MEMORY ALMOST FULL
SEAN NELSON: Excellent piece on the new McCartney album ["Tolerance Almost Full," June 14], which I picked up 6,000 miles away in England—not least because I agree almost entirely with your summary of his back catalog!
I know many people here in the UK who love Paul's music, but who find it almost impossible to stomach his recent work because of the image he presents to the world. He's so desperate for public approval that he would rather make a fool of himself than be ignored—not realizing that it's the very fact that Messrs Dylan and Young aren't available to the public that makes them so intriguing. (Not that Dylan is averse to a little airbrushing, as you can tell if you compare the man to his recent photographs.) But it's too late for him to change now.
THE GOD IN GODDAMN
EDITOR: As hard as Sean Nelson tries to come off as an atheist in "The Church of Skepticism" [June 14], he shows his true colors as a man of faith in "Tolerance Almost Full," about Paul McCartney.
In "Tolerance" he says: "But goddamn if I ever want to hear another word about music marketing. And goddamn if I feel the need to be confronted by his music—which I like more than everyone I've ever met combined—every time I want a cup of coffee."
The reality of God's power is present in Sean's writing, with or without his intention.
A Pray-er for Peace
SKEPTICS MORE CERTAIN THAN MOST
DEAR SEAN: Thanks for your rote self-congratulatory tale of Christopher Hitchens's certitude about the superiority of skepticism ["The Church of Skepticism"], but in my experience "skepticism" is a complete misnomer. The arguments I've had with most Seattle "skeptics" consist of the "skeptic" telling me that he or she knows with "certitude" that there is no god and that anyone who believes in such a thing is either barking mad or dumb as a bag of hair. Then they go off on a tangent about every bad thing anyone with a cross or a crescent has ever done and it all gets fucking boring in a hurry.
In this regard, your so-called skeptic is like any bigot, assuming that he or she knows the correct answer to questions that are, by their nature, unanswerable. It's the very imponderability of such questions that leads many religions to encourage their adherents to have faith—rather than sure knowledge—and extol the humility thus engendered. The failure of so many religious people to recognize this distinction has led to a great deal of horror and bloodshed over the course of human history. But if you or Christopher Hitchens think that encouraging a pack of smug secular humanists to believe that your particular brand of negative proof is superior to all others—if you think that's going to improve things any, you're both about as helpful as Martin Luther. All you're really doing is creating a new flavor of bigotry and, really now, don't we have enough of that to go around?
A PRAYER FOR THE STRANGER
FOR THE EDITORIAL STAFF THAT DREAMED UP "A MONTH OF SUNDAYS" [June 14]: Dear God, may we understand our motivations for publishing this article. May we find more constructive and intelligent ways to talk about religion. May we understand the impact our words have on people who are searching and seeking and take responsibility for the power of those words.
FOR THE READERS OF "A MONTH OF SUNDAYS": Dear God, may we not let cynical, unresearched articles about "the religious" be an excuse for thinking we are unwelcome and keep us outside looking in. May we experience the actual embrace of a community that contradicts the perceptions that articles like these perpetuate.
FOR THE FEW WRITERS WHO MADE A REAL ATTEMPT TO UNDERSTAND THE COMMUNITIES ABOUT WHICH THEY WROTE: Dear God, may we forgive the other writers of "A Month of Sundays" for their irresponsible crap.
TRY LOVE NEXT TIME
DAN SAVAGE, ET AL.: I consider myself to be an open-minded person (I read this heathen publication after all), but what was with your church coverage? You dedicate plenty of ink to smearing all Christians as right-wing gay haters, and when you see for yourself that Christians welcomed you to their churches with open arms, you still write about us with a cruel, mocking tone. Instead of hatred, try revisiting these churches with an open mind and a loving heart.
DEPARTMENT OF CORRECTIONS: In last week's "A Month of Sundays," Bradley Steinbacher misidentified O'Dea High School and St. James Parish as Jesuit institutions. Making matters worse, Bradley is a goddamn graduate of O'Dea High School and attended Mass at St. James countless times during his high-school years. We await God's imminent strike against Bradley.