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Letters from our readers

Mailbag

‘More than inspirational’

Nov. 25  Thank you for choosing Joni Eareckson Tada for this year’s Daniel of the Year. She has helped our family more than she could know. We have suffered so much due to my son’s severe autism these last 17 years. The Joni and Friends retreats are a little taste of heaven, and give us hope and courage to get through another year. —John Brock on wng.org

Thank you for telling my story to a new generation. My heart’s desire is that many more people will be able to celebrate their own weaknesses in light of God’s amazing grace! And thank you for noting Joni and Friends, turning the spotlight on the plight of special needs families and others who are medically fragile. —Joni Eareckson Tada /Agoura Hills, Calif.

What a great article by Jamie Dean. Eareckson Tada is a great example of the Biblical truth that “when I am weak, then I am strong.” Like the Apostle Paul, she has a “thorn in the flesh,” but it’s not permanent. —Bob Francis / Wakefield, Mass.

A Bible study I completed referred to the inability to meet our own needs as “the joy of dependence.” Joni is a shining example. —Nancy Venezia / St. Louis, Mo.

‘Tax reform trick or treat?’

Nov. 25  Thank you for spelling out the ramifications of the proposed tax reform plan for normal taxpayers. It gives helpful perspective and fresh disappointment about trends in our society’s values and our government’s decisions. —James Creasman on wng.org

The theory of the GOP tax plan is sound: Reducing taxes and repatriating corporate dollars will improve the economy and create more jobs, resulting in more tax revenue. The argument that the changes will increase the national debt doesn’t take this into account. That’s not to say our debt problem would go away; we are still spending irresponsibly and need to make serious cuts to the federal budget. —Paul Bizeau / Parma, Idaho

Whatever happened to shrinking the size of government as part of a tax plan? And what’s wrong with the flat tax idea? —John B. Stone on wng.org

Charity is a result of the Spirit, not the tax plan. I think most people who already give will continue to give at the same level, although some may give more or less with changes in their wallet sizes. Let each of us give according to what God gives him. —Brendan Bossard on wng.org

When they talk about tax reform, congressional leaders always seem to forget that Americans are taxed twice at the federal level: the regular income tax and the dreaded “payroll taxes” for Social Security and Medicare, for which there are no deductions or exemptions. —David Winkler / Austin, Texas

Tax deductions absolutely are a factor in my giving. I constantly seek out ways to route my gifts through charities; that’s good, practical stewardship. —Gregory Samson / Coeur d’Alene, Idaho

‘Housing shorts’

Nov. 25  It is disgusting that Solutions for Change cannot accept HUD funding because Solutions requires drug testing for residents to remain in their houses, while shelters that leave the homeless on the public dole or on the street keep HUD money. Only a government too big to fail would operate such a travesty. —Dave Dahlke / Port Orchard, Wash.

Kudos to Sophia Lee for her fascinating series on a problem that is increasingly difficult to solve. —Janet Piccione Klepper on Facebook

May this outstanding article bring more awareness of homelessness and hope to the precious least of these. —Laurie Strumpfer Motz on Facebook

Giving a handout to homeless people makes you feel that you’re doing something but doesn’t require nearly as much time or effort as programs that work. We need more programs like Solutions for Change. —Carole Johansen on Facebook

Another successful model encourages churches and synagogues to adopt a single homeless family that is ready to move into permanent housing and take responsibility for their own lives. One agency here in California provides a case manager and a “faith team” for mentoring, accountability, and relationships. —John Wiester / Buellton, Calif.

‘The church that birthed America’

Nov. 25  Mindy Belz suggests that Begijnhof’s English Reformed Church “birthed America.” I would point out that the first legislative assembly in the New World met at the church in Jamestown, the first permanent English colony. There our American heritage of representative government, and thus America as we know it, was born. —Joe Bonorden / Canyon Lake, Texas

On a visit to Amsterdam I was thrilled to see the stained-glass window in the English Reformed Church depicting Gov. Bradford reading his Geneva Bible on board the Mayflower. When my wife and I visited Plymouth, Mass., the following year, we viewed his well-used Bible in the local museum. That completed the journey for me. —Terry Pruett / White City, Ore.

Bradford’s quote about the “hideous and desolate wilderness,” with no mention of the Indians who helped the Pilgrims survive, is another reminder of how American history is so often one-sided. Subsequent massacres of Indian villages and the exile of “praying Indians” to nearby islands during King Philip’s War show another side to the country’s development. —Gordon Woolard / Hollywood, Fla.

‘Protecting the flock’

Nov. 25  Thank you for presenting the case for armed security at church. I would argue that concealed-carry by members of the congregation, combined with emergency planning, is a good option, especially for small churches that can’t afford to hire security. —Julianne Pataky / Munith, Mich.

Correction

Rian Johnson is slated to direct a new Star Wars spinoff franchise (“A shift in the Force?,” Dec. 30, p. 22).

More letters, emails, and comments we didn’t have space for in the print edition:

‘More than inspirational’

Nov. 25 You couldn’t have picked a better warrior for Christ. What a life Joni Eareckson Tada has lived, and what a wonderful example of God’s grace. —Carol L. Hyatt / Silverton, Ore.

Your article brought tears to my eyes. As someone who has dealt with chronic illness, I could identify with how Christ was strong in her weakness. —Rhonda Devine on wng.org

‘Hard time, soft rock’

Nov. 25 It’s odd that a music reviewer is one of my favorite writers. That’s just how good Arsenio Orteza is. —Nathan Carpenter on Facebook

‘From Luther to Merkel’

Oct. 28 Hopefully, with our prayers, Merkel’s Germany will remember Luther, leave the EU, and embrace a more humane future. —Paul B. Taylor on wng.org

‘Single-minded’

Oct. 28 Thank you for Janie B. Cheaney’s column on the value of singles in the church. Years ago, when I was a 20-something single, announcements in our church service referred to two different groups: the singles and the adults. —Lydian Davis / Tempe, Ariz.