Dec. 29 Thank you for another well-done year-end issue. Reading through “2012 Events” was sobering and brought to mind Isaiah 5:20: “Woe to those who call evil good, and good evil; who substitute darkness for light and light for darkness.” But, rather than despairing, I turn to Revelation 22:20: “Yes, I am coming quickly.” Amen.
—Andi Michelson, East Sparta, Ohio
The photos were gripping, especially the baptism, and the layout of the year’s events was remarkable. I was surprised to see how many positive things happened in the usual chaos.
—Al Shirah, Big Canoe, Ga.
Dec. 29 Occasionally I try to engage my 40-something contemporaries on current events and often get blank stares and apathy. Perhaps if I too tuned it all out I wouldn’t be left angry every day at things that are so far beyond my control. Perhaps that is why so many Walmart shoppers no longer engage in a game that leaves you burned out and frustrated at the insanity of it all.
—Phillip Woeckener, Tallahassee, Fla.
The responses show a populace sliding into blissful ignorance. “What’s for dinner, when’s payday, and who got voted off Survivor?” largely describes middle America’s day-to-day concerns.
—David Rasmusson, Russellville, Ark.
I enjoy Joel Belz’s columns but he was a bit harsh on the Walmart shoppers. Americans are disheartened with the system and many are just struggling to keep their heads above water. Maybe instead of living under a rock, they were concentrating on news other than the fiscal cliff. Maybe they had family in Louisiana or New Jersey facing floods, or were out of work. Please give them a break.
—Connie L. Power, The Woodlands, Texas
Belz’s phrase “European feel” well describes our government. People seem to want stuff they think is free, and so few seem to know or care about what is going on in our nation. I am very concerned for my family about the future, but I can only trust God to take care of them.
—Bert Miller, Bushnell, Ill.
I look forward to Belz’s Walmart surveys, but note that he assumed people would actually listen to news through the “countless news cycles.” In this era of man-caves and round-the-clock sports media without real news, it is easy for someone to be out of touch.
—Bruce A. Cameron, Catonsville, Md.
Dec. 29 At age 42 there are many things I have allowed myself to believe I can’t do anymore, but Andrée Seu Peterson’s column gave me perspective.
—Chris Whitaker, Flower Mound, Texas
I too turned 61 this month. The comment about the “trips around the turnstile of entrenched sin” captures the fleeting years so descriptively. Thankfully, our Redeemer is faithful to restore.
—Roger Hudgins, Bartlesville, Okla.
Your article was important to me as I am prone to believe many lies. It is never too late to surrender all to the beautiful One who made us.
—Amy Mattox, Omaha, Neb.
I too am “looking at a towering stack of failure.” Thank you for reminding me that with Christ I can never say I have no hope.
—Kathie Harris, Cape Cod, Mass.
Dec. 29 It was such a relief to read Marvin Olasky’s new lyrics for “Hallelujah” by Leonard Cohen. I love the music and used to sing along with the few words I could make out, but after looking up the lyrics I was so disappointed that I couldn’t sing along anymore. And then the thing was stuck in my head, of course. Thank you for redeeming this beautiful piece of music.
—Kim Cissell, Friendswood, Texas
Olasky did a fine job “fixing” the lyrics of a great songwriter. I once heard somebody refer to that as “plundering the Egyptians.” I’ve printed out the lyrics and I’ll be singing them in my car.
—Bob Wiltrout, Silver Spring, Md.
Dec. 15 The past election nauseated me on more than one occasion as I listened to one lie after another. Unfortunately, this mindset has crept into the Christian community as well. As you stated, Jesus is the truth. That is what He wants of His followers.
—Denzil G. Mauk, Wheatland, Wyo.
Dec. 15 I just happened to read this column on Christmas Day. Tears of joy fell down my face as I rejoiced in God’s faithfulness and the joy of my brothers and sisters across the world. It made my Christmas.
—Connie Derrick, Fort Meade, Fla.
Dec. 15 Thank you for your informative article listing the events in the Obama administration’s handling of the Benghazi crisis. I would add the president’s false assertion in the second debate that he had attributed the attack to terrorism from the beginning, and his United Nations address in which he repeated Ambassador Rice’s focus on the “hateful video.”
—Edwin Montgomery, Monument, Colo.
Dec. 15 Reading Marvin Olasky’s memoirs took me down memory lane (including some not-so-good memories) of the ’60s and ’70s and how off track my generation was. I’m going to have my adult children read it for the history it contains and for a picture of God’s mercy.
—Ruth Houghton, Gypsum, Kan.
Dec. 1 Janie B. Cheaney is correct that God requires petition for forgiveness before He will grant it, but I believe she misunderstood Charles Woods’ intent. He was not absolving those who killed his son of their guilt before God; he was giving up his right to hold their guilt against them, just as the New Testament instructs us to do. It is not only possible to forgive unknown perpetrators, it is a trademark of being a Christian.
—John Keyes, Riverton, Ill.
As Cheaney explained, the presence of a disposition to forgive is not the same as the conferral of forgiveness. That is a response to the acknowledgment of sin committed against us. Most distressing to me is the fact that those who advocate “unconditional forgiveness” misrepresent God and the manner in which He deals with us, His sinning creatures.
—Albert N. Martin, Jenison, Mich.
This column was a great explanation of why our culture’s tendency to “forgive” wrongs without the offender recognizing their wrongdoing distorts the big picture—of sinful people who need a savior and feel sorrow over our transgressions.
—Lisa Meek, Bothell, Wash.
I recently realized that I could not continue to resent a family member who had refused to accept responsibility for his offenses. Through a Bible study, I learned that I needed to forgive him. It was a stunning moment that tightened my stomach as I realized the implications. So I went to tell him, “I forgive you.” He didn’t understand, but I was not there for him, I was following the Lord’s plan for me.
—Gregory Samson, Coeur d’Alene, Idaho
Hans Orsted discovered that an electric current produces a magnetic field (“Divine reversal,” Dec. 29, p. 24).
The photo connected to a brief about University of Arkansas football coach Bobby Petrino was a photo of Paul Petrino, Bobby’s brother (“2012 events,” Dec. 29, p. 65).
Submitted by Ruth Wismer
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