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Letters from our readers

Issue: "Bright or rotten idea?," Oct. 5, 2013

‘Be less than you can be’

Aug. 24  I am blind and currently on SSDI, a much better program than SSI. I started a PR firm with five partners and hope to earn enough to get off government assistance. I can make roughly $1,400 a month and not lose benefits. A blind friend on SSI says she loses benefits any time she makes money. That encourages fraud because it penalizes work and saving money.
—Andre Traversa, Chicago, Ill.

Thanks for raising the alarm about the federal government’s disastrous disability programs. As with so many well-intentioned government programs, something good turned into something entirely different.
—Ken Walker, Huntington, W.Va.

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I know a man who lived in a house with no utilities and operated a tiny business in his living room. In the late 1970s a county social worker offered to cover his rent if he moved to a better apartment, but he would have had to give up the business to qualify. He refused, and now his business has several employees. The government should not pay people not to do what they should be doing.
—Peter Stull, New York, N.Y.

‘The great temptation’

Aug. 24  Joel Belz’s comments about sexual compulsion are very instructive. It seems more and more people are unable to manage their sexual instincts. Like the Israelites, we are far from God and it will take catastrophe to turn us from our wicked ways.
—David Hillquist, Arcadia, Mo.

You say that sex is “the most broadly volatile” of God’s gifts, but of course God does not cause us to sin. God’s gift of sex is pure, holy, and to be enjoyed within marriage.
—John Shoaf, Gladwin, Mich.

I agree that compulsive sexual behavior has cost us all greatly, but compulsive behaviors related to alcoholism and drug addiction are not very far behind. Society pays a horrendous price for these behaviors in terms of healthcare and the many victims of automobile accidents, for example.
—Gordon Jones, Fort Mill, S.C.

‘It’s the small things’

Aug. 24  There is so much wisdom in the saying, “Pick up a shovel.” I don’t get many opportunities to do big things, but how many opportunities for doing small things do I let pass because I don’t pick up a shovel?
—Ed Marino, Townsend, Mass.

This column pierced a calloused spot in my heart. I’ve been a missionary for almost 30 years. Important work fills my time. I rarely send birthday cards, and reunions and parties hardly ever make my calendar. For many years I’ve kept the niggling inner protest safely locked away—until now.
—Jim Manley, Meridian, Idaho

Last year I spent nine painful months at home after back surgery and a serious infection. Church friends, neighbors, and family gave me strength and joy each day with calls, prayers, cards, and visits with food. Thanks for noting how “something is better than nothing.”
—Joan Martin, Marietta, Ga.

‘God strong’

Aug. 24  John Piper’s answers were scriptural, insightful, and uplifting.
—Carol Larson, Rochester, Minn.

It just touches me deep down that there are still people like Piper who are passionate and willing to talk about God still being on the throne.
—John Palms, Dinuba, Calif.

‘Hand-to-hand combat’

Aug. 24  I too like to grow a variety of plants. I enjoy the smell and feel of soil while also dealing with the challenges of the curse upon creation. Although you did not capitalize the genus name of the harlequin bug, that did not distract from this excellent musing.
—George A. Damoff, Farmers Branch, Texas

Next year Mindy Belz should find out what the harlequin bug eggs look like and look for them early. Just like sin, if we kill them in the egg stage then the adults cannot do their damage.
—David Boyd, Greenville, S.C.

‘Miraculous ways’

Aug. 24  Thanks for the obituary of Chinese pastor Samuel Lamb. I once heard him tell how he was taken off hard labor and became the prison barber. For the next several years every prisoner came to him every month. Each one sat in his chair and heard his witness for Christ. Isn’t that just like God?
—Maurice Bender, Winter Garden, Fla.

‘Chains of history’

Aug. 24  Racism can go away, but it will take a spirit of forgiveness for each other and a commitment not to teach prejudice. It would also be very helpful if the media would state the news without speculating about motive. Their handling of the Zimmerman/Martin case brought back a lot of very bad memories of my own prejudice that I have been trying to overcome for 50 years, and the president didn’t help.
—Rich Thorne, Bettles, Alaska


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