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Letters from our readers

More than numbers

Humongous hurrahs for the exposition on the state of American Christianity ("Is Christianity in the U.S. doomed?" June 20)! Thank you for the hope you stirred in those of us who despair of our nation's direction, and for bringing a light into the swirling despair that seems to be settling over our land. If numbers are all that matter, then, yes, it's a bad thing that marginal and lukewarm Christians fall off the roll. But would that displease God?

-Elaine Neumeyer; Big Canoe, Ga.

Thank you for "Is Christianity in the U.S. Doomed?" The news has been very difficult to take for a while now. It was refreshing to get some eternal perspective.

-Paul Hepler; Grand Rapids, Mich.

Less talk

I appreciated "Can we talk?" (June 20). I'm afraid the trend to speak frankly and publicly of matters that for millennia better discretion has deemed private is just one more way in which the church follows rather than leads culture. Thank you for drawing us back to decency and propriety.

-Judith Eddy; La Crescent, Minn.

Thank you for your article on the frankness of sex talk in some churches. Our world has become very crass. We should work hard as believers, amid much joy in Christ, to honor God's holiness through reserved and modest speech about issues sacred and intimate.

-Jim Kirkpatrick; Stillwater, Minn.

I am a convicted sex offender and have served eight years of my 21-year sentence. I was raised in a Christian family that attended church regularly. I never felt comfortable talking about the strange, sexual thoughts going through my mind, so I thought I was the only guy going through this stuff until I came to prison. I wish today's churches would make it a comfortable thing to talk about so that would-be sex offenders could realize that they're not alone.

-J. Gilbert; Aberdeen, Wash.

To present a series like that to a church full of people raised in church might be shocking, unnecessary, and indiscreet. But those aren't the people that Mars Hill is trying to reach. Mars Hill stands firmly rooted in Reformed theology while addressing both current and perennial issues with timeless truth.

-Alan Miller; Renton, Wash.

I was more than a little surprised by the tone of "Can we talk?" Isn't one of the problems the fact that this subject has been hidden from God's sheep (and certainly not even mentioned in any positive way) in far, far too many churches?

-G. Robert Greene; Fredericksburg, Va.

I attend Mars Hill and love Pastor Driscoll's leadership and frankness. It is my prayer that more pastors will find the courage to challenge boldly the young men in their congregations, as Driscoll does, by naming sexual sins, describing the greatness of marriage, and demonstrating in their own marriages what it looks like to love and lead a wife, as Jesus loves and leads His church.

-Jeremy Robb; Seattle, Wash.

Empathetic enough

All our governmental agencies as well as the court system are already shot through with plenty of "empathy" ("Empathy for us all," June 20). Supreme Court nominee Sonia Sotomayor has already disqualified herself by her previous decisions and off-side remarks. To give the poor, minorities, and women legal advantages arrogantly ignores our nation's heritage of individual legal equality.

-Irving E. Friedman; Irvine, Calif.

Joel Belz's point that empathy must be applied with wisdom is well taken. Empathy has a place in our judicial system, but it is at the trial court level where a "jury of our peers" can empathize with plaintiffs, defendants, and victims in making such judgments. To inject empathy at the appellate or Supreme Court levels would turn them into glorified trial courts instead of courts that review only the application of the law.

-Rodney Wise; Overland, Mo.

I'm not against empathy in a judge. What I'm against is the assumption that liberal judges have empathy but conservative judges don't. Such arrogance! The reality is that liberals pick and choose the person they have empathy for-a terrorist who's being waterboarded, for example, but not a baby who's being aborted. Let's not pretend that any race has a corner on empathy, or that Sotomayor's nomination has to do with how empathetic she can be.

-Kenneth Vasquez; Chino, Calif.

Evil acts

I was shocked to read that murdered late-term abortionist George Tiller was a member in good standing of a church body ("Bleeding Kansas," June 20). How could a man responsible for the deaths-the gruesome, painful deaths-of thousands of babies be a pillar of any church?

-Karin Whitney; Buxton, Maine

I am saddened that Tiller was murdered. His evil acts do not justify the evil act committed against him, but I'm not going to lose any sleep over it. There is blood on his hands, the hands of the man who murdered him, and on the hands of those in his church who did not attempt to correct his practice of murdering the unborn.

-Mike Inman; Edwardsville, Ill.

That is cricket

As a former enthusiastic cricket player who emigrated from Belfast many years ago, I thoroughly enjoyed "Escape from scandal" (June 20). It is almost impossible to explain to my American friends the nuances of cricket, but Daniel Olasky did a very good job. The article brought back to me the life of C.T. Studd of China Inland Mission. He was a member of the famous Cambridge Seven, all talented students who all followed the call of God to missionary service. Studd was a top-rate cricket player for Cambridge, and he represented England until he gave up a considerable fortune and went overseas.

-Denis MacDowell; Morgantown, W.Va.

I enjoyed learning about the mysterious (to me, at least) game of cricket. It reminded me of the phrase "sticky wicket," referring to a difficult circumstance. I guessed it had something to do with the wooden wickets on both sides of the pitch, but a little research revealed that it refers to the ground around the wicket when it becomes soft after rain, making the ball spin and bounce unpredictably.

-Art Bergquist; San Marcos, Calif.

Losing faith

Upon reading "Keeping the faith?" (June 20), I became very disillusioned with World Vision, and even more so after reviewing its mission statement. My future donations will be supporting a mission organization more in line with my Christian beliefs.

-Carrie Smoldon; Anchorage, Alaska

Two fronts

I agree with President Obama's current strategy ("Mr. Obama's war," June 20). Iraq should be responsible for its own security at this point, and we must also accept the necessity of waging the Afghanistan war in a manner that follows Gen. Petraeus' anti-insurgency strategy. Afghanistan will be a very difficult nut to crack, but a secure, stable Afghanistan is within our national interest. Sadly, President Bush lost sight of that and made the tragic mistake of invading Iraq. While Bush had options, Obama is left with no choice but to "hunt terrorists, spread freedom, and build a nation" on two fronts rather than one.

-Basil Buchko; Manitowoc, Wis.

Remember the words

I was touched by the story of Soon Ok Lee ("Raising her head," June 20), whose mother sang "Amazing Grace" to her when she was very young and she remembered the words so many years later. I pray that my oldest son, when he comes to salvation, will remember those same words that I sang to him as a baby.

-Julie Deisenroth; Munising, Mich.

Life well lived

Thank you for the article on Edward Treski ("To hell and back," May 23). When I saw the date, I realized that Treski was on the same ship that my uncle, Donald Lyle Larson, was on when it went down. My uncle did not survive, but I'm grateful to hear Treski's story of that experience and a life well lived.

-Dean Larson; Tescott, Kan.


One of the founders of The Gospel Coalition is Trinity Evangelical Divinity School professor D.A. Carson ("Reformed 'City,'" June 20, p. 60).