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Mailbag

Letters from our readers

Issue: "Border gridlock," Aug. 9, 2014

‘Words on paper’

June 28  I don’t think books are on the way out. I hope not. Nothing replaces reading a book before going to sleep, and the Bible on Kindle doesn’t give you that sense of adventure as you flip through pages and discover a precious verse you might not have found.
—Doris Heyns, Whiting, N.J.

Thank you for the annual Books Issue. I use your reviews and rankings to help me decide where to invest my limited budget for Christian books. I always find your reviews cogent and helpful.
—Scott S. Marshall, Naperville, Ill.

‘Empty frigates’

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June 28  I loved reading to my boys all through homeschooling, but I hope that the tendency of our literature curriculum, and myself at times, to dissect everything did not cripple their taste for reading. I see the same tendency as a private music teacher. It’s a terrible shame to destroy a love of great literature and art for the sake of understanding it. Even with the gospel we can seek to explain everything and so miss the beauty of its mystery.
—Elizabeth Kusterer, St. Louis, Mo.

My mother, who shares Janie B. Cheaney’s opinion on how to ruin reading for children, encouraged us to read widely, provided us with good books, and read many books aloud. I firmly believe that I am a bibliophile because of her.
—Hayley Schoeppler, Louisville, Ky.

When I was about 7 years old my dad got rid of our TV, so we grew up with books as entertainment. Then in 11th grade my teacher killed any enjoyment I could have had from that year’s books by dissecting even the tiniest details. I begged him once if we could just read for the sake of reading, and he retorted, “Where’s the fun in that?”
—Janel Flor, Phoenixville, Pa.

‘Your children’s children’

June 28  Joel Belz mentioned how he’s as likely to read his peers’ obituaries as he is to bump into them. At age 78, I feel as if I’m tiptoeing through a minefield where the ages of the deceased keep dropping all around me. It would be terrifying were it not for our Blessed Hope.
—Peter Kushkowski, Portland, Conn.

Belz asks us to build our “Grandkids’ Media Legacy,” but we should also consider our grandchildren’s “screen time.” How can we address the effects of too much viewing and too little time for reading, thinking, and pondering the wonder of our Lord?
—Carole Hutchings, Rathdrum, Idaho

‘Completely personal’

June 28  Marvin Olasky’s historical and theological musings help us grapple with our complaints while we wonder about the goodness of God’s sovereignty. As J.I. Packer wrote, we have no “inside information” on God’s purposes, and so we dare not underestimate the importance of trusting in our knowable yet mysterious God.
—Stephen Leonard, Vidalia, Ga.

Although I often wonder why God allows certain things, I always come back to the same conclusion: God is in control, and we will never fully comprehend it all. God owes me no answers.
—Bob Stegemann, North Port, Fla.

‘Going public’

June 28  Christians must never turn our backs on those in public schools. We must pray for the teachers and students and realize that often this is the best academic and social option for families. As a former public school teacher, I can attest to God’s work in the lives of families through His servants in public schools.
—Tom Neiles, Lookout Mountain, Ga.

‘A team effort’

June 28  I lost respect for bestseller lists after learning that some books are bestsellers because the author arranges to purchase a bunch of his own books from stores that report the data to list publishers. I have now lost respect for David Jeremiah, who dismissed the practice as marketing. It’s not just a marketing technique—it’s deception.
—Shaun Smith, Spokane, Wash.

‘Autonomous auto’

June 28  Self-driving cars are a great idea until they encounter extreme situations. If an accident is unavoidable, should your self-driving car act in your best interest, or in the best interest of an oncoming vehicle that has more people in it?
—Andrew Haas, Gladwyne, Pa.

It’s wonderful that self-driving cars will let blind people use the Taco Bell drive-through, but what about the cost of all the safety technology? Impact and lane drift warning signals, auto-piloted parking, and other safety features already make new vehicles increasingly unaffordable. Too easily we lurch from what is possible to what is mandatory, always in the name of safety.
—Jeffrey C. Danco, Bridgewater, N.J.

If these autonomous cars crash as often as smart phones and computers, we will be calling them “bumper cars” instead.
—Neil Johnston, Grand Prairie, Texas

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