 issue. I need to stop and thank you for your excellent work. This page-turner covers movies, books, world events, cutting-edge Christian issues, and politics, among other things. Three of my five children are teenaged or older. They devour each issue and eagerly await the next. That speaks volumes about reaching the "Next Generation" for Christianity.
-Richard M. Mahor; Newburgh, N.Y.
I have no objections to the NextGen organizing strategies, but the church must not succeed in numbers and fail in substance and community ("NextGen worship," July 26). Many churches are failing to disciple lay leadership for shepherding and hospitality. Unless we grow the church and the maturity and leadership skills of her members, it does not matter how large a church is or how charismatic the pastor.
-Joe Trusty; Evans, Ga.
As an eager fan of The Wire and a resident of Baltimore where the series is set, I am glad that Marvin Olasky took the time to examine The Wire through a biblical lens ("Goodnight, hoppers; Goodnight, hustlers everywhere"). My only regret is that the review wasn't long enough to get into more of the intricate ideas the show explored, especially the devaluing of human life and work in our modern world.
-Matthew Loftus; Bel Air, Md.
Even with WORLD's many disclaimers, I was disappointed by its attempt to justify soiling our minds with such tripe. Thankfully, it is not necessary to put up with the violence, sex, and bad language of The Wire to understand properly the teachings of Ecclesiastes.
-Darren Maveus; St. Louis Park, Minn.
Thank you for the thoughtful insights in the column about Jesse Helms ("Campaign of one," July 26). I was a resident of North Carolina for three years but did not know about the character of the man many have vilified as a racist and bigot. Thank you for setting the record straight for me. I hold many if not most of the same conservative values as Sen. Helms and now hold a new appreciation for him.
-Mike Schwartz; Anderson, Ind.
It was an interesting and enjoyable column on Jesse Helms, a good and decent man. I've compiled a list of well-known people who, like Helms, converted from Democrat to Republican: William Bennett, Linda Chavez, Eldridge Cleaver, Ari Fleischer, Rudy Giuliani, Bernard Goldberg, Charlton Heston, David Horowitz, Henry Hyde, Michael Medved, Dennis Miller, Dick Morris, Ronald Reagan, Condoleezza Rice, Strom Thurmond, J.C. Watts, and Kathleen Willey. As Reagan and others have said, "I used to be a Democrat, but I never left the party. The party left me."
-Bob Bickmeyer; Troy, Mich.
A heart-felt thanks from Iowa for your recent coverage of our "500-year flood" ("Who will pay?" July 26). The ordeal has sharpened our calling as the churches of eastern Iowa.
-Bryan Regier; Cedar Rapids, Iowa
Compliments to Mark Bergin on his Olympic trials coverage ("Trials by fire," July 26). His example of the gymnastics team selection process is the best argument against selection by committee. It is tragic to have an off day, injury, or illness during the trials. However, there are no do-overs in the Games so there should be none at the trials.
-Bill Duncan; Olathe, Kan.
Thank you for the excellent article on technology ("Me, myself, and iPhone," July 26). Technology is taking over people's lives and hearts. It reminded me that all things come from God, and that we shouldn't abuse His gifts.
-Matthew Adamo; Lake Hiawatha, N.J.
I am glad the pro-lifers had a victory in the case of the truck driving around the middle school with images of aborted babies ("Heckler's veto," July 26). Although a "radical" pro-lifer myself, by some standards, I admit I haven't been in favor of this graphic method. I cringe thinking about the 5-year-olds who are subjected to these horrors. But this group is targeting older students on the premise that those "who are old enough to have an abortion are old enough to see an abortion." That makes all the difference.
-Laura L. Matson; Battle Ground, Wash.
Thank you for Janie B. Cheaney's insightful column on how the internet is making us more superficial in our quest for knowledge ("Fleeting thoughts," July 26). Our family moved to a small farm partly to learn how to farm and more importantly to learn how to learn. When we want to discover something about God's universe, we go out and touch, smell, see, hear, and experience it. Obviously, the internet has some benefits, but it is just one tool in our learning bag.
-Patrick Smith; Mifflintown, Pa.
Follow the money
Regarding efforts to get the NAACP to oppose abortion ("'Black genocide,'" July 26): Someone is making a lot of money and doesn't want to see it cut off. The cost of 683,294 abortions is millions of dollars per year, coming from taxes or private pockets. And we thought only Big Tobacco had deep roots.
-Evan Thompson; Flagstaff, Ariz.
Dark and dusty
I have read many reviews of The Dark Knight, but Sam Thielman's description of Heath Ledger's Joker as Satan and something that "escaped to the movies from Milton or C.S. Lewis' Perelandra" ("Gone batty," July 26) leaves all other attempts to analyze this character in the dust. This movie's thesis might be lifted from Romans 3:12: "There is no one who does good, not even one." Outside of God's grace, all of us-even Batman-are unable truly to do good. He may be a knight, but he too has fallen short and is just as dark as the rest of us.
-Clara Meath; Adelphi, Md.
I just don't get you guys as far as your movie reviews. Those movies are not worth reading about, and you have the nerve to put them in your magazine. Count me out-I've had it with your magazine.
-Curt Ardrey; Sacramento, Calif.
Thank you for making such a great Christian magazine. As a teenager, I especially like your movie and music review section because it helps me choose what I want to watch and hear.
-Sam Sutter; Montgomery, Ala.
As a person no longer gainfully employed, I liked "The good life" (July 26) about "encore careers," although I don't like that term, either, because it suggests that what I am doing now is the last hurrah of work life. What I am doing now is my life's work. Our culture needs to come up with a term for those who are post-employment but whose primary question of the day does not revolve around golf.
-Kenley Leslie; McDowell, Va.
Wrong, bad, and dangerous
Fellow believers holding their church and one another accountable for how we spend ministry money is a good idea. Inviting government to do so is not. Whether I agree with these ministries and churches' theology or not, what Grassley and the Senate are attempting ("The tall Grass[ley]," May 31) is a massive intrusion into religious freedom and sets a dangerous precedent for government power over the church. It is also morally wrong: The Church Audit Procedures Act was passed in 1984 to stop politically motivated IRS attacks and ensure confidentiality. Dragging churches and ministries into the mud in public and asking them to prove their innocence is morally wrong.
It is also a violation of Scripture for any Christian to promote such a public inquisition. As 1 Corinthians 6 makes clear, exposing Christian conflicts or wrongs in public before a secular audience is a horrible witness and damages the Body of Christ. This public inquisition is wrong morally and biblically, destructive to the Body of Christ, and sets horrible precedent. I assure you that if this government "investigation" is carried out, it will be cited in the future to justify many more incursions into the church. Every believer should demand that it stop before more damage is done.
-Kelly Shackelford, Liberty Legal Institute; Dallas, Texas