I read with interest your article entitled “Struggling to Relate: The Gift of Religious Freedom” (First Person, Nov. 24-Dec. 1). I understand your comments about how legalistic religion can cause unwarranted guilt. On Earth, one of the greatest struggles that Jesus had was with the Pharisees, a group of Israel’s leadership who had devised a system of complex rules that created a huge burden for the people (Matthew 23:1-7).
Today, some religious organizations subjugate members for their selfish interests sometimes using portions of the Bible taken out of context. Most Christians recognize the fallacies of legalism and the utmost importance of focusing on Christ’s teachings. The basics of this teaching include that every person bears the image of God (Genesis 1:26) and as such have inestimable value in God’s sight. However, men and women sin (literal meaning is to “miss the mark”) and therefore have a broken relationship with God because God is sinless and completely just. It was Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross for our sins that enables restoration of this relationship with God, not rule keeping (Ephesians 2:8,9).
A restored relationship with God is freely offered to anyone who: (1) turns from their old way of living — including their sin: (2) believes and trusts that Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross is sufficient to restore their relationship with God, (3) makes a conscious commitment to live as Christ would in the world. This last point raises the question: “How did Christ live in the world in relationship to those regarded as sinning in their sexual practices?”
In John 8, Jesus was challenged by Pharisees who claimed that a woman caught in adultery should be stoned according to the law. Jesus did not join in the condemnation of the woman but confronted the men with their own sin. Their consciousness pricked, they left without stoning her. Jesus showed his love for the woman by saving her but he also did not condone her actions with the phrase, “neither do I condemn you, go and sin no more …” This statement illustrates his love along with his righteous assessment that she indeed had sinned.
What does Christ expect of believers today? To extend love to all, including those in the gay lifestyle, but not to approve of the lifestyle. Sadly, some of your friends may have been short changed on the love aspect perhaps because some misunderstand what the Bible really teaches. The Bible does not teach discrimination of any group not holding to its teachings. However, believers are commanded to act to preserve the moral fabric of society as a whole, which results in believers taking positions that may be interpreted as discrimination by a gay individual.
Without exception, every church-goer is a sinner, one who can never achieve a relationship with God on his own merit. Many are aware of this and have accepted the forgiveness offered by Jesus and His cleansing power. It is apparent in their humility and the grace that they dispense to others. I hope you will encounter some of these.
I read with great interest the Paul F.P. Pogue article about Pathway Productions and local auteur Matt Mays (Cover, “Local Filmmakers Draw Blood,” Dec. 1-8).
As a college acquaintance of Mays and Pogue, I recall Mays’ student film, The Way Out, in no small part because of Pogue’s intrepid immersion reporting for The Ball State Daily News, in which he chronicled the harrowing process of creating student cinema as exemplified by Mays and his rag-tag crew.
But most of all, I recall the unflinching resolve of the filmmakers, for I experienced The Way Out first-hand as a grip and an extra. Through the travails of that icy autumn, Mays and crew held solid in their determination and brought the project to fruition. Even when Pogue’s own newspaper panned The Way Out, these tenacious talents remained steadfast in their commitment to furthering student cinema as art.
I learned much from my peers during the cinematic process, and I continue to view their work from afar. Mays and his fellow filmmakers journeyed onward, and to this day, Pogue provides a welcome insight into Mays’ efforts. The relationship between Pogue and Mays runs deep, akin to that shared between Andre Bazin and François Truffaut. Sadly omitted from Pogue’s article is the detail that in Mays’ music video parodying Billy Ocean’s “Suddenly,” it is Pogue himself performing the slow-motion guitar solo. This fact should be made available to the public discourse.
Is there a deeper, unexplored Pogue-Mays connection? Will admirers of Mays’ work one day hearken back to his longstanding relationship with Pogue and contemplate these contemporaries in the same way scholars and critics contemplate the relationship between Truffaut and Bazin? Could NUVO one day be the Cahiers du Cinéma of Indianapolis?
Time will tell — time will tell.
I was a little upset about the column regarding West 38th Street (Dispatch, “Trouble on West 38th Street,” Dec. 1-8). I currently live, and have lived, on the Westside (in the Lafayette Square/Riverside area) for about 25 of my 28 years. I frequent most of the businesses mentioned in the column and many more. Some of my favorite restaurants in the city are within a mile or so of my house. I often walk to the grocery and drug store near my house and feel completely safe. I have never once been victimized at Lafayette Square Mall, nor anywhere else on the Westside for that matter. Neither have the vast majority of my Westside friends. And it’s not like we’re staying inside and hiding from the crime.
We have noticed many vacant store fronts over the years, and it is bothersome. What is more bothersome are the residents who live in the area but don’t shop or dine here. These are the people I will blame for the failing businesses. Why shop in Avon when there are plenty of places so close to home that are just as good? Because they aren’t as pretty? Because you are scared of something? Maybe you could help change the scenery and crime trends instead of turning away from the problem.
There is crime all over this city. It’s silly to let the fear of victimization control your life. The only way to rejuvenate the Westside is to support it. Have you been to Lafayette Square Mall lately? I think that it is a really nice mall. Too bad a lot of stores have left, but there still are a number left with good products and services, and it is kept quite clean. I currently do not feel that it is a dangerous or threatening place, nor did I when I was hanging out there as a pre-teen. I wouldn’t hesitate to let my child work in the mall or the area.
I feel sorry for the people who are too scared to shop or dine around here. Sure, there is crime in the area. There was crime on the Northeastside when I lived there, too. I refuse to let fear of crime dictate my life. If only others would do the same, Lafayette Square might be thriving and they might find some terrific new businesses near their home. I guess an upside is all the people who are too frightened to leave their homes allow me to be seated immediately during my frequent stops at Ginza for the awesome sushi.