Our 2019 Children’s Books of the Year stand out from an increasingly troubling crowd
[ Oct. 13 ] Two years ago my 16-year-old son put a .38 to his temple and pulled the trigger, but God’s promises give me hope. His ways are mysterious, but He is never unjust. Suicide is a sin, but it is not unforgivable. I long for the day when we will be reunited in the resurrection. —S. Nelson on wng.org
Four years after my son’s suicide, I feel like I am just supposed to move on with my life and smile and act like everything is fine. Sadly, I cling to my faith hoping that I’ll see my son again in heaven, but even those promises are cloudy with a chance of “Who knows?” —Phillip Woeckener on wng.org
Your article did a good job describing the pain the survivors feel, and it pierces the veil of shame in the church that keeps people from addressing their pain. In my view, no one who takes his life can lay any sure claim to eternal life. —Jeffrey C. Danco / Bridgewater, N.J.
[ Oct. 13 ] Despite my seminary degree, not until I was immersed in Kenyan culture did I see how Scripture applied to my life, especially in challenging times. Immersion is a powerful way to learn; the question is how to design an educational system that incorporates it. —Kathryn M. Lee / Indianapolis, Ind.
Perhaps the problem is the demand for a “real world” education. History, English, and philosophy are all much-maligned subjects that have enormous relevance. Education is about the real world, only people have stopped applying it to life. —John Kloosterman on wng.org
I hear daily from my high-school math students how much of modern education is, from a strictly utilitarian perspective, a waste of resources. Many students would be well-prepared for their expected careers through training, which teaches how to do, but society calls for schools to “educate” all students—to teach them how to think—without reference to their motivation, aptitude, or prospects. As long as this continues, any effort to “get real” cannot succeed. —Steven Anderson on wng.org
[ Oct. 13 ] Some of my female classmates really did love the hard sciences, but mostly we found them interesting, and we would also have found motherhood interesting. We were pushed into the sciences and, for many, away from motherhood by societal expectations. —Karen Tallentire on wng.org
As a woman who recently majored in the hard sciences, I find it insulting when people act like the only way I’ll get anywhere is if I get all sorts of help along the way. Women who are really passionate about STEM (like me) will do it with or without their help. —Laura Weieneth on wng.org
Readers may not have realized that the “Ashtabula Horror” of 1876 was the railroad bridge collapse that took the lives of gospel songwriter P.P. Bliss and his wife Lucy. —Peter Kushkowski / Portland, Conn.
[ Oct. 13 ] We should continue as a country that opens its arms to innocent people who have fled danger and persecution, and support public and private efforts to help them establish safe lives. But we should also recognize what this involves and be honest about how many refugees we can do this with successfully. —Steven Arnold on wng.org
With hundreds of thousands of refugee cases backlogged and the immigration system in disarray, it makes sense for Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to reduce the cap. Helping persecuted people is a Christian duty, but the government is not a Christian organization. —Kenneth Isgrigg on wng.org
[ Oct. 13 ] Thank you for your coverage of the National Memorial for Peace and Justice. Bryan Stevenson’s book Just Mercy has been eye-opening for me. —Kim Pyle on wng.org
[ Oct. 13 ] Regarding Marc S. Allan’s book What Happened to You?: I was in Gospel Outreach for over 15 years. Many people were saved through the ministry, but many were also scarred by its authoritarian teaching. It has taken me decades to understand that God’s grace, not my ability to meet rigid standards, is the foundation of my salvation and daily life. —Clare Sunderland / Newberg, Ore.
Susan Soesbe’s Bringing Mom Home is a wonderful book! It is a well-written and touching true story of losing her mom to dementia. I love WORLD’s book review section; it’s the first thing I read. —Carole Hutchings / Rathdrum, Idaho
[ Oct. 13 ] Minutes into a recent episode of God Friended Me, a lead character, previously portrayed as a Christian, is shown in a same-sex relationship. It comes out that her father, who is a reverend, took some time but is OK with her sexuality now. That’s the end of that show for me. —Stephen Perona on wng.org
WORLD should hold off giving positive reviews to new network shows. Hollywood introduces the requisite gay character after it hooks you with (otherwise) good writing. —Elaine Neumeyer on wng.org
[ Oct. 13 ] If the blood of the martyrs is the seed of the church, then we may be seeing the Spirit beginning a new work in China. —Ed Bowman on Facebook
[ Oct. 13 ] I wish they had a “companion app” for those who have disabilities. They too can lead very lonely lives and could use the companionship. —Rebecca Rabon on Facebook
[ Oct. 13 ] Speaking from Belgium, the country with the world’s largest choice of beer brands, Prohibition looks like a well-meant effort to stop the scourge of alcoholism. But Jesus taught that it’s not what goes into a man that defiles him, but what comes out. Still, in our country where alcohol destroys so many families, one would hope to get more help from the authorities. —Lionel Roosemont / Ypres, Belgium
[ Oct. 13 ] Before I read your interview with Fernando Ortega, my first thought was, “Too bad they won’t ask him about the accordion.” I should have known better. —John R. Torczynski / Albuquerque, N.M.
[ Oct. 13 ] I completed my master’s degree in communications management in my 50s. I learned online with a cohort of other professionals, and it made a big difference learning with people who brought real-world experiences to the table. —Paul Merrill / Littleton, Colo.
Even we homeschoolers are tempted to trap ourselves in the same ineffective processes of the failing school systems around us. I am inspired anew to pursue real-life opportunities and experiences for my children so that they can thrive in the real world. —Natalie Weber / Derby, Kan.
[ Oct. 13 ] When the government evaluates bids, it gives extra points to minority- or woman-owned companies, so the offer with the best price, experience, or capability may be edged out by the government’s commitment to “diversity.” Hopefully that pursuit of diversity over quality doesn’t lead to tragedy. —Beverly Parrish / League City, Texas
[ Oct. 13 ] This column is great, offering fresh, new insight. —Chris Jones on Facebook
[ Sept. 29 ] It is not that I prefer to attend a church where people share my political views, but churches in my community that don’t share them often support or even celebrate abortion, the LGBT agenda, and gay marriage. In some cases they are led by openly gay or lesbian clergy. —Tammie Orr / Rock Springs, Wyo.