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Not just another disaster

Thank you, WORLD, for softening my calloused heart. My unconscious response to the disaster in Haiti at first was, "Well, just another world disaster." Your photos of the people of Haiti ("Aftershock," Feb. 13) somehow reminded me of my own mother as she lay dying of cancer little more than two months ago. Your article spurred me to make a charitable donation, but more than that it shook me out of my selfish apathy. -Daniel Plunkett; Kilauea, Hawaii

I am a doctor and recently returned from Haiti. We worked for a few days in Cabaret at Presbyterian Mission in Haiti with Charles Amicy and cared for Jean, the child Jamie Dean mentioned in your cover story. He got better through excellent attention from the pediatrician and a woman in the church who attended Jean. Thanks for your work and reporting. -Rob Maddox; Start, La.

"Homecoming" (Feb. 13) was bittersweet for me. It's wonderful for Jimmy Lepp, the Haitian orphan, to finally be with his "forever family" in Washington. It's hard, however, for those still waiting. My brother and his family have also been waiting about three years to bring their son, Louis, home from Haiti. Their paperwork was near the top of the pile-and then the earthquake struck and brought the process to a standstill. -Jen Litowski; Matthews, N.C.

Profoundly disturbing

Thank you for the profoundly disturbing column, "An indecent grief" (Feb. 13). From the photo to the opening anecdote to the insights into Jeremiah, it exposed the callousness of my heart. The old English definition of comfort, "strengthening, encouraging, inciting, aiding," is a challenge as well. -Tim Sizemore; Freehold, N.J.

"An indecent grief" brings to mind the sights, sounds, and smells of the places where people have so little. The picture moved me beyond what I normally allow myself to feel. I immediately imagined our younger foster son in that dirt, near death if not already dead. I grieve for the little baby in the dirt, alone. -Trace Roth; Findlay, Ohio

Mindy Belz's column was excellent. As I read it I was trying to hold back tears so as not to have to explain them to my two youngest children. But regarding your comment about Rush Limbaugh, he wasn't saying "don't give." He was advising people not to give to our government and instead give it to an organization that will use it more effectively. -Scott Humston; Mt. Dora, Fla.

Belz's column gripped my very soul and brought Haiti right before my face. The graphic photo is hard to look at and yet I made myself stare long and hard. The tears came, but what are tears without action? Without blood and sweat? I don't know what to do. I don't want "to get on with it." Heaven help me not to forget. -Joni Scott; Kirklin, Ind.

Been there, got that

Kudos to Janie B. Cheaney for her contemplation of Avatar's derivative beauty ("Reel beauty," Feb. 13). I was disappointed in the film's anemic story and silly message and equally disappointed in the unoriginal world created for the film. Many things on Pandora are super-sized versions of plants and animals found in coral reefs. Watching the TV series Planet Earth would show those depressed by our "gray" world that no fantasy planet can beat ours for beauty. -Jordan M. Poss; Seneca, S.C.

Some of my friends think that Avatar is the best, while I had a hard time getting past its preachiness. The beauty and harmony of creation in Avatar can point us not only to the beauty of creation that exists now, even in its brokenness, but also to the perfect beauty that we'll see once everything is restored. -Jeremy Larson; Charleston, S.C.

Thank you for Cheaney's insightful and beautifully written column. She captured so well a wise way for Christians to process and interpret this extravagant fantasy film. I particularly agree that connecting spiritually with the Creator is a far higher privilege than the tentacle-like connections that the Na'vi use to communicate with various creatures on their planet. -James D. Schuman; Chicago, Ill.

Faith from the Word

I found the interview with Michael Card ("The life of a slave," Feb. 13) refreshing. I was struck by his response, when asked if he had asked Jesus into his heart, that "He's asked me into His heart." Thanks be to God that faith comes by hearing the Word of God, and not from our own sinful heart! -Dana Palmer; Corunna, Ind.

God uses retrospect

In the 1970s I was a wayward preacher's kid living Ephesians 4:14 out loud, "tossed to and fro by the waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by human cunning, by craftiness in deceitful schemes." But in the mid-'80s I was introduced to the music of Michael Card and the writings of Elisabeth Elliot. Twenty-five years later WORLD wove them together into the same issue ("Insight into the Elliots," Feb. 13), opening a floodgate of memory for me to recall how God used their ministries in miraculous ways to turn my head and heart back to Him. I love how God uses retrospect. -Laura L. Lynn; Bunnell, Fla.


Our daughter SarahBeth was quoted in "Learning to wait" (Feb. 13) about the PEERS abstinence program. It is heartbreaking to see Obama and others not valuing abstinence programs when statistics consistently prove them to be successful. -Beth Pfister; Indianapolis, Ind.

The real power

"Whose darling?" (Feb. 13) was honest and insightful. When I finished it, I realized that while some Republi­cans recognize the value of the real, lasting results of Christ-centered programs, many do not really understand that the power behind the results is Jesus Christ. -Richard Boggs; Wilburton, Okla.

Anything but respectability

I have long believed that most professing Christians would surrender to Jesus anything except their respectability ("On being respectable," Feb. 13). Scripture does not speak well of people who love the praise of men more than the praise of God. Are we kidding ourselves, thinking we can be respectable in society and still find favor with God? -Kathryn Lee; Indianapolis, Ind.

What an example

Regarding Brit Hume's comments on Tiger Woods and his interview with Bill O'Reilly ("Politeness police," Jan. 30): It's interesting that flipping through the channels one can find pretty explicit discussions of sexual issues, but to speak about the hope that is in Jesus can be offensive or impolite. -Joel Kornegay; San Angelo, Texas

Scripture tells us that God will recognize us in heaven when we have uttered the name of Jesus here on earth. What an example Hume has given us. And I wonder how "polite" it is even for us to be told of the suffering of Woods' family in the first place. -Virginia Hymer; Hutchinson, Kan.

It's all good

Janie B. Cheaney is right, of course, about how the typical story plot is moved along by evil rather than good ("Beguiling stories," Jan. 30). This paradigm doesn't only affect our fiction, but also our perception of God. That is, we view human history as God fixing what evil did, rather than as God laying out a brilliant plan to accomplish something unprecedented in all of the created order: the uniting of heaven and earth, the marriage of God and Man. -Amy Rachel Peterson; Kansas City, Mo.

First mate, actually

I generally agree with your review of Invictus ("More than a game," Jan. 2) but wish you had dug a little deeper into the meaning behind the title poem by William Ernest Henley. The poem's last two lines, written from Henley's hospital bed after his lower leg was amputated, have become famous as symbols for what man can do through determination and courage: "I am the master of my fate/I am the captain of my soul." However, for the Christian, the poem represents life without God and His guidance, care, correction, and tutelage. -Eleanor Nagy; Alexandria, Va.


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