I read the letters section of Christian magazines for fun. I like to see who was insulted at what part of the last installment.

When I saw a not-quite-kissing couple on the cover of the "Britney Spears issue" of Christianity Today ( Kissing Promiscuity Goodbye ," July 10), I could not wait to see readers' responses.

I was not disappointed; apparently, though, lots of others were. And dismayed. And appalled.

We believers are the most offended, wounded, upset, shocked, thunderstruck, consternated, and (the enduring favorite) outraged group of people on the planet. Is there something in the baptismal waters that makes Christians thin-skinned? Once I even read a letter from a correspondent that began, "My wife … was disturbed." Well, pardon me. Didn't mean to disturb the Mrs.

And the letters we get to read are only the ones that made the editorial cut. What do they do with the leftover outrage we never see on page 3 of our favorite religious rags? You could fuel enough furnaces for a Minnesota winter if scientists could find a way to convert all that religious indignation into a useful energy source.

Outraged by blunders?

Perhaps we are moved to outrage more by cultural sway than theological concern. We practice our Christianity in the land of litigious opportunity: spill a cup of fresh hot coffee in your lap and win a $2.9 million settlement from a hamburger chain. We cannot bring civil action against a fellow believer and stay on the good side of 1 Corinthians 6, but we sure can be downright uncivil to each other.

Maybe it's something even less noble. Some of us get bent out of shape by an author's opinion not because it is a core issue of the gospel but simply because we happen to know something about it. You read an article on ...

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