Varying Degrees

As a professor at a Christian college, I was excited to see the cover package on "How to Save the Christian College" [March], particularly the questions around the "browning of campuses catering to a white elite." Unfortunately, the articles did little to address this challenge.

I consistently see conversations about diversity in the body of Christ getting bogged down in fears of "political correctness" and political liberalism. Asian, Hispanic, and African American communities all have vibrant and growing churches. At many Christian colleges tied to majority-white denominations or traditionally white constituencies, we have to press on toward understanding what it means to model and teach a well-lived Christian life in more than one color.

Brian Howell
Wheaton, Illinois

In Christianity Today's interview with Gordon's and Wheaton's presidents ["Sailing into the Storm," March], the first question regarding the future of Christian higher education includes the sentence, "Some argue it's simply too expensive." Neither president directly addresses that issue. Many parents would like to send their children to a Christian college but cannot afford it or do not want their children to have a huge loan debt. While most colleges award significant financial aid, they are limited in how much they can offer.

Many students are choosing instead to attend state schools (where they can participate in organizations such as InterVarsity and Campus Crusade) or community colleges (where they can continue at their home church). It is becoming more difficult to convince parents that the "Christian" benefits of attending a Christian college justify the high costs.

Ray Whiteman
South Bend, Indiana

Heavenly Thoughts

If the famous question, "If you were to die tonight, do you know for sure that you would go to heaven?" [Spotlight, March] has finally died, I am glad.

Few things in life outside the mathematics classroom can ever be known for sure. This question calls the Christian to reexamine the foundations of belief: Are you sure there are no mistakes at all in your beliefs about God? Lots of people think they are Christians, but they're not; what if you're one of them?

The evangelist's question can be a terrible, paralyzing trap. The healthy Christian has to step away from the trap, acknowledge that doubts are part of the human condition, and determine to be a Christian anyway.

Nancy Tinkham
Glassboro, New Jersey

Learning Curve

Regarding the news item "TMI in VBS?" [March], Voice of the Martyrs' curriculum isn't giving kids information they shouldn't hear. What they are forgetting are the demographics of Vacation Bible school programs. VBS regularly draws children who have little or no exposure to Christianity the rest of the year. Often the leaders don't normally minister to those age groups. As a Christian school first-grade teacher, I would be very comfortable including Voice's information in our content. But I have the time to build close relationships with my students and the benefit of organizing material that works toward a broader Christian knowledge. Having someone with little knowledge of their students' lives present persecution information, much of it very harsh, seems inappropriate.

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Sally Gradin
Kelso, Washington

Observing Rest

In response to "Resting in the Work of God" [March], Sabbath is for the Jews. When Gentiles celebrate Sabbath with the Jews, they are identifying with the Jews, celebrating the God of Israel and his Messiah and his purposes. Sabbath isn't merely for sanctification but also for practicing the paradigm of the larger story. The form mentioned in this article is just a start. Receive it as a gift. But Sabbath is more than merely a personal experience for "spiritual" matters. If you are serious about Sabbath, the next step is to understand you are identifying with Israel, not just historically but today.

Dale Fincher
Steamboat Springs, Colorado

Gobbling Up Grace

Congratulations to Leslie Leyland Fields on her fine column "Starving for Jesus" [March]. As an Episcopal priest, I would carry the argument considerably further (as you might imagine). Another element of the story is evangelicalism's involvement with the Temperance Movement, the transition from wine to grape juice (courtesy of Thomas Bramwell Welch, Communion steward at a Methodist church), and the consequent—though hygienically necessary—loss of the common cup. My own horror story about evangelical debasement of the sacraments came during a visit to Sarah Palin's church in Wasilla, Alaska, in 2010. Congregants were handed pieces of bread by women wearing disposable plastic gloves. I was so scandalized that I refused to partake.

Randall Balmer
New York, New York

In Politics

Thank you so much for including David Neff's piece "Kingmakers and Powerbrokers" [March]. After living on three continents as a missionary and teaching for more than 40 years, I may have become jaded, but I find the excessive politicization of my fellow evangelicals to be tiresome at best. It's so good to see Neff's emphasis on focusing our power on influence in education, think tanks, and media outlets.

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Wayne Alan Detzler
Fairfield, Connecticut

Mean Girls in Church

I'm interested in watching GCB ["Desperate Christian Housewives," CT Review, March]. I'm curious to see if this show will be pure entertainment or will offer a lesson as well. I have experienced terrible things in my church, including gossiping, back stabbing, and actions intended to "cause your brethren to fall," and have stopped going to the church I was born into because of it. The TV show's premise hit home for me, and I can't wait to see the first episode.

Jessica Pottorff

What got the most comments in March's CT

24% How to Save the Christian College CT Cover Package

24% Starving for Jesus by Leslie Leyland Fields

24% Kingmakers and Powerbrokers by David Neff

Readers' Pick

The most praised piece in March's CT

Kingmakers and Powerbrokers by David Neff

Worth Repeating

Compiled by Elissa Cooper

"Modesty is important, but breasts serve a God-given function that should not have to be suppressed during church."
Todd S. Jenkins, agreeing that churches are quick to condemn breastfeeding in public as something shameful or immodest. A Georgia woman claimed she was asked to leave church for nursing her child.
Her.meneutics: "Breastfeeding in Church, and Other Petty Crimes," by Rachel Stone

"We need the core message of Christ to go out, not more advocates for war."
Imani, responding to the impact of Invisible Children's viral video Kony 2012 for those living in Uganda.
CT Liveblog: "Why Joseph Kony Is Trending (And What Invisible Children Wants with Rick Warren and Tim Tebow)," by Sarah Pulliam Bailey

"I wish our Christian leaders would care more about their witness for Christ when being interviewed on national TV than being spokesmen for right-wing politics."
Joyce, on how Franklin Graham discussed the President's faith. A religious subgroup of the NAACP was concerned that Graham's remarks could "bear false witness" and "encourage racism."
CT Politics Blog: "Franklin Graham Apologizes for Comments about Obama's Faith," by Adelle M. Banks, Religion News Service

"I am excited to see the way the movie stirs both those in and outside the church to know God with new depth."
Jason Wiedel, anticipating the film release of Blue Like Jazz, amid mixed reactions from readers and filmgoers.
CT Entertainment Blog: "Blue Like Jazz Gets a Poster and a Big Gig," by Mark Moring

Related Elsewhere:

The March issue is available on our website.

Letters to the editor must include the writer's name and address if intended for publication. They may be edited for space or clarity.


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