To guide your summer getaway book selections, try this formula: E=FB²
Out of the ashpile
I am simply overwhelmed to tears. I have been waiting my entire art career for a man of God to rise up out of the ash pile known as contemporary art. Thank you to Mr. Fujimura for standing firm and using fully the talent that God has given him ("Daniel of the Year," Dec. 17). He wrote in an essay on his website that he understood grace when he realized Christ was thinking of him on Calvary. When I contrast that with how artists babble on about the meaning of their work, I see that he "gets it." His understanding of grace makes his artwork all the more beautiful.
-Carol Knight; Atlanta, Ga.
I was so happy that you chose Mr. Fujimura as your "Daniel of the Year." We got to know the Fujimuras when they first arrived in Tokyo during the mid-'80s. Mako had come to study art and Judy had just come to know the Lord. Mako searched for truth for two years. When he decided to follow Christ he never looked back, and his work took on a new quality no one could explain. They have lived a life of faith and been persecuted in ways none of us will ever know, but they are too humble to talk about that. We love Mako's work and know it is the Lord working through his hands and eyes.
-Meg Ishikawa; Okinawa, Japan
Mr. Fujimura's work is important and he deserves praise for following his calling in a much-needed area of cultural influence for Christians. But risking a bad art review doesn't rise to the level of an award named for Daniel. In the past year, WORLD has reported on any number of stories of Christians all over the world suffering unimaginable depredations and violence while persevering in their faith. New York City, while culturally combative and Ground Zero in the culture wars, is no Babylon.
-Patrick Poole; Hilliard, Ohio
Mr. Fujimura's column ("Walking backwards," Dec. 17) was clear, concise, funny, and to the point. If his paintings are anything like his marvelous writing, I am a new fan.
-J.A. Scott; Norcross, Ga.
Oh, dear. I've just consulted my Webster's dictionary, and we ought not to say "Happy Holidays" anymore, either ("Christmas comeback," Dec. 17). "Holiday" means "holy day," and "holy" means "set apart to the service of God." How about "Happy Shopping Frenzy Season"?
-Connie Gleghorn; Bothell, Wash.
I certainly think it is absurd to call a Christmas tree a holiday tree, but I don't see anything wrong with wishing somebody "Happy Holidays" if you do not know what holiday that person celebrates. But I don't think anybody should be offended by "Merry Christmas," either, unless he wants to admit to being a pickle-faced Grinch.
-Kyle Ambrose; Wamena, Indonesia
I'm glad that there is widespread support to recognize Christmas trees for what they are. The star reflects a Christmas message (Magi followed the star), as do the lights (Jesus is the Light of the world), and the evergreen symbolizes the eternal life which Jesus came to secure for us. What other holiday could such a decoration reflect? Now if we can just get our country to recognize Easter for what it is.
-Don Mitchell; Wabash, Ind.
I favor Christians celebrating Christmas. However, the whining about secular sources that have removed the term betrays some serious problems. Are we really concerned for the lost and for the name of Christ, or are we throwing a tantrum because the world is spoiling our party? Since when did we get the idea that Christians should expect accolades, tolerance, and affirmation from those who make no pretense of having Christ as their Lord?
-Don Waltermyer; Washington, Pa.
I commend Gene Edward Veith for "Rock of offense" (Dec. 17), in which he reveals the implications of the hypocritical federal court ruling outlawing prayer in the Indiana legislature that calls on the name of Jesus Christ. Yes, we have state-sponsored religion and a contemptible tyranny as well, of the exact kind the Founding Fathers hated, warned against, and had in mind when they wrote the very First Amendment that this court has soiled and trampled.
-David S. Ortiz; Brooklyn, N.Y.
Finally, someone has called a spade a spade. It seems that in the past several years, the idea of "separation of church and state" has come to mean "separation of Christianity and state." Way to go!
-Andrew J. Weiller; Suwanee, Ga.
Please double Marvin Olasky's bag limit on exposing liberal press bias, because many of us can't see so well through the fog ("Fatal flaws," Dec. 17). Sure, I knew the media were on a rampage during Katrina, but that didn't mean I had a clue about what was actually happening. And I was one of those who missed all the admissions of mistakes later.
-Matt Connally; Princeton, N.J.
In his review of The Sound of Music ("Making old favorites new again," Dec. 17), Andrew Coffin called it "perhaps cornball at times." I do not think this is a fair criticism. Compared to the mostly trashy movies these days, The Sound of Music stands out as a shining light.
-Molly Gehring, 17; Marietta, Ga.
I, like many other careful shoppers, like Wal-Mart's wide variety and low prices but have felt a bit guilty for patronizing this store ("Steward's helper," Dec. 17). This is the first positive article I've ever read about Wal-Mart. Of course, Wal-Mart isn't an organization of saints, but neither is it the villainous threat to small towns and free enterprise many are led to believe it is. Thanks for an interesting and informative article. I can now shop without guilt and maybe even answer some of the disinformation.
-Anne Johnson; Newport, Ore.
A picture is worth a thousand words, they say. Your three political cartoons in the Dec. 17 issue are worth 3 billion words (Quotables & 'toons). Thank you for standing up for our great president George W. Bush, his policies in Iraq, and the war on terror.
-Marilyn Braley; Houston, Texas
Why are American and British news media largely silent when Ethiopians are being massacred ("One-party rule a tough habit to break," Dec. 10)? All the people of Ethiopia want is for their votes to be respected. No one is asking for intervention; we are asking for condemnation of the regime and that the West stop funding the atrocities.
-Diana K. Mariam; Carrollton, Texas