Letters to the Editor

From the week of April 21, 2005

Robert A. Menafee
Dayton, Ohio

Opening the door: Thanks for your coverage of Pastor Benjamin L. Reynolds's "The Black Church and Sexuality" class. I have only a couple of quick mentions:

1. Emmanuel is not tiny; it is the largest and most respected African-American ministry in the city. Which isn't to say that it is not tiny in comparison to New Life Community Church -- which, come on, really isn't a community church at all -- but the point should be made that the African-American community in Colorado Springs is rather small. In context of that community and the churches established within it, Emmanuel looms largest as the standard-bearer.

2. Pastor Reynolds does not have a big office. There are mirrors in there because it's so small; the mirrors help with the claustrophobia.

3. Pastor Reynolds does not have a penchant for shiny shirts. At least none that I've observed.

I wish the doubters weren't the loudest voices in the pew in Laura Bond's article, but it's possible they accurately summed up the overall perception: The majority left the Bible study unpersuaded. Most comments seemed more emotion over intellect. While many congregants seem to accept scriptural challenges that allow women in pulpits, many of these same congregants seem suspicious of scriptural challenges to the church's historical condemnation of gays -- suggesting, perhaps, some personal agenda rather than an objective review of empirical evidence.

As I told the pastor, it occurs to me that, at the end of the day, we really may not be able to change the way church people think. And finally, that may not actually be our purpose. Our purpose may actually be to raise the issues and get people thinking and talking, so that the next one who comes along will find the door opened just a bit wider than where we found it. And the next generation of church folk will be just a little less ignorant, just a little less afraid, just a little more patient, just a little better informed.

And, when I think if it in those terms, it's really not so bad.

Reverend Christopher J. Priest
Colorado Springs

Casting the first stone: I was very disappointed in the sloppiness of Laura Bond's work. She wrote that the Federal Marriage Amendment "had just been introduced by Colorado Springs representative Marilyn Musgrave." Huh? Last time I checked,. Musgrave represents the fourth district of Colorado, which covers the plains from Fort Collins to Lamar, but does not include Colorado Springs (which is represented in Washington, D.C., by Joel Hefley).That is a pretty glaring error that I'm surprised her editor -- if she has one -- didn't catch.

She also wrote that in the 1970s, city leaders "began recruiting right-wing groups as a way to prop up a sagging agricultural economy." Is she making this stuff out of whole cloth? First of all, my understanding is that the recruitment of the religious ministries began in earnest in the late 1980s, as a result of the cutting-back of the military at the end of the Cold War. Second, as a native of Colorado Springs, I have never even heard of an agricultural base to the economy. Historically, the economy there was based on gold and other mineral extraction, tourism and the military.

The mistakes match the generally sloppy and pejorative tone of the whole article. It seems that Christians must either be portrayed as homophobic and on a witch hunt, or they are enlightened and tolerant of homosexuality. Contrarily, most of us are working to maintain a loving stance toward all, but not allowing sin to rule over any of our brothers and sisters. I personally work to include all sins of adultery along with the other sins that must be confessed and repented of, but which don't preclude Christian fellowship during that process. If you want to go to a scripture that speaks to the (w)holistic approach that the Bible actually calls for, read Ezekiel 16:49-50.

Steven Flanders
via the Internet

Editor's note: We stand by our depiction of Reverend Reynolds's shirts, but thank Steven Flanders for pointing out two truly boneheaded errors in "A House Divided. " Forgive us our sins.

The Marry-Go-Round

Social malcontents: In regards to Laura Bond's "Love and Happiness" and "A House Divided," in the April 14 issue, be advised that the real crisis is not marital or spiritual (tell your pastor), but social. Society as a whole pressures people, especially the young and naive, into procreation, marriage and having children.

The 50 percent divorce rate is because of people not being ready to give up their lives for their children. So before any more social-pressure-created children are raised, please make sure you are ready to give up your own life, your wants, your dreams. And then show your next generation how to trust only your God and savior to have the compassion and love necessary to break the chains of social pressures, to do what in your own hearts are true.

Otherwise, have safe sex; marriage because of pregnancy can and will be a ball and chain of blame. Your "could haves, would haves" are too late. And on the other hand, there are thousands of couples unable to have children. What's the difference with same-sex marriage?

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