A glimpse of hope
Thanks to Mindy Belz for spending time in Iraq so that she could write such an informative article. It opened my eyes to the plight of Iraqi refugees ("'To stay is to be killed'" Nov. 29). I now know better how to pray for them. Also, after the cover story, her column in the same issue, "Homesteaders needed," provided a much-needed glimpse of hope for Iraq.
-Deanne Alsup; Des Moines, Iowa
WORLD's great Iraqi refugee cover story parallels conversations I had last summer with Christians in Jordan and underscores the heavy responsibility we have. Having spent nine years stationed in the Iraq region, I think there will be tougher times ahead for Iraqi Christians.
-Curtis Anderson; Cambridge, Minn.
I read Belz's articles as though I were there with her. Our church here prays for our brothers and sisters in Iraq and Zimbabwe and all over the world. When one of them suffers, we suffer too.
-Janice Hill; Aberdeen, Idaho
Different but the same
Although our backgrounds are very different, Joe Eszterhas' experience profoundly resonates with mine: praying more, hungering for the Bible, having a sense of peace (even in troubled times), and enduring scorn from peers. Thanks to Marvin Olasky for one of the most moving pieces I've read lately.
-Kathryn Presley; Bryan, Texas
Eszterhas shared that he wanted to tell stories about people with the "kind of heroism that people show in everyday life," and I immediately thought of Stojan Adasevic, the former Serbian abortionist who returned to the Orthodox faith and was quoted in the same issue (Quotables, Nov. 29). Despite the anti-Christian views of Hollywood, faith-based movies (like Fireproof) can be successful at the box office.
-Kim Acree; Las Vegas, Nev.
The real fairy tale
I had to smile when Janie Cheaney mentioned Richard Dawkins' suspicion of the fantasy stories of childhood ("Tell us a story," Nov. 29). The evolution narrative he espouses is almost literally a myth of frogs turning into princes. Mix the right proportions of time and random mutation, and natural selection works its mysterious spell. In his case, perhaps the fantasy stories did have "an insidious effect on rationality."
-Russell Board; Saitama, Japan
In one of G.K. Chesterton's Tremendous Trifles, he asked a man who did not believe that fairy tales should be told to children whether he couldn't see that "fairy tales in their essence are quite solid and straightforward; but that this everlasting fiction about modern life is in its nature essentially incredible? Folk-lore means that the soul is sane, but that the world is wild and full of marvels. Realism means that the world is dull and full of routine, but that the soul is sick and screaming."
-Amy Secklin; Phoenix, Ariz.
Bad to worse
I work with homeless people every day, and Adam Kail ("Rebuilding lives," Nov. 29) and Marvin Olasky ("Crucial question," Nov. 29) do our country a great service by discussing holistic, effective, sane, and inexpensive methods of dealing with the homeless in our country. The latest government program to make a bad situation even worse is the "Housing First" initiative. Taxpayers should be outraged.
-Ronald Buchinski; Ferndale, Wash.
Fear is everywhere
Thank you for the article about multiple cartel murders in Mexico ("Terror in Tijuana," Nov. 29). It is bad in our area as well. At nearby Nogales, Sonora, gunmen with automatic weapons brutally murdered the chief of police as he ate dinner at a nice restaurant. Fear is everywhere, and so are police and Mexican military vehicles, but because of all the bribery local people don't know whom to trust.
-Chuck Carlson; Huachuca City, Ariz.
Can't live with it
"Realities on the ground" (Nov. 15) brought out that women do not have an equal opportunity to survive in combat and the men, to their credit, take greater risks to protect them. In the military, they teach us to be sensitive to the women, yet if women are captured the men are to ignore their screams. How can we live and fight with such a dichotomy? I served in the military for 24 years and, in many ways, don't want my daughter to go near it.
-Gary Greer; Great Mills, Md.
Thank you for "Christ the happy victor" (Nov. 29), celebrating John Milton's 400th birthday. I hope that many will take up your challenge to carefully read Paradise Lost, as well as Milton's short sequel, Paradise Regain'd. I have been happily surprised that so many of my students have come to appreciate Milton despite his sometimes daunting syntax and now-archaic vocabulary.
-Stephen J. Schuler; Mobile, Ala.
If the "Big Three" automakers are bailed out now ("Deal or no deal?" Nov. 29), watch out for the backlash. Americans are going to turn away from any company that they have been required to bail out. When things are rammed down your throat it sure leaves a bad taste for a long time.
-Jared Harold; Naples, Fla.
Too little sweat
Marvin Olasky noted that the Latin word for pagan refers to "old country dweller, a hick" ("Schools, media, cities," Nov. 29). Isn't it interesting that pagans now saturate urban areas while hard-working, God-fearing, salt-of-the-earth types are the majority in rural areas? Too much intellectualism, too little sweat, I think.
-Angela Fritze; Hackensack, Minn.
I appreciated Olasky's comment regarding contributions to secular alma maters. If one wants strong Christian schools, one has to support them. These institutions can't grow and be competitive if they starve while their secular competitors feed lavishly.
-Christine Fite; Macon, Ga.
"Minding our P's and C's" and "In good times and in bad" (Nov. 15) impressed me very much. As the election activities headed down the backstretch and the election news infiltrated every area of our lives, I was in turmoil over the political direction that our nation is taking. It was a heavy struggle, but after the election, while rereading your columns, I found peace in our God, His Word, and His sovereignty.
-Marcia LaReau; Bloomfield, Conn.
You are right that the 2008 presidential election represents a major setback for the pro-life cause ("No retreat," Nov. 15). But Obama's election also fills me with tremendous hope that the abortion debate, like the civil-rights issue over the last 40 years, will be turned around in this country. How many people fighting for civil rights in 1968 would have foreseen a day when an African-American could be elected president?
-Trevin Wax; Shelbyville, Tenn.
Republicans lost the election for many reasons, including: biased mainstream media coverage; six years of reckless spending from the GOP-controlled Congress; a Republican president who neglected domestic issues; an economic disaster just before the election; a candidate who went out of his way not to offend his opposition; and a chance for minorities, liberals, and others to participate in a "historic moment" by electing a black president. But conservatism was not the reason ("Get real," Nov. 15). The GOP has not practiced conservatism for a long time.
-Charles D. Bogden; Sugar Land, Texas
We Christian conservatives are a minority, and we'd better get used to it. I am concerned but not at all fearful about the future.
-Bill Swenson; Saint Louis, Mo.
I'm not pleased about Obama's victory, but maybe he is part of God's plan to shake Christians up and turn us away from our idolatry and infatuation with this world.
-Karen Baddorf; Inman, S.C.
In Genesis 40, Pharoah's chief cupbearer is restored to his position after Joseph interprets his dream ("In good times and bad," Nov. 15, p. 83).