Carlos Raphael of Louisville, Kentucky graciously granted me permission to use one of his artistic creations for the cover design of my book, The Faith Factor. Titled “Ms. Rosa in Strength,” the painting depicts the painful struggle for Black liberation in the United States of America during the Civil Rights era of the 1950s and 60s. At the center of the otherwise somber collage is the profile of a colorful and jovial Rosa Parks who is encircled by strategically placed sepia portrayals of three contemplative religious icons of the movement: Dr.
To point out instances where we human beings don’t practice consistent values is easy. Things that should be important aren’t, and things that aren’t important get elevated to the status of “central to life”.
On Monday, President Barack Obama was publicly sworn in for his second term as president of the United States. Every inauguration is celebrated as a testament to the peaceful transition (or in this case continuation) of power and to the democratic system. For me and many others, the luster of the festivities was tarnished by a tweet from Pastor Mark Driscoll, a Calvinist pastor who is popular in conservative evangelical circles.
Christians in general, and Adventists in particular, often have contentious discussions on how to understand scripture as it relates to the physical and interpersonal world. Within Adventism prominent hot button issues are: homosexuality, role of women and faith & science. The positions we form depend, at minimum, on two general categories: evidence and argumentative method (how we reason out the argument). Both can have problems independent of each other.
It was Shakespeare who opined, “All the world’s a stage, and all the men and women merely players.” These famous words from the pastoral comedy, “As You Like It,” serve as the first two lines of a monologue depicting the seven acts experienced by every human on the journey from birth to death. However, in our age of reality television where newsrooms have been hijacked by shameless ideologues and provocateurs of sensationalism, the relevance of these lines extends beyond the individual to include all who have become objects of the public eye.
Last week, the big news in Adventism came from Uganda. On Monday of that week Pastor Balsious Ruguri, church president for East and Central Africa, came out in support of the Anti-Homosexuality Bill in Uganda. The bill, which is colloquially known as the “Kill the Gays” bill, makes it a crime to engage in homosexual activity in the country. Penalties includelife imprisonment and the death penalty in some cases.
On the day the Waco standoff came to a climax, I was on my way to a class with a dozen other pastors of various denominations for my doctoral program at the San Francisco Theological Seminary. Naturally, everyone was talking about it when I arrived. I remember the teacher turning to me as I walked in and saying, “Loren can tell us about these Waco people. They’re Seventh-day Adventists.”
The gospel According to John is a fascinating document. There is little doubt that of the four gospels, it is the one that since antiquity has inspired Christians the most. According to Mark shines for its sharp focus on the one who came to give his life a ransom for many and will appear triumphant at the imminent Parousía.