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Mailbag

Letters from our readers

Modest, but ours

After reading your Feb. 28 cover story ("A new breed of homeless"), I was left feeling profoundly grateful for my parents. Instead of becoming enslaved to a big mortgage to reach the fabled "American dream," they raised their five children in a humble mobile home on a farmable acreage that they could afford to keep. I cannot begin to list the blessings of our countercultural lifestyle.

-Dawnna Pearson; Sandy, Ore.

The pit crew

WORLD followed its issue on abortion ("Millions cut down," Jan. 17) with an article on the child sex industry in the United States ("Shame of the cities," Feb. 28). Next up should be an exposé on the connection between them. With over 100,000 young girls forced into prostitution annually, each trafficked to dozens of johns per month, the abortion industry is the pit crew that keeps the girls in "working" condition and on the street. As recent investigations have shown, Planned Parenthood and its ilk are more than happy to do (and cover up) business with underage girls who admit to abuse at the hands of older men.

-Bob Brown; Belcamp, Md.

"Shame of the cities" and your earlier articles on modern-day slavery have challenged me to action. I started a ministry because I cannot just read about this problem anymore. This summer we are holding a golf tournament to raise money for International Justice Mission. Thank you for not letting this important issue be swept under the carpet.

-Mary Bron; Sedro Woolley, Wash.

As a parent of a runaway, I found out firsthand how alone the parents of missing children feel. Too often parents are left to sit by a phone and hope and pray the police find their child; all too often it does not happen. We were lucky to have recovered our daughter after three weeks and in another state.

-Bob Begin; Norwood, Mass.

Message of grace

My church is doing a study on Romans where we're learning that both the sinner and the self-righteous are condemned but only the "righteous by faith will live." I thought of that when Marvin Olasky described the Gay Pride marchers' reactions to the Bible-thumpers ("Prodigal sons," Feb. 28). Those who use the Law to attack sinners are woefully misdirected; if they truly want to be "salt" and "light," they should carry the message of grace through faith in Christ.

-Paul Lewis; Little Rock, Ark.

"Prodigal sons" was one of the best columns I've ever read. I've heard the parable of the prodigal son applied when there is unfaithfulness in a marriage (the faithful spouse often has the attitude of the elder brother), but I never thought of all the other applications. It really challenged me to check my attitude in many areas.

-Sharon Carpenter; Colon, Mich.

Olasky's column cut to my heart. It was an unsettling glimpse of where an older sibling's loveless, truth-telling heart could lead. Ouch, but thank you.

-Alicia Cebada; Mission Viejo, Calif.

Heavy burden of debt

I truly appreciated Joel Belz's "Zeroes all over the place" (Feb. 28). The debt we are passing irresponsibly to our children and grandchildren has weighed on my heart for many years. This is unfair, immoral, and a security risk for our nation. Regarding effective ways to teach the basics of economics to elementary children: Teach them to set up a budget to learn how to manage money and the consequences of taking on debt. Parents, of course, must also model fiscal responsibility.

-Gordon Oakes; Forks, Wash.

As a retired community banker, I am saddened to realize that greed has caused this entire financial meltdown, just like it did for the savings and loan industry in the '70s-only this time it is worse. Politicians, the financial industry, real estate brokers, appraisers, investment houses, even real estate buyers, and, in fact, all of us may have contributed to the process. Not many of our leaders will be willing to admit it, but the human condition is the culprit again.

-Larry A. Sorenson; Arlington, Minn.

So frustrating

I just graduated with a degree in art and was so happy to see the piece about Henry Darger and Martin Ramirez ("Shadow minds," Feb. 28). I was glad that you didn't simply condemn their work outright. In my experience, if Christians don't understand or are made uncomfortable by a work of art, they think it must be bad or ungodly, and if it doesn't fit the Thomas Kinkade full-of-light-and-peace mold, it's not good art. This has been so frustrating. I make abstract paintings and collages, but my parents wish I would paint landscapes and such.

-Elisabeth Preble; Minneapolis, Minn.

Mission aborted

As a diabetic, I am very thankful for Medtronic technology. However, reading about Medtronic's joint venture with Weigao, a Chinese company that manufactures abortion devices ("Dealing in death," Feb. 28), I am dismayed to find out that a company from which I purchase thousands of dollars worth of equipment every year is in direct opposition to my moral and ethical beliefs.

-Carrie Smoldon; Anchorage, Alaska

I retired after 26 years with Medtronic. Over the last decade the company has, through mismanagement and major acquisitions, diluted the corporate culture so much that the Medtronic Mission no longer guides decision-making. That current employees fear ostracism or job loss for voicing their views about the joint venture with Weigao is proof that management has aborted the Mission.

-Don Robinson; Norcross, Ga.

Praying, for sure

Thanks for "Good followership" (Feb. 28). I struggle with church leadership that has no vision, with sermons that have lots of biblical information but no application, and with singing songs that fail to lead the congregation into worship together. There is of course no perfect church. My wife says I should work for change because I committed to this church, but I also remember how often my suggestions have been ignored. What would Christ have me do? I'm praying, for sure.

-James Eubank; La Junto, Colo.

Common deceptions

"Alice's battle" (Feb. 28) is yet another column from Andrée Seu revealing the common deceptions into which I fall. I tend to listen to the counsel of my friends, who are more sane and godly than me, rather than listening to the Creator. This lesson applies not just to those about to be married, although I wish every bride-to-be could read this before her wedding day.

-Donna Randazzo; Cornelius, N.C.

Stunning but disturbing

I read your review of Coraline ("Cautionary tale," Feb. 28) and thought I would go see it with a friend. I'm glad I didn't take my daughter with us. Cinematically, the movie is stunning, but the imagery became troubling, even disturbing at times. It is certainly not for children.

-Mike Duby; Culpeper, Va.

Fresh horrors

Your interview with Charles Murray ("College crush," Feb. 14) is a rare public acknowledgement of a subtle but powerful shift taking place as higher education focuses increasingly on outcomes assessment. Accreditation agencies ask, "Are schools delivering what they say?" Employers ask, "What does the student with a degree really know?" But some academic institutions are adopting truly competency-based approaches for granting degrees because "real education" calls for real assessment.

-Stephen Kemp; Ames, Iowa

Although I agree with not requiring a BA for employment, I can't say I like the solution. I'm currently a freshman in college, and the memory of the horrors of standardized testing is still fresh in my mind. And as I discovered when taking the SAT essays, if you know the grading rubric and the test company's political bias, you'll get a better score. It was annoying having these tests factor so much into college and scholarships; I can't imagine the terror of having one test be the basis for my career success!

-Kirstin Rose; Williamsport, Pa.

Unlike most of you

I really enjoyed "Shadow wonk" (Jan. 31). I found George Friedman's predictions of the 21st century fascinating, so I read The Next 100 Years and it was one of the best books I have ever read. As a 14-year-old, I found the book very relevant because I will be around to see how many of the predictions he made come true.

-Joshua Young; Houston, Texas