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Mailbag

Issue: "The one and the many," Sept. 20, 2014

‘System overload’

Aug. 9  I read this excellent article while ministering at a Christian deportation ministry in Reynosa, Mexico, that provides food, shelter, and hope. Pastor Hector, who was himself deported seven years ago, established the center with no government funds. He does not feel that the deportees were treated poorly by America—they had broken the law—but their desperate need is all too real.
—Kristofer Sandlund, Zanesville, Ohio

‘Bothersome babies’

Aug. 9  I totally agree about the “babies” coming to our doorstep. God tells us in Scripture to help orphans. We should not stand in front of the bus and yell, “Go back to where you came from!”
—Jim McCann, Waynesville, Ohio

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I’m a big fan of Joel Belz, but I’m not pleased with this column. This explosion of illegal child immigrants is shameful for America, which won’t secure its borders, for the parents of these children, and for the countries from whence they come. In raising a hue and cry about the babies, Belz is helping Obama, the Democrats, and liberal Christians generate a crisis that will encourage biblically minded folks to support liberal immigration policy goals.
—Steve Boggs, Columbus, Ohio

What a thoughtful wake-up call for all of us to do something about our continued failure to love, protect, and give hope to all of God’s little children.
—Russell Guetschow, Vicksburg, Mich.

As the children of legal immigrants, we believe the blame for this horrible mess belongs at the feet of those who orchestrated it. Illegal immigrants should be sent back to their home countries and the border secured. There already is a legal path, and that is the only path that should be open.
—Beverly Larsen, Suffield, Conn.

‘Changing course?’

Aug. 9  Mars Hill Church made its pastors sign a non-compete clause? God has a non-compete clause: “You shall have no other gods before me.” Perhaps Pastor Driscoll and the church are dangerously close to confusion on this issue. It reminds me of the “3G” advice I heard given to Chinese pastors: “Don’t touch the girls, don’t touch the gold, and don’t touch the glory.”
—Stephen Morris, Grand Blanc, Mich.

I love WORLD but am saddened by articles that portray Christian leaders negatively. God is doing good work through Mark Driscoll and Mars Hill Church. Doesn’t any pastor trying to be faithful to God’s Word already face enough criticism?
—Peter Habegger, Tucson, Ariz.

Our little church regularly suffers from “competition” with larger churches with better music, TV preachers, and video messages. The Mars Hill model troubles me for what it implies about spiritual gifts and how churches should function. Does the Spirit of God still work through small, struggling congregations and teachers less polished than the superstars? I think so.
—Val Beard, Toppenish, Wash.

‘LA confidential’

Aug. 9  In Catholic doctrine, any information imparted in a confession is not the priest’s personal possession but God’s. Revealing it would be a betrayal and a theft from God. This ruling from a Louisiana court is no less offensive than the IRS’ recent demand that religious groups seeking tax-exempt status reveal the content of prayers offered at meetings.
—Samuel L. Edwards, Waynesville, N.C.

Why didn’t the Catholic girl who had been assaulted by a parishioner tell her parents an old guy was pursuing her? If priests begin reporting to others what they have heard in the confessional, even something as horrendous as abuse, then the seal of the confessional will lose all meaning. 
—Jeff Minick, Asheville, N.C.

Dave Swavely mischaracterized “most Protestant ministers” as people “who view the Bible as their only source of authority.” Protestants recognize other sources of authority, including reason and nature. Sola Scriptura (“Scripture alone”) elevates Scripture not as the only source of authority but as the ultimate source of authority.
—Nelson D. Kloosterman, St. John, Ind.

‘Through the looking glass’

Aug. 9  Thank you for Mindy Belz’s piece describing the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad. We don’t see this kind of journalism in the other media. Is that because such stories would reflect poorly upon current leadership and possible presidential candidates?
—Judith Burr, Bethel Park, Pa.

‘“Readiness” for what?’

Aug. 9  Common Core is supposed to develop critical thinking in fifth-grade students. Janie B. Cheaney concludes, “The program is huge, awkward, overly ambitious, and at odds with itself … expect a tangled mess.” Would that there were more “critical thinking” among adults, especially adults sent to Washington.
—Arthur Thompson, Atchison, Kan.

In criticizing Common Core, Cheaney distorts what educational experts mean by phrases like “21st century” skills and “college and career readiness” and then pronounces judgment on the entire curriculum. Critical thinking is not incompatible with passion, and the curriculum prepares students for a brave new world where analysis and critical thought are scarce commodities.
—Joel Scherer, Loveland, Colo.

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