Letters from the Issue of February 16, 2006

Our Lord Calling

Well, maybe not: Regarding "Jesus Redux" by Mariah Blake (February 9): Creciendo en Gracia/Growing in Grace is the most ridiculous thing I've ever heard. I have respect for all religions, but the rants and lifestyle of this group's leader, José Luis De Jesus Miranda, is absurd. The article says he and his followers believe he is Jesus Christ. First, if Christ came back, I seriously doubt he would wear diamond-encrusted rings, drive a 7 Series BMW, and live in a lavish 5000-square-foot house. Second, I doubt Christ would be confused about who he is; De Jesus first called himself the reincarnation of the Apostle Paul, then decided he was El Otro the demigod, and then proclaimed himself to be Christ.

Everything about this seems a little bit hypocritical. For instance, during the protest at Tropical Park, the members of Creciendo en Gracia were yelling, "They [the church] steal your money!" to a group of Protestants. Yet the same people are lavishing De Jesus with gifts (including a new house in Homestead, money, and security bills). Give me a break! Are his followers insane, stupid, or just looking for a little attention?

Shannon Rodriguez
Coral Gables

Absolutely no friggin' way: "See to it that no one misleads you, for many will come in my name, saying 'I am the Christ'...." — Matt 24:4.

Charles Manson was able to assemble a group of faithful because he was charismatic and his followers had nothing to lose. José Luis Garcia (please, I just cannot add the De Jesus), with his "taste for indulgence" and diamond-encrusted ring, is capitalizing on the many scandals surrounding the Catholic Church.

To blame churches for poverty, war, and disease is a clever tactic reminiscent of Hitler. As if government and other institutions need help from churches or religious groups to corrupt themselves.

Mr. Garcia's "church" welcomes adulterers, sorcerers, drug addicts, even murderers, which is convenient since it provides a blanket of protection should he or any of his hierarchy be accused of these. Garcia says put the Lord before your mortgage or your car payment. I doubt God wants you to be homeless or without transportation. This advice is irresponsible, harmful, and should be an obvious clue to the nature of the man.

"No one who is born of God practices sin, because His seed abides in him and he cannot sin...." — I John 3:9.

People cannot disrupt Mr. Garcia's church service, because it is videotaped and shown on a screen. He surrounds himself with security guards and encourages his followers to mock and ridicule people in church. He is no fool. He sees the money church members offer their places of worship and wants it for himself.

C'mon, wake up and smell the café con leche. Mr. Garcia doesn't know who he is. An admitted former drug addict wakes from a hallucination thinking he is the Apostle Paul. Finally he's convinced he is Jesus Christ born again. His followers are wearing the sheep's clothing. José Luis Garcia is one more money-hungry wolf in an expensive suit.

Arlene LaHera
North Miami

Guns Don't Kill Prose

Writers do: I don't always read New Times, so I missed the articles about Mario Barcia and his having shot two police officers. I did see the bottom-line message from Francisco Alvarado in "Free at Last" (February 2). I am reminded of the saying about football: Three things can happen to a forward pass, and two of them are bad.

How many things can happen with a gun in the house? You can shoot yourself on purpose or by accident. Someone else can shoot himself. You can shoot a friend, family member, or current or ex-beau with whom you are having an unfortunate tiff. Or they can shoot you. Or yours or someone else's kid can find the gun and shoot himself or another kid. Or you and an intruder can struggle with each other, and he can get the gun and shoot you. Or the gun can be stolen. Or you can actually use it successfully to protect yourself.

So the odds are really bad that a gun in the house will turn out to be a good thing, as it was not a very good thing in this case. Is that potentially the bottom line in this tragedy?

Fred Jonas
Biscayne Park

It's a New World

So why is that darn free weekly stuck in the old one? Regarding "Beach Blanket Beethoven" by Emily Witt (February 2): What's with the brutal writeup? I think what Aaron and Stacey have done — bringing the symphony to the young, South Beach crowd — is fantastic. I, for one, attended the symphony the other night only because of my exposure from being a "friend" of the NWS, and I was blown away and cannot wait until the next performance. What gives? The story seemed pretty harsh, especially for a town only just now taking baby steps toward being a center for culture and the arts.

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