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A different take on Christianity

Dear Editors,

I am writing in response to Kassandra Johnson’s letter to the Telegraph, Peter Miesler’s letter to the Herald, and to the many people in this community who have decided that a few outspoken “political” groups are representative of Christianity in America, or even evangelical Christianity. Both Kassandra and Peter use the term evangelical to label a number of groups that are basing their political activities upon religious beliefs.

I’m not sure that anyone in America can fault someone for acting upon hers/his beliefs. Yes, there have been politicians recently who have insinuated that all “good” people of faith are supportive of certain political views. Most intelligent people scoff at such claims. In truth, the term “evangelical Christian” means one who actively proclaims the gospel (good news) of Jesus Christ. That good news is that God is offering life to all people, and all they have to do is accept it, not vote for it.

I am disappointed in politicians who claim to speak for Christians in their political decision-making. I am disappointed in Christians and churches that confuse faith with politics and science. I am disappointed in people who may have been hurt or frightened by the politics of those claiming to be the faithful, who label evangelicals and Christians as those with narrow political views. I am disappointed in newspapers and institutions in Durango that do not give faithful Christians much credit, or opportunity.

I have been an evangelical Christian for many years. That has led me to Durango to start a new church, “Open Table Christian Fellowship.” We are not a political group. We are not claiming to know what is best for your life or our society (In fact, I probably vote against most of the “Christian” politics). We are disciples (followers) of Jesus Christ, who want to tell everyone that God loves them and is offering life beyond even what the lucky people of Durango think “doesn’t get any better than this.”

I guess I’m just asking for people to not react to intolerance with more intolerance. People of faith are promoting their faith because they have found something that enhances their lives. They share their faith because they are called to love all people and the loving thing is to share good things with others. If you want to find out

what true evangelical Christianity is about, give me a call or come visit one of the good churches that are actively making life better in Durango, for all people.

– Pastor Kevin Arensman, Open Table Christian Fellowship

The king of corn

Dear Editors,

Senator Salazar gives new meaning to the term corny with his shameless apology for co-sponsoring the ethanol bill: A bill that will cost the American people tens of billions of dollars in new crop subsidies. As he sees it, he should be crowned the prince of far sightedness for saving us from the House of Saud and delivering us further into the hands of Archer Daniels Midland and the country’s landed oligarchy. His family’s 1,000-plus-acre irrigated farm places him squarely in the latter category even if, like honest Abe, he had to read by candlelight early on. He’s gotten a lot of man-of-the-people mileage out of that one.

More galling, however, is his argument that these new subsidies to large landowners will help the rural poor. He knows the rural poor don’t own land. He knows that the federal farm subsidy program has cost the American taxpayer more than $131 billion over the last few years and that more than 70 percent of these subsidies went to the largest growers, like his family, which received more than $100,000 in federal handouts between 1996 and 2003. He knows that these gifts to the landed wealthy and transnationals like Arch Daniels Midland further concentrate wealth in this country where 1 percent already control 40 percent of it. He knows that every reasonable study of rural poverty in America places the spotlight on large farming as a cause with its reliance on cheap Mexican labor and absentee land ownership that causes the subsidy payments to be captured in big cities and towns to the detriment of rural infrastructure.

God, I wish he could hook up with Dorothy and Toto so she could find him some new parts. But maybe his problem is more serious, a form of that rare disease afflicting those who live under domes: legislitus profititus.

– Phil Doe, Citizens Progressive Alliance

New hope at the Crossroads

Dear Editors,

Crossroads: a place where people and events come together. Crossroads is most aptly the name of the new residential psychiatric and detox facility to be operated by Southwest Colorado Mental Health Center. Crossroads will be located adjacent to the new Mercy Hospital with easy access to that wonderful medical resource as well.

Things will be better. Families devastated by mental illness crisis will have enhanced quality local support available. Individuals facing the challenges of chemical dependency will be better served in a modern and attractive environment conducive to healing.

To learn more about the important new resource coming to our community or to get involved, call Beth at (970) 259-2162. Capital campaign construction contributions are now being accepted.

– John Gamble, director, Volunteers of America Southwest Colorado


In this week's issue...

January 25, 2024
Bagging it

State plastic bag ban is in full effect, but enforcement varies

January 26, 2024
Paper chase

The Sneer is back – and no we’re not talking about Billy Idol’s comeback tour.

January 11, 2024
High and dry

New state climate report projects continued warming, declining streamflows