Scottish actor and producer Ewan McGregor released, some weeks before Christmas 2016, a streamlined screen adaptation of Philip Roth’s novel, American Pastoral. The movie encapsulates a complex literary masterpiece that was awarded the 1998 Pulitzer Prize for best fiction. McGregor's revisitation puts us, as does the book itself, in front of an old ethical dilemma: the continuity between actions and effects. Can our well-intended actions always produce immediate, direct, and predictable effects?
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.
In the summer of 2003, a remarkably well-preserved T-Rex specimen was unearthed in the Hell Creek Formation in Montana. A small team of researchers, led by Mary Schweitzer, took a piece of its femur, dissolved away the outer mineral matrix and were greatly surprised to find structural remains of blood vessels – hollow and flexible.
As we come to the close of another year, I am willing to admit that this year has been a tough one for me in Adventism. From both a personal and institutional perspective, things happened this year that troubled me with regard to how this church treats the least of us. These things trouble me because I have a long history with the Adventist Church. I was born into the church and baptized at eight years old. While I was in college, I took some time to explore other religions and denominations but stayed with Adventism.
"There is one and only one social responsibility of business—to use its resources and engage in activities designed to increase its profits…." – so said Milton Friedman, an influential interpreter of Adam Smith for American capitalism.i Although Friedman has now died, his influence in American business culture is ubiquitous.
The unique mixture of Adventist lifestyle characteristics described in last month's column ("Holism, Pro-activity, and Self-esteem") have been recognized, praised, and even raised up as a convincing lifestyle paradigm for non-Adventists. They have been the subject of significant U.S.A.
In the movie Men in Black, Agent Kay (Tommy Lee Jones) tells Agent Jay (Will Smith), “A person is smart. People are dumb, panicky dangerous animals, and you know it.” When I add the concept of empathy to this quote, I find that it helps me to understand how our country could elect an open and unabashed racist, misogynistic, homophobic xenophobe as president just over two weeks ago.