"Making a pledge" (Oct. 9)
After reading the GOP's Pledge, I'm heartened to see someone has a plan (what a concept) that is far better than the Democrats' plan. Their plan amounts to (1) storm the candy store, then (2) grab everything you can.
Chris Cooper; Tucson, Ariz.
"Nothing left to covet" (Oct. 9)
"Nothing left to covet" was disturbing. "Quiet diplomacy" was heartbreaking. As my husband looks for a job and we have family abroad, this is real life for us. Sometimes the picture of today and, even worse, tomorrow, is so unclear and frightening that one is tempted to despair. But as I pondered how an average person like me could possibly affect our world, I remembered that there is no more powerful way to touch a life, a country, or anything at all than prayer.
J. Moore; Denver, Colo.
Joel Belz's point about giving to Caesar caused me to reformulate my position. Within the limited functions governments should perform, such as maintaining order, coining money, and so on, we rightfully owe taxes (a flat tax, not a progressive tax). The taxes we pay above this to help the state infringe on the other social spheres, such as the family and church, I consider theft.
Richard W. Hawkins; Lake Havasu City, Ariz.
The idea of "rendering to Caesar what is Caesar's" applies to our responsibility to abide by man's laws unless they conflict with God's law. Yes, we will pay our taxes as mandated, but we still have a voice in the United States. This redistribution of private property is unmitigated theft.
M.D. Frank; Chicago, Ill.
Four years ago, God in His mercy allowed my husband and me to become poor, by American standards. I needed to look the sin of coveting straight in the face; it has taken me this long to see my sin. But one cannot get to a place where there is "nothing left to covet." I should know. It would do American Christians much good to become less affluent.
Linda B. Kennett; Midland, Mich.
"Quiet diplomacy" (Oct. 9)
I found this column very convicting regarding my desire to avert my gaze from the suffering of others, especially those in Afghanistan. I am praying for our brothers and sisters in Christ there, as well as for wisdom and safety for Mindy Belz in her reporting.
Emily Whitten; Old Hickory, Tenn.
"Winter plans" (Oct. 9)
This column comes at a good time as I am currently being treated for lymphoma. I've prayed but with "nevertheless, not my will" in mind. Some see that as a lack of faith. Some of those praying for me assured me, even before I was tested, that doctors would find no trace of cancer in my kidney. I appreciate their prayers, although I may not agree with their theology of prayer. Nothing touches me without His permission.
John Hosie; Pearl River, N.Y.
Andrée Seu commented that "no pastor preaches on" 2 Timothy 4:21, "do your best to get here before winter," but for over 30 years in the early 1900s Clarence McCartney of Pittsburgh's First Presbyterian Church annually preached a sermon called "Come Before Winter" that became very famous.
Janet McPherson; Whiteville, N.C.
"Hawking's wager" (Oct. 9)
I'm no expert on science, but I know enough that it leads me to a greater appreciation of the Lord. It's unfortunate that Stephen Hawking and many others never make that final and crucial step. How sad it will be for them one day to stand before Almighty God and discover that all they thought they knew was dust in the wind.
George Mulvey; Tucson, Ariz.
"Invisible dads" (Oct. 9)
As a physician specializing in male infertility, your report on a study of children conceived with donor sperm interested me. The study recommended that parents considering donor sperm instead look at adoption or some other way to be involved with children. But the evidence doesn't support the negative conclusions. This was not a longitudinal study, and the subjects were recruited using an internet survey. The real take-away message is the need for more study. And donor insemination is far cheaper than IVF or adoption, and allows the woman to experience pregnancy and childbirth.
Samuel T. Thompson; Indianapolis, Ind.
"Christians on Broadway" (Oct. 9)
Thank you for shifting our focus to our brothers and sisters in the arts. It's so easy to let the glitz and glamor that surrounds them blind us to the challenges they live and work with every day. The performance arts influence our values and our lives, and Christians must have a voice.
Carolyn Phillips; Garden Grove, Calif.
"Fear at Fanda" (Sept. 25)
Missionary kids have suffered physical, emotional, and spiritual abuse at the hands of trusted "staff and leaders" for years. Those individuals responsible, along with the leadership who failed to act decisively and openly to end the abuse, should be charged as criminals.
Phebe Wahl; Fresno, Calif.
What outraged me was the casual way these incidents were handled. While we cannot hang a millstone around the offenders' necks and push them off the nearest bridge, they should have been relieved of their duties until the charges were proven true or false, and if true they should have been exposed and dismissed. An organization that covers up such behavior only enables the offender to do it again.
Paul Leightner; Pisgah Forest, N.C.
"Works in progress" (Sept. 25)
Unaware that films are not good evangelistic tools, we have been making films with strong gospel messages for 60 years. We have records of hundreds of people being saved or rededicating their lives to Christ and still hear of such results for films made 30 years ago, re-released on DVD. If Peter and Paul had made a film, it wouldn't have been a "wholesome date movie" but an actual redemptive story via the "foolishness of preaching."
Wade K. Ramsey; Greenville, S.C.
"Waiting still" (Sept. 25)
With all the controversy surrounding the building of a mosque near Ground Zero, it is not surprising that the rebuilding of St. Nicholas Church has been overlooked. It doesn't seem right that nobody seems to care about the rebuilding of this church. Our nation needs to get its priorities straight.
Jesse Morton; St. Louis, Mo.
"Wanted: spiritual eyes" (Sept. 11)
Recently my wife and I spent three days in the hospital for the birth of our son, which was a joyous occasion except for the fact that he was born two months early. It was a scary time. But as our son was hooked to machines, I read this column to my wife. It spurred us on, increasing our conviction that we are to be thankful even in the most precarious of circumstances and view even the scariest of events as a "severe mercy" under our Father's control.
Josh Leland; Charlotte, N.C.
"Critical masses" (Sept. 11)
Kudos to Janie B. Cheaney for her recent excellent columns. Regarding her statement that "foundational principles can't be proved; they must simply be believed," that is true as far as it goes, but foundational principles can be tested as we live them out. As the KJV of John 7:17 puts it, "If any man will do his will, he shall know of the doctrine, whether it be of God, or whether I speak of myself."
James N. Stafford; Hilliard, Ohio
"Battleground" (Sept. 11)
Although some folks believe it would be a violation of religious freedom to prevent a mosque from being constructed near the site of the 9/11 attacks, I think it would be extremely insensitive and inappropriate to allow it so close to where Islamic terrorists murdered thousands of innocent people.
JoAnn L. Fuir; Lewisburg, W.Va.
"Making the grade" (Oct. 23)
The 9th Circuit reversed only the grant of a preliminary injunction against the university's speech code. Since the case has been filed, Los Angeles City College has changed its speech policies to bring them more in line with the First Amendment, and our claims against the professor who silenced Jonathan Lopez continue.
David French, Alliance Defense Fund; Scottsdale, Ariz.