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Letters from our readers

Issue: "Red & blue all over," Sept. 23, 2006

Preposterous

Just because concerts in 2006 "only" contain "Every Grain of Sand" doesn't mean Dylan has departed the ranks of the brethren, and to imply these songs don't reflect his beliefs is preposterous ("Living a legend," Aug. 19). In 2002, Dylan unabashedly confessed Jesus again on the Grammy-nominated 2003 CD, Gotta Serve Somebody: The Gospel Songs of Bob Dylan. What does he have to do? Publicly confess on a daily basis?
-Scott M. Marshall; Toccoa, Ga.

Arsenio Orteza states that Rolling Thunder and the Gospel Years is the only project to explore the years when Dylan was "scandalizing the pop-culture world with recordings and performances that proclaimed Jesus Christ as the only way to salvation." However, Gotta Serve Somebody: The Gospel Songs of Bob Dylan, released this year, premieres footage of Bob Dylan performing from a 1980 all-gospel concert and explores Dylan's Christian body of work. Our documentary (I am executive producer) won Gold Medal for Excellence, Audience Choice for Best Music Documentary at the 2006 Park City Film Music Festival.
-Jeffrey Gaskill; Brooklyn, N.Y.

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If and when Bob Dylan decides to speak for himself, we'll know if he's a Christian or not. Until then, let's stop trying to persuade ourselves that he's still on our side. "Slow Train" and "Saved" speak for themselves, whether or not the prophet still believes what he once preached.
-Jim Crain; Orangevale, Calif.

Good job on the Dylan discography, especially regarding Blood on the Tracks ("A Dylan anthology," Aug. 19). I often thank the Lord for letting me live in a world where I could read books by C.S. Lewis, watch Michael Jordan play basketball, and listen to "Tangled Up in Blue" and "Simple Twist of Fate" consecutively on one album.
-Paul Trey; Gallatin Gateway, Mont.

The only similarity between "Killer" Kane's non-fatal leap from the second-story window and his leap into Mormonism is the fact that, as long as he is alive, there is still hope for his soul ("Rock 'n' roll religion," Aug. 19).
-Robert E. McCoy; Alpharetta, Ga.

Having it all

The Aug. 19 issue had it all: the Dylan article for my musician friend, good news in Iraq for my friend who always sees the glass half empty ("Killing terrorists & dialing 911," Aug. 19), and snakes for the single mom whose child just got a tattoo (a serpent, of course) ("Snakes on the brain," Aug. 19). And there was Andrée Seu, my perennial favorite for so eloquently revealing the human condition ("When random sparks fly," Aug. 19).
-John K. Fraser; Burlington, N.C.

Doing good

"Killing terrorists & dialing 911" was excellent. It is incredible to think of all the renovations that have been done in Iraq.
-Deborah Hallgren; Lynchburg, Va.

As the spouse of a servicemember currently deployed to Iraq, it was refreshing to read an article focused on our military's accomplishments. Thanks for not denying the frustrating side of this conflict, but allowing others to see the good things that servicemembers accomplish with dedication and selflessness.
-Charlotte Semple; Havelock, N.C.

Revered or hated

The Parthenon Code, mentioned in "Snakes on the brain," is an excellent book of Greek mythology that is really about how man rejected God as soon as he was able. Snakes are now either revered or hated around the world, depending on a society's understanding of God.
-Catherine Haenze; San Antonio, Texas

Life and liberty

We definitely have a flaw in the education system when there is a prejudice against teaching with a Christian viewpoint ("Systemic flaw," Aug. 19). Not only does it violate the First Amendment, it undermines education itself. One signer of the Declaration of Independence, Benjamin Rush, said, "The only foundation for a useful education in a republic is to be laid in religion. Without this there can be no virtue, and without virtue there can be no liberty, and liberty is the object and life of all republican governments."
-Garrett Boon; Carrollton, Ga.

Don't panic

Thank you for Marvin Olasky's timely reminder that for at least 72 hours after a hurricane we, as individuals, are our own first responders. As a native Floridian, I'd like to contribute to his fine list for storm preparedness: Buy a gas grill; save milk jugs for storing water; reduce the volume of food in your freezer; don't panic in front of the kids; and really think through the "what ifs," such as what to do with your pet.
-Ed Wilson; Osprey, Fla.

Olasky is right about personal responsibility in the face of disasters, such as Hurricanes Katrina and Rita. Early warnings and widespread materialism meant that many households crammed every car they owned with "things" during the evacuation for Hurricane Rita. People must let go of selfish desires (and material goods) and do what is right for the greater good during an emergency: Evacuate with fewer things and more people.
-Leah Del Signore; Houston, Texas

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