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I Give Up

I’m sitting here without a plan. I do not even have a rough outline of where these thoughts will go. If I have a plan, it is simply to write because the Spectrum website needs a post for Thursday morning, and there is nothing else I want to talk about. I sit here writing now not knowing whether I will say anything coherent or whether this will be just tears and rage and hurt and fear and sadness transmitted from my brain, heart, and the knot in my stomach, down through to my fingers on a keyboard and up onto a screen.

If This Is Our Father’s World, Why Won’t We Call It Home?

Maltbie Babcock’s poem "This Is My Father’s World" was written just before the turn of the 20th century and adapted to music in 1915. The music version comprises only three of the original sixteen verses and has become an inter-denominational favorite. Throughout, Babcock sings to nature and nature’s God. He points to nature in its most ordinary: rocks, trees, and birds; the skies, seas, and the morning light.

Protestantism And Contemporary Individualism—Dialoguing with Zygmunt Bauman (1925-2017)

This year the Christian World commemorates the five-hundredth anniversary of the Protestant Reformation, an event that tradition tells us began on October 31, 1517 when Martin Luther posted his ninety-five theses on the door of the Castle Church in Wittenberg, Germany. At the center of this movement stands Luther’s rediscovery of the Gospel message: human beings do not earn their salvation by doing good works, but rather God freely offers salvation to all who believe.

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.

Find the Line

Religious liberty was in the news earlier this month as the man who was elected to the highest political office in the country signed an executive order that purported to relax enforcement of the Johnson Amendment. The Johnson Amendment restricts non-profits from endorsing political candidates in order to keep their tax-exempt status.

The Courage to Say ‘No!’ When the Bible Counsels Otherwise

For many of us, the Sabbath School hour is the most anticipated and enjoyable part of church ritual. I am a member of the “best” Sabbath School class anywhere in the Adventist universe. I know that’s hyperbole, but you’re welcome to believe that yours is better. My class is small to medium in size, composed mostly of retired Andrews University professors from different academic disciplines plus a handful of current AU teachers. Also included are a few brave souls like myself who have no affiliation to the AU teaching cadre. 

Which Ethics? For Which Future? Revisiting Miguel de Cervantes’s “Don Quixote”

American literary critic and Sterling Professor of Humanities at Yale University, Harold Bloom, states that Cervantes’s Don Quixote—the first modern novel—remains the finest. He argues that only Shakespeare comes close to Cervantes' genius and together are the central Western authors, at least since Dante. No writer since has matched them, not Tolstoy, Goethe, Dickens, Proust, or Joyce. Where then does Don Quixote’s genius reside?

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.

The Message

A couple of days ago a friend of mine posted on Facebook a quotation from Kurt Vonnegut that was critical of Christianity.1 In response, someone pointed out that Vonnegut was an atheist and questioned whether we should be seeking knowledge or enlightenment from him (I assume because he was an atheist although that was not explicitly stated).

Caring for Others with Our Catholic Siblings

Before interviewing for my current job, I first did some research on the company, a Catholic institution. I found it via Google and within moments was reading its mission statement and core values which was to “reveal God’s love for all, especially the poor and vulnerable, through our compassionate service.” Okay, I thought, I can embrace that.

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