Resources we have
As a public-school teacher, I have been long troubled by "fixes" for public schools that require funds not available to all schools, a hand-picked student body, committed and involved parents, or cream-of-the-crop teachers ("The schools that Arne built," April 11). The engineers for Apollo 13 saved the astronauts by finding a way to fit a square air filter into a round hole using only what was available in the space capsule; likewise, the answer to public education's woes lies within the resources available in each community.
-Nathanael Underhill; Aurora, Ill.
There was lots of sugar in your article about new Secretary of Education Arne Duncan ("The schools that Arne built," April 11), but not much about the dismal failures of the Chicago Board of Education, such as the fact that only 83 percent of Chicago students can read at grade level. Duncan must answer for that.
-Carson Earnest; Chicago, Ill.
Thanks very much to John Piper for "Over my dead body, son" (April 11). Feminists harm their own cause by insisting on equal treatment. As a 17-year-old, I know what would be going through my mind if I were wrestling a girl.
-Ethan A. Harrington; Hamilton, Mont.
It is a distinct privilege to be the son of a wrestler, a wrestler, and the father of a wrestler. Minnesota has a rich tradition of amateur wrestling, but mixed-sex wrestling has exposed the lack of character and honor in the men of this sport; Piper is calling them out on the mat.
-Rocky Ranch; Lakeville, Minn.
Wrestling isn't "fighting." It is a highly controlled sport calling for close contact using applied leverage, skill, and strength. I am not in favor of girls wrestling against guys but Title IX, which opened up all sports for both sexes, isn't going anywhere, so we're stuck with it for now.
-Mike Duby; Culpeper, Va.
I wrestled for eight years and there is nothing sexual about the contact that occurs in the ring. My teammates were often matched up against girls in tournaments, and they treated their opponents with dignity and respect, regardless of gender. Don't blame the boys, and don't ask them to throw away an entire season of work for some far-fetched ideology.
-Billy Clifton; Palm Bay, Fla.
As a high-school wrestler, boy, am I glad somebody's finally thrown this out there. My teammates have had to face a female opponent in every tournament so far, and no one so much as made a comment before, during, or after the "match." Absolutely nauseating. I can't help but wonder if they've simply accepted this as a new part of the sport, or perhaps they're afraid that if they forfeit our coach will be furious over the lost points.
-David Hill; Edmond, Okla.
The importance of numbers
I liked Joel Belz's prompting to grapple seriously with the reduction in size of the Christian public in the United States ("God likes big numbers," April 11). Some have suggested that we Americans are living in the backwaters of the kingdom's remarkable advance throughout the world. I keep that in mind for encouragement as I assess our waning influence in this country.
-David Grooters; Canon City, Colo.
The problem with big numbers is not the importance God attaches to them but the importance humans attach to them, as King David found out the hard way. I doubt God has a problem with the number of Americans "calling themselves Christians" falling from 86 percent to 76 percent of the population because He knows our hearts. I think our job is to be faithful and let God deal with the numbers.
-Larry Gehman; Brownsburg, Ind.
When we are told that the number of self-styled Christians is decreasing, I have to wonder what difference it makes what these people call themselves if they behave just the same as society at large.
-Caleb N. Diffell; Renton, Wash.
Unless church leaders can figure out how to lead by developing leaders, we will shortly experience a devastating leadership vacuum in the church ("Passing the baton," April 11). I greatly respected D. James Kennedy but wish he had placed more emphasis on making Coral Ridge a nerve center for leader development.
-Jeff Myers; Dayton, Tenn.
Our church had a strong transitional model. After 29 years, our senior pastor, Jan Hettinga, and the board worked out a three-year program where they took nearly three years to prepare our 2,000-plus membership for transition to a younger pastor as they began a search. After we voted to approve calling a new young pastor, he shared the pulpit with Pastor Hettinga for a year before the board decided that he was ready for full leadership. Pastor Hettinga remains as senior pastor emeritus and focuses on church planting.
-Lisa Meek; Bothell, Wash.
The right reason
I left a liberal denomination about 30 years ago ("Exit strategies," April 11). At first my reason had to do with its liberal political stands, but as time went by I realized that both I and the denomination really had the same problem: We both had a low view of God and a low view of the Bible. That leads to liberal political views. God changed me but didn't change my former denomination. Finally, I discovered the right reason for having left.
-John H. Bordelon; Marietta, Ga.
Regarding "Creative control" (April 11): If gay lobby groups and Hollywood producers and actors agree that simply showing gay couples in a glorified light on TV "teaches a huge lesson" and can shift the moral compass of our society, then why won't they take credit for the breakdown of the American family through the normalization of adultery, fornication, and abortion, among other things?
-Emily Whitten; Nashville, Tenn.
Thanks for the article on Barton Stupak ("Salmonella cop," April 11). It is a tragedy that the abortion movement, and more broadly, militant secularists, have such power in the Democratic Party. Those who actively resist abortion and militant secularism in either party should receive favorable treatment from all Christians.
-Alfred J. Lindh; Wilmington, Del.
The true story
I disagree that the Encyclopedia of Christian Civilization is "not Christian enough" in declining to include "historical realities" for a more truthful portrayal of Christianity's "frailty and folly" ("Sin of omission," April 11). The true story of the faith is one of persecution and martyrdom. We do not dwell much on the human failings of the early Bible translators, for example, because the significant thing is the existence of a readable Bible, not the failings of those who died getting it into our hands.
-Cheryl A. Leigh; Hillsboro, Mo.
I was touched by Catherine Ajok's sad story and courageous testimony ("The long defeat," April 11). It is amazing in the face of untold horrors and suffering that she dedicated it all to God.
-Jessica Sadler; Denver, Pa.
I couldn't help but mourn a little as I thought of how God grows each of us so differently ("Crying out," April 11). Mine was a five-year journey (although not as radical as Marvin Olasky's) before I truly understood what a "commitment to Christ" really means.
-Vince L. Onken; Victorville, Calif.
Go for it
Andrée Seu should go for the guitar lessons ("Guitar lessons," April 11). I started taking violin lessons at age 76. My teacher said that I would never become a concert violinist, but after three months of weekly lessons and an hour of almost daily practice for two years, I did become proficient enough to play in church.
-Wendell Hostetler; Orrville, Ohio
Laying it all out
Kudos, WORLD. Your journalism was a mainstay during our over 20 years of home education in Colorado, Wyoming, and Alaska. As retirees, we continue to appreciate your wisdom, growth, and discernment as you "lay it all out on the table" in these crazy times on our dying planet.
-Rory Schneeberger; Hoonah, Alaska