Thanks for the article on modesty ("Put on Some Clothes!" by Valerie G. Lowe, August). For too long the church has failed to preach biblical modesty because we didn't want to sound legalistic. Sounds like the same malady that plagues the world--a failure to accept responsibility.
They say a picture is worth a thousand words. Charisma would have shown better judgment if its editors had chosen the thousand words instead.
My main concern is for the men who read your magazine. Even the most devoted Christian men struggle to keep their thoughts pure. Should they now be concerned that the next time they turn a page in Charisma they will see a full-page photograph of young girls who are immodestly dressed?
I am thankful for your willingness to stir the American church out of apathy. In your eagerness to do so, please don't cause a brother to stumble.
It's about time someone wrote something for those of us who want to be stylish and modest.
A very religious friend of ours visited a "seeker friendly" church and was horrified to see so many short skirts and tight pants. But then when it was time for the altar call, dozens of these "immodest" girls got saved. They didn't own any nice church clothes.
Our clothing, accessories and hairstyles are not an essential of the faith. The essential is Jesus--and making Him known.
Two thumbs way up! It is about time this issue was discussed among leaders who are not afraid to preach the truth about holiness and purity! Romans 12:1-2 says we should not be conformed to this world. How can we be light if we walk in darkness?
Lake Charles, Louisiana
Put on Some Clothes!" should have been titled "Put on Some Love!" If we are going to address the issue of modesty, then we must do it in love--not with judgment. The Lord does not look at the outward appearance.
I agree with what you said about modesty, but I was upset that there was nothing about guys in the article. As a teenager, I've seen my full share of guys in tight pants, shirts and jeans hanging so low you can see their buttocks.
It's gross and sometimes provocative. Girls need to dress modestly, but guys do too. I wish you'd put that in there.
West Salem, Wisconsin
Though I enjoyed your article, I was offended when you said it's OK for women to wear pants. Scripture says women should wear dresses only.
First Timothy 2:9 tells women to "adorn themselves in modest apparel." In 1611 the word "apparel" meant "a loose, long flowing garment." The Greek word is katastole. It is the only place in the Bible where it is used. It means dresses only!
Editor's note: Let's remember that in Bible times men also wore flowing robes, not pants. If we used your logic, women in 2004 would be wearing ancient Greek outfits. No serious Bible scholar would promote this view.
What's wrong with showing a shoulder, leg or midriff occasionally? What is so "sexual" about these body parts? I wonder what the author would say to Christians in Asia, where bare midriffs and bra tops are traditional and acceptable clothing.
Does this mean Charisma endorses going back to Puritan days? Girls today should be raised to be comfortable with their bodies.
Your article was right on target. But it is not just the young who need to read it. Have you noticed how older people are dressed these days? No wonder the kids look the way they do.
I am an aide to a government official, and I will not hire anyone to work in this office who comes to an interview looking "melted and poured" into garments with so much skin showing that it is embarrassing. The more skin you show in a professional environment, the less power you are perceived to have.
Older women in the church are supposed to teach the younger women. But in our youth-oriented culture, the grandmas want to look like teenagers. I pray that God would give us maturity to see the consequences of our vanity and pride!
Brenda H. Ajamian
Altamonte Springs, Florida
A Vote for Foster Care
Thank you for the article on foster parenting ("Kids Who Fall Through the Cracks," by Anahid Schweikert, August). My family has been a foster family for two years, and during this time we have already seen 10 kids come and go.
Throughout all the trials and joys, we have striven to make each child feel at home. I refer to them as my brothers or sisters.
Some of them have tried our patience, and we've mourned when the state had to move some of them out of our house. People ask me how I stand it.
I would not trade my life for anything. Every child that comes into our home is special. I wouldn't give up the chance to be a part of their lives for anything.
I applaud editor J. Lee Grady for defending President Bush (First Word, August). His column "Bush Whackers" exposed the myths about the war in Iraq. It has been a puzzle to me that intelligent people can say there were no weapons of mass destruction in Iraq when we have photos of people who were murdered.
Fort Collins, Colorado
Grady said he doesn't understand "why so many Christians dislike a president who shares their moral values." As a former Republican, I consider myself a conservative Christian voter, but I don't believe George W. Bush shares my "moral values."
I don't think the two major parties have anything to offer the conservative Christian voter, so I'll be voting for the only candidate who shares my "moral values," Michael Anthony Peroutka.
I too find myself wondering how Christians could dislike a president who stands for the very same values they do. I appreciate the fact that you took a strong stand on the issue, especially in today's polarized political atmosphere.
Manorville, New York
Grady said he is shocked at how Christians wrote angry letters about Bush. I am shocked there are Christians who think Bush really is a Christian!
Although Bush appears to be on Israel's side, think again. Consider the "road map for peace" and Bush's plan to give the Palestinians their own state. Let's pray for a Republican who stands for Christ.
I am so tired of hearing the liberal line, "This war in Iraq is all about money and oil." So what if it is! Oil is a huge resource that produces huge revenue. Whoever controls that revenue will have the power to do either good or evil.
We certainly don't want the terrorist states to have that power. This way of thinking comes from the old liberal mantra, "Money is evil." Yet those who promote this are usually rich.
Thanks for publishing the interview with President Bush in your August issue. Yes, Bush is human and he makes mistakes. But at least he's doing something, which is more than I can say about the apathetic Christian majority.
Aiken, South Carolina
I have yet to understand how anyone, including President Bush, could think that we could resolve disputes by the use of massive armed forces. Jesus certainly didn't endorse such actions.
Didn't Jesus teach in Luke 14:31 that a king, when preparing for battle, should first assess his strength? It seems that Bush and his advisers merely looked at the strength of the Iraqi army and never thought about the will of those who have nurtured age-old disputes with the "infidels."
When believers focus on President Bush's flaws, they're forgetting that King David also sinned. Although David made obvious mistakes, he was still considered a man after God's heart.
I appreciate Charisma and will continue to subscribe to it. But I don't appreciate the way you are handling the issue of President Bush.
You don't seem to understand why he has aroused such anger.
Please don't dismiss me as being unjustifiably critical of this president. Though he has cut taxes, the largest benefit has gone to the upper middle-class and to the rich owners of American corporations. And he did this while funds for education, health care and veterans' benefits.
The documentary Fahrenheit 911 (a movie that Mr. Grady will probably never see because he seems to have all the facts and needs no more) tells the story of a Christian woman whose son died in Iraq. This woman learned how few members of Congress have sons in the war--even though they boldly proclaim the need for our young people to be there. What hypocrisy!
Bush has good intentions, but the end does not justify the means. I can no longer support him.
More Christians should support President Bush. It truly disturbs me that this is just the opposite in many cases.
It has been a refreshing four years knowing that my president is in the White House making decisions not only for me but also for this country. I support Bush 110 percent.
Rev. Brian Rhodes
Florence, South Carolina
I don't like everything about President Bush, but let's look at the two parties. Republicans want to keep traditional marriage. Democrats are ready to endorse same-sex marriage.
Republican or Democrat? The choice is a no-brainer!
Hagerman, New Mexico
I am amazed by all the letters from people who say they are Christians and yet bash our president. If Christians spent half as much time praying for the president as some do criticizing him, we would see a great difference in our nation.
Rev. George F. Snow
I voted for Al Gore four years ago. He actually won the real election--politics stole it from him. Your magazine has become another platform to espouse the doctrines of George W. Bush and the Republican Party.
Unless you begin to give a more balanced look at the other side of the political aisle, I will have no other choice but to "vote" with my money and find another magazine to subscribe to.
Wanda G. Ventimiglia
It is shocking how un-Christian some Charisma readers have been in their comments about President Bush. Some have resorted to the same ugly name-calling we've heard from people in Hollywood such as Michael Moore, Rosie O'Donnell and Richard Gere.
Could it be that many religious people have been discipled more by Hollywood than by principles in the Word of God?
So, President Bush claims to be a Christian. That's fine. But maybe disgusted Christians see a pattern of immoral actions in Bush's presidency.
The problem is that his questionable works don't match his good words. That has turned off some Christians.
Before we get too worked up about mixing religion and politics, we should look at Esther, Nehemiah and Daniel in the Bible. Where would the Jews be if Esther had not mixed religion and politics?
Nehemiah was the governor of Jerusalem, yet he was not shy about his faith. We are called to salt all facets of society with God's principles.
So many of your letters to the editor are filled with venom. It is amazing that you would give space or recognition to people who have been led so astray.
If you are going to sit on the fence to see how the wind blows, you will smell the dung-heap which John Kerry and his cronies will bring on this nation.
By the way, I have a Purple Heart from wounds I received while flying over North Vietnam, but that doesn't make me a hero. It makes me slow because I didn't duck fast enough.
Lt. Col. (Ret.) John W. Newhouse
I laughed when Grady suggested that the reason so many Christians don't like Bush is because they have ingested a steady diet of the liberal news media. Has it ever occurred to you that the reason you don't think the war is Bush's fault is because you have ingested a steady diet of Rush Limbaugh, Fox News, The O'Reilly Factor and other conservative media?
Facts are facts. Or you can bury your head in the sand.
Has it ever occurred to you that Charisma is now a part of that biased conservative media? I thought you had a higher calling.
Fat in the Sanctuary
Your article on overweight Christians stated that African American women suffer from obesity more than women of other races ("Why Is the Church So Fat?" by Kara Davis, July). That's an understatement! While going from a size 22 to 12, I learned that we Christians have to treat our bodies as the wonderful gifts they are.
Many Christian women I know have what I call the "Big Mama Syndrome." We take care of everyone else in our lives, but we won't spare a moment to take care of ourselves.
Unfortunately the church encourages this attitude--although it can actually kill the person. The Bible says we must love our neighbors as ourselves--not instead of ourselves.
Kimberly Y. Floyd
There are a few things we need to do to lose weight: Don't eat everything on your plate. Go for a walk, or ride a bicycle. Exercise is the key to losing weight.
Also we need to stay away from restaurants and the oversized portions they serve. After working out for three weeks, my blood pressure is down, my shirts are looser and my wife says she is seeing less of me in the best way.