Your Letters: Orient Express, Oral Roberts

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We had lots of web traffic for our story on the final journey of the original Orient Express. Plus, our interview last week with Rev. Carol Hallman and her brother, Rev. Kenneth Black, on Black's faith-healing experience at an Oral Roberts revival meeting drew responses from believers and skeptics alike. Host Scott Simon reads some of the letters and comments from listeners.


Time now for your letters.

(Soundbite of typing and music)

SIMON: Lots of web traffic for our story two weeks ago on the final journey of the original Orient Express. A few excerpts from the comments left on I took that train in the '70s as a young teenager while living in Paris, writes Kathleen Farb, New York. Couldn't afford a sleeper car and met numerous interesting - if somewhat suspect - characters. Traveling through Milan, Zagreb, etc., in the middle of winter nights and arriving in snowy Istanbul alone, not knowing a soul, is one of my fondest memories.

Our interview last week with Reverend Carol Hallman and her brother, the Reverend Kenneth Black, on Reverend Black's - at an Oral Roberts revival drew responses from believers and skeptics alike.

Erica Munson of Park City, Utah, writes: I am a religious person who believes in God's power to heal, but have often sneered at those who attempt to perform these miracles in tents and in front of the cameras. Reverend Roberts certainly took advantage of these venues and as his career progressed, became defined by such spectacles. But Mr. Black's profound experience as a boy whose parents believed that if they could just reach Roberts their son would be healed, reminded me that the source - the starting point of a spiritual commitment -often begins with one person's extraordinary experience with God's love, an experience that outside observers may not understand but cannot refute and like Mr. Simon, can only be respectful of.

But Donald Sturgis of Atlanta says: Listening to these testimonials this morning made me chuckle. It never ceases to amaze me that we're approaching the year 2010, yet the mindset of so many people around the world are still stuck in the age of mysticism and miracles. Do these believers really think a mysterious, imaginary power fixed their aliment, let alone that Oral Roberts was a chosen person to heal certain people and not others?

Finally, many were delighted by our reading with Daniel Pinkwater of excerpts from "Ounce, Dice, Trice," which introduces children to the joy of words like frangipani, merdo and fussbudget.

Take this grandiloquent response from Pat Ramberg of White Bear Lake, Minnesota: What an exhuberous (ph), flumongus(ph), flamingus(ph) and dodolis(ph) obsorbitory(ph) excretion Scott Simon and Daniel Pinkwater take the listener through while reviewing children's literature. They are a national treasure, as is Jimmy Durante and his tunalodious(ph) singing of "I'll Never Forget the Day I Read a Book."

We welcome your drumjargon(ph) and firkadoodle (ph). Go to and click on Contact Us, or use the comments section of each story. We're also on Twitter. I'm at nprscottsimon - all one word. And a reminder: Please help us out and fill out an online survey about WEEKEND EDITION. You can go to

SIMON: This is NPR News.

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