Church life remains vibrant, even in the older strongholds of Adventism, not least in the larger (and sometimes friskier) congregations. Still, as you know from the Spectrum website, what our church needs, now more than ever, is independent news and commentary. No community can thrive except as people outside the leadership circle, not just those on the inside, have a voice.
This website is an independent voice. Nowhere else do writers—and not least, young writers and church employees—feel as free as here to tell the truth. Disorganized religion is, of course, futile. Administrative structures do matter, and leaders who take responsibility in these structures deserve our respect and gratitude. But people who care, yet do not work directly for bureaucracy, can speak truth to power. Without their voices, church leaders have no perspective but their own.
What do you know from Spectrum?
Well, from the magazine and website alike you know that Adventism faces a constant (and often well-funded) temptation to fundamentalism. You know, for example, how we are veering toward an interpretation of Genesis that will demoralize our scientists, divide our community, and scorn the deep integrity of Scripture. You know, too, how hard it is for us to see the direction of the Bible story with respect to the status of women, or to perceive the kernel, not just the husk, of biblical eschatology.
Spectrum media constitute—I think indisputably—the church’s most reliable media outlet for news stories, especially stories that make us uncomfortable with the current drift of things. You got the whole story on the commissioning of Danijela Trajkov here; and the continuing saga regarding La Sierra University here.
And Spectrum is also where you get commentary that is fresh as well as riveting. Last summer a series on The Language of Science and Faith: Straight Answers to Genuine Questions, by Giberson and Collins, engaged numerous young writers and evoked numerous provocative comments. Ron Osborn’s recent take on Walter Veith drew thousands of readers and nearly a thousand comments (thus far). Just now Jan M. Long’s arresting perspective on “the closing of the Adventist mind” is pulling many thoughtful folks to the site.
Bonnie Dwyer, Alexander Carpenter and the web site team continue to animate the Adventist conversation. They bring courage, imagination and—please don’t miss this—incredible generosity to the table from which the rest of us gain so much nourishment. Most of them do what they do for love and a tiny stipend.
This time of year the Christ-Child turns our attention to the giving we do, not just to one another but also to the Larger Causes that repair and ennoble human life. I encourage you, therefore, to make a substantial gift, before New Year’s Day, to Spectrum. You may know that Spectrum’s ministry is one of my passions, so it won’t surprise you that, after the tithe I contribute in my local congregation, the gift I give to Spectrum is my biggest of the year.
The time is here for each of you to consider a gift—something more than gesture, something substantial enough to keep the candle burning, no matter what the wind. The fire of honest conversation has a value you cannot overestimate.
Here’s how to contribute. You can click the donate button on this home page and contribute via Paypal. You can call the Spectrum office at 916-774-1080 and make a credit card contribution. Or, you can make out a check and send it to Adventist Forum at PO Box 619047, Roseville, CA 95661.
In all these ways you can help amplify the church’s independent voices. Long ago the Christ child grew up to become a voice from outside of official circles, so what you accomplish by your gift will put you in good company.