As I have stated in this space before, so much of the Christmas season is not related to Christmas at all. (This year’s foolish distraction? What Starbucksdoes or does not put on their cups.) As the Christmas holiday approaches this year, my mind is stuck on questions of ontology and causal determinism. To put it more simply – the importance of Christmas seems to me to not be found in the study of the when and the how.
I wrote last month about some of the pressures on pastors, and how that’s affecting the profession. There is a bright spot for Seventh-day Adventist pastors, though: if you’re a good pastor, you can leave ministry and still be a minister. In fact, that’s where the best pastors end up: in conference, union conference, division and General Conference offices.
On November 15, 2015, Argentinean and worldwide soccer legend Diego Armando Maradona had a second gastric operation after his doctor warned that the 55-year-old former player is 75 kg (165 pounds) over his ideal weight. In 2005 he had already undergone gastric bypass surgery to lose weight and has since developed various complications but, above all, has uncontrollably kept gaining weight. Dr Carlos Felipe Chaux performed both of Maradona's gastric surgeries. This time doctors put an adjustable width tight apron into the stomach to further reduce its capacity.
Fifty years ago this week, Rosa Parks refused to give up her seat, sparking the Montgomery Bus Boycott. For those less well versed in American Black History, this action is often looked at as a result of happenstance. Ms. Parks was tired. She refused to give up her seat to a white passenger simply because she needed to rest that day. The fact that she sparked a massive movement was more coincidental than intentional. But the truth is, this incident was deliberate and orchestrated. Ms. Parks and her civil rights husband lawyer were part of a team that meticulously planned the moment.
As I have stated in this space before, Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday. In my home, extravagant Christmas celebrations faded as I grew older, but Thanksgiving is the one holiday where my family is the most disappointed when we can’t all come together and thank God for his blessings of the past year. However there is a special feeling to Thanksgiving this year, as it is the first that I celebrate as a parent. Both my wife and I still feel the surreal nature of being parents to a new life while at the same time feeling like our daughter has been around forever.
Aside from growing up on a family farm, I’ve never worked at anything except being a parish pastor. When I studied for ministry I was motivated, as most of us are, by a search for answers to the disquieting questions in my own young heart. (Henri Nouwen had it right when he spoke of the “wounded healer” who heals others in the attempt to heal him or her self.) At the time, I didn’t know much about what it meant to be a pastor.
Expo 2015– the Universal Exposition hosted in Milan, Italy – closed few days ago on October 31, after six months and twenty million visitors from all over the world. Exhibits from 145 countries brought the best of their knowledge and technology on food production and distribution. The Japan Pavilion received the gold prize for the best exhibition. Milan Expo 2015 was held under the theme Feeding the Planet, Energy for Life, and the exhibitors divided their proposals and displays under seven subthemes:
- Science for Food Safety, Security and Quality
When a friend sent me David Corn’s column for Mother Jones a few weeks ago, it was like getting hit with bad news I already knew. Sooner or later, someone was going to peek behind the first serious Seventh-day Adventist presidential candidate, and begin to scrutinize the Seventh-day Adventist Church.
Some time ago I was sitting in what quite possibly was the most boring church service I have ever been in. (No, I won’t tell you where I was.) There couldn’t have been more than 50 people in the sanctuary, and I’m being generous. We sang no less than 5 hymns. All hymns were sung in a dry, slow manner. The sermon seemed uninspired, barely prepared, and was presented with no sense of conviction. It felt like we were in church for three hours. We were in church for about 70 minutes.