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A year of riots

June 26—Ellen Jones/Jacksonville, Fla.

Sophia Lee’s article was exceptional. The personal interviews made the situation so much more real. I prayed especially for Victoria Beach and that her flicker of hope would grow.

Kathy Connors/Medina, Wash.

Sadly, parts of Seattle and Portland now look like Third World countries. Recently, on a drive between these once-great cities, I witnessed 175 miles littered with tents, grocery carts, needles, and garbage. The same “pro-­environment” politicians who have ruined the natural beauty now want more of our tax dollars for their Green New Deal.

Tulsa’s century of lessons

June 26—Neil Slattery/Fort Worth, Texas

Thank you for the great report on the Tulsa Race Massacre. Number me among those who grew up unaware of the event. Special compliments to Michael Reneau and his explanation of the Oklahoma Commission’s “digging up” of facts and details.

Inside hearts and heads

June 26—Cindy Akre/Plano, Ill.

A well-written novel should change you, helping you see the path through a particular trial. And that is one of the things I love most about fiction: It often speaks directly to the need for a perspective shift. And Christian fiction points directly to our Savior.

Beachy-keen reads

June 26—Barry Bertram/Campbellsville, Ky.

Thanks for the book recommendations. I just finished This Is Chance! by Jon Mooallem. Super read!

The cage-free scramble

June 26—Julie Poehlman/Denton, Md.

WORLD Magazine amazes me with its article topics. I do not have an answer about cage-free chickens and eggs. And I will take the higher ground and not mention which came first—I don’t know that, either!

Steve Farr/Troy, Maine

I don’t think it would be a bad thing if we used a land area the size of Delaware on raising laying hens. There would be a lot more families enjoying mid-scale farming.

Back roads back in time

June 26—Ernie Bowman/Lapeer, Mich.

Thanks, Marvin Olasky, for stopping by our town. It’s barely more than a faded little map dot, but that’s half the reason why we like it. Plus, now it’s a faded little map dot in a WORLD Magazine feature—tanks at the VFW post and all.

In need of puppies

June 26—Heather Hoover/Telford, Pa.

I have a slight disagreement with Sharon Dierberger’s review of Cruella. My 12-year-old and I loved it! It was fun to watch a movie with no sex, minimal language, and a different type of violence. And it did have a pro-life theme snuck in there.

The Christian walk

June 26—Cindy Fletcher/Savannah, Ga.

Thank you for Emily Whitten’s recommendations of classic books. As a certified Biblical counselor, I heartily recommend two other classics on Biblical counseling: Paul David Tripp’s Instruments in the Redeemer’s Hands (2002) and David Powlison’s Seeing With New Eyes (2003).


Deborah Somuano works in the external and employer relations office of Lone Star College (“A summer of work?,” July 17, p. 51).

Hope Awards finalist Westside Ministries is located in California’s Central Valley (“The Word and work at Westside,” July 31, p. 60).

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

A year of riots

June 26—Pam Ingram/Sewickley, Pa.

I found the article about the riots in Seattle and Portland beyond compelling. I hope it encourages Victoria Beach to know that Christians across our country and around the world are moved to pray to our great God for her and others in the fray.

The cage-free scramble

June 26—Bill Russell/Brighton, Mich.

I asked my wife, who is the most knowledgeable and dedicated shopper in our family, “What do you think cage-free means when you buy chicken or eggs?” She responded, “Well, you know the places up north we ride by where the chickens are running around the yard, crossing the roads, and hanging out with the family dogs?” I then showed her the photo accompanying the article and her slide toward vegetarianism increased. Myself, I realize we must feed people. But all this goes to show that such narratives, marketing, distortion, and hype aren’t just in the political realm, they permeate society.

Alan Goins/Knoxville, Tenn.

I am a conservative and a Christian who wants to follow current events, but I don’t like it when some news websites call our leaders “leftists,” or use the worst possible photo of them. Even the attitudes of some commentators who share my Christian beliefs just don’t seem very Christian to me. I’ve prayed that I could find a media outlet where I could read the news without feeling disrespectful. I stumbled upon your digital magazine, and it seemed to fit. So, I just signed up for a subscription. I’ve already learned a great deal from the article on cage-free chickens. Who knew?

Baylor’s dilemma

June 26—Bill Bouknight/Columbia, S.C.

A bigger problem looms ahead for schools like Baylor University. U.S. government standards for schools receiving federal funds are becoming increasingly anti-Christian. Christian institutions will have to decide whether to serve Christ or Caesar.

Frank Stephens/Lynn Haven, Fla.

For decades, far too many leaders in our churches and schools have given way to secular culture, hoping to stay “relevant,” even as they betray historical church doctrine.

Back roads back in time

June 26—John Mays/Burke, Va.

I enjoyed Marvin Olasky’s article, especially the reference to his 1971 cross-country bicycle trip. I’ve had similar contests with overprotective dogs!

Joseph Polonowski/Grand Rapids, Mich.

Olasky’s trip reminded me of one I took to Mexico in 1981, traveling alone from Grand Rapids, Mich., to within 150 miles of Acapulco. I was driving my ’77 Ford F-150 named “Blue.” It was two-wheel drive, stick shift, no power steering, and no air conditioning. I traveled main roads, side roads, back roads, and some “kinda, sorta” roads throughout the Central Plateau area. I drove through big cities like Mexico City and small towns like Matehuala. But I do not recommend driving anything, let alone an F-150, in Mexico City!

Why would I do that? Well, being a Spanish teacher, I had the opportunity to get to know the people firsthand, not just those folks one sees in the big tourist resorts. Countless people told me I was the first “gringo” with whom they had ever had a conversation. When I asked them if any gringos had ever visited their towns, the answer was always the same: “Yes. We see gringos around here, but they don’t speak Spanish, and I don’t speak English.” I hope I fostered some goodwill toward the United States on that trip.

The journey was not without issues, like the time I was having a nice conversation with a man in Matehuala—until he stood up, that is. I noticed he was packing a .38 Super handgun in his waistband. I thought maybe I was going to “buy the farm.” Even scarier was the time in the town of Pátzcuaro, where I accidentally backed up and drove the right front wheel into a deep hole. It was so deep that the axle was embedded into the ground and the left rear tire was almost airborne. This took place 50 feet outside of the local cantina, and when I looked up, the saloon doors parted and out walked six Mexican men who could easily have blown a .10 on a Breathalyzer! This occurred in a part of town where gringos are never seen. Outstanding local color!

You may be wondering if it was a good idea for me to travel alone through nearly 3,000 miles of Mexico, sometimes in out-of-the-way places and on back roads, before cell phones came of age and without a weapon. Hmm … in retrospect, that may not have been my best plan of the year, but the Lord kept me safe. He does protect widows, orphans, and fools, you know! Besides, I was 35 and virtually indestructible.

Marvin’s encounter with the German shepherd reminded me of a similar episode I had in 1970. I was riding my Honda Trail 90 on a country road about 5 miles from home. It was a trail bike that was also licensed for the road. I was minding my own business, doing about 20 mph, when a large German shepherd lunged at me through some bushes growing on a bank overlooking the road. Thankfully, he was not a trapshooter, so he didn’t know enough to lead his target (me), and he landed on the pavement a few feet behind me. The race was on, and he was in hot pursuit. I guess he thought he was a police dog, using his menacing bark as a substitute for a siren.

Now, a 90 cc Honda has roughly one-twentieth of the displacement of a Harley with about one-twentieth of the acceleration. As I literally felt the dog’s hot breath on the back of my neck, I carefully accelerated while hunching over the handlebars to reduce wind drag. I remember praying, “Lord, please don’t let me run out of gas now!” After about a quarter-mile, the little Honda was picking up speed and began to outdistance the dog, and a half a mile down the road, the big shepherd called off the chase.


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