Kudos to Steve Lohse ["Wreck of the Martle," June 16]. I was absolutely riveted by the story and could not put it down. What a great true-life page-turner. From the coffinlike berth to the seamanship and Lohse waking up because of the galley going ass over teakettle, so to speak, to the uncertainty of the little skiff life boat and does the captain survive—all of it combined for a wonderful story very well told. It made my day.
Jay A. Goldstein
I enjoyed Knute Berger's meditation on religion in the Northwest [Mossback, "The Faith of Journalism," June 16], but I have a couple small quibbles. First, the Church Council of Greater Seattle should not be equated with religion in the Northwest. They do great work, but remember that they represent a narrow band of mainstream Christian sects. The Unitarian Universalist (UU) congregations that I've worked for are not admitted to the Church Council, despite our deep historical roots in the Reformation. That's because UUs consider their congregations to be—much like the Northwest—"the last redoubt of paganism," along with humanism, atheism, and a dozen other heresies.
Second, I think people often confuse religious and spiritual practice, so I offer these definitions if they're helpful. Spirituality is indeed a private matter, between you and the tree god, as Berger asserts. Religion, however, is profoundly social. There are few voluntary associations left these days that offer the same bond of mutual aid based on shared values. The Grange movement is history, unions no longer offer fellowship, the fraternal orders are musty, and the consumer co-ops have gone corporate. When people want genuine community, where should they turn? If you don't like creed, find a church of freethinkers; if you don't like preachers, find a lay-led congregation; and if you don't like people, then by all means, don't go to church!
Thank you for Knute Berger's editorial "The Faith of Journalism" [Mossback, June 16]. Berger hit the main fault with Christian religions right on the head when he correctly observed that "they see us 'Nones' as a call to action, perhaps even a temptation." They simply cannot leave the rest of us in peace. The only peace on earth they understand is an earth converted to their one monolithic dogma.
Oops! Did I say one? There are over 350 Christian denominations. What would the world look like if they ever won? Oh yes, we remember. It would look like the religious wars of the 16th century. They went about burning each other as heretics.
Fortunately they haven't won, and we here in the None Zone are a healthy redoubt of paganism. In fact, pagan circles and organizations are thriving in the Northwest. There are pagan worship circles going every week. There are pagan newspapers and magazines, bookstores, and festivals. Pagans do find truth in the damp of the night and in the sanctuary of the mountains that they find here. They neither preach nor proselytize. And their main creed, "If it harms none, do what you will," would make a worthy substitute for messianic complexes in the pulpit or the newsroom.
Janice Van Cleve
It was a pleasure to be at the Church Council of Greater Seattle's conference with Knute Berger [Mossback, "The Faith of Journalism," June 16]. His article was great, especially his recognition of himself as prophet! Something I'm not sure was mentioned at the conference after I left was how much our "diminished" faith community does in our region to help others in need (walk the talk). Jesus told his people to feed the hungry, shelter the homeless, and visit the prisoners, as well as encouraging folks to be prophetic voices. In Seattle alone we have very diverse churches performing these services—all with a smaller religious population base. On the homeless front, groups from the "liberals," such as Lutheran Compass Center, to the "conservatives," e.g., Union Gospel Mission, have been serving our streets for over 50 years—both with ecumenical (all faiths) support. New Horizons Youth Center was started by a Catholic priest and is sponsored and supported by churches from across the theological spectrum. Many of us are aware of the advocacy and prophetic work of the Church Council of Greater Seattle; how many know they also do direct services for the poor and homeless? We are so blessed to live in a community where our churches truly do walk the talk of their faith. I hope that all those "Nones" out there know that they are welcome to walk with us any time, either in faith or in service, but preferably in both!
Rev. Lisa Anthony
Kennydale United Methodist Church
When Joel Bakan wrote The Corporation, I believe that he was referring to a psychopath, not a psychotic, as defined by Dr. Robert Hare ["Bad Company," June 16].
I expect that, as a journalist, Roger Downey would have access to a common reference book called a dictionary.
Todai Redmond and Todai Portland are marginally better than Todai Seattle ["Rice World," June 16]. I like the tiny desserts—hardly a reason to go to a sushi joint, however. Todai in Pacific Place is a rip-off, as is parking at that location. I will not go back.
My neighborhood sushi joint is Mashiko. Try their sashimi salad.
I applaud Neal Schindler's overdue sushi piece ["Rice World," June 16]. And I must add: Musashi. Ah yes, we moved to Wallingford, saw the nightly lines and heard tell of discount prices, and dreamt of the budget sushi nirvana within.
We stood in line. We snagged a window seat. And what we got was order after order of indistinguishable, unremarkable fish slab atop artless fistful of rice. It was sushi, supersized.
Like bonsai, some things are meant to be small, individually cared for, exquisite. Every time I drive by the line outside Musashi, I lose a little respect for Seattle.
Last night, while masticating a solitary late-evening bowl of Cheerios, I was engaged in one of my episodic attempts to keep up with my periodicals of choice. This is not always a timely quest, since I was perusing in this case a previous edition of the Weekly.
Therein was Michaelangelo Matos' column on memorable songs from useless albums [One Piece at a Time, "Good Songs From Useless Albums," June 2]. The reviews made me laugh out loud. For the third selection, I reread it three times in order to determine how to accept his advice to "run for cover." I can't remember the last time a Weekly column set me off like this.
I was reminded how much I enjoyed well-crafted, eloquent critical barbs. Following and participating in modern popular music is frustrating. There is no center, and there is such a horde of self-produced quasi-amateurs yielding to chips and programs.
Thank you for shining a beacon which made my day.
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