By Jim Schutze
By Rachel Watts
By Lauren Drewes Daniels
By Anna Merlan
By Lee Escobedo
Long Island, New York
St. Don: If you believe in justice, you can suspect that the eye-of-the-needle impediment is going to ban nearly all the truly wealthy from the Pearly Gates & Heavenly Estates super-gated development in the sky.
But J. McDonald Williams ("Change Is Gonna Come," by Robert Wilonsky, August 17) may be one of the exceptions. Brother Williams is a true believer and much more. I speak as someone who has observed him, sometimes close up, for more than 40 years.
My oldest memory of him finds us both facing urinals in a dormitory of a small West Texas church-related college where we were students. Perhaps I'd met him before, but I don't remember that. What I've never forgotten is abruptly being chided while relieving myself for not taking my responsibilities as a student newspaper editor more seriously.
I went on to the University of Texas at Austin for a graduate degree in journalism. Brother Don went on to George Washington University for a law degree. I came to Dallas and was soon stringing for Business Week and The Economist. J. McDonald came to Dallas and was soon saving the Trammell Crow Co. from a bad turn in the world real estate market and utter ruin.
Eventually I came to think of him as a real-life incarnation of Marshal Dillon. Marshal Dillon didn't run Dodge City, but he was as close to a conscience as the place had. Don Williams doesn't run Dallas. But Dallas will probably never see one of its wealthiest businesspeople come any closer to incarnating the truth of Kant's observation that true service of God is moral service, not adoration, prayer and praise. Now if we can just get Highland Park to put him in charge of policing its water usage policies for the duration of the drought.
Snobbery of poverty: Kudos to you for your precise reflection of the true nature of Ole Anthony ("The Cult of Ole," by Glenna Whitley, August 3). As a teen I read Camus' The Stranger and never forgot the concept of "spiritual snobbery" and how despite a vow of poverty one can be just as materialistic as a Larry Lea or Robert Tilton. A few weeks ago I listened to Anthony on 105.3 and realized he was no better than those he exposed. I looked at a picture somewhere of him and his bevy of Bible boys in one of their studies and thought they looked as stinky as a bunch of pedophile priests. Thank you for your excellent writing and for affirming what my gut could already sense.
Hypocrites, all of them: Do you edit? Let me see if I got this story straight. Glenna Whitley writes about a money-grubbing, hypocritical book author, Wendy Duncan, who writes about a money-grubbing, hypocritical Trinity leader, Ole Anthony, who writes about a money-grubbing, hypocritical nut case preacher, Robert Tilton, who the word hypocrite was created for. Then to top it off, you discuss the drug use of Ole Anthony in the Dallas Observer, where on the back page you can find out how to score painkillers without a prescription. This is exactly why people think of Dallas as the hypocritical butthole of the Bible Belt.
I enjoy a hatchet job just as much as the next media whore. However, if you read the story, I really don't find anything negative about Ole Anthony as much as I do his followers. The Duncans have obviously spent their life wandering aimlessly in hopes of finding themselves. NOTE: You should never have children when you don't have your own shit together. Oh, and let's not forget the Holloways, whose daughter may never dance again because of Ole Anthony: "she put away the dancing shoes and hasn't taken them out since." Whose fault could that be? Could it be...I don't know...say...SATAN! Perhaps it is the parents'--or perhaps the child didn't really want to dance in the first place. Take responsibility for your own actions.
I have never met Ole Anthony or his boy pal, Joe John Bob Briggs Bloom. They both seem very 1985 to me. However, when I read that Mr. Anthony went on The 700 Club and stated that he wished God would find him a wife or stop making him so horny, this man became my cult hero for the day.
The saddest part is that it has become clear in the past year that a city as happening as Dallas does not have an alternative paper. The Dallas Observer must be owned by Halliburton. Does anyone remember laughter? Glenna is no Molly Ivins. Ole is no Ralph Nader. Bloom is no Pee Wee Herman, Tilton is no Billy Graham and the Holloway girl is not a ballet dancer.
Jack E. Jett
Dallas God's Big Tent
Jesus and homosexuality: In the article by Jesse Hyde ("Thou Shalt Not," July 27), the Reverend Roseberry states, "People often say, 'Well, Jesus talked about divorce but never spoke about homosexuality,' and that really isn't so." Missing from the article is any passage from the Bible that backs up his statement. Jesus did not speak about homosexuality ever. In fact, the people who wrote down the words in the Bible were not aware of any sexual orientation other than straight. Roseberry further says, "active promotion of things that God [not Jesus] regards as sin should disqualify a person from leadership in the church." He never elaborates or defines the sins.