Hargrove: Our value and identity come from our maker

To the Editor:

Our world is experiencing an identity crisis.

I have been heartbroken as I hear more and more stories of people taking their own lives, hear that loneliness is prevalent and see that anxiety is so common. While there are many factors that may contribute to these struggles, identity is the biggest factor.

In a world that promotes celebrating “diversity,” we actually see a culture where becoming a follower is now the norm in order to be accepted. There is an epidemic where people are unhappy with who they are so they try to become someone they are not. People are changing themselves physically or behaviorally. This pressure to conform (especially among our young people) explains why so many are confused about their identity. They are letting society, culture and negative life experiences define them and determine their value.

Social media contributes to identity confusion by making it easier for people to compare themselves to others, bully others. Social media takes time away from building “real life” relationships, developing skills and enjoying hobbies.

While we could try to solely blame social media, society and culture for the identity crisis our world is experiencing, the core reason people are struggling is because they have lost focus on where our true value and identity comes from. We are children of God who are created by him and loved by him. We are made in his image, and he has plans for us. He designed each of us with a unique set of talents, personalities and looks. When we try to become someone we are not and change who he created us to be, we will never be content.

We need to stop letting society define us and allow our maker to show us who he created us to be, and then we will experience confidence in who we are. Our value does not come from this world. It comes from God.

Jeremiah 29:11 says: “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”

Carrie Hargrove


Hasse: Don’t let our forest become their forest

To the Editor:

I attended the Forest Access for All information meeting about the Blue Mountain Forest Plan at the Blue Mt. Conference Center July 30. I was very disappointed in the attendance. I guess after the 15-odd years, the Forest Service has finally won. People have gotten so busy that they are just going to let the Forest Service close most access to the forest, and no one will object.

The new plan will take the forest from an open to a closed system. Currently, a road is open unless it is marked. In the new system, a road is closed unless it is marked open. This is a huge change. If you are caught on a “closed” road, you are can be fined $5,000 and/or a year in jail.

There are many other changes that will affect how we all use the forest. It will no longer be “our forest.” It will become “their forest” with most decisions on access and how we can use the forest up to the Forest Supervisor.

Folks, please get involved before we lose our forest. The comment period ends Aug. 28.

Joel Hasse

La Grande

Brainerd: Cycle Oregon event will be a win, win, win

To the Editor:

Starting Sept. 8, Cycle Oregon will roll in and through a good portion of Northeast Oregon, including three neighboring counties: Baker, Wallowa and Union.

The weeklong classic cycling event, which begins in Baker City, brings cyclists from all over the state, country and world, allowing riders to experience varied Oregon communities and providing much needed financial support to local populations.

The chance that all three adjoining counties and their townships would simultaneously be able to prosper is rare — much like a trifecta.

The English dictionary outlines “trifecta” as a combination of the prefix tri- (meaning “three”) with the last element in perfecta (a word of American Spanish origin that refers to a horse-racing bet in which the finishers are chosen in the correct order). So, trifecta — a run of three wins or grand events — describes the opportunity Cycle Oregon brings to these three counties.

By working concurrently with all local communities, organizations and volunteers to positively make this year’s Cycle Oregon memorable, each community has the potential to reap the rewards, including approximate financial impacts of up to $150,000. For small towns such as Elgin, these funds will assist greatly in funding elementary and high school programs and numerous civic organizations, many of which contribute greatly in planning along with providing hundreds of volunteers to assure the event is a success.

My bet is that this year’s Cycle Oregon event will be a win, win, win for all.

Kem Brainerd

Elgin Hospitality Committee