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Courtney Ray

Adam and Eves

Excited! That’s how I felt after watching the season premiere of Adam Ruins Everything. For those who don’t know, it’s a Tru TV original show where the host, Adam Conover, tackles ubiquitously held misconceptions about commonplace subjects. Past shows included debunking myths surrounding hydration (do you really need eight glasses of water?), the funeral industry (because grieving families are excellent targets for up-selling), and restaurants (that salmon you ordered was probably dyed pink). The first show of the second season aired a few weeks ago and dealt with childbirth.

People of the Book

I've seen several iterations of this online, and each time it makes me annoyed. Someone posts some wildly inaccurate meme about a biblical story. For example, a post incredulously asking how Adam and Eve are the common ancestors of all people if they only had two sons. Even a cursory reading of the source material demonstrates that this “smoking gun” simply gets the points incorrect and that the Bible clearly notes that besides Cain and Abel they had “other sons and daughters” (Genesis 5:4).

Living Family Life

When I was a kid—way back in the 1900s—there were a ton of sitcoms that capitalized on “unconventional” families. Who's the Boss?, Full House, My Two Dads, Punky Brewster, Different Strokes, One Day at a Time: the lineup was full of storylines that didn't revolve around the typical nuclear setup with a mom, dad, and 2.5 kids. It's been a long time since the rest of the world actively acknowledged that families come in all shapes and sizes and the importance of telling those stories.

Wrong and Right

Kurtley Knight, Ryan Bell, Alicia Johnston. All young pastors who have publicly left the ministry—each for different reasons. There is plenty of attrition in the pastoral ranks, to be sure. But I mention these three as particular examples because many other pastors leave in a far less publicized way. However, for their exits, each of these former pastors felt compelled to make a declaration about their rationale for leaving. Pastor Knight left for doctrinal disagreements. Pastor Bell left due to a shift toward atheism.

Appetizers and Affairs

By now, people have heard of Vice President Pence’s “policy” of avoiding eating with women except his wife. Many are applauding his stance as “respecting his wife” and “protecting himself from adultery.” To be clear, if you have an affair, you cannot blame that on a chef's salad. The Devil did not make you do it and neither did the lunch.

The Place of the Church Within the State

The First Amendment of the United States guarantees that the government shall not establish a religion. Nor would it interfere with the free exercise of religion. There is a nice bright line between church and state that we who are believers appreciate and respect. That is why we do not ever talk about things that are political. And considering how Adventism was founded in America, it is no wonder that our church has historically avoided involvement in politics.

Should I Stay Or Should I Go Now?

A record number of senior level U.S. State Department career staff are leaving. Additionally, nearly 1,000 employees in that department signed a memo through the department dissent channel.

Breaking Up Is Hard to Do: Our Love Affair with the RCC

Go to any traditional Daniel and Revelation seminar, and you will hear about our Protestant departure from Babylon, (generally referring to the Roman Catholic Church). We make a significant effort to make sure attendees recognize how complete and distinct our ecclesiastical break was. The RCC’s theology caused Martin Luther’s departure, but we made ours even more complete by rejecting Catholic practices like infant baptism and, of course, the ever large, looming, adoption of Sunday as Sabbath.

Is God in Control? Yes, and Also ...

I rarely critique colleagues' sermons. And this evaluation will be de-identified. I hope it is instructional for us all, including any tempted to answer their friends’ frustrations with “God is in control”.

Adventist Farm

There are a bunch of stories and novels that many people were first introduced to in their middle school or high school reading lists: The Scarlet Letter, The Crucible, Lord of the Flies. One such novel that is emblazoned in my adolescent memory is Animal Farm by George Orwell.

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