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I would like to add a little doctrine to Dana Kletter's article that appeared in your issue of Dec. 20-26 on the production of Handel's Messiah by the Raleigh Oratorio Society and Carolina Ballet. Kletter is having a discussion with Robert Weiss, director of the Carolina Ballet, about "redemption through transcendence from the physical to the spiritual."

I doubt that the Gospel is a metaphor for this kind of philosophy. Kletter goes on: "The story of Jesus depicts man's endeavor to complete himself through passion, struggle and transcendence." That is not the story of Jesus I heard, when God became flesh to help us, so that humankind does not have so to hoist ourselves by our own petards. (The Bible is not much on "self-help.") And we'll have to stay in our bodies, too. I must say that this production of the Messiah sounds better than its talk. Of course it is--in their bodies, these people can really dance!

I was pleased to see the new Durham County Manager, Mike Ruffin [Dec. 13], is a practicing Christian. Obviously your editorial staff was not. If he had been a Hindu, or Jewish, would you have been applauding Durham County's "progressive" step forward in government? Everything you listed about this man under the label "questionable" I see as absolutely laudable.

Melinda Ruley's article, "Angels We Have Heard," in your Dec. 20-26 issue, was pure delight. There is so much written about "the real meaning of Christmas" that seems to leave out--well, the real meaning of Christmas. Melinda has managed to handle the topic with both humor and boldness, even making it clear that she believes this politically incorrect stuff about Jesus saving us. Thanks for printing it.

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