Spoke to a lady a while back who had just moved here from back east. She commented on how religion here was different than where she was from, how community here was different ("Culture Matters," Nov. 3-9 issue).
People here didn't mingle/socialize as much with their local community or neighborhood, but instead kept to their church group. Instead of the neighborhood kids playing soccer or baseball together, it was a church team. The lady had mentioned that though many went to church where she was from, often different churches and even different religions, they still all came together and socialized outside of that. Here in this new Tulsa neighborhood, if you or your kids didn't go to the same church as the people next door, there weren't as many opportunities to socialize.
A local church can offer sports, cafes, movie nights, classes, a gym, daycare, all sorts of event, etc. They wall themselves up behind little "mini cities." And even then, it may not be that there are different amenities and events, but the culture is different. You're not us. This is my group here. This is where I live my life and spend my free time. These are the people I associate with. Churches here will "reach out", but seem to be less and less part of the broader community.
Another topic I would like to see the writer touch on is this other view that visitors, and some locals, often comment on. They note how religious Oklahomans are, how many churches there are, how many people go to church and call themselves believers, etc. Very high statistics.
We are very religious here. And then they also note the other things that we rank very high on: infant mortality, homicide, drug use, obesity and poor health, divorce, teen pregnancy, smoking, alcoholism, child abuse and neglect.
In the 10 years we have been at war in the middle east, we in the U.S. have murdered more of our own children than soldiers were killed in those wars, and of course Oklahoma is leading the way. Tulsa's homicide rates are close to being third world, we can easily reach 60 or more homicides a year for a population of less than 400,000. Then compare that to some "Godless," as some locals would call them, European cities with populations over 3 million that average around 8 homicides per year. Then we continue to try and pass laws that make our state even more conservatively religious as if we wanted to be as religious and punitive as...Afghanistan? Yes, that's an exaggeration. But you can get the point. Some see us as very religious and then can't help but notice the correlating very high crime/health issues.
Again, perhaps it's not the religion per say but the type of religion, not the community, but type of community. Oh, and as to all those ever more conservative laws we Oklahomans keep trying to pass to punish more or make illegal this or that. Isn't there somewhere in the Bible that says in Heaven the laws are written on the hearts and minds of men, not in books and on paper? And doesn't the Lord teach us to pray...on earth as it is in Heaven? Shouldn't that be our direction?
Open Eyes, Hearts
What a great article ("Fostering an Initiative," Nov. 17-23 issue)! Thank you, Mr. Nelson. Foster parenting is a rewarding service for anyone who is considering it. Something substantial changes for those who are willing to foster a child. Suddenly, you realize just how unimportant so many things are. After all, we have our homes, our friends, places to go. We are all-around comfortable and self-absorbed. Nothing gives you a greater feeling of self worth than helping a child in such a turbulent time by being a foster parent. All of a sudden, nothing else seems to matter.
Thank you for bringing light to this issue and for mentioning the 111project ("Fostering an Initiative," Nov. 17-23 issue). My husband grew up with an adopted brother and sister, and is so grateful for the addition they are to his family. We are in the process of adopting children ourselves and know that not only will their lives be changed for the better but so will ours. God bless!
Ambassador of Change
I am 37 years old and just as the trendy looks of youth have changed for the senior citizens, the looks of our youth have changed for me as well ("Rising from the Ashes," Nov. 17-23 issue). I currently frequent the Coffee House on Cherry Street and *love* the diversity of the clientele. I am looking forward to a closer establishment to enjoy the "looks of change". The only thing that stays the same is that everything changes. Embrace this change or stay stuck in a rut, and huffy and puffy.
The Mother Word -- first spoken by humans in the very beginning was a cry for food in every language, the words of hunger, thirst and pain are common to all. In ancient languages, God, Good and food had the same mother word. God cannot provide for the poor of the world without us.
Before the end of the world comes -- the end of the modern world will come first. We have made a world dependent on finite sources. We are only a few utilities from living like cavemen again -- the hunter and gather days are gone from the forests, fields and oceans. We have reached the outer limits of the world's ability to provide too much waste, and too many people all rushing headlong into chaos. Science knows we must change to natural forms of energy, food supplies and water sanitation. Carbon waste is polluting the air and the oceans, threatening all life. Global warming is here, we can now only hope to slow it down.
The warmer air has five percent more water to dispose of now causing disasters of monster snow storms, flooding and droughts. The turbulent warmer air rising to the high winds causing destructive storms. The ocean currents are slowing and carrying less heat to the north. Ice melts dilute the salt contents along the northern continents and can't hold the heat. The hungry will be coming and borders will not stop these migrations. The Easter Island tragedy is coming and few will stand up for the greed, gridlock and earth killers in high places with no God but Mammon.
--J. Ray Hunt
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