By Jim Schutze
By Rachel Watts
By Lauren Drewes Daniels
By Anna Merlan
By Lee Escobedo
The devil's music: As both an observer of and participant in evangelical Christianity for a long time, this former long-haired hippie type found this article both disturbing and amusing ("Hip-hop's Public Enemy," by Jesse Hyde, December 8). On the one hand history does repeat itself with frightening regularity. Every cultural change brings a new wave of fear to a certain element of the church...witness the pipe organ being referred to as "the devil's whistle." However, as a teacher of high school-aged people, I do see evidence of cultural decay harming them all the time. I guess my point is this: With everything that confronts younger folks, it might be wise to stop looking for simplicity in a sea of confused complication. There are many things that could be addressed before this. As for the music? In the words of the man credited with being the "father of Christian rock," Larry Norman, "Why should the devil have all the good music?"
Lifestyle change: I am a holy hip-hop artist who goes by the name Kidd The Warrior (www.kiddthewarrior.com). I just wanted it to be known that the views the preacher has are OK, but I think people should know that MUSIC, not just hip-hop, has negative effects on people and their walk with God. The message in that music, regardless of genre, is what is bad, not the genre itself. I use my music every day to reach out and plant seeds to young kats to do and live right. I use my music to show kids that when you come to God, it's not your personality that changes, it's your lifestyle. I think his message is fine, and I think traditional gospel is fine even though I do not like it myself, but I realize and I think he should realize that God has need for it all. God said everyone will hear the word...my music will reach people that his message won't--that traditional music won't--just like their ministries will reach people that mine can't. I think he should realize that my ministry is a foot, his is a hand, traditional music is an arm, but we are all a part of the same body--the body of Christ! So please pass this on to him and your readers and ask him to do what God would do to my music...and that is to judge it by the fruit it bears!
Sweet little dogies: I really don't understand why there would be a problem with the believability and accuracy of Brokeback Mountain ("Homo on the Range," by Bill Gallo, December 15). Are Texans--or anyone else--naïve enough to believe that there were no gay cowboys? There are gay NFL players, gay politicians, gay...every walk of life. Why not cowboys? Maybe they didn't have a word for it, but intimate contact, even sex, would not have been unfamiliar to men on those long trail nights away from women. How much different even from prison or the military? "If you can't be with the one you love..." as the old saying goes. Then they would return to their wives and girlfriends and resume their "other" lives. Some of those "other lives," no doubt, still included men. Married men do it often when they are out of town traveling on business. Even the Broadway play Oklahoma tried to give us a hint. If it wasn't other human contact, these guys always had a need for release. When "they [the cattle] all turn their heads as they see me ride by, and a little brown dogie is winkin' its eye." Maybe that look of recognition was a fond memory of the night before!
Tears for Katrina
The leader within: You did it to me again. How dare you? Your "Hotel Katrina" article (by Rick Kennedy, December 1) has brought me to tears. During the Katrina disaster, I volunteered around the clock at the Convention Center. While volunteering, I had an emotional breakdown. Seeing the frustration in the victims' faces really got the best of me. Reading this article reminded me of America's courageous efforts and willingness to help those with a greater need. Even though many local, state and national officials were slow to help, the leader within ourselves answered to the call.
How do I tell Mom: My mother won a trip to a wine tasting at Tony's Wine Warehouse ("Sour Grapes," by Mark Stuertz, November 10) last year at a charity auction. It was valued at around $1,000, and up to 20 people were invited. We went and thought we learned a lot about wine while we were there. After the class, my parents bought nearly $200 in wine. A rather rash decision, considering their relatively conserative nature. I was quite suprised.
One of the wines, A Red Diamond Washington State Merlot 2001, was on their list. Later that year, we opened the bottle, and I really, really liked it. However, the approximate $35 price listed at Tony's was entirely out of my league. Imagine my surprise when I found it for $9.99 at the local liquor store.
Skeptical, I remembered the "teacher" at Tony's had mentioned that the bottles they sell are the special "first crush" and are superior in taste to the stuff you can purchase elsewhere. Hmm...Sounds kinda phony to me.
How nice, then, to see this article in the Dallas Observer highlighting the obvious "used-car" tactics employed. As I read, I was dumbfounded because these are things I actually heard them say to me. Being a wine idiot, I simply accepted it as truth.
Thanks again for publishing this article. Now I have to find a way to break the news to my parents.