It has been with great pleasure that I have been following Jamie Pierson's articles as a contributing editor to Urban Tulsa Weekly. However, I was offended at your latest article called "Under Control," (UTW's "In the City," column, 21-27 Dec.).
As the daughter of Rev. Pierson of Christ United Methodist Church, I was taken aback at her allegations with regard to the Youth Pastor. As a former person who has done youth ministry, I was appalled at your statement that chastised the young lady and congratulated the boys. I know of no Methodist church camp in this state, whether Camp Egan, Camp Canyon, or Camp Texoma where that type of behavior was ever met with approbation.
I would remind Ms. Pierson that when she puts articles like this in the newspaper, they will come back to haunt her twenty or thirty years from now. Hence, I caution her about what she writes as if it was the gospel truth representing church activities or church organizations.
In any event, I will continue to read and follow her articles with great interest. Again, I caution her to have journalistic responsibility in what she portrays. Readers will read those articles and think that was what was written with regard to fornication is the only thing that occurs at church camps, whether at the Baptists' Falls Creek or the Methodist's Camp Egan.
We both know that if that incident occurred, it was far more likely to be the rare exception rather than the rule. I look forward to continuing to read her articles.
Stephen P. Gray
Historical Perspective on "The Nativity"
After having read Cory Cheney's review of The Nativity Story, (Cinema column, "Coal and Twigs," UTW, 7-13 Dec.)I came across an article in the latest issue of America, a weekly magazine published by the Jesuits of the United States since 1909.
I thought that perhaps Cheney, as a non-believer, would be interested in a review by a believer who drew conclusions similar to his about his film. My own reaction to The Nativity Story was generally favorable, not lest because its creators stayed within a self-imposed mandate simply to tell the story, without too many pyrotechnics or laboring over the inherent contradictions of the original tale(s).
The "Infancy Narratives," as biblical scholars like to call them, are contained in just two of the four gospels, those of Matthew and Luke. The two stories are very different.
In Luke, Mary, who is engaged to Joseph in the Galilean town of Nazareth, receives a message that she is to be the Mother of God. She visits her cousin Elizabeth, then travels with Joseph to Bethlehem, where Jesus is born.
He is heralded by angels and adored by shepherds.
The story as Matthew tells it is quite dissimilar. In this one, Joseph receives the angel's message, and he is given confidence to receive the pregnant Mary into his home. There is no mention of Nazareth until after the return from Egypt, and there is no census. The impression is given that the couple already lives in Bethlehem. Most notable, the Matthew version has no shepherds, only kings.
As best we can determine, the differences arise from the writers' concerns and those of their audiences. Matthew is written primarily from a Jewish perspective, while Luke takes a Gentile viewpoint.
So an apparently simple story has a very complex literary background, and for the filmmaker to achieve even something of the desired simplicity is a remarkable accomplishment.
The Reverend James D. White
Archivist and Historian
Another Bush Basher
Our government (read: George W. Bush) enjoys trumpeting the goal of democracy for all the peoples of the world. Really, I would enjoy hearing him give a dissertation on what he thinks democracy means. But my contention is that if the American people relish the existence of our democracy and enjoy the comforts of what we now have as a country, then we ought to get of our intellectual duffs and become a more integral part of what is being done internationally in our collective name.
The pieces have always been evident to those of us who scourge for news contained in media outside of the US. We do understand that quite a bit of what has been done and mostly in the wars we have fought, outside of the great wars, have been anything but necessary to our survival. And this Iraqi expedition is an example of my contention.
And while I am on the subject of war we might examine how many wars we are supposedly waging. The 'war on poverty', 'war on hunger', 'war on crime', 'war on drugs' and now the 'war on terrorism'. And we are not likely to win any of them.
But back to my original thought, because I have been able to put together the pieces, at least in my mind and the foundational thought is not my own but I had always been on the right track. We need to seriously examine the reasons for the series of incursions that our government has conducted in the name of national interest and national security and ascertain if our existence would have been any less secure had these battles not been fought.
My recent reading has added the word 'corporatocracy' to my vocabulary and it seems to mean the control of the global economy by a few huge corporations with the behest of and protection of our government through the CIA and our military. But in my reasoning when we add our recent theocratic tendencies to the mix, I get the feeling that the word fascism conjures the same meaning.
And so, when we look at our recent involvement in Chile, Panama, Bolivia, Venezuela and now Iraq, just to mention a few, there is a disturbing web that connects them to these countries' assets and the challenge for ownership by a few major corporations. The web also ties the loan activities of the IMF, the World Bank and the USAID strapping these countries with debt that they can never repay thereby making them forever in our control.
This is not a conspiracy theory on my part because the resulting loss of self determination by the peoples of these countries and the increase in world hunger and poverty is quite evident. And while these corporations pile up rapacious profits and their executives live a life of exorbitant luxury, the majority of the rest of the world, Americans included, have been reduced to being creators of wealth for the greedy lifestyle of an unconscionable few.
I know that there are many of us who will not take the time or make the effort to examine my premise but this attitude must change. Our White House is under the control of two oilmen, one of which was the secretary of defense when George H. W. Bush attacked Panama. So the mindset of those who believe in the building of a global empire is present in the corporate board rooms of the multination corporations as well as the very highest levels of our government. We need a change in the attitude of those who govern us and we need a change in the level of our involvement as citizens.
Democracy is a very complex type of governance and it calls for those of us who live under such a system to be totally involved. It calls for much more than simply paying taxes or going to the polls and casting a vote for one person or the other. It also requires us to be informed about the world in which we live and the details of our government's decisions and the action it takes on our behalf. Democracy calls for our total involvement. If we fail to do so, our lack of action will certainly lead to a world of constant strife, warfare, poverty and hunger and an America which is constantly fighting off fear and the enemy at our door.
Colin T. Bent
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