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The wheel thing: Thanks so much for Julie Jargon's in-depth and thorough article on Pastor Gary Davis and Church in the Wind ("Heaven on Wheels," November 7). It is refreshing to see motorcyclists portrayed in a positive manner instead of as loud, helmetless burdens to society or gun-firing gangs fighting each other over turf battles. Sure, those factions exist within our ranks, if one categorizes and stereotypes. But so, too, can inner-city-gang generalizations be made with Honda Acura owners who have lowered and customized cars. This seldom seems to be a popular media story line, and that's as it should be.
But, alas, the media hangs on to an image -- the bad-boy persona -- that even many bikers encourage so they can be weekend warriors. This image started in Laconia, New Hampshire, where, in the '60s, Hells Angels were credited with burning a car at a motorcycle rally -- yet no Angels were present. And in Hollister, California, a rally overwhelmed a small town, and Life magazine emblazoned an image in the public eye so threatening that an enterprising movie team made a movie with Marlon Brando, The Wild One, to capture the fear and loathing bikers have been labeled with ever since.
Yet as your article revealed, when it comes to helping those less fortunate, especially those among our ranks whom society too often turns from, there is a solidarity, a unity of purpose among even the baddest of the bad. Harley-Davidson, its dealerships and HOG-affiliate members regularly turn in millions of dollars to Jerry Lewis's fight against Muscular Dystrophy. Nearly every riding organization I have known does at least one charity benefit fundraiser each year -- which is as it should be, for who among us does not know someone within our own circle to whom life has dealt an unfair blow? Perhaps riding a scooter among cell-phone-wielding SUV drivers teaches us to recognize more going on around us. I mean that in the larger sense, too: to be more aware of the circle of life around us.
David Przygocki, director
High Country HOG Chapter 422
They haven't got a prayer: After reading "Heaven on Wheels," I had to write and let you know how I feel. One of the reasons so many bikers and other criminals turn to the church is that they know if they convince fellow church members they have changed their ways, they will be forgiven for crimes they have committed but may not have been caught committing. I know a large number of ex-convicts who have no intention of changing their ways; they only get smarter in the way they commit their crimes.
This includes using the church for whatever means benefit their current criminal activities. They feel very smart since they're getting away with crimes that are being blamed on others. Innocent people are being watched and being suspected of criminal activity because these so-called reformed criminals are getting back at people they feel are to blame for their problems -- prison, felonies and other punishments they bear.
What a scary world we live in when we believe the criminals and disregard the innocent just because they go to church.
Name withheld on request
The heal thing: I read Julie Jargon's "Heaven on Wheels," eagerly anticipating some good testimonies of what God has done in helping people who turn to Him. I was pleased at the loving acceptance so many of the people are finding in Jesus. However, the article is an unfinished story. The reader is left with disappointment in the plight of the woman, Peggy Papineau, who has turned to Jesus for salvation but is afflicted with a blood disease. The Gospel tells us how Jesus came full of grace and truth, how He reached out to the sinners and preached forgiveness, how He healed all who had diseases and illnesses, how He gave His life so that all who believe would live.
The grace and truth is that Jesus is willing that Peggy Papineau be cleansed and healed. Jesus said, "Believe, only believe." In the book of John, the last words Jesus spoke on the cross were: "It is finished." Jesus has healed me of many afflictions. God bless you, Peggy.
Wind energy: I just want to say "great job" on the Church in the Wind story. My wife and I met pastor Gary Davis about three years ago when we joined Riverside Baptist Church, and he's become one of our favorite people. Julie Jargon did an excellent job of telling his story. I work for the state office of Colorado's Southern Baptist churches, and I'm always looking for great stories from our churches -- skier ministries or cowboy churches. One of the great aspects of my job is meeting unique people with colorful stories. And you've met one of our more colorful people, Gary Davis. Thanks for an insightful, well-written story. I'm glad you thought his story was worth telling and shared it so wonderfully on the pages of Westword.
We're not in Kansas anymore:Regarding Robin Chotzinoff's "Suite Dreams," in the November 14 issue: