Welcome – virtually – to the 2008 Adventist Forum Conference beginning this evening near Orlando, Florida. The topic is Christians in the Public Square. For a full look at the weekend agenda click here. Since most people who visit our website will obviously not be able to be with us we hope our web coverage here will be the next best thing (short of video streaming – not this year, but maybe next year).
On January 13, 1750 the kings of Spain and Portugal signed the Treaty of Madrid, which redrew the lines of control between the two countries’ South American possessions. As a consequence seven independent Jesuit missions of the upper Uruguay River (in what is now Paraguay), passed from Spanish to Portuguese control. Four years later the so-called Guarani War (1754-1756) began to forcibly expel the Indians from these missions.
Estonia is a small country, one of three Baltic States between Russia and Europe. Its strategic location has subjected it to almost continuous occupation throughout its long history. Gaining independence in 1920 the Estonians had less than two decades of freedom before World War II began. Then the Soviet Union invaded and, except for a short Nazi occupation, Estonia was firmly held behind the Iron Curtain for the next 50 years.
This Sunday’s N.Y. Times published an article titled: Malwebolence – The Trolls Among Us. The term ‘troll’ is internet slang for someone who intentionally disrupts online communities. Malwebolence is a newly coined word that hacks together mal (bad), web and violence. The people who engage in this behavior operate anonymously and usually cannot be traced, much less interviewed. But the Times author was able to find, then meet and interview several of them.
Australian Peter Singer is the the Ira W. DeCamp Professor of Bioethics at Princeton University. He is also arguably the most controversial philosopher alive today. His critics label him “the most dangerous man in the world”. Using an adjective like “dangerous” to describe a philosopher might seem vastly overblown or at least oxymoronic.
America in the 1920s is sometimes called the Jazz Age, a time for experimentation in music and morals. A time of financial expansion and speculation. But it was also the era of Prohibition – when from 1920 to 1933 government legislation declared meat to be illegal and the nation was forced ‘go veggie’.
As that epoch recedes further from our collective consciousness we tend to forget what an impact this great experiment had on the American psyche. But even less remembered is the pivotal role Adventism played in the story.
Whenever I am passing through Chicago and circumstances permit I try to attend a service at Willow Creek Community Church in South Barrington, IL. Since I live a considerable distance away that isn’t too often. But last weekend I was there.
Willow Creek sometimes evokes strong reaction – both pro and con – within Adventism. But that debate is largely beside the point I wish to explore here. I have never left one of their services without feeling uplifted, and frequently challenged. And that was again the case this time.
‘Tell me the old, old story, of Jesus and His love.’ - #196, SDA Hymnal
For those who have grown up Christian, or even within a broader Western culture, the ‘Passion Week’ story – Jesus’ last week leading to his death and resurrection – is not only old, but likely very familiar. And here is a potential problem. We already know the details and the ending. We’ve heard it all before, probably many many times. And while familiarity may not breed contempt, it can easily breed indifference.
Peter Drucker (1909-2005) was a world-renowned management consultant, university professor and author of 39 books. Perhaps his most significant work was the book titled Management: Tasks, Responsibilities and Practices (1973). Many years back, when I was studying management – out of a mixture of personal interest and professional desperation