Mural Message Clear -- After reading the article "Off the Wall" (8/28/03) regarding the mural of people doing drugs on the back of Victory Outreach Ministries, I realize that a Christian church that is willing to "get its hands dirty" by dealing with those who are in the most need are few and far between. This has always amazed me, because Jesus' ministry was in no uncertain terms aimed at the neediest of the needy.
Why on earth would anyone criticize the blatant message that Victory Outreach is a place filled with the love of Jesus that understands what some people must do in the dark of the night, where they can be helped? I would remind those who sit in Christian judgment that these unlovely depictions call our attention to a need that requires immediate prayer, not criticism. I applaud you, Victory Outreach, and will commit to praying for your ministry daily. Jesus loved the unlovely when it made the rest of society cringe. God bless you.
Heated Debate -- In July 2002, a climatologist predicted that the Sahara Desert would jump the Mediterranean Sea and gradually move north in southern Europe. At this time there are heavy rains in the southern part of the Sahara, and southern Europe has just experienced record drought and heat waves. The current death toll in southern Europe, mostly in France, is over 12,000 (without Italy reporting, perhaps because its situation has been so drastic). The Pope did publicly pray for rain several weeks ago.
Another climate prediction is that the United States' east and west coasts would increasingly receive rain while the Midwest would increasingly become drier and hotter until crops would not grow there. Another desert? This summer, record high temperatures occurred not only in England, France, Switzerland and Italy but also in India, Australia and other countries. Alaskan nighttime temperatures last winter -- 25 to 35 degrees above average -- are consistent with global warming predictions.
In July 2003, the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) issued an astonishing warning that "the world's weather is going haywire!" This authoritative U.N. organization utilized weather data from 185 countries to reach its conclusion. The WMO broke with precedent, as they usually only produce data on what has happened. They said that the reason for this exceptional warning is that the world's population needs to be made aware of the problem immediately, since global temperatures will continue to rise if global warming gases continue to be produced at current rates.
The International Panel on Climate Change stated that it is impossible to explain the recent global warming other than as the result of human-caused production of greenhouse gases. The United States, producing 26 percent of the global greenhouse gases, is blocking coordinated actions by the world's nations. To them, President Bush simply said, "adapt."
Direct Traffic, Don't Block It -- (This letter is in response to the memorial service held on Thursday, Sept. 4, on Spokane Falls Boulevard in honor of Spokane County Deputy James Slater, who died in the line of duty.)
On September 4, you gathered to remember one of your own, fallen to chance while on the job. Despite the criticisms that follow, I understand your feelings. But, apparently, you have failed to understand those of the rest of Spokane's inhabitants.
At 2 pm, fire department ladder trucks had blocked off Spokane Falls Boulevard at Browne Street. For the next three hours, thousands of commuters found their route to work or home blocked.
Between hours lost to business and commercial vehicles and gasoline wasted while sitting in traffic jams, thousands of dollars were lost. Tempers, as I hope you'll understand, grew short. Instead of people remembering the departed with any respect or sorrow, most I spoke with felt only amazed anger that the remembrance service had been held at the expense of everyone trying to get through downtown. One quote in particular stuck with me: "Gee, I hope they'll shut the city down when I die, too."
It seems especially unfortunate that this event caused such ill feelings, when any number of beautiful spots exist where a remembrance service would not have caused as much havoc and congestion. Manito Park springs immediately to mind.
Music Doesn't Pay the Bills -- Your recent article, "Sustaining the Notes" (8/21/03), outlining the financial health of the Spokane Symphony, stated, "For a city that so frequently cites 'quality of life' as an asset, Spokane could certainly do worse than have a full-time professional orchestra." This implies that playing in the Spokane Symphony is a full-time job. I assure you, it is not. I play second bassoon, but my salary (and the salaries of all the musicians in the orchestra) is not far above the federal poverty level for a single person, and certainly can't be considered a "living wage."
I work full-time as a software engineer in order to support my music habit, but unfortunately not all musicians have outside full-time work. Working full-time reduces the time I have to concentrate on performing at my best. The only way this will change is for community interest in professionally produced live "art" music to increase drastically. I would love to be a full-time professional musician, but I'm afraid that day will never come in Spokane. It is up to our audience to change that.
Second Bassoon, Spokane Symphony
Publication date: 09/18/03