Readers write: A hopeful story, eschewing fear, and picking up sports

Letters to the editor for the Dec. 14, 2020 weekly magazine. Readers discuss the sport of rowing, moving past fearful responses, and more.


A hopeful story

The cover story “Pulling together” in the Oct. 26 Monitor Weekly, written by Harry Bruinius about rower Arshay Cooper, is one of the most moving and inspirational articles I’ve read in over 40 years of reading the Monitor. Hats off to Mr. Bruinius for his sensitive writing and to the Monitor for continuing to provide exceptional, hope-giving journalism in these contentious and troubled times.

John Wegmann
Port Angeles, Washington 

Eschewing fear

Regarding the “From the editor” column “Looking past false choices” in the Oct. 26 Monitor Weekly: Editor Mark Sappenfield, without writing the word “hope” itself, has penned here a perfect statement of what the Monitor’s journalism has always been all about: looking past false choices. The use of fear is shown to be a norm we readers must always eschew in favor of finding higher and right motives in our lives and our governments. We can and must have a certain sense that our country’s growth to that “more perfect union” is a work in progress that will ultimately find success and equity for all.

David K. McClurkin
Chagrin Falls, Ohio

Picking up sports

Sue Wunder’s Home Forum essay “Proud to be included as ‘one of the guys’” in the Sept. 14 Monitor Weekly took me back to 1947. I remember the year well because I had to leave my hometown of Roselle, New Jersey, to be with my mother in Phoenix. I was 11 and I flew with my 4-year-old brother; I can still remember what my mother looked like when we got off the plane.

In Roselle, my best friend and I shot baskets in the hoop attached to a garage and played softball with the boys at the field next to our elementary school. So when I found myself in Phoenix, I went down the street to the orange grove, where there were pickup games of softball going on. And for Christmas my father sent the only gift I asked for: a fielder’s mitt.

So thank you for the memory. Later on I had four boys and I even learned how to pass a football!

Janet L. Honecker
Wheeling, West Virginia

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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

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