[Re "Good News?" September 25]: The relevant question for all Christian churches is indeed whether the "Good News" is being proclaimed and lived out by its members. Believers gather to worship and learn and then apply gospel teachings in everyday life. Worship is part of Christian life but not the whole of it. The first Christians, including Jesus, were Jewish. Jesus worshipped in the synagogues on the Sabbath, as did the early Christians. They met on Sundays in house churches for the breaking of the bread following Jesus' instruction at the Last Supper. Eventually, they combined the synagogue service with the Sunday service, which became the foundation for all services up to the present time in many Christian churches. Christian worship had a formal structure since the beginning. Evangelical-style worship is a latecomer, having roots only since the 18th century.
Though many people associate American Christianity with evangelical Christianity, it is only a relatively recent version. As presented in the Seven Days article and elsewhere, evangelical Christianity generally does not communicate the depth and radical nature of the teachings of Jesus in the gospels. The word "gospel" means "good news." If the gospel as Jesus presented it is not being taught, there is no good news. A Christian church cannot measure success in number of attendees or in how overly stimulating their services are. Success can only be measured in terms of how much of what Jesus taught is being taught and lived out.
Rev. Mark Korban
Korban is the pastor at St. Jacob Eastern Orthodox Church in Northfield Falls.
Bad News for Vermont
[Re "Good News?" September 25]: In answer to the question "Good News?": No, this is seriously bad news for Vermont. The invasion of evangelicals from the South is nothing less than a political and ideological attack on Vermont values. After all, evangelicals played a major role in the delivery of President Donald Trump to the White House. They want to impose their selection of Biblical beliefs on the rest of us, including treating women like chattel, denouncing gays, scorning the poor and raping the environment.
Having been raised as a Southern Baptist in Georgia, I cannot reconcile the moral gap between the Jesus who loved all children of every color, who ministered to the poor, and who admonished the rich for their greed and lack of empathy with the vitriol and complete lack of moral character that Trump embodies. The Southern Baptist Convention is nothing more than a tool of the extreme far right — smiles, rock music and friendly greetings aside. They are invading Vermont to foist their myths of Christianity upon us and to roll back our progressive humanitarian values.
Being the least religious state in the country has been one of Vermont's best assets. It has freed us from the domination of unproven religious ideologies that are used to control and manipulate citizens into believing things that aren't true, aren't in their best interests, and are hurtful and mean-spirited. I will hold tight to my belief that we are better and smarter than this.
Money on the Menu
[Re "Kitchen Crisis," September 17]: Raising menu prices by 6 percent, or roughly $2 per check, allowed Popolo restaurant in Bellows Falls to increase workers' pay from minimum wage to at least $15. That's an increase of more than $4 per hour. Does everyone really think people will stop eating out if all restaurants raised their prices by 6 percent? Eating out is already a very expensive way to have a meal. What's a few more dollars? When inflation is taken into account, Vermont housing prices have remained essentially flat for the last 10 years. Vermont doesn't have an unaffordable rent problem; it has a low-wage problem.
I was scrolling through the home page on your website and noticed an oddity under the birth announcements: pink background for the female babies and blue for the boy babies. I mean, y'all, c'mon. It's 2019. You're better than that. We're better than that. Vermont's better than that. I suggest green for all babies?
Editor's note: We randomly rotate through five different color combinations of the baby pram graphic. Three of them are seemingly traditional in the pink and blue palette, but we use gold and orange versions, as well. In the case you mentioned, we didn't intentionally match the pink pram with the baby girl. It was coincidental.
Your article "Drama Offstage" [October 2] sparked a memory. Years ago, renovations for the Strand Theatre in Plattsburgh, N.Y., needed money to finish the job. At that time, I was sitting at a coffeehouse counter next to a Strand employee. Her husband made more than a million dollars a year, so I definitely wasn't in her social league. The employee was gazing off into the distance, having a vision. She said: "If everyone in Clinton County donated $10, we could have the Strand open in no time."
Another woman at the counter observed: "$10 is a lot of money for most people in the county. That's grocery money."
Without hearing one word, the Strand employee repeated: "If everyone in Clinton County donated $10, we could have the Strand open in no time."
One problem with the Strand: elitist zombies.
Luke T. Bush
Blame Congress for Detention Centers
Christopher David Ramos puts the blame for the "concentration" camps on the Mexican-U.S. border on the Trump administration [Feedback: "Cruelty on the Border," September 25]. Not only are they not concentration camps, Trump did not build them. One has to look no further than Vermont's own three stooges — Lazy Leahy, Simple Sanders and Wimpy Welch — and their 532 peers to find the guilty parties. Congress' inability to accomplish anything except hate speech and coup attempts against Trump is a sign of a failing institution that is fighting for its very existence.