Vineyard Views

Good deeds: When I saw the latest cover regarding Satan and the Easter festival, I had to have a look because I knew it was about my church [Hair Balls, "What a Devil," April 14]. Surprisingly, a great deal of what I read was correct. There was a major miscommunication at the carnival. Real people make real mistakes. After the fact, an apology was the only thing that could have been done to try to express the church's regret that this happened.

Our pastor is one of the most loving, caring individuals I've ever met. He was appalled at what happened. I know he would do absolutely everything in his power to right the wrong that occurred that day. Isn't that what should happen? The article made it appear as if our church intentionally offended our neighbors.

The article further brands the Vineyard Church as "ultraconservative." It is not. That nomenclature was offensive only because of its ignorant use.

The Vineyard Church is a very loving church with a lot of talented, caring people. The church sponsors many neighborhood programs to promote the Gospel. And we aren't a "dress-up church" like so many of the name brands. We have been blessed with individuals from all walks of life without regard to race.

Finally, Vineyard churches nationwide do not condone homosexual behavior simply because it is wrong according to the Rulebook, a.k.a. the Bible. The individuals who were asked to leave were disruptive and offensive to many members of our congregation ["God Only Knows," by Margaret Downing, May 2, 2002]. I was also offended by their blatant display of homosexuality, in both their dress and their actions. Did you consider the possibility that the individuals in question may have attended the Vineyard simply to make their own "statement"? Simply put, if you want to engage in a homosexual lifestyle, go somewhere else!

Steve Clemons

Twist and shout: As a frequent visitor to the Vineyard Church, I was amused by the article about the devil and Easter.

What Mr. Connelly doesn't know is that while the devil showed up one Easter Sunday scaring the bejesus out of little kids, the most frightening part of this church is its weekly Sunday dancers, who whirl and twirl like Tasmanian Devils right below the stage as the band plays praise songs.

I've come to the church enough times to know to never sit in the front row, where you could actually come away with a shiner from one of these ladies.

Also, I keep wondering why no one else seems to think that having all-female dancers at the front of the church is weird and distracting. They disturb me to no end with their leaping and weird, jerky body movements.

And just to explain where I'm coming from, I used to go to a church where we had a lesbian pastor, a man with a huge deformed hand (which he used to raise high up in the air) and a mentally ill woman who when her glasses slid down her nose she'd push them up with her tongue. So I'm used to strange, bizarre and beautiful distractions. For some reason, I just can't get over the dancers at the Vineyard.

Regardless, it seems to me that most people who attend the Vineyard like the dancers and the Grateful Dead-concert-like atmosphere. For this old fart, I think I'm going to try to find a church where the service is more my speed. Maybe where there's an old pipe organ?!

Name withheld by request

Carnal Comics

Leave it to beavers: This old coot wants to thank you for pointing out the double entendre in Houston Chronicle cartoon character Bucky Katt's preoccupation with beavers [Hair Balls, "Bush League," April 14]. I had naively imagined just another quadruped like the ferret living next door. Now I know better, and I'm better off for it, I guess.

But I was surprised by Chronicle features editor Kyrie O'Connor's opprobrium. As I recall, didn't she pull 9 Chickwood Lane for a year or so, after Juliet and her boyfriend emerged from under a restaurant table with rumpled clothing, although I think the decision was not wholly hers. But the replacement strip she chose started off with a young single mother on the phone at her boyfriend's house, lying to her children about where she was spending the night.

Now, if someone could explain Boondocks to me...

Richard Sohn

Off Season

Bland Cucinino: I've eaten at Pronto Cucinino a couple of times, and I agree with your review ["Less Price, Less Spice," by Robb Walsh, April 14]. None of what I had was bad -- just bland. I believe from now on when I want Italian, I will go to Nick's Pasta Place on Bellaire, or Vincent's or Nino's.

Dave Berkshire

Getting serviced: I couldn't agree with you more about Vincent's wait service. Nino's waitstaff and their service is so much better. Although Vincent's is more conducive to our family (two small boys), we go to Nino's exclusively now.

The last time we went to Vincent's with a guest from out of town, the service was deplorable, from getting almost every order incorrect to the extended time to get our meal.

Thanks for your great reviews.
Name withheld by request

A Veal Dilemma

Secret ingredients: I read with interest Robb Walsh's article concerning the "substitution" of pork for veal at Italian restaurants around Houston ["The Cow Says Oink," January 22, 2004]. The premise of the article appears to be that this matter is noteworthy because Jews and Muslims who keep kosher are being deceived into eating pork.

The veal dish described at Carrabba's containing veal, prosciutto and fontina cheese would be a big no-no for those keeping kosher even without the prosciutto, since mixing dairy and meat is just as bad as eating pork and shellfish. Those who mix their dairy and meats are sort of like vegetarians who chow down on shrimp dim sum every Sunday after being told repeatedly that pork fat is regularly used as a binder for that shrimp paste in the dumplings, or on the shrimp toast or the stuffed crab legs.

If you don't cook it yourself, you really never know exactly what you're getting.

Robert M. Rosenberg
Wilton Manors, Florida

Hip-hop Houston

Same old music: The Nightfly says, "In a refreshing downtown hot-spot twist, the speakers are blaring out old-timey country instead of the usual hodgepodge of spaced-out house and trance" ["Grace Under Pressure," by Brian McManus, March 17].

I don't know what clubs you've been hanging out at, but there's nothing but hip-hop being played in Houston, except at Clark's, SB and Joia. Nice to see you're in touch with the music scene.

Raymond Moore

Band Aid

On the lookout for Los Skarnales: I'm not that connected to the music scene, but I can't wait to hear Los Skarnales [Rotation, by John Nova Lomax, April 7]. Thanks for a thoroughly enjoyable read and a tip about what seems like a great band.

John Preston

Course Correction

The April 21 article "High-Caliber Kids" called Ted Nugent a Southern rocker. While he is a redneck rocker, he is not, alas, from or of the South. He hails from Detroit.

Also, an inadvertently deleted word caused the April 7 feature "Exposed Nerve" to misstate the number of Americans living with depression that's resistant to drugs and electroshock therapy. The correct number is 4.4 million.

The Press regrets its shaky hold on geography and arithmetic in these stories.


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