This is the first year I have focused my attention on this contest. My advice for the future is to have a panel of local literary experts peruse your entries and select a variety of fresh and talented chronicles, rather than the mundane similitude witnessed in this edition.
Laura L. Smith
Stadium Improvements Worth the Cost
To answer Kathleen McCarty's question (see "Champagne Appetite with a Beer Purse," River Cities' Reader Issue 473, April 21-27, 2004) - is the new stadium worth the price tag? - I think so.
The city did end up paying for 60 percent of the project, but was able to do so without raising taxes. So the discussion is not really so much about taxes as it is about opportunity costs - i.e., how else could the city have used this money? There are almost as many opinions on this as there are residents in the city. The city council thought there was enough public support for it. Take it out on them next election if you don't agree with their decision.
I don't think you'll hear anyone argue that the stadium didn't need some kind of improvement. Even Kathleen was careful not to argue this point. Most importantly, the stadium is now protected from flooding. How much will this save the city in the long run?
I'm not sure that the things like luxury boxes are "over-improvements," either. If you are going to upgrade the stadium, why not design it to last decades into the future? Luxury boxes may seem extravagant now, but will it seem that way, say, 25 years from now? The cost of adding "extras" like this will no doubt only be higher in the future.
Even in a "bad" year, the stadium should still draw around 150,000 people, just for baseball. How many other amenities in the downtown can boast that? Even after River Renaissance is completed, you'll be able to count them on one hand.
No Substitute for the Truth
I really feel that arguing with another believer about trivial matters does a disservice to the faith, but I have an obligation to the truth in the matter of Christ and politics. In response to the letter published by Mark Hancock (see "Jesus Is a Liberal," River Cities' Reader Issue 472, April 14-20,2004), I have several issues that must be addressed.
First, I made no statement about my own political affiliation in either of my letters, only a pointed remark toward the extreme liberalism of the media and the formulaic criticism of the film. My wife and I simply wanted to say that Mike Schulz's review was very poor and merely a regurgitation of every other review out there, except for the critics who recognized it for what it is.
In truth I do not align myself with either party (third parties really not being an option at this time), and I have probably equal amounts of dissatisfaction with the extreme left and the extreme right. Since Mr. Hancock is a believer I am compelled to point out several scriptural references to address many of the errors in thinking that Christ was either conservative or liberal. As He stated, His kingdom was not of this earth. Further, Jesus was friend to sinners because he loved them and has the power to heal and transform them, not because he was one of them as was suggested. Please note that the following statements are my own opinions, and please do not project these comments onto anyone other than myself.
I will quickly cover several extreme liberal beliefs that are controversial in nature and are often the fuel for much debate. I must say that in my opinion the liberal agenda is merely socialism and increased taxation masked by a false pretense of "we care for the regular guy and the poor." Liberals adhere to a belief that abortion is an acceptable form of birth control, homosexuality is okay and should be encouraged, and often that there are no absolute truths. Postmodern views prevalent today suggest that everyone must be tolerant of everything, right or wrong, wise or ignorant. Personally I admit that I am intolerant of ignorance, as should any critical thinker. There is no substitute for the Truth.
I believe it is Mr. Hancock using the scriptures for his own means in his letter; the very idea he was trying to convey is his downfall. The Bible is quite clear on these issues, and I'll give you some references. Bear with me; I'll spare the details. Interested persons can look them up for themselves:
Murder, War (either a woman's right to choose murder, institutional homicide practiced by our justice system, or war): "You shall not murder," Exodus 20:13; James 4:2.
Sexual Immorality (Please remember that these comments are my own, let's not drag in the rest of Christendom): 1 Corinthians 6:9-11.
Poverty: Interestingly, Sodom and Gomorrah were not destroyed for lusts and sinfulness, but neglect of the poor. Ezekiel 16:49; Isaiah 58:7.
Absolute Truths: Exodus 20:1-3; Timothy 2:5.
I would also like to say that I disagree with many conservative agendas such as wanton environmental destruction and capital punishment. Mr. Hancock, I am thankful that you are a believer, and I respect your opinions. Feel free to preach your liberal ideas, but please look me up personally to discuss politics. The church at large is unfortunately already suffering enough of a lack of unity without such a public display of personal opinions. I apologize if I have offended you, but let us leave the Kingdom and the Holy One out of such foolishness in the future.
Grand Mound, Iowa