In the past two months three readers have emailed me to say that I should a) repent, b) feel thoroughly ashamed of myself, and c) stop publishing articles riddled with ‘unbelief and negativity’. Happily I’ve also received more positive messages from readers who have been helped and encouraged by Christianity magazine. But what was the cause of the ire of the less than happy readers I hear you ask? The answer is the articles we’ve published on ‘tithing’, ‘healing’, and ‘churches in decline’. The tithing article (April) triggered a massive response – I have published another selection in this month’s Feedback (page 48) of your letters and emails. These responses included one calling on me to ‘repent’ of publishing such a ‘destructive’ article. Happily most readers seem to have found the debate helpful, triggering a thoughtful response to different interpretations of what the scriptures say (and don’t say) on this issue. For daring to run an article last year listing eight key questions dwindling churches should ask themselves as they consider whether to close down (December), apparently I should be ashamed! Meanwhile another reader, Mr J, has criticised me for publishing Adrian Plass’ article on healing (May). Publishing an article that identified healing frauds made Mr J ‘furious’. He went on to say that ‘the level of unbelief and negativity within some of your articles is really sad’. This reader clearly wants me only to report on success stories. Happily we do publish good news stories – for example this month on the gypsy friendly church and the lady from Birmingham who following her conversion plans to make a film about Jesus in Bollywood. However this is clearly not good enough for Mr J who told me that if the content of the magazine ‘is a litmus test of the state of UK Christianity, we are in trouble’ – which is the one part of his letter I agreed with. Not everything in the British church garden is rosy, there are lots of weeds too. I wonder if Mr J would prefer that we don’t report on the death of Rob Lacey? After all many thousands of Christians prayed for him to be healed from cancer, but sadly he recently died. That’s the harsh bad news. So should I avoid reporting this story – after all it might increase levels of unbelief and negativity? I think not. I believe that our faith should be big enough to handle the whole story and that we don’t do ourselves, the wider church and the reputation of the Lord any favours by reporting half-truths? That’s why I have printed a news report about Rob this month and a fine tribute, written by Jeff Lucas (page 74), about the life and death of a man who was a breath of fresh air and a blessing to thousands. If you only want the good news so you can avoid reading about pain or disappointments, this magazine is not for you. But don’t worry you’ll have plenty of other periodicals to choose from who will only write about conversions, healings, church growth and more, bigger, better, blessings. Meanwhile if you want real life, real faith, in the real world - in all its glorious mess, keep reading.