Columns

The Weight of Familiarity

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Awhile back I took my MacBook up to the church audiovisual station and asked the technicians to show my sermon slides from it. Afterward my friend Johnny, one of our AV volunteers, said, "I really hate Macs."

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What About Dissidents?

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The statistics about retention of recently baptized members are not encouraging. A year or two after a large baptism in Latin America, very few are still members of the Church. In the United States, where large baptisms are unknown, the young are the ones who leave.

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The Expert

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Did you know that Newton’s second law of thermodynamics states that “for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction”? I did. Did you know that it is absolutely impossible for water when heated to surpass 100 degrees Celsius? I did.

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The Creation Wars

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Working scientists agree, overwhelmingly, that evolution explains much of what we see in nature. Many Christians, including some with doctorates in science, reject this consensus.

The conflict reaches deep into Adventism, and has the potential, as everyone knows, to tear our church apart.

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Adam Smith and the Human Impossibility of Benevolence

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Those who plunged the entire world into our current economic difficulties have no right to claim Adam Smith, the so-called “father” of capitalism in eighteenth-century Scotland, as their intellectual and moral father, or so I have argued in three previous columns.

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Faith and Hope

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This quarter’s Sabbath School lessons deal with the church’s basic themes. The author and the editors of the lessons, I am afraid, do not treat faith and hope in a way that allows the highlighting of their essential features.

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Some Things I Am Unable to Understand

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I’m taking a page from Solomon this week: his listing of several things, often unrelated, plus an extra, that puzzle or amaze him.

Here are some things that I wonder about.

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Adventists and Interfaith Weddings

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“Where’d you get married?” I asked.

“In Jim’s church,” Terry said. Jim is a Seventh-day Adventist; Terry isn’t. “The Adventist pastor stood up in front with us and preached a sermon” she said.

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Prophets and Trust: A Reply to the Biblical Research Institute

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The April newsletter from the Biblical Research Institute at the world headquarters of the Seventh-day Adventist Church in Silver Spring, Maryland, features interesting articles.

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On Our Propensity to Gossip

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(I write my columns in Spanish for the Café Hispano audience, afterward I translate them into English.)

As I mentioned last month, since 1973 I have benefited from the fellowship of my sisters and brothers who share my culture in the Spanish Church of Berrien Springs, Michigan. This is a singular church that provides a Spanish enclave for the many students from Latin America who go to Andrews University.

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The Church in Black and White

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A few years ago at a pastors’ meeting, one of the young pastors publicly asked our conference president, “Are you doing anything to try to bring the black regional conferences and the regular conferences together? It is a scandal that we can’t work under one conference structure.”

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Sorting Out the Testaments

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In the new believer’s class I teach in my church, I always begin with the statement that “95 percent of what we Seventh-day Adventists believe we share with most other Protestant Christians.” What makes up that differing 5 percent? “The Sabbath, of course” I reply.

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Getting Rid of Self and Revival Religion

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I have been a member of the Spanish Seventh-day Adventist Church in Berrien Springs since it was organized in 1973. I have attended worship services in other churches in the area only on rare occasions. A few weeks ago, however, I could not attend my church because I was sick.

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The Christian Blue Pages

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When I was in my late teens, my father, who’d been a farmer all of his life, diversified into selling farm equipment. He set up an office and repair shop in town. I had just decided to be a theology major and was going through an especially intense phase of religious life, so I insisted that in his new office he hang a picture of Jesus (Sallman’s head, of course) and have a Bible on his desk, Amazing Facts brochures on the coffee table, and Bible text plaques on the wall.

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Church and State

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During my long life, I have felt good with my Uruguayan citizenship. I was born and went to my first grades in school in Montevideo. Uruguay had by then established a democratic and progressive system of government. Its educational system was a copy of the French, and its civic culture had been strongly influenced by the Enlightenment.

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What Kind of Future Should We Hope For?

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I’m not an especially emotional person. But the inauguration of Barack Obama brought me about as close as I am likely to get to being moved by a televised event. It wasn’t the screaming fans or the non-stop coverage of the Obama family’s every twitch—that’s just celebrity excitement, and often pretty shallow. It was the realization that we have taken first steps to move beyond a huge national shame.

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Adam Smith: Selfishness or Self-Interest?

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“Two hundred and thirty years ago,” Harvard economist Edward L. Glaeser recently declared in the New York Times, “Adam Smith made the case for selfishness when he wrote that ‘it is not from the benevolence of the butcher, the brewer, or the baker, that we expect our dinner, but from their regard to their own self-interest.'”1 (Emphasis mine)

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The Truth of Christianity

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Christians have had an easy time deciding, in truth, what Christianity is about. That is why many types of Christians exist. Many people affirm that there is only one way of being a true Christian: Theirs is the only true Christianity. In my youth, I must admit, I was counted among them, but this way of thinking is one of the many things that I left behind as I matured in the faith.

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Why Adventist K-12 Education Struggles

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I am about to make some critical observations about the state of Adventist K-12 education. So before you hand your coats to Saul and gather stones, some explanations.

First, I’m a product of Adventist education, and I owe it a great deal. Adventist education gave me a bigger world than the neighbor friends I grew up with.

Second, I want it to succeed. I am a pastor of a church with a lovely new church school building, and I want to see it bursting with children.

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Milton Friedman: Master of Disaster?

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When I suggest that the primary cause of our current economic difficulties is our frequent failure to integrate in theory and practice what Adam Smith (the eighteenth century so-called “father” of capitalism) meant by sympathy and self-interest, I have in mind things like these influential paragraphs that economics Nobel Prize winner Milton Friedman published forty years
ago:1

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Sat, 09/13/2014 | San Diego Adventist Forum
Terrie Dopp Aamodt, PhD

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