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"GOP idea man" (May 22)

My siblings and I all fight over WORLD as soon as my dad brings it home, so we were excited to see our congressman, Paul Ryan, on the cover. Thank you for the great article about his Roadmap for America's Future. If only there were more like him in Washington.Anna Hartlaub, 15; Delavan, Wis.

"Binoculars in the mirror" (May 22)

Joel Belz's column about WORLD readers' tendency to pessimism was sobering but not surprising. Remember all the hysteria about Y2K? It was embarrassing and many evangelicals were involved. I am not saying we have nothing to fear. In fact, we are probably heading for tough times. But I think we need cooler heads and a sharper eye for opportunities (spiritual, not just economic) rather than just disasters.James T. Davis; Pohang, South Korea

I would like to cast my vote in favor of optimism, even though I have always considered myself somewhat of a Puddleglum. Maybe my view of eschatology plays into my optimism. For the record, I believe God is supremely in control and things will be getting better, if only a little bit at a time.Cindy Pimpo; Annapolis, Md.

I think it's very uplifting to expect the events in Revelation, Daniel, and Ezekiel. Our redemption is drawing nigh! Hallelujah!Kathryn Lee; Indianapolis, Ind.

It is possible to maintain a strong optimism through our faith in God. However, it does not eliminate a sense that things are going to get worse before it gets better. Man is still foolish. It doesn't mean that God will not take care of us. It just means that probably we are still going to screw things up.Forrest Parker; Galveston, Texas

"A profile in social justice" (May 22)

I believe Andrée Seu is right regarding government's involvement in charity. I was raised in The Salvation Army. Of all that the ministry does, the most important is its adherence to the faith and outreach in every com­munity as it tries to build self-reliance and a strong commitment to Christian values. It is a never-­ending story, and it builds upon the principles laid down by William Booth.Bert Nelson; Clifton, N.J.

The social justice that I know is a far cry from the redistribution of wealth or political mantras about racism, sexism, and the other "isms." Social justice considers the whole of society, and the needs of our society are too great for either the private sector or the public sector to go it alone. Sometimes it takes government to give at least the semblance of a level playing field. So, please do not refer to all of us as the "social justice crowd" and we will not refer to you as "right-wing myopics."Fred Allen Swan; Indian Orchard, Mass.

"Treadmill books" (May 22)

I was disappointed in your review of When Brute Force Fails by Mark Kleiman, who advocates making prison sentences "more unpleasant." I invite anybody who thinks that being in a medium security prison is a fun vacation to move into the bunk next to mine for a year or so. Believe me, I don't need bread and water in a tiny cell without my books (I don't have a TV) to convince me to never want to come back here.Kenneth Claar; Boise, Idaho

I thoroughly appreciate and enjoy Marvin Olasky's articles and columns. He has also referred over time to several books by Francis Schaeffer, C.S. Lewis, Tolstoy, and others that have helped me focus and broaden my reading list, and I have been challenged to read them for myself.Kathryn Gent Beaty; Newville, Pa.

"Passing the briefcase test" (May 22)

Your series of interviews with scholars has been outstanding. I only wish the interviews were longer.Joe Brunt; College Station, Texas

"Romance by numbers" (May 22)

I was shocked by the review of Letters to Juliet. "Corny and unbelievable"? The movie is all about romance!Jane Cox; Columbia, Md.

"Bigger than Jerusalem Day" (May 22)

My wife and I visited many sites in and near Israel last November. It has made the Bible come alive for us and given us an appreciation for Mindy Belz's recent articles on Israel and the complexities of life there.Bob & Adrienne Nagel; Wildwood, Mo.

"Escaping the Enlightenment trap" (May 22)

Although the "separation of church and state" was a founding principle of the United States, a far more important principle was the "integration of faith and state." Many of our founders were committed Christians. The vast majority were religious in some form and acknowledged the role of faith in a successful free society. More than just "historically colored by religion," the American political firmament was built on the prayers and service of faithful, God-fearing politicians and voters who understood that without faith our way of life has no hope.Paul Schuh; Silver Spring, Md.

Mailbag (May 22)

It was a nice surprise to see a photo of WORLD magazine in Damoh, India. In November 1894, my grandparents William Eagle Rambo and Kate Clough Rambo went to Damoh, bought land there, and started a Disciples of Christ orphanage for boys. If WORLD is being read there, there must still be a Christian presence in the town. Praise God!Barbara Rambo Hoshiko; Ashland, Ohio

"Delayed, not denied" (May 8)

My grandson, Brandon, was diagnosed with leukemia on March 17. Intensive chemo and steroid therapy have been hard on him and his family-on all of us. Andrée Seu's insights on prayer are profoundly helpful.Bill Swenson; St. Louis, Mo.

This was her best column yet. I rejoiced that she is finally set free from her insomnia, but mostly I was blessed with her perspective on prayer not yet answered. I had all my family members read it as it seems each of us is at a place where we are waiting on God for relief, direction, or rescue.Nancy Young; Phoenix, Ariz.

"Gamble or gimmick?" (May 8)

I completely disagree with Janie Cheaney that occasional giveaways may be an effective way to make the point that no material gift can match the grace of Christ. It is growing tiresome seeing stunts like this justified by well-meaning pastors. Where do we draw the line?Dennis Klingensmith; Canal Fulton, Ohio

"Flame-outs" (May 8)

I was interested (OK, depressed) to read how badly almost every state is handling its budget. How do Montana and North Dakota manage to have no debt when the rest have so much? Do they have fiscally responsible leaders and handle money better?Sharon Peske; Bemidji, Minn.

"Tested by fire" (May 8)

This was a humbling and resolution-inducing article. Merely reading this account of the Christians in Gaza, while I sit sipping hot chocolate, makes me blush to think that people who may despair of life probably complain less than I.Earl Leeland Peterson; North Hollywood, Calif.

"Shadow of death" (May 8)

This article reports a claim from Human Rights Watch that Israeli drones are so precise that the civilian deaths may not have been accidental. What about the tactic of planting military targets among civilians, something that the enemies common to the United States and Israel do without compunction or remorse?Karen Schmid; Lacey, Wash.

"Did you hear the one?" (April 24)

I got a kick out of Marvin Olasky's column of humor and sincerely hope it won't be the last one.Laura Farrugia; Southfield, Mich.

"O Jerusalem" (April 10)

Jerusalem undoubtedly has much value for Israel, but it also has much value for Arab residents who are feeling very pushed around by Netanyahu's hardline tactics.Penny Blake; Welland, Ontario

Letters and photos

Email: mailbag@worldmag.comWrite:WORLD Mailbag, P.O. Box 20002, Asheville, NC 28802-9998Fax:828.253.1556Include full name and address. Letters may be edited to yield brevity and clarity.


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