Letters to the editor

A season of blessings

I hadn’t seen It’s a Wonderful Life in many years. I remembered that it was a great movie, with the message that each person’s life is meaningful and we have choice — a soothing thought for these times. I sat in front of my wood stove and listened to the WCQS broadcast of the N.C. Stage Company’s reenactment. It was done as a radio program, yet I could feel the audience in that space, as I’ve sat there many times myself enjoying good theater. It was so well done that I could “see” the actors, in my mind’s eye, being their characters! Later, I realized they had probably all been standing in front of microphones on the stage, as it was done as a radio show!

When it ended, I sat there looking into the fire, moved to tears, my heart wide open. I got flooded with gratitude for all the blessings in my life. And one of those blessings is such fine theater, so close to home, so accessible. And to have a radio station like WCQS, which brought that wonderful thing to so many of us here in the community. What a great collaboration it was … hearing on the radio a stage play depicting a radio program. Brilliant, as my English friends would say! And it was clear the audience present was enjoying it immensely.

I wanted to articulate this because so much of the time I, and I know others, forget to be grateful for even such rare and precious blessings — not to mention the millions of others we enjoy. This program truly brought the blessings of the season: open heartedness and gratitude. Joy to the world!

— Amina Marie Spengler
Asheville

Sweet-and-sour jam

I am in avid support of the annual Warren Haynes Christmas Jam and just attended my third, [and] I wish to register some observations and two queries.

This year’s event included a noticeable police presence inside the arena, unlike any previous year where law enforcement officials remained on site but in the hallways of the Civic Center.

While onstage, several of Dave Matthews comments and actions led me to wonder about his state of consciousness or lack thereof. “This is my favorite song, so I’ll probably forget the words,” said Matthews, [and] he proceeded to do precisely what he had predicted. His following musical endeavor ended abruptly in midsong, [at] which [point] he quipped: “What just happened?” Then, Mr. Matthews stepped back to meet a production-crew member center stage who was bringing him what appeared to be a bottle of water, reemerging at the microphone to state: “I think he wanted to say something to me.” He did not join the other musicians during the rousing encore. At the very least, Dave Matthews’ professionalism as a performer and entertainer was sorely lacking.

Why are there not any female musicians in the always stellar, all-male lineup?

Ticket sales for this event (not including the pre-Jam, T-shirt/memorabilia sales, and DVD revenue) grossed more than $300,000. How much of those proceeds actually get to Habitat for Humanity?

— Jeffrey L. Ray
Arden

Thanks for lighting the Hanukkah candle

While sipping coffee at Port Java, I was glancing through the Mountain Xpress. I came across the main story by Steve Shanafelt about Hanukkah [“Hanukkah; or the Antiochus Hotfoot,” Holiday Guide, Dec. 13]. I found the article enlightening as well as entertaining.

Kudos to Steve and to the Mountain Xpress for providing at least partially equal coverage of Hanukkah during the Christmas-season blitz.

— Arnold D. Sgan
Asheville

Whip out that new calendar

In March, the WNC Peace Coalition will again hold a Peace Rally to show our support for the ending of the occupation of Iraq and the end to war. We are committed to finding nonviolent solutions to the world’s conflicts, and we realize our government is where we need to start.

The 2007 Peace Rally will be especially important because of the new Democratic majority in Congress. We are hopeful that the voices of the majority of Americans — who want to see an end to military intervention in Iraq — will be heard. More importantly, the world will know about rallies and events in the USA and will know that Americans do not support this violence brought about by the Bush administration.

But, we need your help to have a successful rally! If you would like to get involved, please call the Peace Line (271-0022) and leave a message. If you would like to come to our Peace Rally and hear our speakers, please keep the date of March 24 open! We hope to have lots of local people [to] speak about building peace in our world, and to also [feature] music and poetry and art dedicated to peace.

— Susan Oehler
Asheville

Against Jesus, or just anti-Christ?

It is Christmas season and a time for resolutions for the new year, and in that spirit, let us revisit the circumstances that make Christmas holy: Jesus.

Jesus said we are all children of God. Christians believe Jesus is the only son of God. Jesus said [to] beware those that come in [his] name. Christians do come in his name, worshipping him instead of God. Jesus said [to] shelter the homeless, feed the poor and heal the sick, but Christians tend to support politics that favor the super-rich and destroy social programs. Judge not lest thou be judged. Love your enemy like you love your brother. … Good stuff, but not practiced by the church.

Jesus was born in a Middle Eastern country that had been invaded and occupied by the greatest military power of that time, the Roman Empire, whose symbol was the eagle. America is now the greatest military power of our time; our symbol is the eagle; and we have invaded and occupied a Middle Eastern country. The Romans tortured and killed Jesus. … America tortures (Abu Gharaib, Guantanamo Bay and CIA torture rooms across Europe) and kills Muslims.

Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall truly be children of God. George Bush says he is a Christian; so does Jerry Falwell, Pat Robertson, Jim Baker, Pope Benedict (Ratzinger) … and not one has spoken out about this immoral war.

So, if you come in his name and proceed to act in opposition to his teachings, are you against Jesus or just anti-Christ?

I am through living in the bizarre absurdity of the Christian faith. I do not presume to know or understand God — all I know is I love his gift: life and this planet. For these reasons and more, I renounce my Christianity, and in the name of God and Galileo, I am going to live my life in accordance with Jesus’ teachings and not those of theologically qualified criminals.

I’d like to think this will get published so there will be a record of my renunciation, just in case Jesus does come back; I hope he’ll realize that I’m not part of the problem.

— Steve Kettle
Asheville

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