(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.
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.
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.
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 twitchthat’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.
“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)
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.
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.
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