What Christian Aid Workers Want You to Know About Afghanistan

Your description of the current situation in Afghanistan, with notes from Arley and Pat, was encouraging. And we really enjoyed the culturally accurate cover picture.

Doug Snyder
Hamilton, MT

I could relate to the draw Western workers have to the Afghan culture and its people. The graciousness of the Afghan people echoes the account of Abraham and Sarah caring for their three divine visitors in Genesis 18. I lived and worked in several Muslim-majority countries, and here in Canada, I have several close friends from the Middle East. Their grace and goodness embrace my every visit.

Richard White
North Bay, Ontario

1 out of 3 New Guitars Are Purchased for Worship Music

Playing at churches is one of the few ways left to make money playing music. I know atheists who pull $30K a year [at it].

@Eve6 (Twitter)

Safeguard Gaps Leave Refugees Vulnerable to Sexual Abuse, Exploitation

These dangers are real. When my wife was a refugee during war in her country, she was with her family. But a friend ended up in a refugee camp where one of the workers—who was also a minister—raped this friend. Predators prey on the most vulnerable.

Craig Keener
Wilmore, KY

Why Christians Keep Preaching to Themselves

I think the author does an excellent work in pointing out sin in the believer, but then we must always be pointing to the Lord as the overcoming power. We cannot pull ourselves up by our own bootstraps. I have left some services feeling wretched as I looked inward. I have also left after some sermons that I felt like worshiping the God who pardons and empowers one so weak as me.

Jacob Bart
Cobourg, Ontario

Why Environmental Destruction Is Bad for Worship

Tish Harrison Warren’s point that the health of the creation is intimately entwined with the health of our worship is well taken. However, as a plant breeder, it strikes me as simplistic to use the phrase “engineered homogeneity” to describe the process by which certain crop cultivars gain importance over others. The loss of heirloom apple cultivars is probably mostly attributable to the fact that less than 2 percent of people in the US are involved in farming—fewer of us are tending crops than in 1900. The vast majority of specialty crops in the US are improved by traditional methods of plant breeding—not engineering.

Wendy Hoashi-Erhardt
Puyallup, WA

Populism Poses Dangers to Democracy. It Does the Same to Christian Witness.

Alas, the author neglects the fact that throwing two populists into the same basket just because they are both populists is pointless at best, misleading at worst. The differences in content are much greater than whatever similarity they may share in their populist strategy. Decrying populism without regard for its content misses most of the boat and is of little help in our current political context.

Ruedi Giezendanner
Tanjung Bungah, Malaysia

As those in power forget they are governing for the people in favor of governing over the people to expand their power, it is not unusual that a necessary visceral movement of the governed rises up as a counterbalance. It is simply false to reduce populism to a “struggle between common people and the elites who exploit them.” It is entirely [McKenzie’s] perspective that those in the populist movement deny original sin within themselves and the image of God in those they oppose. Strangely, we concur with his two conclusions.

Wes Brustad and Matt Nuth
Ramona, CA

Understanding Autism from the Inside

Just recently, I came to the understanding that I also fall somewhere on the autistic side of the “neural spectrum.” As it did for Bowman, this discovery came as a clarifying relief to me. The neurodiversity paradigm makes us more, not less, aware of the fact that all of us, wherever we fall on the spectrum, represent a mixture of strengths and weaknesses. A refusal to pathologize ourselves—a refusal to allow ourselves to be declared fundamentally defective, inferior, or unfit for meaningful participation in society—is nowhere near the same as outright denial of weakness. So yes, we autists are “the sick” for whom Jesus came, the “weary and burdened,” the “poor in spirit,” but no more or less than neurotypicals. Far from inclining us to sugarcoat weakness, the neurodiversity lens exposes that it is neurotypicals who tend to deny weakness.

Greg Sellei
Wilmington, VT

Well-Intentioned Sin Is Still Sin and Deserves Judgment

God is holy. We tend to forget this. We are sinners. We tend to forget that he views us through the sacrifice of his son, Jesus. We are no different from Uzzah, as we also tend to take God’s holiness for granted.

Smirna E. Medina (Facebook)

Correction: In October’s Reply All on page 11, a comment by @Ben_R_F included the incorrect name of a ex-gay ministry. The name is Restored Hope Network.

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