Brief letters are welcome. They may be edited for space and clarity and must include the writer's real name (and preferably city, state, and country) if intended for publication in the Christianity Today online letters area. Due to the volume of mail, we cannot respond personally to all e-mail messages.

The Peace Regress (Jan. 11, 2001)
I just finished reading "The Peace Regress" and as I anticipate you'll take a beating from outraged evangelical zionist Christians, I wanted to help balance the scales and commend you on a wonderfully clear and rational explanation of the conflict in Israel/Palestine. The violence by both sides is deplorable, but it's important to have an accurate historical perspective on the conflict—something sorely lacking in the mainstream press. Keep up the good work!

Ryan Beiler

The First Church Of Signs and Wonders (Jan. 9, 2001)
I wonder sometimes what goes through the mind of a person who professes faith in Jesus with one side of his mouth and on the other side speaks with post-modern pagan cynicism. The article on The First Church Of Signs And Wonders was very disappointing. The author writes " … Miracles? They're necessary, I suppose. After all, they have been known to give a much-needed boost to our less-than-perfect faith." He refers to miracles as God's show and tell. The problem with the perspective of this article is that it clearly reflects a pagan worldview and not Christianity Today. How can someone so clearly intelligent be so unimaginative and dull in his understanding of the wondrous God who created heaven and earth, but I guess that was just show and tell also.

Holland Davis

Insanity is ChristianityToday printing an iconoclastic op-ed article on miracles in the name of sound NT doctrine then believing the teachers of miracles will masochistically take the critic's position without any regard for its impact on their ministries or professional careers, particularly when it involves revenue loss. I strongly recommend that such disclaimers that CT does not endorse the views of that author or article be typeset by the title masthead of said written article in the print edition and as a hyperlink in the online edition. CT will be glad it did that.

Lawrence Eugene Dunlap

Hip-Hop Kingdom Come (Jan. 5, 2001)
Thank you for your excellent article on hip-hop and its relation to Christian music. I am a huge hip-hop fan and am very excited about what's happening in Christian rap. GRITS is on a secular list of all-time best rap albums, T-bone, E-roc and others have all made it pretty far on MTV's "The Cut" (T-bone as far as number 3, I believe), and there are many others out there doing great things. For the first time in Christian music history there is a potential for Christian artists to set the trends instead of catching on to them a few years later. Even the group POD, which has experienced phenomenal success, relies heavily on hip-hop influence.

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What I don't understand is the Christian resistance to anything new. First it was rock music, now it's rap. I'm curious which particular musical notes are the evil ones? Is it a certain combination? Or is it a particular instrument? Maybe it's because the artists don't directly discuss God in every song, but instead discuss issues every Christian faces on a day-to-day basis.

This resistance is from-the-hip ignorance at its worst. Instead of rejoicing that so many young people will be reached and that there are talented artists out there that really love the Lord, those who fall prey to the temptation to stifle creativity simply because it doesn't "fit the mold" are doing more harm then they realize. If rap music is the only style of music certain kids listen to (and are influenced by), I sincerely hope that every Christian artist possible is out there rhymin'. They try to justify there desire to stop rap's influence (even if it's positive) by claiming that rap must be bad because so many rappers are "bad." But this is like saying that every athlete is bad because we only hear about the players who are doing the bad things.

Moreover, why is it that so many Christians feel guilty for having fun? Listen to artists like The Cross Movement or Gospel Ganstaz and tell me that these guys aren't having a blast praising God. And isn't that what David instructed us to do. If you can't have fun giving praise to a God who loves you more than you know, maybe rap is the least of your problems …

Jason Willis

As a Messianic hip-hop aficionado, it's good to see this gospel-catalyst get the recognition it deserves. The hip-hop phenomenon will spread the gospel to people who would otherwise never get to hear it. (Christian hip-hop is becoming a phenomenon in Europe as well) I only wish the article had mentioned the 'Cross-Movement', perhaps the best Christian rap group, from New Jersey. They have a huge fan base, creative samples, phat beats, and I find their doctrine to be more sound than most well known televangelists! God bless the mic.

Stephen Moore

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I'm curious why, in the recent article about hip-hop, you chose to bleep the words "godd---" and "b------" but left the n-word intact? Is racist language less troubling than misogynistic or profane?

Rachel Graham Cody

Learning the Ancient Rhythms of Prayer (Dec. 29, 2000)
I read with interest and delight your cover story and sidebars on evangelicals' growing interest in the Daily Office and other related liturgical traditions. I am a United Methodist pastor and small-church consultant who's always found the Office to be a central resource for prayer and scriptural meditation. No other resource that I know of so naturally and easily combines prayer (both personal and communal) with scripture. Yet, the current evangelical interest in the Daily Office is not a new phenomenon. Despite its liberal Protestant reputation in the last century, the Methodist movement was birthed by John Wesley's wedding evangelical pietism with Anglo-catholic sacramental theology and liturgical practice. Seeing myself as part of that tradition, I'm a proud member of the Order of Saint Luke (OSL) <>. Founded in 1946 in the former Methodist Church, OSL's moving and sustaining source is that vision of John and Charles Wesley who sought to bring about a sacramental as well as evangelical revival in the church. Today OSL is a dispersed community of women and men, lay and clergy, from many different denominations, seeking to live the sacramental life. We practice the Daily Office (many times on-line!) and regularly meet (both face-to-face and via a "Cyber Chapter" on-line) to engage in the kind of devotional life and prayer featured in your cover story.

Randy Beeler
Chriesman, Liberty, and Milano United Methodist Churches

Thank you for this arcticle on common prayers, I found it very enlightening and informative. Growing up as a charismatic, this is very foreign to me. Yet, I believe we all hold a piece of the puzzle, that only by coming together as one church will we really know God.

Sandi Houweling

Get Thou Over It (Dec. 28, 2000)
Thank you for the article "Get Thou Over It." We are a missionary family in Japan and we must be extremely careful handling all communication to especially family members and people in our own Fellowship back home. Communication misunderstandings seem to be the name of the game. I find that my wife and I also are too often offended. Psalm 37 is my personal mandate handling not only "the wicked" but "the righteous" also. Let us love even when we disagree.

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Mark Jabusch

Thanks for the great article! I have only one friend and my hubby that will reprove me when I put on my judgmental cloak. They remind me to stay gentle and humble, like my Master. Vicky did a great job in this article. Thou art appreciated!

Shar Boerema

It has been my sad experience that whenever I am filled with "righteous indignation," it is always the "enemy" at work within the "natural man," to lead me to sin. It is written that anger doesn't work for the glory of God or the edification of the Church (James 1:21); and as always, the Spirit speaking through the writer is right on target. This is not accepting the "in" Lie that, "It wasn't my fault! The devil made me do it!," because, "I do," with the enemy merely, " . …drawn away by his own desires and enticed. Then, when desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, brings forth death." (James 1:14-15) Therefore, we should cool it and leave the matter to the Lord to judge as the Archangel Michael did when contending for Moses' body as it is written: I just wish that I could always do that!

Don Nickels

It would be beneficial for everyone to spend some time on a Christian web site called - whose primary goal was originally to teach Christians how to write letters to the editor. The problem with us Christians is that we are not "outraged" enough. The Amy Foundation teaches us to write letters to the editor that quote Biblical scripture and apply it to a secular audience - always seasoned with love.

Gary L Roberts

The Making of An Original (Dec. 27, 2000)
Thank you for Lee Knapp's outstanding piece. So refreshingly mature, not at all mealy-mouthed, childish or doctrinaire. Dare I say: sophisticated. Hope you'll submit it for an award …

Kathy Shaidle

Roadblocks to Mercy (Dec. 22, 2000)
Thank you for your articles re: former Zaire. I grew up their as a missionary kid and my parents are still there today in the capital. We must continually pray for Zaire. Most of us, as Americans, generally don't know the meaning of sacrifice. Thank you for following this story of our Zairean brothers and sisters' struggles to serve our Lord in perilous circumstances.

Joy Chastagner

The Weigh and the Truth (Aug. 25, 2000)
I have just finished reading your cover story "The Weigh and the Truth" and would like to give you my input. I have been overweight by about 10-30 pounds most of my adult life. I have tried many forms of diets, including Weight Watchers, Nutri-system, Jenny Craig. My experience with the Weigh Down diet has been successful, but I am disturbed by reports that suggest Gwen Shamblin has taken on a god-like image to her followers. One of the things that stood out for me in her first book "The Weigh Down Diet" was that if a principal she promoted didn't seem biblically sound, the reader should test it against the Bible. This gave me "permission" to question her teachings from a biblical perspective. I appreciated this approach because it said to me"this woman doesn't think she's God."

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She also did not preach against exercise - she said that exercise had it's place for cardiovascular conditioning and strengthening the body. What I got from her book was that it should not be a license for extra eating, not that one should not exercise. I have lost 25 pounds by listening to my internal (God-given) signals for hunger and fullness. I do pray to avoid overeating. In the old days when I would put a lot of effort into dieting but NOT into my prayer life I would think "What's wrong with this picture?" I do not feel that I must be thin to be loved by God. I do, however, believe that obedience to God is a necessary step after having accepted God's grace.

I write this long, drawn out email in hopes that I can show a balanced approach to following the tenets laid out by the Weigh Down diet. If Gwen Shamblin has strayed away from these, or has tried to place herself where only God should be, then I hope you continue to expose this.

Liza Jane Lutz