Whatever Happened to God? (Feb. 1, 2001)
Dr. Bloesch's article was a tremendously insightful one into the inadequacies of our worship services, and the presence of self-ism in churches today. Great job.

Richard Wolfe
Wurzburg, Germany

This most excellent article, along with your equally excellent feature article last month on the subject of the ancient rites of prayer, resonated with many increasingly frustrated Evangelicals. Lord help us, in retrieving lost traditions of worship that are more meaningful than we had realized in our past and stand in noble contrast to often shallow substitutions. I look forward to further exploration in this regard. Thanks again.

Bonnie Beezhold
Ellicott City, Maryland

The Deliverance Debate (Jan. 29, 2001)
I am a Christian psychiatrist with twelve years of clinical experience. I use Theophostic ministry in my practice, have received Theophostic ministry as a part of my own healing, and also train others in this technique/ministry method. I have found Theophostic to be more effective than any other technique/approach to ministry that I have seen or experienced. My observation is that this technique does result in significant and lasting clinical improvement in a number of mental health conditions (I now have clients with two years of careful follow-up indicating sustained benefit). I appreciated your article in the February 2001 issue of Christianity Today, although I think the article overemphasizes the focus on dealing with demonic spirits."

Karl D. Lehman
Evanston, Illinois

I am a therapist who uses Theophostic counseling. I've been doing it for nearly 3 years. It is as good as the article states. When done correctly, Jesus shows up and healing does occur. Healing occurs in that memory but it doesn't heal the person instantly of all their maladies. After you try this method you do not go back to cognitive counseling because it is either you speaking the truth or God. Is there a choice?

David Brock, Ph.D
Anchorage, Alaska

Saint Flanders (Jan. 26,2001)
While, as an Orthodox Christian, I am generally delighted with this article, I am quite amazed at the insensitivity of the so-called "icon" on your cover. It would, frankly, be considered insulting and blasphemous by almost every Orthodox Christian who saw it. What is most amazing is that your magazine, generally considered to be even-handed and irenic, would not have caught this outrage to Orthodox.
You can do better.

Lawrence Walker, Ph.D.
Professor, Cleveland State University
Cleveland, Ohio

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I saw a copy of this issue of Christianity Today in my local library and was intrigued by the topic of "St. Flanders". I must admit I watch the Simpsons frequently and have seen as many episodes as I can. I was very pleased to see that you guys went deep to find the facts and show when the media does something good. We spend so much time telling them how they mess up, I think it is important to tell them when they do it right. I know what happens in the Simpsons and I am glad people are starting to explore what actually happens instead of making negitive statements about the show without ever watching an episode. I thank you for your truthful analysis of one of my favorite television shows.

Matt Davis
Shelton, Florida

As a long time subscriber ( I'd guess around 30 years) and as an Orthodox Christian, I need to draw to your attention that your recent cover illustration of Ned Flanders as an icon is highly offensive to Orthodox Christians. The pose you chose is the pose that is used for Icons of our Lord Jesus Christ. The left hand holds the book of the Gospels as does Christ and the right hand is raised in blessing as only Christ and as his representatives in the priesthood may bless. Such a pose should not be used so lightly.
Icons are Holy objects. They are a window to the things of heaven and are proper objects of honor and veneration ( but not worship).
I'm sure that your staff was not intending to offend but you need to know that such "art" is indeed offensive to millions of Christians.
Please be more careful.
P.S. the Ned Flanders article, itself, was really good.

Paul Blattner
Coral Ridge, Kentucky

Thanks for the Mark Pinsky essay on The Simpsons' Ned Flanders. One of my favorite "God & The Simpsons" episodes ends with the family gathered around the table late on Thanksgiving night, with cheeseburgers and Homer humbly giving thanks to the Lord. Bart and Lisa have reconciled after Marge had sent Bart off to his room, for accidentally throwing Lisa's beautiful, intricate homemade, politically correct centerpiece into the fire, "ruining Thanksgiving" in Marge's words. It brought tears to my eyes.
I'm also wondering where the "Ned as hunk widower" plotline will go.

Bob Heuer
Potsdam, New York

Semi-Amazing Grace (Jan. 23, 2001)
I must comment about the review of this book. As an English teacher, I encourage students to write about what they know. As a researcher in Phenomenology, which is the essence and emotion of lived experience, I glean much information about the individuals perspective regarding that person's life. The aim is to become experience-near. I cannot, for one instant, become Jay , but I can try to understand what it has been like for him.
Jay can only write from his prospective. What can each person who reads this book learn from him?
What have we done for ( to ) him in the name of religion? What has he seen and experienced regarding forgiveness, judgment, and grace? Could the readers learn anything about his experience? He is writing as a young man who endured more than just teenage angst. We marginalize him and trivialize his experiences of his life by criticizing him for his youthful perspective. What could the "Christian" community learn from him?
How could we, as a community, better served him? . ...better served the entire family?
I applaud Jay for his courage to put his lived-experience on paper. To do this, he had to re-live the past. How many of us could dare to do the same?

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Joanne Baker Sumner
Cornell University
Ithaca, New York

Field of TM Dreams (Jan. 12, 2001)
I found your article about TM balanced and fair. As I read, however, I was astonished that anybody who grew up in a lukewarm Christian denomination would be surprised that people are attracted by Eastern spiritual practices. "If Heaven is like church, I don't want to go." Ever heard that? In my experience there is something missing in most churches, because it's absent from most clergy and lacking in many congregations. And it's this: the vitality, power, and wisdom that ought to come from connection to Jesus and to God, the Source of all life.
Before Christians can have a dialogue with practitioners of TM and other meditative practices drawn from Eastern beliefs, they will have to meet God face to face. Missionary work will not do. The problem is not Out There in the world of people ignorant of Jesus. The problem is In Here in fearful hearts with no experience of God's love, which is not different from His power.

Dave Barnette
Hayward, California

Hip-Hop Kingdom Come (Jan. 5, 2001)
Yeah Baby!! Bout time someone realized what's going on with hip-hop and the Church! Great article, well written and insightful. The authors maintained a good balance between "keepin' it real" and scholarly explanation for less knowledgeable CT readers. We're working on something for the Toronto region up in Canada. Hip-hop is a good ministry tool, and an art form which needs to be redeemed. As I say in some of my lyrics;
"I'd like to take this time to dedicate my rhyme,
with all it verbs and nouns arranged line by line,
So it a shout out to Christ because by His blood
Hip-hop is redeemed and so I say Praise GOD!"

(Real Hip-hop by Grant Gunnink aka tha sinista minista )
Keep on lifting up Jesus!

Grant Gunnink
Toronto, Canada