In Good Faith
Our Best to the Wests
However, the letter from John A. Guerin [“Yeah, Things are Fine,” July 13] struck a nerve for me. From the tone of his letter he is obviously on the extreme right, and that is fine with me. I will most certainly agree with him on some viewpoints. But calling Cindy Sheehan a “piece of crap” is just wrong! Agree with her politics and causes or not, she lost a son in the war in Iraq just a little more than two years ago.
In my opinion, attacking someone personally for their political, religious or lifestyle viewpoints shows a lack of intelligence similar to using curse words as fillers when you don’t have the composure to talk intelligently. It is always important to separate the person themselves from the behavior. Hate the actions but love the person.
I will give Mr. Guerin the benefit of the doubt and assume he is intelligent and very passionate for his position and wrote his letter from that position and not from the hate of a fellow human being. But the action of verbally attacking a person trying desperately to numb the pain of her loss is despicable.
In Good Faith
It is my suspicion that those who have experienced a breath (or two) of grace in their lives will be moved beyond a dualistic manner of interpreting the world, much less the scriptures. I suspect Jesus would have taken great issue with reducing the complexities of humanity and the mystery of faith to such a significant extent.
Manichaeus, a third century Babylonian prophet, was known for propagating a worldview heavily reliant on dualism. In fact Augustine, early in his conversion to Christianity assumed this position only to graciously recant Manichaeism later on in his faith journey.
As a member of the church in the West, it seems clear to me that Manichaeism is still present among us in very subtle and deceptive ways. Reducing things to black and white preserves an illusion of safety. We can then more easily justify the distance between ourselves and those we fear the most. We would do well to turn back, examine our hearts and admit that we are unwilling to more fully enter the wayward culture of the “forsaken and forlorn” we so often bemoan.
If we indeed prayerfully long for the kingdom “to come on earth as it is in heaven,” we must relinquish our need to compartmentalize the lives of those around us in the name of God. When invited into the life of Christ, we surrender our stolid certitude and need for retribution. We voluntarily place ourselves in the presence of the “other,” listening to the lives around us and doing no violence to free will in the name of Christ. In time, our presence, not our words will then perhaps reveal the One whom we profess to follow.
In the Gospel of John, chapter five, Jesus takes the religious establishment to task with strong words. He confronts them over their theological arrogance (“you know the Scripture backwards and forwards and you think that by them you will find eternal life”). He points out their mistaken notion that the scriptures are in and of themselves salvific. “Eternal life,” personified in Christ, is standing right in front of them and they are unable, perhaps even unwilling to see.
That life found in Jesus is a mystery, free to all who desire to be conformed to his Image. All attempts to define the life of faith in any other way is to lead those around us into further alienation from the church and more importantly from the Christ we profess.
Our Best to the Wests
I don’t know whether the Wests ever sold pot. Personally I don’t care. To me that is as much a “right livelihood” as a lot of other ways of making a living, so long as you aren’t using gangster tactics against your competitors. However, having gone to several of their establishments and seen the size of the regular crowds, I don’t think it takes the infusion of large amounts of drug money to explain their success.
Personally I really appreciate what they have done for this town. I urge everyone who has ever enjoyed going to Preservation Pub to drink a beer, or who has enjoyed any of the great music that they have brought to Preservation Pub and World Grotto, or just enjoyed the atmosphere of World Grotto, or the fine dining at Oodles, or just shopping and browsing at Earth to Old City back when you could buy unusual and exotic items there before you could find them anywhere else in town, to support these people any way you can.
It also occurred to me that now we can know in a small way (and in a much bigger way for the people who are directly affected) how the people in Iraq feel. This is just the kind of thing that the current federal government of this nation does—they come into a place and seize some of the leading citizens to take over their assets. I hope they don’t get away with it this time.
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