When the editors told me this column would appear in the fortieth anniversary issue, I thought back over my own history with Christianity Today, which spans nearly half that time. This column represents the one gust of spontaneity in my writing life. Most days I work on book projects that stretch on for a year or two. When time comes to write this column, though, I decide on a topic on deadline day.

I've always considered it a shame that writing is such a one-way proposition. You know what I am thinking about; I don't know what you're thinking about—except for the few who take the trouble to send in a letter. Most I appreciate, but a few leave me scratching my head. For this anniversary column, I thought you might enjoy dipping into my mailbag with me.

Surprisingly, many of the letters I receive have no apparent relevance to what I've written. Just the other week I got one that began, "Your article 'Why I Don't Go to a Megachurch' is a perfect example of the state of affairs in America." The writer proceeded in six hand-written pages to trace most of the societal problems in modern America to the fact that "religious men" no longer use the original King James Holy Bible. I'm still looking for a connection to my column.

A reader from Houston sent me clippings of all the local ads for topless dancers, exotic maids, and private lingerie models. This sort of thing never appeared in Houston papers before NASA moved to town, he assured me. He also told me that he had personally witnessed two atomic bombs detonated at Bikini Atoll in 1946. Hmm.

In a 12-page, single-spaced letter, an Englishman described his many allergies and a new program of Optimum Nutrition. Then he detailed the divine revelations he had received by observing ...

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Philip Yancey
Philip Yancey is editor at large of Christianity Today and cochair of the editorial board for Books and Culture. Yancey's most recent book is What Good Is God?: In Search of a Faith That Matters. His other books include Prayer (2006), Rumors of Another World (2003), Reaching for the Invisible God (2000), The Bible Jesus Read (1999), What's So Amazing About Grace? (1998), The Jesus I Never Knew (1995), Where is God When It Hurts (1990), and many others. His Christianity Today column ran from 1985 to 2009.
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