Inspired to Be Healthy
Jordan Rubin's story of healing through proper nutrition is very inspiring ("When Man Meets His Maker" by Robert Andrescik, May). I have struggled for years to lose weight. Because of obesity, I am beginning to have serious health problems. I'm trying to change my eating habits and I pray to God for his help.
The Bible tells us what to eat, but somehow we Christians have gotten off track. My husband and I started a health initiative ministry at our church.
One Sunday he looked over the congregation and noticed that a majority of the people were sleeping or struggling to stay awake. We asked the congregation to fill out a questionnaire. A few were bored with the sermons, but a large number were on prescription drugs that made them sleepy. They were suffering from heart disease and diabetes.
We are an African-American church in a low-income area trying to bring awareness that we must take care of our bodies. We are very excited about our program. Thanks for sharing this story with us.
Phyllis C. McMillan
Your article on Jordan Rubin was informative and even inspiring. However, it was unfortunate that you chose to publish some of the photographs of him in revealing clothes. There were so many less revealing ways to show the healing he experienced. I doubt a similarly unclad woman would have made it into the pages of Charisma.
Idols in the Pulpit
Thanks to J. Lee Grady for his column about greed among today's ministers ("Charismatic Idols," May). Matthew 6:24 says you cannot serve both God and money. Jesus also said, "' A man's life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions'" (Luke 12:15, NIV). Greed is idolatry. We need to listen to God's Word.
My husband works a full-time job and pastors a 70-plus member church full time, not for money but to fulfill the commission given by Jesus.
I think your assessment of some prosperity-oriented charismatic leaders and the influence they have on church and cultural opinion is correct. I would encourage your staff to use that standard when you evaluate advertisements that seem to encourage your readers to attend conferences that highlight teachers who consistently promote a materialistic gospel.
I applaud Lee Grady's commentary. It is necessary. The same yardstick needs to be applied when determining what kind of message is being conveyed when there is more focus on success and prosperity than on character and evangelism.
South Bend, Indiana
Some ministers won't like what Lee Grady said about prosperity. Others who are looking to prove that Christians are nothing but a bunch of cons, thieves and crooks will frame your article as proof that they are right.
Margaret Ellen Brown
Money given to a good ministry will result in souls saved and lives healed. How many people would go unreached if the donations to Billy Graham or Focus on the Family were cut in half? What's more important--having material things that don't last or seeing Jesus in someone's life? We need to live sacrificially so others can have an eternally higher standard of living.
Our mishandling of the benefits of covenant blessing has maligned our integrity for years. I've spent years defending the behavior of some Christian leaders to my evangelical family and nonbelieving friends. I was thrilled when I saw your editorial.
Ray Anoka Del Rio
Lee Grady had his finger on the trigger in his column, but he never pulled it. He selected a soft target, Clint Brown. There are bigger fish in the pond of financial abuse. But he intentionally left them out because of the financial ramifications. I pray Charisma will be bold enough to go after its cash cows.
New Fairfield, Connecticut
**Lee Grady's exposé of Clint Brown's trials and his lifestyle was disappointing. Brown is a man of God who is entitled to compensation, just as any CEO is. As you noted, he is a pastor who produces books and recordings. The Bible says the laborer is worthy of his wages.
As long as certain prosperity preachers continue to preach their false doctrine, there will be more preachers falling into covetousness. What is really needed is the whole gospel of Christ and accountability groups for Bible teachers. If you can't teach your prosperity doctrine in a Third World country, maybe your doctrine is not for the poor!
I am also sick of charismatic idol worship. I made a vow to the Lord that no matter how much my ministry flourishes, I will never take more than a certain amount for income. I have given God this figure (an average income for most Americans). It will be enough to support me and my family comfortably but not extravagantly.
Rev. David P. Hill
San Saba First Assembly of God
San Saba, Texas
How can pastors' needs to buy three or more homes override the needs of people? I'm grateful for ministers such as Rick Warren. I hope ministers who are abusing finances will see his example.
Much of the charismatic movement left the heart of Jesus long ago. Jesus' message was one of holiness and humility. Will charismatics choose the sacrificial life of Christ and service, or will we chase wealth, health and the good life? The things of this world are to be used to pursue eternal purposes.
Compassion For Sri Lanka
Thank you for the update on how donations from your readers were used to bless the tsunami victims in Sri Lanka ("A Wave of Compassion" by Matthew Green, May).
First, it is great that Charisma is still discussing the crisis when most other media sources have switched to more recent but less important issues. Second, it is great to know that your organization uses donations in creative and productive ways to help those in need.
Chapel Hill, North Carolina
God on the Battlefield
Thanks for your article about the impact of prayer on the war in Iraq ("Miracle on the Frontlines" by Glenn Thomas, April). My son just returned from Fallujah. God had him there to share Jesus with men right before they slipped into eternity. Thanks also to those who pray for our troops.
Iran is developing nuclear weapons, the Palestinians are building more missiles and bombs, and the situation in Gaza and the West Bank looks bleak. With God's help, I will soon be moving my family from our apartment to a home with a bomb shelter. Whatever happens, we will try to defend ourselves and remain in the land of our people. Thanks for the prayers of your readers.
A Right to Kill?
I agree with your columnist, David Aikman, about the Terry Schiavo case ("Resisting the Right to Kill," May). I mourn the death of this woman. We will never know what her real wishes were.
Her life ebbed away while we watched and went about our lives. Whether our lives are good or troubled, at least we have life. Because of legalized murder, Terri Schiavo does not.
Where's the Love?
The venomous attitude toward homosexuals reflected in a letter written by a reader is not a Christ-centered response (Letters, May). This is the kind of person who makes me consider carefully if I would want to invite my gay friends and acquaintances to church.
I never compromise my stance that homosexuality is a sin, but my Savior went into the ghettos, where He might have seen two men kissing. These people need love, not condemnation.