I so often think of myself, a Christian, as solely a supporter of the Israelites in their conflict with the Palestinians. Yet Mindy Belz in "O Jerusalem" (April 10) made me understand I have a lot in common with the Palestinian Christians as well. I appreciated Abusaliah's comments, which helped me realize there are devoted Christians on both sides of the issue and both sides of the border. The debate reminds me of the continuing significance of God's chosen people.
-Emily Hepler; Bel Air, Md.
Belz wrote a perceptive article on the Palestinian issue, but I would point out that God gave the land to Israel and warned those who would attempt to divide the land. We need to keep this in mind when tempted by our leaders to force a two-state solution on this tiny nation.
-Bill Whitfield; Waverly, Ohio
It makes a lot of sense to suggest that Israel, in a position of strength, could be more accommodating in Jerusalem. However, while Belz writes that Palestinians struggle to understand Netanyahu's "vehemence while Israel is clearly so successful on its uncontested turf," most Middle Eastern countries and factions do indeed contest the turf-they refuse to recognize Israel's right to exist. So is there a reasonable hope that any concessions Israel makes will result in a secure two-state solution?
-S. David Rosner; London, Ontario
A lot of money
Thank you for the excellent column "It takes money" (April 10). The graph helps us understand the enormity of the fiscal irresponsibility Washington will wreak on our nation. I would also ask, who is to blame for the 2009 deficit? When our economy was slowing down, even President Bush and a majority of Congress from both parties were voting increases in our deficit by hundreds of billions of dollars. I wish it weren't so, but this is the fruit of the policies of progressives in both parties.
-Mike Cone; Waterford, Mich.
I appreciated "It takes money," but I take issue with your condemnation of the Republicans for "profligate" spending in 2002-2004. Many would argue that extra billions spent on military efforts in the Middle East was money well spent. Further, you don't note the decline in deficit spending while the Republicans were in control from 2004 through 2007. The Republicans are by no means perfect, but looking at the chart makes me yearn for the days when Republicans controlled the House and Senate.
-Plato Skouras; Moorpark, Calif.
"Age of miracles" (April 10) was wonderful. Janie B. Cheaney is so right that these showdowns against the idolatry of other nations failed to make a lasting impact. God has chosen us to receive the Holy Spirit to transform us and then to transform others.
-Mark Hale; Hagerstown, Ind.
In our nearly 20 years as missionaries in Taiwan, pagan spirit mediums would cut themselves in their trances much like the prophets of Baal on Mount Carmel. It was often a real spectacle. But as a colleague said of a Taiwanese deacon who was converted out of a tough gang background, "Our God, who can produce a Brother Kang, is infinitely greater than the 'gods' of the spirit mediums."
-Steven R. Hake; Charles Town, W.Va.
President Obama and Democrats may be celebrating their healthcare victory ("The end of the beginning," April 10), but they should be thinking about whether he's awakened a sleeping giant: conservative Americans who are now resolved to do anything to overturn this terrible bill.
-Norm Stobert; Grand Ledge, Mich.
The healthcare reform bill is far from perfect. I would like to have seen it include tort reform. However, it makes the United States on par with all other developed countries (except South Africa) in providing universal coverage, and the new plan is far better than doing nothing.
-Dean C. Coddington; Littleton, Colo.
All of life
My husband and I are not sports fans, but we do love to go to a ball game. It's gotten pricey, even here in Kansas City, but occasionally tickets filter our way and we drop everything and go. I love the way you examined baseball in a Christian perspective ("Diamonds in the shadowlands," April 10). Are our passions, seemingly secular, God-glorifying? We should look at all of life in such a way.
-Valerie Koetting; Merriam, Kan.
Marvin Olasky's superbly written description of his favorite baseball team touched my heart. In December 2009 I lost my stepfather, Leo Furtwangler, 90, to cancer. He was as avid a fan of the New York Giants (now San Francisco Giants) as Olasky is of the Red Sox. I miss sitting with him watching Giants games and hearing him say, "There's just nothing like baseball!"
-Gayle Colby; Cottonwood, Calif.
Your writers are to be commended for avoiding the media's bad habit of conferring on Bart Stupak the title of "pro-life congressman" ("Life changer," April 10). If he is a leader among pro-life Democrats, the end of that species would seem closer than one might think.
-David A. Wells; Huntington, W.Va.
We'll take one
In "A real blast" (April 10), you refer to the destruction of an old mine as being performed by an "Explosive Ordinance Disposal team." Please note that ordnance refers to weapons, ammunition, and other military equipment, while ordinance refers to a law. Come to think of it, if you do know an actual "ordinance disposal team," please send it to my city asap.
-Juleigh Perona; Fridley, Minn.
If you want a movie that is short on good family relationships and includes older teenagers bent on revenge over the course of several months and a steady stream of irresponsible actions by the central and self-centered character, then Diary of a Wimpy Kid ("Trying to be cool," April 10) is for you. Otherwise skip it; it's a waste of time and money.
-Sunnie Waggoner; Chehalis, Wash.
Thank you so much for "Torah of liberalism" (April 10) about American Jews' unswerving loyalty to the left. Podhoretz's explanations made great sense and show that the connection of U.S. Jews to Israel is tenuous at best. Our current president shows signs of creating the largest rift ever between the United States and Israel, and yet it is more abhorrent to an American Jew to align with conservatives than the party with the least regard for Jewish religious and cultural roots. A head-shaker.
-Elaine Neumeyer; Big Canoe, Ga.
From God to government
In "Drenched in its identity" (March 27) regarding New Orleans, the reference of "mutual benefit societies" providing for insurance and education before World War II was thought-provoking. Often people do not realize how much Americans depend on the government for things that once were provided by other organizations, including churches. The reliance for needs moved from God to government. No wonder our society suffers from a lack of connection to God and our fellow man.
-Linda Vega; Houston, Texas
Not necessarily clueless
Regarding "Abetting the clueless" (March 27) on the teenage years, I agree there's often not much there to romanticize. However, those years need not be, as Janie Cheaney described, confusing, clueless, and lacking perspective. For me they were, but I lacked knowledge of the Scriptures, the mind of Christ, and the Holy Spirit's guidance. We all know of youth possessing more maturity than adults.
-Janet Harmon; Overland Park, Kan.
"Abetting the clueless" exactly captured the problem with adult attitudes toward youth. We use saws in tech ed but aren't allowed metal butter knives in the cafeteria. When will adults realize that the teen years come with their own set of problems-and by romanticizing teens, they are adding to youth confusion?
-Julie Dick; Whitehall, Wis.
Alessa Neeck plays Mary in Little House on the Prairie: The Musical ("Pioneer spirit," April 24, p. 19).
The Welsh revival figure referred to in "The foo dog" (April 24, p. 79) was Evan Roberts.
The city of Dubai is on the coast of the Persian Gulf (Quick Takes, April 10, p. 12).