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Mailbag

Issue: "No pray zone?," July 13, 2013

‘Stacking library shelves’

June 1  Why is the ACLU not suing the National Endowment for the Humanities for violation of “separation of church and state” given that the books it is donating to libraries promote Islam? Or maybe “ACLU” stands for “Anti-Christian Lawsuits Unlimited”?
—Tom Pittman, Bolivar, Mo.

‘Growing in a loophole’

June 1  I have been the senior billing leader of a children’s hospital for over a decade. Recently when we called a Christian medical sharing group about a newborn with a significant heart defect needing care, we were told the same thing these groups have said about every large case in my tenure: “We are not insurance. Please get the child on Medicaid.”
—Suzanne Vanderwerff, Brier, Wash.

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Healthcare sharing ministries do not have a “loophole.” We have an “exemption” from the mandate to have individual insurance. We simply went after what candidate Barack Obama promised in the 2008 presidential debates: “If you like the healthcare you have now, you can keep it.”
—Ted Pittenger, president, Samaritan Ministries International, Peoria, Ill.

A couple of years ago a Christian sharing group wouldn’t take me because of a pre-existing condition. How is that Christian?
—David Jefferson, Germantown, Md.

‘The heart of the matter’

June 1  I live in Minnesota where gay marriage was just legalized. The gay-rights movement seems to be gaining so much momentum lately. I can’t ignore it, although I would like to, and Christians are not called to just shut it out.
—Erin Carlson, Borup, Minn.

As a minister and a therapist, so often I’ve separated behavior from identity. But, as Janie Cheaney wrote: “We are liars, idolaters, adulterers, hypocrites, perverts.” Without Christ our sin cannot be separate from our identity. With Christ at center, our sin can affect our character but it does not alter who we are.
—Kristina Franklin, Charlotte, N.C.

Dispatches

June 1  I have deep respect for WORLD, but I do not like the changes made to the Dispatches section. I found it very hard to read and feel very frustrated.
—Carrie Vandehey, Hillsboro, Ore.

I’m not one to embrace change immediately, but I think I like the new Dispatches. Still, when a couple of items are in the same section, an indication of a subject change would make it easier to read.
—Lisa Guest, Irvine, Calif.

‘Wedding bills’

June 1  Mindy Belz is right. When my wife and I married 25 years ago, a priest broke the news to us: The culture glorifies instant gratification, drama, and a lot of spending. Marrying couples are making a deep public commitment to each other in front of witnesses and God, but it doesn’t have to cost an arm and a leg.
—Frank Ferguson, Brookline, Mass.

Our second daughter’s wedding was at our church recently. We were so thankful for the congregation’s response. One friend said, “Please do not pay me. Let me use this nursery time to teach my young teen.” As Belz found, many people told us that they would be “honored” to assist us at this joyous time. We were so thankful.
—Liza Hopper, Greensboro, N.C.

Houses of God

June 1  Nothing expands my view of Christianity more than this feature. It shows me who else worships the same God and how they worship under such difficult circumstances. It makes me wonder how willing I would be to go to worship if I had nothing but a bench to sit on.
—Merv Auchtung, Holland, Mich.

‘Persecution myth’

June 1  Thank you for continuing to cover Pastor Saeed Abedini. The “persecuted church” takes on a different face when he has sat across a table from you and when you see his wife at church.
—Rich Reid, Boise, Idaho

‘Real commencement’

June 1  Cliffe Knechtle’s approach reminds me of when, several years ago in Russia, I asked my Russian translator why she did not become a Christian. She obviously understood the gospel message as she had translated it for years. Her answer was straightforward: “I would have to change my lifestyle.”
—Dan Marshall, Monroe, N.C.

‘A bit rusty’

May 18  I wrote to Marvel Entertainment and told them how I wanted to go see Iron Man 3 with my friends, but then looked up the content and was surprised to see warnings about sexual sins and language. I hope to change the thinking in Hollywood. Kids like me love to see superhero movies but can’t. Please help.
—Jason Allen, Bryans Road, Md.

Notable Books

May 18  While Torn may have some insights for Christians in terms of understanding some of the difficult issues with homosexuality, readers will also get an earful of unbiblical teaching. Should WORLD be reviewing this book?
—Jeff Gibbs, Algonquin, Ill.

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