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Letters from our readers

Tumbling far

If healthcare "reform" passes ("Do the math," Nov. 7), will Christian healthcare sharing ministries be able to continue? That approach leads to a keen sense of responsibility for personal health, but the folks in Congress apparently think these people are not contributing their fair share. I am also concerned about the many doctors who provide a cash-only service to very satisfied patients. Our society will have tumbled far along the road to personal irresponsibility in healthcare if these groups, and others like them, cannot continue.

-William L. Brown; Mason, Mich.

As a loyal, traditional Catholic, I applaud Belmont Abbey College's firm commitment to church doctrine in healthcare, but where was this commitment at the hiring of the eight faculty members who complained to the EEOC? That eight faculty members at a school of only 1,500 students are willing to challenge adherence to the church's authority says much about Christian higher education.

-Joshua C. Bachman; St. Joseph, Mo.

I am a doctor and have worked for seven years for a nonprofit, community-based health clinic. We have low fees ($10 for a first time visit) and never demand payment. I believe our patients would say that they get excellent care right now. They don't really need a huge government bureaucracy. Our community-based clinic is more efficient and can better assess the needs of the community. Clinics like ours are truly the best kept secret in American healthcare for the poor and unemployed.

-Linda W. Flower; Tomball, Texas

The whole truth

I take at face value Barna's research about the low standing we evangelicals have with young people ("A high tight wire," Nov. 7). Ironically, however, it seems that some of these same judgmental, hypocritical, and old-fashioned evangelicals are sacrificially helping the poor, disadvantaged, and helpless every day of their lives, as WORLD has been showing in its "profiles in effective compassion" in recent issues. We should balance our self-criticism with a healthy dose of the "rest of the story."

-Jim Heggie; Camano Island, Wash.

I doubt the Apostle Peter would care a whit about his "reputation." He spoke boldly both to the church and to the ruling Sanhedrin with in-your-face accusations, caring only for the proclamation of truth and that he was pleasing to his Lord.

-Nancy Richter; Bucklin, Kan.

As I grow older in the Lord, I see how Christians bring so much condemnation on themselves. Maintaining a loving, caring attitude when addressing specific sins, such as abortion or homosexuality, can be a boon when sharing Christ. We can stand our ground morally and present the abundant, joyful life in Christ as the answer.

-Jim Bates; Marshall, Texas

The first duty of the Christian is to glorify God. If the world and other churchgoers are bored or offended by what they see, isn't it possible that their offense speaks more about their rebellion than it does about the shortcomings of the Christian working out his salvation with fear and trembling?

-Rick Ahlgrim; Greenwood, Ind.

Nurtured nature

I appreciated Janie B. Cheaney's understanding of the vast difference in our perception of wilderness when it is viewed from the city rather than from a tribal setting ("Subdued and preserved," Nov. 7). But I think she overstepped a bit in saying that "America's best idea toward nature was confining it." There is beauty, order, and majesty in wild places that is often absent when nature has been subdued by sinful human beings. I believe that the glory of untrammeled nature and the human awe before it is an echo of Eden.

-Lewis Archer; Sylacauga, Ala.

Could it be that our fearful attitude toward true wilderness is based on our desire for comfort and pleasure and to be in control? Nature can be ferocious, bringing great hardship. But what if danger and hardship are to have a legitimate part of our lives, even as trials are a necessary part of a Christian's? Does not God use the witness of nature to work His loving (albeit sometimes mysterious) purposes?

-Jim & Merri Carol Martens; Ogdensburg, Wis.

Where were Christians during the early days of the National Park movement? Why did it take the John Muirs of this world to call our attention to preserving and conserving our natural heritage? It seems our attitude has been "subdue and multiply," while ignoring our biblical directive to cultivate and care for the Earth.

-Bonner Davis; Annville, Pa.

Forever grateful

I loved "Taking risks for the gospel" (Nov. 7). Thirty years ago on a Midwest college campus I was introduced to someone who said, "Glad to meet you, Angela. Do you know Jesus Christ?" Many people would be offended by such boldness, but God knew exactly what I needed. I am forever grateful that he didn't play it safe.

-Angela Toner; Columbia, Md.

I felt rightly challenged and rebuked by "Taking risks for the gospel." I'm one of those intellectual types who tends to "mind-screw" everything and spends more time in theological discussions than in "doin' the stuff."

-Jim Blatzheim; Savage, Minn.

Well-padded wallets

I was shocked, disappointed, and indignant that the leaders of well-respected Christian organizations have such well-padded wallets ("Franklin's purse," Nov. 7). My question, "What do they do with all that money?" is not rhetorical. If these men and women are serious about their God-given roles, let them cut their compensation and donate the excess to the very causes that they ask me and others to give to.

-Paul Gebel; Columbia, S.C.

We are a retired professional couple who spent our adult lives in Christian ministries in the United States, Canada, and Russia. We live on around $26,000 a year in pensions and Social Security and try to be generous givers. Samaritan's Purse has come off our list. Granted, Franklin Graham has agreed to take only one income (still exceeding $500,000!), but there was no acknowledgment that his salaries were excessive, just that the controversy "just wasn't worth it." We are so disappointed.

-Dick & Esther Matteson; South Bend, Ind.

Not a crabby conservative

I didn't want another magazine, but a new member at our church purchased WORLD for me. The more I read it the more I change. Marvin Olasky's "autobiography" ("New front in the war," Nov. 7) is inspiring me to take more risks for the Lord. The column about Ted Cruz ("Future candidate," Nov. 7) was great. We need someone to promote quality people. Thanks for WORLD. It is not just another crabby conservative magazine; it inspires me to make a positive difference.

-Tom Olson; Newark, Ohio

Recently I voted for the very first time. Even though it was only a small city election, it was so exciting to be a part of the political process. In part because of WORLD, I enjoyed keeping up on last year's presidential contest and made sure to register in time for this year's election. WORLD has helped me to develop an interest in politics and has reinforced my Christian worldview.

-O.J. Gibson, 18; Ventura, Calif.

God's crafty humor

I had to laugh when I saw that the poster atheists are putting up all over New York City had a backdrop of a beautiful blue sky with puffy white clouds (The Buzz, Nov. 7). Apparently they never read Psalm 19: "The heavens proclaim the glory of God. The skies display his craftsmanship." I guess that's what comes from not knowing the Bible.

-Deryl Edwards; Lynchburg, Va.

The constant battle

In the Nov. 7 issue I was interested in the numerous examples of persecution of Christians and churches: Sudanese ("The death of an arch­deacon"), Vietnamese ("Middle passage"), Iraqis ("A fragile light"), and even Americans ("The big chill"). The constant battle between the kingdom of the world and the kingdom of God will not end until the second coming of Christ. It is never enjoyable to suffer persecution for your faith, but we can be light for Christ in this world. Thank you for encouraging us to live for Him.

-Woody Swartzendruber; Ankeny, Iowa