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A haystack by any other name: nachos, an organized taco salad, Frito pie, or perhaps a petro. If you’ve shared enough meals with Adventists, you’ve probably watched the construction of the ubiquitous haystack, or heard it mentioned, much like the phrase “Happy Sabbath.”*
This week’s Spectrum Café features thoughts on haystacks from a fresh perspective: non-Adventist college students. “What the Haystack?!”, directed by Pacific Union College film and television major Halstyn Hart, explores the perspectives that six students (Catholic, Buddhist, Pentecostal, “not really religious” and non-denominational) have about Adventism, through their experiences at PUC. The film premiered at the recent SONscreen film festival in Simi Valley (click here for photos from the festival; scroll down to see what was served for Sabbath lunch). See below for an excerpt from the film.
Hart says that growing up as an Adventist inspired her curiosity about a non-Adventist perspective on life at a denominational college campus. Through the film, she found that the students featured were “confused about the Adventist practices and the culture that we have formed,” she says. “Haystacks are the tangible [representation] of Adventist culture; people have eaten similar things, but the term is new.” But, in a past article, the Adventist Review thinks they might have found the origin of Adventist haystacks.
“The haystack is a good doorway to sharing with friends. It’s something everyone can enjoy, whether you’re vegetarian or not,” Hart says. For comparison, Hart also serves the students an exotic buffet of meat analogues, including veggie burgers, veggie links, and Stripples. The “fake meat” was much less popular than haystacks, but as one student bravely states, “When I was younger, I ate the chocolate-covered cricket thing. It’s OK; I’ll explore.”
Hart is looking for a way to share the film beyond its current YouTube audience. And, she muses, “I still don’t know why we call them haystacks.”
Note: This video is an excerpt from "What the Haystack?!"
What do you think of as the quintessential haystack? Please share your thoughts in the comments below.
“Just a stack of food,” as one Adventist woman writes on her website. This West Coast-style, vegan-friendly dish is my version of the perfect haystack. I usually volunteer to bring the salsa.
Prep time: 20 minutes
Cooking time: n/a
1 bag blue corn tortilla chips
1 15-oz can black beans
Sharp Cheddar cheese (or Cheddar-style almond “cheese”), grated
Romaine lettuce, roughly chopped
Medium-spicy fresh salsa
Sour cream (perhaps)
1. Place the tortilla chips on a plate and lightly crush them.
2. Add the rest of the ingredients in the order listed (very important).
3. Wish your neighbors “Happy Sabbath."
*Spectrum couldn’t feature a food column without mentioning haystacks, sooner or later.
1. Texas Adventist Community Services Disaster Response deployed following the West, Tex. Fertilizer Plant Explosion.
2. Adventist Risk Management Selects Insurity's Insurance Decisions Suite.
3. During a meeting on reforming Trinidad's constitution, a gay activist discussed the discrimination he faces. A newspaper reported the following response by a representative of the Seventh-day Adventist Church.
A representative of the public affairs department of the Seventh Day Adventist Church said everybody has the right to choose a lifestyle including her “homosexual brother”, referring to Robinson. She added they should not be discriminated against and should have a right to justice.
She noted, however, that this country should not “swing to the next direction” like the Courts in Canada and Australia where people who refuse to marry same sex couples, refuse to build houses for same sex couples or those who wear the symbol of the cross to work are penalised.
She stressed that religious people have rights and homosexual people have rights and when these come into conflict no one party should be disadvantaged for being a “conscientious objector”.
She called for supremacy of God to be retained in the Constitution.
This video documents Adventist leaders and thousands of youth from the Northeast of America participating in the Compassion March Against Violence in New York City on March 22. Read Spectrum's report here.
This is an all hospital edition. Reading news about Adventists regularly, it is clear that while many talk about outreach in church, it is really the medical institutions that define "Adventist" for many communities.
1. Shady Grove Adventist Announces New President—John Sackett most recently served as president and chief executive officer of Avista Adventist Hospital in Louisville, Co.
2. Adventist GlenOaks Hospital is the lead sponsor for a community breakfast highlighting the 62nd annual National Day of Prayer on May 2. David Sitler, pastor at the Glen Ellyn Seventh-day Adventist Church, will give the event’s keynote address. The theme of the 2013 National Day of Prayer is “Pray For America.”
3. Adventist Health hosts lab open house for staff, physicians, and the community. The lab was funded by a $75,000 grant in 2011 as part of the Adventist Health Corporate Innovation campaign and will provide staff an opportunity to practice mock codes, insert IVs, perform infusion procedures or check vital signs on three realistic adult mannequins.
Bonus: Skulls found near Loma Linda University were for medical research.
In sermons at the Loma Linda University Church on Sabbath, April 20, Jon Paulien, dean of the School of Religion, compared the Bible’s metaphors for atonement to golf clubs.
He used this comparison to make three points:
(1) The Bible offers a wide range of metaphors in its interpretations of the execution of Jesus and, more generally, God’s reconciling endeavors;
(2) Although they are all valuable, some metaphors are more helpful in some settings than others;
(3) More than ordinary wisdom is needed when attempting to match alternative metaphors with different settings.
The sermon as a whole offered a third alternative to two common approaches. One of these is to make the penal- substitution metaphor the most important of all. The other is to reject it altogether. The metaphor in question pictures a legal transfer of guilt for human sinfulness and sins to the innocent Jesus such that in his suffering and death he experienced the punishment that others deserve.
Paulien contrasted the joyful proclamation of this metaphor by people such as Martin Luther in the sixteenth century and the harsh reviews it sometimes receives from those in the twenty-first who believe that it makes God look like a cosmic torturer. He also recounted an important point in his life when this metaphor was very helpful and how, as time went on, it became less so.
After explaining that the meaning of atonement to be “at-one-ment,” and surveying how many metaphors the Bible uses for it, he gave eight of them special attention. As I remember them, these are the (1) sacrifice, (2) ransom, (3) propitiation, (4) legal, (5) cosmic conflict, (6) revelation, (7) exemplary and (8) new covenant metaphors.
Paulien compared these metaphors to different clubs in his golf-bag. Emphasizing how important it is to use the right club in each setting, he told the story of a golfing companion who hugely overshot his target because he swung with the wrong club. Using the penal-substitution metaphor in a hospital setting might be a similar mistake, he suggested. He stated that he has provided much more material on this topic at http://www.thebattleofarmageddon.com.
Pauline preached these sermons parallel to “The Cross: A Symposium on Atonement” which the Adventist Theological Society had convened at the Loma Linda University Campus Hill Church since Thursday evening, April 18. A subsequent report will cover its activities throughout the same Sabbath.
Editor's note: The link to Paulien's blog, http://www.thebattleofarmageddon.com, has been corrected.
Here is an outline of what I would like to say to the Adventist scholars gathered for the Atonement Summit at Loma Linda:
1. Discontent, distrust, and alienation were introduced to the universe by Lucifer’s malicious misrepresentation of God. That’s the first jarring note; that’s how the problem began.
2. For God to set this problem right, God set out on a course of revelation: God would be revealed in Christ to prove Satan’s misrepresentation false.
3. This means that the so-called ‘moral influence theory’ of the atonement does not capture God’s revelatory action in Christ. God’s aim was not to impress humans subjectively; it was to set the record straight objectively even if no one would be impressed. Cosmic conflict views of the atonement have been badly misrepresented on this point because it is not a ‘moral influence’ theory.
4. Indeed, God’s revelation of Godself in Christ might not even work as moral influence because it does not seem like the right action. There should be soldiers and swat teams in our streets; there should be crusaders; there should be divine retribution. Instead, there is a lamb slaughtered, a victim of violence, and a ‘solution’ to the problem of evil that on first sight seems more a statement of the problem than a solution to it.
5. A cosmic conflict view of the atonement does not take a milder measure of sin than the notion of ‘penal substitution.’ In the cosmic conflict view, the cross is a revelation to our dull senses of the pain sin has brought to the heart of God.
6. The cosmic conflict view offers a benefit to ethics where ‘penal substitution’ has nothing or worse than nothing to offer. According to the cosmic conflict view, as goes the lamb so go those who follow the lamb. “If anyone is to be killed with the sword, with the sword, with the sword he will be killed” (Rev 13:9). Here, the narrator in Revelation exclaims, is a point where everyone should think long and hard about the meaning of pistis (Rev 13:10). To make my point clearer by way of example, consider this: Anselm of Canterbury presented what is perhaps the most developed view of ‘penal substitution’ to Pope Urban II precisely at the point when the first crusaders were wading knee-deep in blood and climbing over corpses in Jerusalem in an outpouring of violence that exceeded prior horrors in that city. If there could have been a remedy for this divinely inspired carnage, Anselm did not know what it was or didn’t care; if there could have been a remedy, it would not have been his theory of penal substitution.
7. If anything can rescue the doctrine of penal substitution so as to make it a deserving notion in atonement theology, it will be the hugely corrective features in the cosmic conflict story. I am not sure whether the cosmic conflict account ought to spend its energies on fixing a paradigm so badly broken and so much a party to making God seem arbitrary, vengeful, and severe, but if anything can rescue the notion of penal substitution as viable theology, it will be the cosmic conflict story.
8. Views of at-one-ment must have a context; they must resonate in the world in which we live. Ours is not the world after the Flood but the world after the Holocaust, not the world after decisive action against evil but absence of action. Which view of at-one-ment will resonate in this world? I say with my Lutheran clergy friends that it will not be the hallowed evangelical view of the atonement. If there is a resource for this challenge, it might be the story of the cosmic conflict, its view of horrors and super-human evil, and its story of how God defeats the cosmic foe. Perhaps even this won’t work, but at least cosmic conflict theology makes it a priority to understand the absence of divine action.
9. The recent strides in Pauline studies, the breakthrough for apocalyptic and the notion of the faithfulness of Christ to mention just two, confound the doctrine of penal substitution but add legitimacy to the cosmic conflict story and richness to the musical score of cosmic conflict theology.
10. One more thought on this point: Luther’s theology of atonement is doctrine, and all scripture is either law or gospel. Only he or she who masters this distinction deserves to be called a theologian. But the cosmic conflict story suffocates in the straitjacket of doctrine; it must remain story. Luther’s insistence of law vs. gospel is contrived; human reality is more complex and so is the Bible.
11. Despite efforts in the past to stigmatize cosmic conflict theology as liberal or as mere ‘moral influence’ there is nothing liberal about it, except, perhaps, that it is more tolerant of divergent views, recognizing as it must that God did not shut down divergent views in heaven even when they were malicious and false.
12. The cosmic conflict story ends in an image of at-one-ment. “They shall see his face and his name shall be on their foreheads” (Rev 22:4). Thus ends the conflict over the character of God in the Bible. My friends in the Adventist theological communities may have other priorities, but I know what mine will be. And so they remain, the cosmic conflict story and the other eight views of the atonement, and greatest of these is the story of God revealed in Jesus.
Although support for the “substitutionary” interpretation of the execution of Jesus of was always close at hand, on Friday, April 19, the presenters at “The Cross: A Symposium on the Atonement” addressed a wide range of topics. They did so under the heading of “Historical and Theological Studies on Atonement” at the Loma Linda University Campus Hill Church.
The meetings ran a full twelve hours, from 8:30 am to 8:30 pm with a 90-minute break for lunch and 105 minutes for supper. The 30 or so participants throughout the day were told that these meals were “on your own.” A greater number attended the evening meeting.
After a devotional by Clinton Wahlen, Associate Director of the Biblical Research Institute of the General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists, Ed Zinke offered a critique of human arrogance. He warned against giving more authority to human reason than to divine revelation. He also informed the audience that God does need human reason when it comes to running the universe and reconciling its estranged citizens. An independent theologian and businessman, Zinke represented the Adventist Review.
Denis Kaiser, a doctoral candidate in Adventist Studies at Andrews University, offered a detailed analysis of the writings of Abelard, a medieval philosopher and theologian who is often accused of rejecting the idea of substitutionary atonement. Kaiser demonstrated that the “father of moral influence theory of the atonement” actually didn’t sire it. Rather, out of what Abelard took to be either ignorance or malice, even during his lifetime others falsely accused him of teaching it.
Kelvin Onongha, a doctoral student in missions at Andrews University, contrasted the differences between the individualism of many Western societies and the more communal ways of life elsewhere. He also differentiated between modern societies that emphasize “guilt” and others all over the world that stress “shame.” He contended that in some ways Biblical societies were more communal and shame-based, and that keeping this in mind can help in understanding the Old and New Testaments, particularly its ideas of bloody sacrifices. On the other hand, these differences often make it difficult for representatives of Christianity to be understood. Hence missionaries must listen as well as speak.
John Jovan Markovic, a professor of history at Andrews University who has special interests in the relations between Jews and Christians and current religious trends, presented an analysis of the contemporary emergence movement among Christians. According to the accounts of some of its most influential leaders, Teilhard Chardin is its philosophical resource as Aristotle was for Thomas Aquinas and Plato, or Neoplatonism, was for Augustine. As an expression of theistic evolution, the emergence movement has no need of any theory of atonement and it is often hostile to all of them. In a subsequent conversation, Markovic reported that it often endorses the kind of mysticism that most Jews, Christians and Muslims have long rejected because it fosters the “emptying” of the self.
Greg Howell, a pastor in the Washington Conference, presented a comparison of the published writings of Joseph Bates, a 19th century follower of William Miller and one of the earliest Seventh-day Adventist leaders, and the notes he wrote in the margins of his personal Bible. Although these marginal notes differed theologically in some respects, in others they reinforce what Bates said and wrote in public. Among other things, Bates found, in the seven drops of blood the priests of Leviticus 16 liturgically offered in the traveling tabernacle of ancient Israel, seven additional years that stretched his expectation of the second coming of Jesus an extra seven years, from 1844-1851. James and Ellen disapproved of setting new dates and, when the second coming again did not occur when Bates had calculated it, he stopped as well. In a personal exchange, Larry Christoffel, one of the pastors of the Campus Hill Church, observed that the Whites gave up “shut door theology,” the ideas that only those who had gone through the Millerite movement could be part of their community of faith, in 1852. He wondered if the failure of Bates’ erroneous recalculation of the second coming of Jesus for 1851 was at all related. In any case, Bates’ thinking about the atonement was interwoven with his understanding of Biblical prophecy.
Adelina Alexe, a doctoral student in systematic theology at Andrews University, presented a narrative analysis of the prayers of Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane. By reviewing such things as the place, time, movements, words and characters depicted in Matthew 26: 36-56, as well as the one prop, which was the “cup” from which Jesus did not want to drink, she highlighted the intense struggle through which Jesus passed. Although she viewed the freedom and safety of the Garden, which was probably circled by a strong wall, as the last and decisive moments of his pre-execution life, she acknowledged in response to a question that it might have been the first step of Jesus toward His execution.
Larry Lichtenwalter, who serves as Dean of the School of Theology at Middle Eastern College, identified the personal and cosmological interpretations of the last book of the Bible. The first is that the theme of book is human sin and how God saves people from it. The second is that the book is about an attack on God’s character and about how the unending and longsuffering God is victorious ever it. Although he affirmed them both, Lichtenwalter argued that the personal, interpretation, which in his view includes a substitutionary interpretation of the execution of Jesus, is primary and that the cosmological one should be understood through it. When asked what difference it makes whether one starts with the personal or cosmological interpretation, providing that in the end one includes both, Lichtenwalter gave two answers. The first was that the Bible starts with the personal and so should we. The second was that, if we start from the cosmological one, we might never get to the personal one. This would mean that we would forfeit the forgiving and transforming gifts of God’s love.
Richard Davidson, J. N. Professor of Old Testament Interpretation at Andrews University, offered the assurance of salvation to contemporary Seventh-day Adventists who are fearful of what will happen when their names come up in the Investigative or Pre-Advent Judgment that is now going on in heaven. Confessing that he was also once very anxious about this, he emphasized that the Bible portrays Jesus Christ as the sinner’s substitute, lawyer, star witness, judge, purifier and vindicator. In addition, he stated, that this process is also about God vindicating God’s own character. In view of these seven considerations, one need not fear the currently ongoing heavenly judgment. With that he led the audience in the singing of a hymn that celebrates the assurance of salvation. Tom Shepherd, the President of the Adventist Theological Society, offered the benediction and the day, which had long since died in the West was over.