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Here are three recent members in the Adventist blogoshere. I think that what makes these bloggers especially interesting is the very personal focus of their writing. They write from experience.
1. Trinidad. Adventist. Gay?
Twenty-something. Male. Trinidadian. Have same-sex attractions. Love God. Here to help. Please understand that because Trinidad and Tobago is such a small place I can't be too descriptive; especially since I am a Seventh-Day Adventist. They all know one another!
Trinidad. Adventist. Gay?
2. John McLarty, Pastor, North Hill Adventist Fellowship, Edgewood, WA, reflects on a book given out by his conference president to all the pastors, Why We're Not Emergent (By Two Guys Who Should Be):
I am puzzled by the book. It is clear that one of the authors' major concerns with the Emergent Church is their downplaying of eternal torment. Both authors return to this repeatedly throughout the book. Of course, we Adventists applaud the Emergents for their "seeing the light" on this doctrine.
The larger concern of the author, however, though he never uses the word, is epistemology. He insists we take the inerrant Bible as our guide. He argues the Emergents have no clear authority--not the Bible, not the Church, not "their church", not the Holy Spirit. It is not only that the Emergent movement is intentionally doctrinally amorphous. It is that the movement insists there is no proper way to be definite about any truth.
Reading the quotations DeYoung cites, I am reminded of classic apophatic theology but without the stability and wisdom offered by deep connections with the history and traditions of the Christian Church. Emergent authors question all theological affirmations while appearing to uncritically make strong ethical, social and political affirmations. I am sympathetic to the social concerns characteristic of the Emergent movement, but I think DeYoung's criticism of their epistemology is apt.
3. Rajmund Dabrowski, Communication Director at the world headquarters of the Seventh-day Adventist Church Church writes about Barack Obama's inauguration, meeting Benicio Del Toro after a special screening of Che and the terrible injustice of Mugabe:
. . .once again, Archbishop Tutu pricked my conscience with a challenge - this time to stand in solidarity with our brothers and sisters in Zimbabwe. Starvation, cholera, apathy and hopelessness of a land whose innocent victims are countless children and women all are crying to high haven.
This week's end topped my anger and my resolve with a news feature in The New York Times about scores of desperate and destitute Zimbabwe children whose plight takes them from hell into South Africa's milieu of the "unwelcome" and resentment.
Pushing the Borders
Are you following some interesting (not just new) blogs around Adventism these days? Share them in the comment section below.
Vol. 5, No. 1
I continue to be impressed by the ”new look”. It allows editors and tech staff to more comfortably handle illustration, advertisement, and format issues. In addition, this issue has lots of other things to recommend it including a Bouquet tossed in the direction of Angel Manuel Rodriguez! Check it out!
Vietnam has granted the Adventist Church Official Recognition.
“The last Adventist out of Saigon, Le Cong Giao, center, initiates the Communion service marking the government’s recognition of the Adventist denomination in Vietnam. About 130 delegates met in Ho Chi Minh City October 22 to 24 to approve the denomination’s reorganized Vietnamese Mission.” There are six Adventist church buildings in Vietnam and about 100 registered Adventist groups meeting in homes.
(Editor’s Note) It is amazing that Vietnam would have anything to do with the US after the war in which our “Christian” nation killed 2,000,000 Vietnamese, indiscriminately bombed, Ho Chi Minh City, and spread millions of tons of Agent Orange over its ecosystem and population. “Forgiveness” is a word we Americans have yet to comprehend. Perhaps the Vietnamese can be our teachers.
Jan Paulsen is traveling the world in his attempt to hold the Adventist Church together. His conversation with Bill Knott is chronicled in A Dynamic Church for Difficult Times is one more brave attempt to “keep the Adventist ship afloat”. The next General Conference President needs to listen carefully to what Paulsen has to say.
“Because previous GC sessions decided not to ordain women to gospel ministry, women haven’t had the same access to leadership positions. . . There’s no question that there has to be a more deliberate effort to correct that. We simply have to be more deliberate in choosing women as members of the General Conference Executive Committee. We also have to include more young lay professionals under age 35—not because they fill a leadership role in the church, but because they bring competencies and skills we very much need as we do the church’s business. We also need to ensure that they can serve for an adequate length of time—perhaps up to 10 years—so that they can function as productive and contributing members of the Executive Committee.”
When Allan R. Handysides and Peter N. Landless remind us that when our Global Church Preaches an Antismoking Message, it benefits the entire world.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO) report on tobacco for 2008, a person dies because of tobacco usage every six seconds. Tobacco kills between a third and a half of all the people who use it, and the 5 million who die each year from its consequences represent one tenth of all deaths in the world annually.
Of the world’s current population, 500 million will die of tobacco’s effects, and the twenty-first century could witness tobacco killing 1 billion people.
Secondhand smoke has serious health consequences. Some 46,000 cardiac deaths and 3,400 lung cancer deaths per year in the United States alone are attributed to secondhand tobacco smoke. The 200,000 episodes of childhood asthma, 71,900 preterm deliveries, and 24,500 low-birth-weight infants calculated to be a result of secondhand smoking in the U.S. surely give pause for reflection.
The Bounty and the Bible: How the Adventist message found its way to Pitcairn Island and stayed by Herbert Ford and Wilona Karimabadi is a brief history of the island’s secular and religious history. The story isn’t always pretty, and it has never been and is not today a “tropical paradise”. “Pitcairn Island has received worldwide attention during the last several years as reports of alleged criminal activities and subsequent legal trials have been covered by the media. Seventh-day Adventists on the island and throughout the world church are working toward bringing healing and reconciliation to those involved.”
Ministering the “Techie” Way by Carolyn Sutton and Cindy Waterhouse-Wheeler
is a nontraditional—but effective way to minister to a local and worldwide parish. This is brilliantly conceived, inexpensive evangelism. One can only imagine what fantastic things might happen if local, member supported organizations like Light Stream International and Terri and Ko Saelle’s ministry to the Hmong communities in the US (An Evangelistic Paradigm Shift) were funded like the traditional, ineffective and expensive evangelistic efforts like Share Hope, set to launch satellite events from Myrtle Beach on January 20.
It Is Finished by Rolf Pohler has difficulty explaining why Jesus had to die. I suspect that the difficulty lies in the basic atonement and satisfaction premise of his argument and Fundamenrtal Belief #9 of the Adventist Church. (I mean, Jesus could have died to save any repentant angel who was taken in by Lucifer and saved all this earthly mess, right?)
“But what was it then that made atonement and satisfaction—and therefore the death of Jesus—necessary? Is it the profound disgust that God, the Perfect and Holy One, feels for all injustice? Is it the disregard for His just and holy law (Rom. 7:12)—the reflection of His character—that must be punished? Do we feel something of the same indignation—indeed, the “righteous anger”—that God feels in the face of the million-fold presence of sin and appalling injustice (John 3:36; Rom. 1:18 ff.; 1 Thess. 1:10; Rev. 6:16 f.)?
“But that doesn’t mean that Jesus was trying to placate an angry God and move Him to be benevolent toward us. After all, it was the Father Himself who sent His Son into the world “that we might live through Him” (1 John 4:9 ff.). It was not necessary to win God over for us; He already was on our side. God does not love us because Jesus died for us; Jesus died because God loves us. God’s love is the reason and source, not the result or effect of the atonement.”
Ellen White: Who Was She?
Ellen White was more than “The Little Woman Who Talked About Jesus”. James R. Nix provides a brief, bland biography of a woman who deserves a more intelligent and personal account of her life. Ellen established our Church, survived the death of two of her children and the bullying of men more interested in establishing an organization than in warning the world of the soon coming of her Lord and establishing a theology based on New Testament truths. The other woman in the picture accompanying the article (I assume it to be her twin sister) is not identified and their relationship is not discussed.
The Gospel According to Mary
Angel Manuel Rodríguez tackles the question, “Is Mary, the sister of Martha, the same as Mary Magdalene?” and he does a pretty good job. Unfortunately, he confuses the issue by his first statement: “We know little about this Mary [of Bethany], unless she is identified with Mary Magdalene.” And later he goes on to speculate about how the two Marys might possibly be the same, even though “no historical evidence exists to support the position that they are the same person.” Rodriguez’ further speculation about this issue “cannot provide a final answer to the question.”
In his concluding paragraphs Rodriguez notes that Mary Magdalene played a “significant role in the gospel narrative. She almost became the disciple par excellence. She witnessed Jesus’ death on the cross (Matt. 27:55, 56; John 19:25) and accompanied His body to the tomb (Matt. 27:60, 61). On Sunday morning she was the first to get to Jesus’ tomb, and, seeing that it was empty, went and informed the disciples that someone had taken away Jesus’ body (John 20:1, 2).”
He concludes with the words, “If the resurrected Savior used women to proclaim to the male disciples that He was alive, we should also make full room for women in the proclamation of the eternal gospel.”
Way to go, Angel!
Here comes an earworm from Justice. . .
The classic French D.J. duo's 2003 remix of Simian's "Never Be Alone."
More Loma Linda School of Medicine graduates got there from Pacific Union College than any other school.
Seventh-day Adventist member of Congress, Roscoe Bartlett (R-MD) spoke at the March for Life in DC.
The Food and Drug Administration and Washington Adventist Hospital collaborate.
Pastor Bernie reports from the biennial North American Division Ministries Conference.
A evangelical church that meets on Saturdays and follows some Jewish rituals, confuses some.
Adventist Development and Relief Agency (ADRA) wins big award for HIV/AIDS radio drama in Malawi.
Southern Adventist University continues to have record enrollment.
A physician at Loma Linda University's new Heart and Surgical Hospital performed the facility's first robotic-assisted surgery this week.
And success continues at the City of Loma Linda's community garden:
In the beginning, word spread slowly through the community and demand was so light that gardeners were allowed a second plot to grow more food if they wanted it. But as word got out and food prices rose, the garden filled up and the city developed a 30-name waiting list of would-be gardeners, said Joanne Heilman, executive assistant to the Loma Linda city manager.
"Especially this past year, the way the economy has gone, a lot of people are looking for resources," Heilman said. "This is one of them."
The garden is so successful the city has opened a second one, with at least 15 plots, on the east side of Evans Street near Loma Linda University, she said.
KIGALI, Rwanda — Laurent Nkunda, the fearsome Congolese rebel leader whose national ambitions and brutal tactics threatened to destabilize eastern Congo, was arrested Thursday night along the Congolese-Rwandan border, United Nations officials said on Friday.
According to the United Nations officials and statements made by the Congolese military, Mr. Nkunda was trying to escape a joint Congolese-Rwandan military offensive that was intended to wipe out several rebel groups terrorizing eastern Congo.
He was captured at a small border town called Bunagana after trying to resist Rwandan troops. “He’s going to Kigali,” said Lt. Col. Jean-Paul Dietrich, a United Nations spokesman, referring to Rwanda’s capital.
The arrest could be a turning point for Congo, which has been mired in rebellion and bloodshed for much of the past decade. It was also a stunning turn of events because Rwanda had recently been accused of supporting Mr. Nkunda, who was widely considered to be an agent for Rwandan business and security interests in eastern Congo.
h/t Bonnie Dwyer
Spectrum has reported several times on his self-described, but officially tenuous, ties to Seventh-day Adventism.
The official church has stated:
Some media reports have claimed General Laurent Nkunda, leader of the National Council for the Defense of the People is affiliated with the church. He never served as a Seventh-
day Adventist pastor. While at times he has chosen to attend the church, he is not regarded as an active church member. His conduct and reported involvement in the conflict does not
represent Adventist values and lifestyle.
Seventh-day Adventists join the calls on all those engaged in the conflict in Congo to cease military activities and resort to peaceful methods of resolving any issues that might be causing the hostilities. Dialogue and negotiations are preferable to violence and the cry for war.
I will not be able to do justice to our trip, but I will make a few notes here, since so many people have asked me to.
We left Angwin at 6:00 pm on Saturday, January 17 and we just got back to Angwin a little while ago (shortly before Midnight on Wednesday, January 21). The entire trip was even better than I had imagined it would be. The Lord provided, though several of his angels, unexpected access to several special opportunities, and in the end we also got tickets to standing room areas pretty close to the podium, so that really helped.
We got to DC Sunday afternoon (after some adventures caused by naive Californians trying to drive out of Manhattan down the New Jersey Turnpike in snow) just as the concert was starting. We decided not to give up on it, and May (my wife) and Josh (my son) dropped Sasha and Chloé (my daughters) and me off as close as she could drive the car (about K street) and we walked down to near the Lincoln Memorial. By the time we got there they were no longer letting anyone in, and it was half way over, but we were able to hear very clearly the remaining singers and speakers. It was exciting to hear Usher, Stevie Wonder, and Bono and Beyoncé (among others) but the highlight for me was Pete Seeger and Bruce Springsteen singing "This Land is Your Land" which literally took my breath way, and was the first of several episodes of the shedding of tears.
Monday morning we drove down to St Elizabeth's, the oldest federal psychiatric hospital in the country. The Obama Inauguration page had a link to volunteer opportunities to participate in on MLK Day, and this one jumped out at me (my Abnormal Psychology class watched the classic documentary "The Asylum" about St E's while I was away). It turned out the group organizing the even was a support group for gay and lesbian young people, and the Gay and Lesbian Band of America, which marched in the Inauguration Parade the next day, was there too. We spent the morning visiting and playing games with the patients, and watching the band march and play.
Monday night Sasha and Chloé went to a special Bi-Partisan Dinner held in honor of John McCain. McCain, Joe Biden, and Barack Obama all spoke there, and "The Girls" (as we call them) got to see them all up close, and had pictures taken with some of them.
Tuesday morning we got up at 5:15 in the morning and took the Metro train down to the Capital. Our angels got us tickets in three different locations, so we had to split up - but we were all much (much) closer than we would have been otherwise. Josh and I entered at the Blue Gate, which put us standing on the right side of the capital (as we were facing it). We could not easily see the podium, but I was staring right at the conductor of the Marine Band, and we were right in front of huge big screen TV. It was COLD (I can not believe people live like that on a regular basis) but we were dressed pretty well for it. The lines were very long and the crowd was packed very tight, but, unbelievably, everyone was in a good and joyful mood throughout. Everybody helped each other out, nobody could stop smiling. I have not seen the ceremony yet on TV (I recorded it on my TiVo to watch later) so I don't know how it played at home, but the most moving moment was when Obama took the oath of office (more crying by most around me). Another very moving moment was when they put Teddy Kennedy on the Big Screen - everyone around me broke into a loud cheer. The funniest moment was probably when they put Joe Lieberman's picture on the Big Screen - everyone let out a long, deep and enthusiastic boo. It was also deeply moving when they showed John Lewis.
We had several opportunities to join the crowd in rousing, primitive cheering of O-Ba-Ma! O-Ba-Ma! Almost everyone around me had participated actively in the campaign in some way or another, and it really felt like a family out there.
I thought Obama's speech was stunning. What was striking about it from the crowd was how quiet everybody got. It was unbelievable how so many people could listen so carefully and do actively and so quietly. I would say the feeling during the speech itself was less emotional and more deeply thoughtful.
I will be interested to see what the reaction has been to Warren's prayer. After all was said and done it seemed to be pretty much of a non-event. He did not say anything (from what I can tell, I have not had a chance to read it yet) that was offensive, and it seemed to go OK.
After it was over Josh and I walked around the other end of the Capital (we were going to meet the rest of our family at Union Station). We were surprised to see when we got to the other end that now former President and Laura Bush and now current President Obama were standing out there - waiving to a group of people in front of them. After a few minutes the Bush's got into a helicopter and flew away - so Josh and I stumbled upon Bush's farewell to Washington. I tried really hard to stay positive during the weekend. Being President is not an easy job, and not everything Bush did was horrible. But I could not help but silently mouth "good riddance" as his helicopter flew away.
Walking around the Capital after the speech was a chance to share in the joy and hope of the day with so many different people from so many different places. One of the unexpected highlights was when they put the marvelous crowd shots on the big screen, and the crowd recognized itself, and collectively sucked in its breath and said, almost as one "that's us!". It was kind of like those pictures of the earth they took from space and showed on TV when I was a kid. From the moment we arrived in New York City (where all 5 of the cars rented to the people in line ahead of me were to people driving to DC for the Inauguration) to the flight home to San Francisco (when people saw the hat I had bought that says "Barack Obama, 44th President, January 20, 2009 and shared their feelings about the event) there was such a wave of good feeling and common purpose and hope and identity. Obviously there will be plenty of time for division and disagreement and mistakes - but all weekend we were proud not just to be Americans, but to be part of a circle of common humanity that seemed to be expanding.
I am glad we went.
Aubyn Fulton is Professor of Psychology at Pacific Union College.
The presidents of Adventism’s two theological societies—Zack Plantak, president of Adventist Society for Religious Studies and Roy Gane, the president of the Adventist Theological Society—will address a joint session of the two societies in New Orleans in November. This event will be a first. The two societies traditionally meet separately during the time of national scholarly meetings, although they have shared a meal or two in past years.
As program chair for this year’s ASRS sessions and the president-elect of ASRS, it is my pleasure to make this announcement.
Ethicist Plantak, who chairs the Columbia Union College Department of Religion, will speak to the topic of “Adventism and The Healing of the Nations.” Old Testament scholar Gane, who is professor or Hebrew Bible and Ancient Near Eastern Languages as well as director of the Ph.D. and Th.D. programs in religion at Andrews University, will address how to apply Biblical law to personal and social ethics. Discussion will follow thus providing for significant dialogue among the scholars. The meeting is scheduled for Friday evening, after the two groups have again shared a meal.
While some church members feel that it is healthy for Adventism to have more than one theological society, other observers, such as William Johnsson, the former editor of the Review, have lamented that there are two.
Privately, members of both Adventist societies have talked about ways to come together. November’s event will mark renewed attention to that goal.
Members of the ATS Administrative Committee have also decided that in 2009 all of their meetings will take place on Sabbath, Nov. 21, thus leaving open for their members the possibility of attending the ASRS meetings during the day on Friday.
Meanwhile, the call for papers for the ASRS meeting has gone forth.
“Priority will be given to those papers that engage the Biblical texts, philosophical ideas, and contemporary conditions concerning social ethics and human rights implicit in the theme Adventism and the Healing of the Nations,” the announcement said. Papers from all disciplines are elicited. The deadline is February 16.
My personal hope is that in addressing the healing of the nations, there will be some healing of Adventism as well.
I know that with President Obama in place, we're all avoiding simple sectarianism and parochialism, but it should be noted that two Adventists participated formally in the Inaugural events.
Barry Black prayed for the Congressional dinner which immediately followed the Inauguration. It was shown live on TV.
Wintley Phipps sang "Amazing Grace" for the interfaith prayer service which President Obama attended at the National Cathedral.
Did you watch it? Were you there? What did you think of it all?