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Volume 14, Issue 4: Sharpening Iron

From Us:

We are the Moscow Cougar. We do not fear people, cars, or porch lights. We come in at night. If there is snow or mud, we leave tasteful tracks in your yard. We do not eat children. We pace through town between Paradise Ridge and Moscow Mountain. If you lose your cat, suspect us. If you find a mangled body, that is the work of our friend the owl, or our enemy the large skunk. But if your cat is missing, missing without a trace, then look to us. No amount of notices tacked to telephone poles will bring that cat back.

We love trees.


From You:

Dear Editor,
I simply wanted to say that I was both appalled and offended about the little "eyebrow ring" article [C/A, 14.3]. It appears to me that the writers of this article dont know anyone with an eyebrow ring. Or a tongue ring. Or any other type of piercing. Or even anyone who may dress alternatively but may not be pierced. It is very unfortunate that someone would write about stereotypical "freaks" as they may be labeled, when, in fact, they don't even know one. The reason I am so sure that the author doesn't know one is because if he/she did know some of these people, he/she would know that there are other reasons for piercing things or getting tattoos or dressing differently than rebellion. I have an eyebrow ring and a tattoo. And some earings. My tattoo is small and indiscreet [sic], and so are my piercings. This is because of a personal preference of how I like to look. My appearance is actually very preppy. But I know people that pierce more extreme things than their eyebrow that are wonderful Chrisitian people. Self mutilation is an obvious wrong since we are to treat our bodies as temples. but is is your opinion that piercings and tattoos are self mutilation. There are plenty of painful things that we put our body through that do not fall into the self mutilatilation and I believe that piercings and tattoos are some of the things. I would want to do nothing to alter my Christian witness to anyone and if I thought that my appearance did that in any way, I would change what I could. I think that piercings other than earrings are simply not accepted by many people, but that does not make them wrong. I really wasn't planning on writing anyone tonight. I was online searching for a new eyebrow ring to buy over the internet and this website came up on my search. I hope that you take into consideration all I have said. And I hope I am not offensive to you. I also do not mean to be harsh—I really just hope that you can be more open-minded about this topic.

Lauren Nemo
Sierra, TN

Dear Editor,
Bravo! Mr. Jones' contrast [C/A, 14.2] between Time-knowing (story, poetry, history, pattern) and nonTime-knowing (outline, algorithm, calculus, formality) is surely correct. It would be especially timely (story-related pun intended) to hear details as to how this might apply to the apologist—specifically, to the Christian artist?

On a more formal note (juxtaposition of non-time with musical allusion intended,) one could argue that the absolute glue of any story appears to be sequence, just as it is in any formal discipline (Euclid's Elements, any branch of logic, calculus, physics, etc.)
Further, the atom of any sequence (story or non-story) appears to be juxtaposition. Where might this take us?
Though this line of thought promises to take us deeper into the structure of Creation, I submit that the one about being an effective apologist is more timely, since it has everything to do with how we preach, teach, create, parent, pray, listen for God's Story.
Again, bravo, and I look forward to future discussions.

David Soderberg
Prescott, AZ

Dear Editor,
Just got my issue today—devoured it as usual—but I have to single this one out.

Once again, and this time with panache, you have managed to knock the cover of off every baseball pitched.
Thank you for helping me grown as a Christian, and in the JOYOUS love of our risen Lord.

Jay Skiles
Salem, OR

Dear Editor,
I've been wanting to sit down and write you a reasonably intelligent letter for many days, but never seem to have the time or intelligence to do so. I'm sitting out here in senior management of corporate America wondering what the heck I'm doing sitting out here in senior management of corporate America. Any ideas? Representing the Christ out here isn't that easy. . . . I don't suppose you have any stooge positions available? Your magazine is enjoyable to the fullest. . . . When I read it.

Mark Cheatwood
Lauren, OH

Dear Editor,
This isn't much, merely a trifle, but this Catholic schoolteacher finds you guys to be some of the only full-banquet Christianity out there. Everyone else is drinking Kool-Aid R and eating Pop Tarts R. Keep throwin' the hard ones. It's tonic.

Jonathan Watson
Belmont, NH

Dear Editor,
I just finished reading "Sola Scriptura and Church Authority" by D. Jones and P. Madrid [C/A, Longtimeago].

Being an Italian Catholic, it's kind of natural I'm siding with Patrick, but I enjoyed and appreciated your exchange as an interesting contribution for all concerned on such a hot ecumenical issue.
If I may add a couple of thoughts, I'd say that the Church infallibility is required for two reasons: the first being that the Scriptures can be interpreted in so many different ways that it would be honestly impossible to discern the truth unless somebody authoritatively decided which is the actual primary (if not exclusive) meaning of a given verse. To leave such a decision to the vagaries of each single individual would simply lead to the mess we are experiencing today. Were the Bible a sort of math precision vade mecum made up of clearly defined formulas, we would not need such an infallible requirement, but being that two-edged sword God wanted it to be, there must be an authority that can define what is the true and safe interpretation to avoid any confusion and errors.
Jesus could not simply leave all of His future disciples in the dark or hanging to their own individual hypotheses in matters of faith and morals, but He wanted them to be properly assisted by the very Church He instituted so that they could come to know the truth and be freed. Now, how could that be possible if that Church was subject to making mistakes in relation to the Lord's Word ?
The second point is that infallibility is directly connected to the Head of the Church, our Lord Jesus, and it just can't be that His successors, the Bishops and the Pope, are deprived of His Spirit of Truth when truth is the actual divide between salvation and perdition.
Thanks again for your debate and may the Lord help us be that one and only flock He wanted us to be.

Parma, Italy

Dear Editor,
Nancy Wilson's article explaining why unmarried daughters are not really single, alone merits support of Credenda.

Roger and Jennifer Mey
Sierra San Pedro

Dear Editor,
I read your article "P3IV Nudey Bible Finds Strong Male-Teen Market" (C/A, 14.3) with disbelief and disgust. My 16 year-old daughter brought the article to my attention, and we were both horrified that a version of the Bible is currently being distributed with pictures of topless girls. I immediately contacted Zondervan Publishing and spoke with Mr. Mark Rice. He stated that he had never heard of the P3IV, nor had he heard of Zondervan spokesperson Sharon Swanson. He was very concerned that an article stated that photos of topless women were being published in a Bible under the Zondervan label.

I am very confused. Is there indeed a bible, the P3IV, which includes photos of topless women? Also, is it being published by Zondervan publishing house? If this is indeed the case, I will gladly write letters of protest to Zondervan, Christian bookstores, and encourage all my friends to do the same. I am witholding action until I can be sure that the P3IV does exist, and that it does include pictures of topless girls in place of the concordance and maps.
Please help me clarify this matter, as I am getting different information from your magazine and the Zondervan Publishing House. If indeed there is a copy of the Bible being published with pornographic photos in it, I find that grossly offensive and want to do all possible to discontinue it's distribution.

Name Witheld
Sierra San Pedro

Editor's reply: We assure you, no matter how much we joke around, Zondervan isn't. They are guilty as not quite charged.

Dear Editor,
The new format is much appreciated. The content was stellar, as usual, maybe a little funnier than usual. Reducing the font size in the Sharpening Iron section was publishing genius at its finest. One question from that section though. How could you avoid an Editor's reply to veganism in light of God's design for original Edenic apparel?

C.J. Bowen
Chapel Hill, NC

Editor's reply: Because we take veganism very seriously as a philosophical position, and occasionally even breakfast without meat.

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