I am writing in response to the article in Friday's paper (Dec. 10) on the religion page regarding NBC and CBS's refusing to show the United Church of Christ 30-second ad on television.
If you have not seen the ad you can view it at www.stillspeaking.com . I do not agree that the ad is "controversial". It simply invites people to come to their church and that they welcome everyone. History has shown that over the years there have been churches that prefer not to have "certain people." I saw it in the South for most of my young life. White churches that did not want black people to attend. Asian people were not accepted by most churches. Seminole Indians were not allowed in white churches.
The United Church of Christ is an open and affirming church, which means all who enter will be respected and welcomed -- no matter what color they may be, what race they are, what language they speak and yes, even if they are gay.
I am not a member of the United Church of Christ. I am a Quaker and our small group worships at the local United Church of Christ because we are too small a group to own a church. It is a blessing to us that they have treated us as part of their family. Each summer, they even invite us to lead a service and provide a speaker. They are indeed, open and affirming. Quakers believe in welcoming all, just like the United Church of Christ and not passing judgment on others. We are so thankful that we have First Congregational Church, a United Church of Christ, in this area. All are welcome through their doors.
Brainerd Friends/Quaker Meeting
At least give me Bing Crosby
Living downtown, an eye out my windows, garners a bird's eye view of our inebriated brethren stumbling from watering hole to hole providing a good deal of cheap, albeit noisy, entertainment. Further painting the landscape; in the past months my mail slot door has been torn from its hinges several times, (shady credit card abductors, I'm informed), routinely awakened by boisterous neighbors (presumably brethren) careening along the hallway with a seemingly in-exhaustible list of things to yell about at three in the morning, while interesting smells from neighboring tenants mingle with the wafting scent of leftover chinese food from below, creating a delicate potpourri best described as... well, perhaps best not described.
All annoying, but reconciled, assimilated day to day, becoming unremarkable. Lately though, a new element far more intrusive has cropped up. The conglomerate of businesses below, have decided to pipe holiday music into the downtown area. While the volume seems rather more than is necessary to create a festive atmosphere, it remains a wonderful idea during the day when folks patronize these stores in preparation for the holidays. My gripe arrives when the evening unfurls and the stores close; the meager number of people who visit downtown during the day dwindles further to scarcity, yet the music continues. Continues past six, into seven and clears eight o'clock, passes nine and then finally wraps up around nine thirty. Outside many of our windows the speakers sit no more than ten or fifteen feet's distance. Insult upon injury, they're not even the great Christmas recordings; Bing Crosby, Elvis, Burl Ives... they're versions you've never heard, often reminiscent of Kenny G or some awful vocal by a syrupy voiced no-hit wonder. If you won't stop it a little earlier, at least give me Der Bingle roasting chest nuts, please.
Park closing to be aired tonight
You may be aware of the closing of East Gate Mobile Home Park and, in its wake, the call for the passing of a park-closing ordinance.
East Gate will be the second park in Brainerd to close in the last four years, and it will eliminate 37 units of affordable housing. The majority of the families living in East Gate are low income or very low income and facing a move will likely see a 100 percent increase in their housing costs. After reading a recent survey of East Gate residents, and after talking to a few myself, I believe it's a real fear they may become homeless unless an ordinance is passed.
The park-closing ordinance previously considered by the council would allow reasonable relocation costs within a 25-mile radius of Brainerd. Relocation costs would be paid by the park owner. In the East Gate Park closing it's estimated relocation costs would be merely 8 percent of the park land value.
A park closing ordinance would help address the problem of people not being able to afford to relocate. An ordinance would also ensure residents from other parks the same protection should their parks close. If people are not able to afford to relocate their homes, we must ask "what is to become of them?" The folks concerned here are hard-working people who contribute their services and taxes to this community. They have the right to a home as much as anyone else. They deserve to be treated in a fair manner. Passing a park closing ordinance would be a good beginning.
A public hearing on the East Gate park closing and ordinance will be Monday, Dec. 20, at 7:30 p.m. at city hall. If you support fairness for mobile home park residents please attend.
The Christmas season is so beautiful. It is a joy to commemorate the Nativity of the Lord Jesus Christ! Too often, however, we who are celebrating the Dawn of our Redemption see that the world is trying to take away the joyful solemnity of our holy day with shameless commercialism. Too often, we will see aisles of merchandise put forth as appropriate ways to decorate our homes for Christmas, and yet, the items truly do not reflect the true meaning of Christmas; Christ's Birth. Secular decorations of well known television personalities, sports players, cartoon characters, snowmen, reindeer and other unrelated things are being put forth as Christmas decorations. No, they are not related. Christ's birth is called to mind by Nativity scenes, angels, shepherds, wise men that which truly represents this Christian Holy Day. Too often, merchants put forth the erroneous idea that if one is selecting a gift for another, one should also reward oneself with a present. Christmas is about giving. The Lord God sent His only-begotten son as a gift to us who truly do have a need for a savior. The heart of Christmas is love, not materialism. The selfless gift of taking flesh to redeem a sinful world is meant to inspire a greater love for Christ and for others. Too often, those who want to live for themselves will try to influence those who are trying to live for Christ by taking away the true meaning of a Christian holy day. We who are Christians cannot allow a secular society that centers on materialism to take away the beauty of our celebration of faith. Christmas could only be the commemoration of the birth of Jesus the savior of all...to try to observe this awesome holy day without Christ is to truly beak his tender heart of love.
Let the world come to us
Since it's so uncertain where our next barrel of oil is going to come from, I suggest we sit in one spot, read the paper, and let the world come to us.
Jerrold C. Turnquist
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