War Torn p. 32

As a combat veteran and retired Army chaplain, I’ve observed that vets who remain in the military after deployment do better than those who leave the military and return to a public that does not understand or appreciate their experience. Those who stay in the military are surrounded by fellow soldiers who “get it.” That said, more needs to be done to address PTSD and suicide in the military. And chaplains should be allowed to freely offer spiritual resources for treating combat stress.
Robert Leroe
US Army Retired

I am not sure that this space will allow room for the anger, grief, and disillusionment I felt when I was first shown CT’s latest cover image and title, “War-Torn.”

When I left the Navy and became a conflict journalist, one of my first assignments was in Kabul. On the first day of my embed with a British Army regiment, I was snapping away on my camera—when, to my surprise, all the soldiers on patrol turned their backs to me. They had made the mistake before of trusting journalists to tell their story, only to be villainized and made out to be war criminals. What was written about them simply wasn’t true.

CT has committed a similar error.

Veterans from Duke Divinity School and I were approached by CT for a story that would talk about healing, moving forward, and finding a place in God’s kingdom. It is true that the copy does include these elements.

But CT’s headline and cover treatment casts veterans as helpless victims. It freeze frames veterans at the very point we hurt the most. It does not recognize the hard work, the rehabilitation, and the often solitary, invisible road that we have traveled to get to a place of healing. Many of us have, through the help of those like Dr. Kinghorn and the practice of our faith, taken one painful step at a time to get where we are today.

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To CT’s readers, if you want to know what veterans’ faith journeys look like, there is not one simplified generic story of pain. Our lives are as complex and rich as anyone else’s. We have worked incredibly hard to move on, to live into the lives that God has carved out for us.

The image and title “War Torn” is not a complete story, nor an honest one. It does not respect the real people who have sacrificed so much for their country.

To all veterans who continue to struggle with questions of God, faith, and the church—know that we carry on praying for you.

Rob Densmore
Durham, North Carolina

News: The Bible in Two Months p. 18

O, we of little faith who doubted the legend of the Septuagint! Looks like, if “The Bible in Two Months” is correct, the 70 drafters of the Septuagint may have just gone from impossible overachievers to pikers.

Rosa Lee Richards
Adjunct in Hebrew, Trinity School for Ministry
Ambridge, Pennsylvania

As a Spanish linguist and language professor, I find it remarkable that Wycliffe Associates claims to accurately translate the Bible in just two months by splitting up portions of the project to different translators. Imagine if we took Spanish professors and divided up portions of El Cid for translation. Styles would be inconsistent, vocabulary choices would reflect the speakers’ dialects and idiolects, and the translation would be a mess. Yet that is precisely what Wycliffe is doing for literature with far more importance.

Why take time to understand the context, get to know the people, and render an accurate, effective, natural-sounding, and cohesive translation when speed is what attracts dollars?

Come to think of it, Google Translate might produce similar, less expensive, and even faster results.

Karol Hardin, PhD
Associate Professor of Spanish, Baylor University
Waco, Texas

Spirited Life: Brothers, We Are Not Managers p. 30

Andrew Wilson’s column on elders makes me stop to think. I’ve been increasingly troubled by those desiring to be recognized using the title “lead elder.” Where does that title come from? When did churches begin using that title for a “first among equals”?

I understand the function of a lead guy on a team of elders. But I do struggle with the persistent desire of some to be publicly recognized as the “main guy.” It would seem to be a departure from the biblical norm of plural male eldership by forming a hierarchical “system” and giving weight to an individual where it’s not due.

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Liam Clark, Facebook

We aren’t the Firm, but a Family, and also a Flock. So we need Fathers first, managers second.

Peter DeWit, @PeterDeWit_

Her.meneutics: The Allure of Living with Less p. 27

I like the approach this article takes. I am grateful for what God has put in my life. A lot of my stuff reminds me of people who no longer live on earth. Parents, grandparents, etc. I enjoy hospitality and pampering and making my guests feel special. Bottom line: Joy is in Jesus and not things. Materialism and minimalism can both become idols.

Carol Reid, Facebook

Re-Word: Trusting the Great Director p. 50

I was excited to see “Trusting the Great Director” in the June issue, because I had just read the Book of Esther a few days earlier, and because I have been studying the topic of prayer since November. I was disappointed that Esther’s request for prayer was ignored in this article.

Kandiah says, “. . . nowhere in the story does anyone mention God. Not once. No one refers to the Scriptures, and no one explicitly prays.” But after Mordecai suggests that perhaps Esther was elevated to the palace for just such a time as this, Esther asks for prayer. In 2:15 she says to Mordecai, “Go and gather together all the Jews of Susa and fast for me. Do not eat or drink for three days, night or day. My maids and I will do the same.” She is seeking God, and through the united fast of all the people of God, and even her servants who may not even know this God, they show their seriousness in fasting and prayer.

Paul D. Washburn
Kansas City, Missouri

This is such a phenomenal read for anyone struggling through the “silence” of God.

Rachelle Call, @call_rachelle

Reviews: How Dante Can Save Your Life p. 67

Gift of the year to me: Ralph C. Wood’s stunningly generous Christianity Today review of my Dante book.

Rod Dreher, @roddreher

When a friend reviews another friend: Baylor University’s Ralph Wood on @roddreher’s latest book on Dante.

Francis Beckwith, @fbeckwith

Net Gain: Responses to our blogs and online articles.

Forty-five years of marriage for my wife and me, all of it in various forms of ministry. I am sure that our sons, like the author, would say that we were not perfect, but we were faithful. And could I use this little space to highlight my wife’s part in this journey? When I asked her to marry me, she replied with these words from Ruth: “Whither thou goest, I will go. Whither thou lodgest, I will lodge. Thy people will be my people; thy God will be my God.”

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Out of context, yes, but she has lived it. Small, hot, rooms; church splits; Africa; Southeast Asia—she has loved me every day of our journey.

Mike Constantine, on Her.meneutics: “Pastor Exposed as Faithful to Wife of 17 Years,” by Megan Hill

How can anyone defend Planned Parenthood by calling the method by which this video was obtained “sin”? Here in Canada, we recently had people putting up a fuss about the grisly images in fliers depicting abortion that were delivered to homes. What mixed-up, upside-down morals. Be upset at the abortions, not the fliers. Be upset at Planned Parenthood, not the covert video. This is not a left-wing, right-wing issue. It’s about combating an egregious moral evil.

Mike Gibbons on The Exchange: “Planned Parenthood, Selling Body Parts, and Appropriate Outrage,” by Ed Stetzer

I am from a Muslim family. Yet I am converted to a Christ-follower. We shouldn’t hate Muslims because they hate us. We should show them the love of Christ. It is the teaching of Christ. To love people even [when] they hate us. To pray for them who persecute us.

Daniel Godson, Facebook, on “Franklin Graham’s Call to End Muslim Immigration Could Backfire,” by Timothy C. Morgan

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