We loved the Oct. 10 issue and were intrigued by the articles about Africa ("Africa, Inc."). I (Joel) grew up near Native American reservations and have seen how government "aid" in the form of handouts rarely works. We own a teachers' supply store and a specialty toy store and will look into obtaining hand-crafted products from Africa. What a thrill to think we could help out a business owner in Africa with real aid.
-Joel & Marcie Fenske; Kokomo, Ind.
The media have painted a scary picture of Africa-chaos and power struggles and violence-that discourages one from ever wanting to visit the continent. "Africa, Inc." presents a more positive picture of Africa as a land of potential and promise.
-Jim Craig; Richland Center, Wis.
Thanks for the focus on African entrepreneurs. It was very hopeful. However, you didn't mention much about the many difficulties in Africa, such as fraud and corruption in the courts. We praise God for the great things entrepreneurs are bringing to Africa. We also pray that biblical principles will bring stability and righteousness to undergird those projects.
-Barbara R. Hoshiko; Ashland, Ohio
Sanctification, not legalism
I appreciated Andrée Seu's column, "Control that tongue" (Oct. 10). A desire to live a godly life that flows out from God's liberating grace in the sinner's heart is not legalism. It is sanctification.
-David R. Christenson; Lynnwood, Wash.
Any suggestion that we actually ought to do, or at least try, the things that Scripture commands are all too often criticized by some in the evangelical church as an affront to God's grace or as hidebound legalisms devoutly to be avoided lest we find ourselves among the Pharisees. Yet those commands stubbornly remain in the text, even in the midst of passages on grace.
-John Nelson; Roswell, N.M.
Campuses without students
Marvin Olasky aptly points to how higher education is about to reap the consequences of failing to serve its constituency well ("Class without rooms," Oct. 10). This sea-change may have other results. Many students who go to college "for the experience" but lack real motivation will have no place in an online system. Some may turn to apprenticeships and boost the thin ranks in blue collar trades. And for courses requiring lab time, do I see an entrepreneurial opportunity for franchised local laboratories that cater to students taking online courses?
-Gregg Baldridge; Palouse, Wash.
Leading to bondage
One should be more careful when comparing Evan Bayh and Mitch Daniels ("It takes a governor," Oct. 10). In Bayh's Wall Street Journal column he advocates fiscal restraint now so that "progressive government" can later spend more on the "pent up demand" for larger and more intrusive government. Bayh's progressivism leads to fiscal bondage and the theft of liberty.
-Jeff Singletary; Lebanon, Ind.
Not feeling it
As a minister's wife, my husband and I would feel the love of Clergy Appreciation Day much more without bonfires, plaques, or celebrity-style roasts (Looking Ahead, Oct. 10). May I suggest that more meaningful expressions of appreciation might be heartfelt cards, a thank-you for something specific, or a gift card to a restaurant that we cannot afford?
-Gretchen Mahoney; Newark, Del.
Thank you for your article about Harmony Dust and her ministry ("Jesus & strippers," Oct. 10). As a survivor of sexual abuse, I often think of the paths I could have taken and thank God for His mercy that kept me from greater harm.
-Jenny Burgos; Worcester, Mass.
It was a disappointment to read "Head of the class" (Oct. 10) about Michael Jordan's Hall of Fame acceptance speech. I agree that with Jordan, what you see is what you get, but we should note the distinct contrasts between Jordan's speech (in which he dissed some fellow competitors by name and neglected to affirm his own family, friends, and coaches) with that of fellow inductee David Robinson, who gave glory to God and affirmed his family, friends, and coaches.
-Doug Perkins; Wilmington, Del.
Blessed are the poor
My heart is softened by the verdant image in Sudan (Houses of God, Oct. 10) showing the bold, faithful, young, and old holding a church service beneath a sheltering tree. It is such a contrast with our church buildings, fineries, and programs. Amidst political unrest and hunger, they are blessed, indeed.
-Laura L. Lynn; Bunnell, Fla.
Keep it simple
I enjoyed "Low fidelity" (Oct. 10). I found it interesting that people value practicality over quality, and now that I think about it, I agree. It is a good idea to make things simpler and less expensive instead of spending money on more extravagant things.
-Brian Walsh, 14; Millis, Mass.
So little, so much
"Church of the disabled" (Sept. 26) helped me see through the eyes of a disabled person. Those with special needs are often unable to express themselves. Hopefully this article will encourage people to start inviting disabled people to their churches or to share Christ with them.
-Erin Wilson; Newport Beach, Calif.
I have struggled to love the unlovely and yet it requires so little to bless them. My little brother was diagnosed with intractable epilepsy four years ago. Often people shunned my family and me because of my brother's disorder, so to know that there are those who care about the developmentally disabled is a great blessing.
-Connor McMurray, 14; Grants Pass, Ore.
What kept it together
My heart took a jump when I saw "Finding quality at the end of life" (Sept. 26). My dear father died in 2008 of complications from ALS. He was 77. It shocked our whole family, and my mom had a hard time watching him slow down and not be himself anymore. What kept us from falling apart was his positive outlook, trust in God, and hope for heaven.
-Cheri Brunner; Palouse, Wash.
Arsenio Orteza is a real gem. He has a stunning knowledge of musical genres and history, and the only thing I know for sure when I turn to The Buzz each issue is that he'll introduce me to some worthwhile artist or album that I've never heard of before.
-Kevin Traube; Beckley, W.Va.
Fighting the Uncurriculum
Three cheers for Prof. Koons for his "Fighting the Uncurriculum" blog ("The purge," Sept. 12). The problem with people judging the failures of Western Civilization is that they are often ignorant of it.
-Craig Shoemaker; Jenison, Mich.
I hope Dr. Koons doesn't give up but that Christians in Texas will help him to regroup and assault the gates of hell again. In light of eternity, we should have some battle scars when we appear before God on Judgment Day.
-Sarah Hardwicke; San Angelo, Texas
Not so tedious
I almost didn't read "Afghan apathy" (Sept. 12). Afghanistan just seems so tedious and unsolvable. (I guess I have Afghan apathy, too.) But I read it anyway because I respect Mindy Belz's work, and it was one of the best pieces I've ever read-clear, compelling, and enlightening.
-Veda Wells; Austin, Texas
Want it both ways
"Planned parenthood" (Sept. 12) is a fantastic piece. Some years ago, a day after I culled the raw data on legalized abortion numbers since 1973, I first heard the threadbare complaint about Social Security being "broken." That was followed by blaming every conceivable thing except the fact that (at that time) 25 million potential contributors to Social Security were dead. It seems that human nature, in this case, as in all others, wants it both ways.
-Tom Bache-Wiig; Dallas, Texas
Correction & clarification
Franklin Graham's compensation in 2005 (including salary, benefits, and expense account) totaled $641,570-not the $750,000 reported ("Franklin's purse," Nov. 7, 2009). The $1.2 million in compensation reported in 2008 was derived from IRS Form 990 and included $342,000 in base salary, $708,269 in other compensation, $41,900 in deferred compensation, and $111,945 in nontaxable benefits.
Jerry McAuley founded what is now the New York Rescue Mission in 1872, and three other missions-Pacific Garden in Chicago, Sunday Breakfast Rescue Mission in Philadelphia, and the Bowery Mission in New York-all opened their doors in the late 1870s (The Buzz, Oct. 10, p. 12).