Great books tell stories. Here’s our pick of vivid and insightful new releases for better understanding America, world events, history, science, and theology
[ Oct. 12 ] The issue is not just opening the door to state regulation but the Church’s failure to stand against a therapy industry that defines addiction as chronic disease and addicts as victims. Teen Challenge has done for years what Christians should do: remove the teen from the old environment, add Scripture and physical labor, and help them move forward in life. —Carol Almy / Long Grove, Ill.
The threat of mission drift is real, but, as executive director of Teen Challenge Detroit and Flint, I have been more than frustrated by Brother Don Wilkerson’s comments about the alleged secularization of Teen Challenge. His framing of the issues is inconsistent, reductionistic, and polarizing. Yes, the gospel alone is the power of salvation, and yes, all addiction is spiritual at its core. But addiction is complex. Our goal is to offer comprehensive, holistic care that addresses physical, psychological, and social dimensions. God’s salvation empowers and sustains true recovery, but it is not a magic pill. —Jeff Bonzelaar / Detroit, Mich.
[ Oct. 12 ] In my experience, marriage is really good for the first few years. But after that? It gets better. Until you have kids. That’s when it becomes really good. —John Tors / Toronto, Ontario
We too are much concerned about failing marriages, but to me the real issue is the kids. When a couple divorces, it is sad. When a couple with kids divorces, it is a disaster! —Richard & Susan Brewster / Cutchogue, N.Y.
Joel Belz’s advice about marriage is exactly the opposite of the counsel I received all my life from my fervently Christian mother. Belz provided a breath of fresh air, a terrifying mixture of love, hope, and fear. —Grace Broadwell on Facebook
I appreciate Belz’s optimism and am thankful for my sweet wife, but let’s not forget that some people need realistically lower expectations for marriage to keep their sanity. —Ed Walkwitz on wng.org
Belz asks if it’s true that half of all marriages, including Christian marriages, end in divorce. The evidence, as carefully analyzed by Shaunti Feldhahn in The Good News About Marriage, shows this was never true in America and that the divorce rate among Christians who regularly attend worship services is far below the national average. —Doug Frechtling / Bethesda, Md.
[ Oct. 12 ] The attempt to impeach President Trump is an important moment for Christians. Some are so loyal to the president that they will never demand accountability. But we must take the long view, having no political loyalty so great that we fail to be salt in an age needing examples of courage, principle, and hope. —John-Mason Shackelford / Bay Village, Ohio
Democrats are desperate. They know they won’t be able to beat Trump in the election so they have tried twice to scrape together evidence for impeachment, but he is innocent. Is Joe Biden? —Abigail Kimbrough / Kilgore, Texas
[ Oct. 12 ] It’s a shame that talented people can’t just make good music. Profanity and “woke” content weaken the artist’s ability to touch the soul. Instead they simply tickle the ears of those who are deceived and broken. —Kelly Jessup Casebeer on Facebook
Eventually this genre will be either the dominant discourse of a socialist dystopia or shared with quiet laughs in old folks homes over a shared bottle of Ensure. Picture it: Lana Del Rey, Taylor Swift, and Kirstin Maldonado as guests of a Medicare state wondering where it all went wrong. —David Dileas / Amherst, N.Y.
[ Oct. 12 ] Mindy Belz’s column on the ridiculous prophets of climate change doomsday is right on target. God “makes the world great,” and He alone will decide what the weather will be tomorrow and when it all shall come to an end. —Constance Rice / South Charleston, Ohio
Excellent commentary. Keeping our focus on Jesus balances a call to action with hope for the future. —Michelle Ols / Northborough, Mass.
[ Oct. 12 ] What a wonderful reminder. Families shift, children leave, and some never get to have the privilege of knowing their own grandchildren. Our duty is to dedicate them all to the Lord and trust in Him. —Shannon-Mark Burgdorf on Facebook
[ Oct. 12 ] I watched the series while receiving chemotherapy. It was encouraging to see such impressive gains in medical care that reaches so many people emerge from such humble beginnings. It’s a testimony to God’s common grace. The nuns’ influence may have been underplayed, but their faith and dedicated service were mentioned often and with admiration. —Keith Telle on wng.org
[ Oct. 12 ] With the exception of the space sequences, this movie felt made for 1 a.m. viewing on a cable movie channel, the sort of late-night introspection where you find yourself wondering how many other lost souls are on the same insomniac journey as you. —Christa Lehr on Facebook
[ Oct. 12 ] During the 2008 campaign I was concerned by how casually people spread unfounded allegations against Barack Obama; now we’re demanding truth from secular media. If we’re going to demand that others do due diligence, we are going to have to do ours, and I have to start with myself. —Liz Jones on wng.org
[ Oct. 12 ] I normally love Megan Basham’s reviews and went to see Downton Abbey based on her thoughts. I was wildly disappointed. The homosexual kiss overshadowed all the good parts of the movie for me. —Kerri Fedele on wng.org
[ Oct. 12 ] It is so heartbreaking what humans do to each other. I am so thankful that God reaches into such sin and chooses to love and save us sinners. —Amanda Smith on Facebook
The screenwriter of The West Wing is Aaron Sorkin (“Perfect Harmony,” Oct. 26, p. 18).
[ Oct. 12 ] After 67 years of marriage, we agree that expectations have been lowered, usually because the goal is self-gratification rather than unconditional love and service. Yet there are many wonderful marriages, and they need to be celebrated so that people don’t think that failed marriages and broken families are the norm. —Bill and Rose Ramsay / Berea, Ky.
[ Oct. 12 ] Yesterday I saw a milkweed ready to explode, perfectly formed in a pod and silky smooth. Amazing. I also saw a peacock, the wonder of our eyes, and a newborn baby. But there’s a lot of passion and suffering as well. God is the only rational explanation. —William Peck on Facebook
Mindy Belz points out the deeper meaning of the world and our deepest longing so very well. —Paula Guinn Cate on Facebook
[ Oct. 12 ] An outstanding documentary. I highly recommend it. —Mary Jo Bohn on Facebook
[ Oct. 12 ] May those of us who have chosen Christ not “go gentle into that good night” but take every opportunity as long as we have breath to draw more souls into His marvelous light! —Joan Allmendinger / Fort Collins, Colo.
[ Sept. 28 ] The tragedy at the southern border has long been allowed to fester because it seems to benefit some political and corporate interests. The Trump administration deserves some credit for trying to fix something that may not be fixable even in two terms. —Albert van der Heide / Langley, British Columbia
Yes, Trump is sometimes ham-fisted in addressing issues, but surely you could note something positive about his dealing with the very challenging border crisis. —Jeffrey B. Talley / Dallas, Ga.