Full dance floor
Right now there is a cry to hold the financial services industry accountable for extending those risky loans ("Bleeding economy," Oct. 18). Well, it takes two to tango or, in this case, the dance requires many individuals to accept loans they cannot possibly repay. Don't get me wrong; loaning money without properly evaluating the risks makes for poor business, but accepting such a loan is no better. Today's circumstances call not for a new government program but for more personal responsibility.
-Joseph Wolfe; Hurst, Texas
We are all to blame
Thank you to Joel Belz for being the voice of reason ("Umble pie," Oct. 18). Like him, I am not an innocent bystander and made many financial blunders in my time, but we cannot keep going down this road. It is so true that we justify moral lapses in our pursuit of happiness. We are all to blame.
-Donetta Dalton; Petersburg, Va.
Thank you to Belz for that honest confession of greed. It gives me courage to do the same and, by God's grace, to model honesty on all levels of my life.
-Kristine Magee; San Diego, Calif.
I agree with "Umble pie." However, my husband and I are among the few who worked hard, lived humbly, and prayed about owning a home for 13 years before we purchased one. We paid it off quickly and are still here. It is not right that we should have to bail out Wall Street or anyone else without being asked.
-Katie Suppan; Beaverton, Ore.
Yes, we believers should insist on honesty in all of our dealings, but we should also insist that the rules are not tilted to advantage anyone based on wealth. Our approval of rules (related to the FHA, Fannie/Freddie, and the Community Reinvestment Act) to advantage the poor is very much at fault here.
-Brad Cain; Maitland, Fla.
David Bahnsen is on target when he says there would be no financial crisis "if some individuals did not default in obligations they voluntarily took on" ("Against the tide," Oct. 18). Living in San Diego County a few years ago, I could not believe people were buying monster houses with adjustable rate or interest only mortgages.
-Larry Marsh; Colton, Ore.
For the past six months I have been saying that the world cannot let the American economy go in the dumpster because it would affect so many other countries with which we do business. "Angell and devils" (Oct. 18), about how sin overpowers economic rationality, showed me I was wrong.
-Kenley Leslie; Bay St. Louis, Miss.
The cost of religious freedom
Churches have more choices than just to stay out of politics or fight for tax-exempt status ("Pulpit politics," Oct. 18). I have respect neither for churches that incur the wrath of the IRS nor for Christians who stand silently by as wicked bureaucrats pass and enforce ungodly laws. The solution is for churches to return to the right of free practice of religion guaranteed by the First Amendment by coming out from under the umbrella of state favors.
-Steven Van Epps; Glen Burnie, Md.
With half of conservatives believing that churches should stay out of politics, no wonder the Christian church is so ineffective in influencing our culture. If commitment to Christ doesn't result in biblical positions on political issues, then how are we being salt and light in our country? The church of Jesus Christ seems to be drowning in political correctness.
-Annie Halland; Bridger, Mont.
I came away from American Carol with the same sense as WORLD's reviewer ("Swing and miss," Oct. 18). I did not hear any rip-roaring laughter when I previewed the movie in Minnesota, and the audience included many Republican Convention attendees. I was not comfortable with the crude scenes or the language.
-Sharon I. Rideout; Hermon, Maine
Both my 76-year-old father and I, a 41-year-old mother of two, laughed so hard during American Carol that our stomachs hurt. As conservatives, we can't complain about the lack of entertainment that supports our views and then criticize an effort because we don't like the movie's pace or how the lines are delivered.
-Lynn Rhodes; Winter Garden, Fla.
Excellent article on the race for governor in Washington state-Round two of Rossi vs. Gregoire ("Evergreen rematch," Oct. 18). It would have offered more food for thought had it "recounted" in greater detail how those supposed 2004 vote numbers were reached. The "election" of Christine Gregoire fails the smell test.
-David James Hanson; Fayette, Iowa
The rest of the story
I appreciate WORLD giving Walter and Matthew Wangerin the opportunity to share the rest of their story ("Unconditional love," Oct. 18). After reading WORLD, I went to my bookshelf and pulled out Walter Wangerin Jr.'s 1993 essay collection, Little Lamb, Who Made Thee? As I reread "No Fields of Yellow Flowers Anymore," telling the beginning of the story, it made your interview all the more poignant.
-Margaret Lowery; Watkinsville, Ga.
I suspect that the increase in the number of regulations in Europe has more to do with failure in personal responsibility than with finding work for Nanny (Quick Takes, Oct. 18). Turning off car engines during periods of waiting in traffic is a sensible act of any circumspect citizen. When children don't consider others out of love and sensitivity, Nanny will have to teach them to do so.
-Udo W. Middelmann; Gryon, Switzerland
Hope in Africa
Thank you for "Africa for Africa" (Oct. 18) and especially the statement, "Africa isn't simply a sometimes sinkhole for U.S. humanitarian assistance." My wife and I lived and worked in Nigeria for 12 years, followed by two additional years in Malawi. Many Americans believe that Africa is hopeless, perhaps because reporters usually report only the bad news, but we enjoyed our work and helped found ministries that are still thriving.
-Timothy Monsma; Loveland, Colo.
When a man hears a woman
My Dutch grandfather had a ticket to sail on the Titanic, but my grandmother, a quiet, reserved woman, had a nightmare that the Titanic was going to sink. My grandfather was a wise man. He listened to his wife, sailed early on another ship, and was in America when the Titanic went down. His ticket was in third class, so we can assume I am here today, with many descendants, because a man listened to a woman. Andrée Seu notes in "Songs on the Titanic" (Oct. 18) that we shouldn't "count on Sarah Palin to save us" from God's judgment, but we can learn from the example of King Josiah, whose reforms at least postponed disaster. And 2 Kings 22 records that in a time of crisis in Israel God used a woman, the prophetess Huldah, to convey His message.
-Marcia Davis; Edgewood, Wash.
As a Missouri Synod Lutheran, I commend Benedict XVI for upholding the position of his church regarding contraception on demand ("Pope says nope," Oct. 18). Prior to 1930, all the major Protestant churches also opposed contraception on demand. To justify a departure from the historic understanding and practice of the Western church concerning contraception, I submit the burden of proof rests with the proponents, both Roman Catholic and Protestant.
-M.L.F. Freiberg Sr.; Evanston, Ind.
I agree with the neat thought that we can glean insight into Christian marriage from ballroom dancing ("Shall we?" Oct. 4). Not many places teach any more the truth that the man is to lead, but once we enter the dance floor we understand it.
-Debra Tobler; Makakilo, Hawaii
Options, not excuses
Thank you to Janie B. Cheaney for "If not college, what?" (Sept. 20). I am a junior in high school and I can relate to many students who are trying to figure out what career path they will take. While I do not think that an apprenticeship or an accelerated learning program should be used as an excuse to avoid college, I do believe both are viable options. If you have a passion for the line of work and it can support a family, the pursuit of a career without college is a respectable route to take.
-Josh May; Derby, Kansas
"Trap doors" (Sept. 6) hit home. I know a man who at a young age was exposed to pornography he found in the trash of a local college. As a result, he eventually developed a voracious addiction and is now in prison for life. He is a father of six children and a Bible college graduate; no one is exempt from the atrocities of this heinous addiction. In spite of this tragedy, God has brought this man to his knees in repentance and he has been growing in his faith daily. It is sad that it often takes such drastic consequences to lead us back to a real relationship with our heavenly Father.
-Dawn Pickett; Westminster, Md.
The name of the ship Earnest Henry Shackleton used on his 1914 Antarctic expedition was Endurance ("The slightest degree," Oct. 18, p. 87).