Plump Folks In the Pews

Thanks for addressing the issue of obesity ("Why Is the Church So Fat?" by Kara Davis, M.D., July). The church has been silent about this topic far too long. Thanks to Dr. Kara Davis for her dedication and intelligence in this area. God does care about every area of our lives, including our weight.
Susan Hunt
Columbia, Maryland

Most churches cannot have a function without serving refreshments before, during and after the event--and the gooier the food, the better! Most of the foods at church dinners are laden with processed cheese, sugar, butter, cream and oil.

It is not the church's fault that Christians are fat, but churches certainly don't do anything to address the issue or help those of us who struggle with weight problems. I belong to a denomination that does not permit smoking or drinking, but I have never heard a message directed toward overeating. Sin is sin, isn't it?
Susan Davis
Sterling, Colorado

So much of the food we eat is full of hidden fat and sugar and has no nutritional value. It seems as if no one wants to look into their own health needs and make the necessary changes.

Please encourage readers to pray for God's leading regarding their diets. Millions have found the solution to diabetes, high blood pressure and high cholesterol.
Sheila Reed
Ellenwood, Georgia

Tune Out the Charlatans!

I agree with Larry Tomczak's article about questionable fund-raising tactics used by Christians ("Crazy Money," July). You are right-on. Thank you for saying what everyone else is thinking.
name withheld

I've often wondered about some of these money-raising schemes. I pray I will see more articles on subjects like this.
Barbara Bellamy
Hillsboro, Oregon

"Crazy Money" was sad but true. We are supposed to be good stewards of our money, and we shouldn't believe everything we hear. We shouldn't give money to ministries before praying about it.
Naomi McEachran
Roff, Oklahoma

Larry Tomczak said what has been on my heart for so long. Often we are encouraged to pledge money we don't have, and we are asked to put donations on a credit card.
Norma Wilkinson
Pearland, Texas

No More Gay Debate

DL Foster's article on homosexuality was the best I've read on the subject ("Sex, Lies and the Gay Debate," June). I'm a 40-year-old woman who was molested as a child. Although I didn't battle homosexuality I was consumed with lust from that time until adulthood.

When I grew closer to Jesus, I begged for His forgiveness and deliverance. I didn't want to live a life in which the majority of my day was spent lusting about men and having sex.

God loves me and created me for so much more. It's hard for anyone with these problems to believe they can change. But I know they can.
name withheld

The Challenge of Autism

Thank you for the article on autistic children ("Locked in Their Own World" by Deborah Marrie, July). I am the mother of an autistic young man, and I wept as I read the article. Thanks for reminding us that parents of autistic children fight for the miraculous every day.

Our son is 22, and he has been blessed every step of his journey. The time has come for the church to embrace the mentally and emotionally disabled.
name withheld

As an adult with Asperger's Syndrome, I want to encourage all parents with autistic children. I've obtained a master's level education and I live a happy, productive life.

Too often parents listen to the "experts" and lose sight of this important fact: Every individual is made in the image of God. Instead of trying to pull a child out of autism, enter his world and discover the God who is waiting there.
J. Jay Sanders
Clovis, New Mexico

It is unfortunate that your report on autism was published the same month as an appalling Fox News report about a boy with Asperger's Syndrome who was suffocated by a minister during an "exorcism."

I have a sweet 9-year-old daughter who has been diagnosed with Asperger's. Her brain was made by God to be different from most other people's, but she no more has a "demon" of autism than an elderly person has a "demon" of Alzheimer's.

My daughter loves Jesus, prays, witnesses and reads the Bible. If the Lord decides to heal her of autism then I will be the first to shout "Amen!" But until then she deserves the same love, patience and compassion as anyone else in the body of Christ.
Virginia Howell
Houston, Texas

Have Some Compassion

Thank you for the article on trusting God during illness ("When Healing Doesn't Come" by James R. Hall, July). I too was hurt by fellow Christians when I became ill.

I had gone through weeks of tests. My condition ended up being gallstones, and I had them removed. Yet Christians told me I didn't have enough faith for God to heal me, which gave me more emotional pain.

Some told me that God wouldn't hear me if I prayed "God's will be done" because that was a sign of doubt. One person told me the gallstones would have disappeared if I had used enough faith and that I was spiritually weak for having surgery.

Please show compassion to those who are ill. It's a lonely road.
Steven Daniels
Houston, Texas

I have some chronic illnesses and many of them are painful. I know I have faith to be healed.

It is helpful to know that I am not the only one going through this. It takes a lot of grace to not be angry when people think I am sick because I am either in sin or don't have enough faith.
Wendy Rogers
Battle Mountain, Nevada

Empowered to Heal

Your profile of Francis and Judith MacNutt was a blessing ("The Priest With Healing Hands" by J. Lee Grady, July). They belong in the healing hall of fame along with people such as Oral Roberts, T.L. Osborn, Agnes Sanford, Kathryn Kuhlman, John and Paula Sanford, Reinhard Bonnke, Benny Hinn and others.

The MacNutts' vision to train an army of healers is in line with Jesus' instructions to His disciples when He sent them out to preach the kingdom and to heal the sick. Judith was correct when she stated that they wouldn't need to have a healing center in Jacksonville if all churches were empowered for healing.
Vernon Stoop, executive director
Focus Renewal Ministries
Sassamansville, Pennsylvania

Was it necessary for Grady to take a shot at the Roman Catholic priesthood when he described priestly celibacy as "an antiquated tradition"? Francis MacNutt was given a gift without repentance. But he married contrary to a vow he made before God.

He still serves and loves God. Those things added together don't make the
priesthood an antiquated tradition.
Mark Bergemann
Soldiers Grove, Wisconsin

Watch Out for Farrakhan

Thank you for Kimberly Daniels' column on Louis Farrakhan (Stomp on the Devil, July). Excellent! I applaud her outspoken truth. I agree with her prayer of salvation for Louis Farrakhan and those deceived by his teachings.
Hana Murata
Los Angeles, California

I have been doing research on the Nation of Islam (NOI) and I agree that its origins and religious context are highly inaccurate. However, its teachings on the failures of American society and the need for black unity can't be denied!

Farrakhan has a strategy that Kimberly Daniels and others like her fail to possess. That strategy is the ability to communicate and uplift an oppressed people. We must not forget that Christianity was introduced to African Americans via slavery and was used also to justify it.

This shameful history is used to fuel Farrakhan's teachings. Daniels must be educated, empathetic and without scorn toward members of the NOI if she wishes to convert them to Christianity. Her column was "white-washed," showing a reflection of her ignorance toward the needs of her own people.
Felicia Scott

My sincere compliments and greatest appreciation go to Kimberly Daniels for her unwavering Christianity. I am very proud of you, sister! Though I always enjoy her contribution to Charisma, this time I was overjoyed.
Marc Patton
Tustin, California

Plastic Christians?

Thanks to J. Lee Grady for his recent column on cosmetic surgery (First Word, July). I agree that something is wrong in our church culture when ministers express insecurity by altering their physical appearance. God created us as we should be. It is a spirit of deception that distorts that fact. name withheld

I try to look as nice as I can to represent Jesus. However, when I went to a car dealership the other day and led a car salesman to the Lord, he didn't seem to care that I was 70, had wrinkles or that I needed a tummy tuck. He was just thankful someone cared.
Jannie Linney Stanton, Texas

"Cosmetic Christianity" was eye- opening. It explains, at least in part, why over 12 million committed followers of Jesus in America no longer go to church.

Many have seen through the cosmetic facade that characterizes so much of the charismatic church in North America. What lies behind the facade is not pretty. May God send a revival characterized by integrity and truth.
Eddie L. Hyatt
Dallas, Texas

Many high-profile Christians have had cosmetic surgery. The real question is whether their ministries turn people to the Lord or away from Him. If you would be honest you might find it difficult to listen to a person who is overweight, haggard-looking or bald.
Mark Thomas
Lawrenceville, Georgia

My pastor's mother left her husband and immediately had a face-lift. Her son, the pastor, followed her example and got implants, a tummy tuck and liposuction. Later, he attributed his homosexual affair to stress and his recent surgery.

I also noticed that after one prominent female minister got a face-lift, all the women in the church began talking about how plastic surgery must be acceptable.
name withheld

Clarification: Our report on the Daystar television network (People & Events, July) should have stated that the lawsuit filed against EchoStar by Sky Angel is still in litigation.

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