Kara E. Plunkett
Coral Gables

Pearly Gates Yours for Only $29.95!
I want to thank Sean Rowe for exposing the likes of "Pastor Bob" ("The Resurrection of Robert Tilton," January 1). I hope, however, that your piece did not give people the impression that Tilton's practices are unique and isolated. The belief that God is going to bless one's tithes and offerings is now commonly held in most Christian churches. The Christian mega-network TBN practically guarantees hundredfold blessings in return for one's financial gifts. One of its leaders, the Reverend Benny Hinn, claims that one cannot grow spiritually unless one gives financially.

Collecting money in church has nothing to do with the teachings of Christ, and people like Tilton know it. The Old Testament does mention tithing. Only a small percentage of Israel's population was required to tithe, and even then it was to help the poor, to help them maintain a certain measure of social justice that would ensure their survival.

The much-alluded-to "offering" went from animal sacrifices during Abraham's time to gifts for the poor during Isaiah's time. Later Jesus discouraged the building of lavish temples by teaching that "the kingdom of God is within you," and he encouraged his followers to give to the poor directly.

Giving to the poor is a fruit of salvation, according to the Bible, and not the cause of it, as Tilton and many others like him would have his followers believe.

Perhaps it would be best if people left these iconoclastic and esoteric movements and havens of worship such as Tilton's and returned to the worship of God in the home, as in the early days of Christianity -- or basements, gymnasiums, or schools, where the emphasis of worship would be not so much on what can be seen or what is gotten as on the love of God. Then maybe the poor would get some help, the worship experience would become more personal, and we'd stop dumping all this money into movements that carry some hefty expenses and that promote lifestyles much more luxurious than those of their supporters.

Manny Losada

Savannah Gets Shrunk
In light of recent reviews by theater critic Savannah Whaley, it is apparent that she does not see the importance of supporting our local theaters. It is hard enough to get an audience to come see any show with all that television has to offer (in its ignorance).

I have not seen a positive review from her. It's one thing to be critical; it's another to be menacingly vicious. It seems that Ms. Whaley has an ulterior motive behind her writing, although the only motive I can see is to prevent anyone from seeing any theater. I am not asking that she give glowing reviews for lousy theater. That would be ludicrous. But for God's sake, the audiences are slim pickings.

I'm sure we've all heard it before: "If you don't have anything nice to say...." I would rather see a blank page than have to suffer along with the actors in another one of her miserable interpretations. I'm sorry if she is an unhappy person. There's always counseling. Don't take it out on us!

Name Withheld by Request

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