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Letters from our readers

Mailbag

"Orphaned no more" (July 30)

As an adoptive dad of two Ethiopian sons and a daughter on the way, thank you for your in-depth, balanced, and well-researched article on the challenges and joys of international adoption. Within the Ethiopian adoptive community, much of the last six months has been filled with speculation (and panic) about what the Ethiopian government may or may not do. Thank you for clearly stating current policy and trends.

Moody Alexander; Arlington, Texas

"A visitor's guide" (July 30)

I deeply resent this column, which portrayed some correctional staff as stupid and mean. Andrée Seu's well-intended offer of a box of Ziploc bags is the typical beginning of a "con" that could eventually force innocent people to serve the inmate in other ways. As a prison chaplain, I have required visitors and inmates to sit separately in Sunday service because that was how drugs were smuggled into the prison. We trust no one but always watch for the con while at the same time treating all with respect and dignity.

Lester F. Polenz; Mansfield, Ohio

Seu mentions the meanness of some prison guards. As an inmate myself, I think her description is dead-on; they treat our visitors as criminals. My father experienced it until his death at age 93. My thanks for seeing that a man in prison is still a man.

James Doyle; Bowling Green, Fla.

Texas prisons are a little more "customer-friendly." We visit someone (now a member of our church) a couple of times a year and have never been denied, but we have made several trips to our car to leave "contraband" such as a comb, chapstick, and a handkerchief. The most unnerving experience is passing the sign that says "No Hostage Zone." The non-contact visits through a glass with bad phones get tedious over four hours, but they are heaven-on-earth for the prisoner. We are so blessed by these visits that we are eager to return.

Dave Troup; Lee's Summit, Mo.

"Smashed violins" (July 30)

Having played the violin for some 45 years myself, I was delighted with Joel Belz's "Smashed violins." The boorishness of the "Nazi critic" was evident to anyone who knew and understood Heifetz's artistry and genius. I marvel at the extraordinary musical gifts God bestows.

Marcus Van Ameringen; Marietta, Ga.

While a master may be able to produce a wonderful performance on a cheap fiddle, the same piece played by the same master on a Stradivarius or other well-made, seasoned instrument will be ineffably more beautiful. And when a student violinist graduates to a good instrument, his "playing ability" improves immeasurably. I was a mediocre high-school violist, but when my teacher allowed me to play her hand-made instrument, suddenly my parents imagined I was actually practicing and improving.

Lyn Mellone; Salinas, Calif.

"Film school" (July 30)

This column has encouraged me to push down the nagging feeling that my children are pariahs because of my anti-cultural, ridiculously old-fashioned shunning of video games and the latest i-Phone-Pod-Pad gadgets in my home. Just as a fish doesn't know it is wet, at times parents are unaware of how wet we are with our culture. We've considered getting a Wii because the whole family could use it, but we never did. Instead we have Friday pizza and movie nights that everyone looks forward to.

Dana Cowherd; Nolensville, Tenn.

The essay about the moral lessons contained in some of the '40s and '50s Westerns was a joy to read. Not being an elitist, I totally enjoyed the new version of True Grit. This column reminded me of three pre-1948 Westerns that I think are well worth the time: The Ox-Bow Incident and My Darling Clementine, both with Henry Fonda, and one that surprised me, Destry Rides Again with James Stewart.

Jerry Bonsall; St. Albans, Vt.

"Misfeasance" (July 30)

I wonder, does the smell of money cover the odor of dead babies? I cannot imagine that a politician, who is elected to express the will of the people in his district, could accept blood money and go against the wishes of his constituents just to have the wherewithal to get elected.

Doris Heyns; Cape Coral, Fla.

Quick Takes (July 30)

You state, "No one knows exactly the last time a white buffalo was born," but a quick internet search revealed that a white buffalo, or bison, was born in Janesville, Wis., in 1994. She attracted much attention and prayers and was said to be the fulfillment of prophecies for some Native American groups. It's a reminder of how lost our world is.

Michele Harn; Brooklyn, Wis.

"It all ends here" (July 30)

Regarding your review of the last Harry Potter movie, it is amazing to me how quickly the Christian community can embrace witchcraft. The pagan worldview of Harry Potter produces a portrayal of good spirits vs. bad spirits, not biblical good vs. evil. Cusey concludes that the books are popular because they glorify "heroes who know right from wrong" and this suggests "the kids are going to be just fine." I couldn't disagree more. The kids are not doing just fine. We are losing a generation to a Christianity stripped of its power and truth in order to placate a lukewarm church whose new god is experience.

Paul Jehle; Plymouth, Mass.

We enjoy WORLD but I was saddened by the review of the last Harry Potter movie. We should remember the stern warnings from the Bible about sorcery and run from Harry Potter.

Kari Schott; Elbing, Kan.

"Time bomb" (July 30)

In the last three years we have watched with amazement the planning and construction of a new Volkswagen plant. That corporation has truly invested $1 billion in the future of Chattanooga, producing new jobs and new money in the local economy. During that same period our president and Congress increased the national debt by about $4 trillion. What do we have to show for that "investment"? Nothing but higher unemployment, higher debt, and a belief that our nation is on the brink of default.

Tom & Ruthellen Norman; Signal Mountain, Tenn.

"Church clean & club funny" (July 30)

My Christian friends and I long for entertainment that makes us laugh. Bob Hope, Fred Allen, Bob Newhart, Red Skelton, and others were masters at comedy and they did it without offending their audiences, but most comedy available today is coarse and offensive. We're waiting.

Pearl Hammerand; Ojai, Calif.

"Crouching at the door" (July 16)

Janie B. Cheaney first made me laugh with the line, "some kind of Viagra for the bile duct," but then it became serious. This summer we saw anger fully exposed just a few miles away in Grand Rapids, Mich., when someone murdered seven people and then committed suicide. The explosion of anger happens in shocking ways.

Al Wychers; Jamestown, Mich.

"In search of self" (July 16)

I am a stay-at-home mom of three kids and find it hard to live in the present. I'm always thinking about what I want to do to fulfill my dreams when the kids are older and in school and so I miss time with them now. I am there but not there. Thank you for encouraging me to stay the course.

Amy Conroy; Leon Springs, Texas

"Getting religion" (June 18)

Mockery is next to imitation as the sincerest form of flattery? Really? This is an ingenious angle from which to find something edifying in the Broadway Book of Mormon, despite its "gratuitous profanity and crude sexual humor." When confronted with the wit of an atheistic attack on all religion, urge me to ignore it or equip me to answer it, but don't invite me to be amused by it. It is foolish to find militant atheism "just plain funny."

Nathan Trice; Charlotte, N.C.

Corrections

President James Garfield was assassinated at age 49 (Looking Ahead, July 30).

Benjamin Orr was the former bassist and co-lead vocalist for the band The Cars ("Listening again," July 30).

Letters

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