According to the Spanish essayist and philosopher Miguel de Unamuno (The Tragic Sense of Life in Men and Nations, Madrid 1912), pain is the universal human experience of vulnerability and woundedness. It has an objective dimension usually given by the presence of physical damage and a subjective perception conditioned by the religious, cultural and psychological background of the involved person.
This week I found myself fascinated by the reviews written by Tom De Bruin and Clifford Goldstein on Reinder Bruinsma’s Facing Doubt: A Book for Adventist Believers ‘On the Margins.’ The content of the reviews themselves is not what ultimately drew me to extended thought on these pieces. Instead, I marveled at the ability of two people to see one thing in such drastically different ways. My enthrallment was dulled somewhat when I thought about the current state of our society on so many subjects, particularly with regards to racism and sexism.
The second goal of the recent national meeting of SDA bioethicists was to “explore the potential for future cooperation in bioethics across the Adventist health systems.” I am excited at the possibilities but see two challenges to this idea within Adventist healthcare in the United States.
Last Sunday, an average summer day, I was driving with my family from Florence to the Tyrrhenian sea, in the beautiful Tuscany landscape. My thoughts were absorbed in organizing my weekly schedule when suddenly Daniel, my oldest son, put music on for his submissive audience in the car. It was Dream Theather's song, “Peruvian Skies”. Similar to E.
Our church has had some major disagreements. We've disagreed on the bounds of academic freedom, had vigorous debates on the role of women, had protracted discourses about race relations, and fervent volleys regarding homosexuality. There have been heated and passionate pleas among all those involved in these conversations. People quote texts and cite personal experience. People get upset, some cry, or even leave. Some become persuaded, some have changes of heart, some become champions for positions they previously disdained.
From the time I first heard the then-newly-popular explanation of spiritual gifts back in the 80’s, I’ve had my reservations about it. It just seemed entirely too convenient that you could distill out of the Pauline epistles a checklist of Divinely-supplied skills so tidy that you could make them into a vocational aptitude test and assign every member his place in the whole.