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Issue: "Going it alone," Nov. 2, 2013

‘Crisis begets crisis’

Sept. 21  Why would we go to war in Syria? To stop Syrians from using chemicals to kill women and children? The same thing is legal and occurs in abortion clinics and homes all over America. The Obama administration certainly wouldn’t go to war over the killing of Christians and the burning of churches in Syria.
—C. Kay Schrepel, Green Valley, Ariz.

‘Details, details’

Sept. 21  As I paged through this issue on a recent flight, I was moved to pray for Kenneth Bae, imprisoned in North Korea, and Saeed Abedini, jailed in Iran (Dispatches, Sept. 21). I wondered why I have so rarely done this before, and then I read how Joel Belz prayed that readers would be moved to prayer. It was answered even before I read his column.
—Shauna Mudd, Farmington, Minn.

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This column reminded me that sometimes we need to pray specifically and other times realize that we don’t understand very much, but we should always recognize God’s hand.
—Jim Johnson, Manistee, Mich.

‘Alabaster cities’

Sept. 21  How true that “every lie scoops a little more substance from a city’s heart until it’s almost hollow.” Clearly we are witnessing much of our beloved country, and not just its cities, sink into depravity. But we know a God of great mercy and restorative power.
—Don Caviness, Philadelphia, Miss.

Isn’t it also true of the human heart that every lie scoops out a little more substance? More than a couple of times this week I caught myself exaggerating to make my point. I then had to go back and say, “Well, the truth is …”
—A. Schmidt, Kent, Wash.

Katharine Lee Bates penned the line “thine alabaster cities gleam” just after visiting the 1893 Columbian Exposition in Chicago. It featured a dazzling exhibition of stuccoed buildings illuminated by the new electric lighting that was dubbed, “The Great White Way.”
—Peter Kushkowski, Portland, Conn.

‘Against the tide’

Sept. 21  Here is a Republican I can agree with. I hope the citizens of Virginia can recognize in E.W. Jackson a real man of character and conviction.
—Bill Russell, Brighton, Mich.

Conservatives and Christians have a difficult time in this country now, and black conservatives doubly so. Thank you.
—Don Richardson, Crozet, Va.

Jackson’s early life is a testament to the difference we can make as parents. I was so blessed to read about someone who has the courage to embrace traditional Judeo-Christian values.
—Jessica Sadler, Denver, Pa.

‘Listening and leading’

Sept. 21  Christians like Christopher and Mary Anne Yep, Elaine Huguenin, and E.W. Jackson who stand firm in their faith despite persecution challenge me to do the same. Jesus warned us we would be persecuted; I just didn’t expect it to come from my own government.
—Russell Guetschow, Vicksburg, Mich.

‘Redeemed and restored’

Sept. 21  Thank you for the excellent article. I worship regularly with Thomas Boehm and his family and believe he would say that he did not lose his Jewishness nor “convert” to Christianity, but that he reclaimed the fullness of his own faith in his Messiah.
—Don Finto, Nashville, Tenn.

‘Facebook blues’

Sept. 21  This was a good reminder to serve for God’s glory alone. As the apostle Paul wrote, those who compare themselves to one another are “without understanding.” 
—David Neal, Harvard, Ill.

‘Failure to thrive’

Sept. 21  The potential collapse of the Medicare system should flash a giant “Warning!” sign to all who mistakenly think that government can provide fair and affordable healthcare. Mindy Belz suggests that we cannot “reform” the system without addressing the attack on the doctor-patient bond, but is it time to stop trying to reform what’s broken? What if it is time to get into faith-based co-ops for healthcare?
—Elaine Neumeyer, Big Canoe, Ga.

‘Our national insanity’

Sept. 21  The interview with John Piper was much-needed. I have been praying that a pastor with his clout would rise up.
—Bill Engle, Holland, Mich.

These interviews alone are worth the price. The analyses of culture with a biblical worldview are so clarifying and stimulating.
—Lars Anderson, Littleton, Colo.

‘A sober anniversary’

Sept. 21  A primary tenet in warfare is: “Know thy enemy.” Not only do we not know our enemy, it seems we are trying our best not to find out.
—Roger Congdon, Cedaredge, Colo.

‘Dangerous faces’

Sept. 7  Andrée Seu Peterson suggested that Patty Hearst’s willingness to rob banks with the Symbionese Liberation Army was explained by “face time.” But Hearst later testified that she had less face time than closet time. She spent six weeks locked away, hands bound, blindfolded, and mostly alone except when she was being raped. Other people have succumbed after far less torture. Reading about Hearst helped me understand what happened to someone I know, whose behavior did not correspond with the person I knew.
—Arthur Thompson, Oceanside, Calif.

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