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Best Comments of the Week August 10-14, 2015

In order to highlight the great feedback we often receive as comments to the articles on the Spectrum Website, the editorial team has introduced the Friday feature, The Best of the Comments. Spectrum editors select comments that exemplify respectful discourse and that further the conversations that begin with Spectrum's articles and news stories. Here are six comments we especially appreciated this week with links to the articles under which the comments appeared. -Editors

In response to "The Closing of the Adventist Mind" by Eddy Johnson

Comment by Chris Blake:
Eddy, you hit the nail on the head. We as a denomination cannot afford to cave in to authoritarian, fear-based uniformity. Certainly our Master didn't--and doesn't. The question is How. How to protest, to learn, to create, to embrace? (Looking forward to your next post.) Whether Adventist or not, Christian or not, each of us plays an important role in resiliently living out God's grace with defiant optimism and abiding peace and joy. #MyChurchToo

Comment by Tihomir Odorcic:
I'll make a try, let's see if my comment will "survive" the new policy I still remember a church business meeting some 20 years ago. There was a doctrinal issue on debate. One person was very active in his strange beliefs to impose them on others in that local church. The pastor was very patient and nice to him and at the same time he wanted to safeguard his parish. So he made appeals etc... And then one of brothers stood up and said something that reminds me very well on the stand presented in the article above. He said it in a naive and reassuring way: "I have locked up my heart and isolated my mind." I had laughed then and I'm still laughing today, but believe me, for them then it was a fabulous statement. He was credited for it. Locked heart and isolated mind may be a guarantee for an absolutist leader that his flock won't go astray, but at the same time it is a death sentence for every individual mind. If an 83-years old Michelangelo could declare that he is still learning (His famous "Ancora imparo") then why wouldn't a 150-years old organisation do the same?

Comment by Graeme Sharrock:
Thanks for your thoughts, Eddy! I often read here statements that state or imply some kind of impending disaster or degradation for Adventism because of its closed stance or fixed attitude on this or that. The writers assume that religious movements need to be transparent, truth-loving, and tender to thrive. I disagree. The number of people in the world who are willing to accept an irrational religious construct, especially during times of increasing turmoil and terrorism, is growing by hundreds of millions. Fundamentalist religions are adaptable forms of culture that thrive in such environments, as they offer a sense of certainty and security in exchange for a a small price--surrender of one's own thought and individuality to the group and its leaders. How many people at the Dome voted to endorse the word "recent" to mean 6,000 years because the Leader said so, but against their better judgment and common sense (I'm not even talking about the scientific evidence!)? Similarly the word "soon," as in "soon coming" now means something like "it's your fault it hasn't happened yet, but if you are good it will be even sooner " and the adjective "ordained" cannot be distinguished from "male". To enter this Orwellian world, cast away the past, the future, and accept what the present mind control offers. On that basis, I predict continuing growth and success to the SDA church, not demise or disaster.

Comment by CDAT:
Last Generation Theology is taking on a new meaning. The Last Generation of Adventism may not, as some hope, be precipitated by the 2nd coming of Christ but the last generation may become manifest because Adventism has run its course. Another bankrupt cult of personality. The World Wide Church of God imploded after the death of Herbert W. Armstrong. The Adventist Church has survived the death of its prophetess for more than 100 years in practices not unlike the pre-Inca's who brought out their mummies for an annual celebration. EGW can no longer speak but our tribal elders put words into her mouth in an attempt to convince us they can communicate with the dead. Let the dead bury the dead. We must choose to be among the living. No longer will the hopeful claim be that "I am a third, fourth or even 5th generation Adventist, but rather that I have chosen to be the last generation. Can anyone of good conscience support the present structure that would hasten the closing of the Adventist mind? The shackled prisoners building their own asylum.

In response to "World Authority on Laughter Talks Us Through the Research"

Comment by Sam Geli:
As a hospice Chaplain I can attest to the fact that Laughter and what Dr. Berk is saying is good medicine. Many patients I worked with benefitted greatly from laughter as part of their reflection and spiritual coping.
I can't help but wonder what the impact would have been if we had several "time outs" in so many of our "deep" discussions and tense deliberations. I believe that God had to be laughing at some of our activities in San Antonio.
Psalms 37:13
The Lord laughs at him, For He sees his day is coming.
Psalms 59:8 
But You, O LORD, laugh at them; You scoff at all the nations.
Proverbs 1:26 
I will also laugh at your calamity; I will mock when your dread comes,
Psalms 126:2
hen our mouth was filled with laughter And our tongue with joyful shouting; Then they said among the nations, "The LORD has done great things for them."
Luke 6:21
"Blessed are you who hunger now, for you shall be satisfied. Blessed are you who weep now, for you shall laugh.

In response to "Summer Reading Group: Purity,  Moral Reasoning, Shame, and Guilt"

Comment by Sirje:
It seems to me, religion in its entirety is metaphorical. There is no other way to relate to what we call GOD. In turn, there is no other way GOD can relate to us - hence, the Biblical declaration that "no man has ever seen God". Leaving out all the OT concepts of God and how He relates to us, and we to Him, all the religious concepts that come out of the NT are also metaphoric. This is why focusing on Jesus is the only effective way we can communicate with God, and He with us. After listing several chapters of inadequate concepts we tend to apply to God, JB Philips in Your God is Too Small, describes Jesus as the "aperture through which we see God". God, as seen in Jesus, brings us revelation of a BEING, otherwise totally incomprehensible. This includes, what we call, "the plan of salvation", which is also metaphoric for an incomprehensible relationship between God and man. We, however, take the metaphors to an extreme and end up arguing about things like the Trinity - heavenly architecture - dates for God's activities, not only on earth, but also in heaven. Heaven, itself, is a metaphor for locating God - somewhere; and we look for gaps in the stars through which Jesus will return to earth. We are just incapable to be able to relate to CONCEPTS - we need the CONCRETE. We need a God with body parts - with feelings - a God within an earthly time-frame. And so we've created religion - a framework of metaphors through which we relate to the enormity of God. It probably can't be any other way. Some people, and some religions are more able to keep in mind that it is all metaphor; others have immersed themselves into the metaphoric, unable to go beyond it. To be honest, none of us can truly go beyond the metaphor; but, there needs to remain "the idea of the holy" - an awareness of a realm not totally open to us, only glimpsed through that aperture that the Bible calls, Jesus Christ.

 

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