Readers Write: Heroin and America's spiritual void; Hypocrisy on Putin's Ukraine move

Letters to the Editor for the May 5, 2014 weekly magazine:

Consumerism and technology are constantly trying to convince us of the self-evident absurdity that we can 'have it all'. In truth, we not only can't have it all, we really don't want it!

The look at heroin addiction in American suburbia brings attention to the paucity of spiritual control in our YOLO ('you only live once') society.

If, to protect itself from potential threats, the US can justify invading countries near the Russian sphere of influence, how can the US deny Russia the same justification with Crimea?

Heroin, busyness, and a spiritual void

Robert Klose's Home Forum essay, "World enough, and time," and John Yemma's Upfront column, "What our freedom demands" (discussing consumerism and growing heroin use), dovetailed very nicely in the March 24 issue.

Consumerism and technology are constantly trying to convince us of the self-evident absurdity that we can "have it all": true love without effort or commitment, overeating without gaining weight, drug use without consequences. Most people's "busyness" today can be attributed to the never-ending pursuit of this elusive goal.

The founder of this newspaper, a truly "busy" woman, once said, "Rushing around smartly is no proof of accomplishing much." A slower, more contemplative existence might show us the merits of quality over quantity. Then we might realize that, in a material sense, we not only can't have it all, we really don't want it!

Rick Soule

South Lake Tahoe, Calif.

Mr. Yemma's column about freedom and self-control and the cover story, "Heroin's new neighborhoods," bring attention to the "paucity of spirituality" and spiritual control in our YOLO ("you only live once") society. One woman quoted in the cover story says that getting high made her feel like "the person she wanted to be," revealing the void of spiritual well-being all kinds of addictions attempt to fill. Plaudits to the Monitor for calling out the shifts in thought so needed to help resolve this and other problems.

Steven Price

San Rafael, Calif.

Hypocrisy on Putin's Ukraine move

Regarding the April 7 cover story, "How far will he go?," on Russian President Vladimir Putin's aggressive moves in Ukraine: If, to protect itself from potential threats, the United States can justify invading countries near the Russian sphere of influence, how can the US deny Russia the same justification when it comes to a country it borders?

There is, of course, little justification in either claim. But the Monitor's coverage (and that of other media outlets) seems to suggest that what's good for the goose is not good for the gander.

M. Orend

Woodland Hills, Calif.

You've read  of  free articles. Subscribe to continue.

Dear Reader,

About a year ago, I happened upon this statement about the Monitor in the Harvard Business Review – under the charming heading of “do things that don’t interest you”:

“Many things that end up” being meaningful, writes social scientist Joseph Grenny, “have come from conference workshops, articles, or online videos that began as a chore and ended with an insight. My work in Kenya, for example, was heavily influenced by a Christian Science Monitor article I had forced myself to read 10 years earlier. Sometimes, we call things ‘boring’ simply because they lie outside the box we are currently in.”

If you were to come up with a punchline to a joke about the Monitor, that would probably be it. We’re seen as being global, fair, insightful, and perhaps a bit too earnest. We’re the bran muffin of journalism.

But you know what? We change lives. And I’m going to argue that we change lives precisely because we force open that too-small box that most human beings think they live in.

The Monitor is a peculiar little publication that’s hard for the world to figure out. We’re run by a church, but we’re not only for church members and we’re not about converting people. We’re known as being fair even as the world becomes as polarized as at any time since the newspaper’s founding in 1908.

We have a mission beyond circulation, we want to bridge divides. We’re about kicking down the door of thought everywhere and saying, “You are bigger and more capable than you realize. And we can prove it.”

If you’re looking for bran muffin journalism, you can subscribe to the Monitor for $15. You’ll get the Monitor Weekly magazine, the Monitor Daily email, and unlimited access to CSMonitor.com.