I am not a film expert, but after viewing the blockbuster movie “Ray,” I can see why Jamie Foxx was awarded the Oscar for best actor for his portrayal of music legend Ray Charles. This hauntingly honest biography reveals a journey filled with tragedy and triumph, failures and faith, cowardice and courage, and helplessness and hope. Not long after witnessing his brother drown in a tub of water, the young Ray was to experience personal tragedy when his vision was cruelly snatched away from him.
In the gospel According to John the word “world” is, without a doubt, semantically rich. This word appears more than sixty times in the text, and if one does not pay attention it is relatively easy to misinterpret its message or conclude that the gospel contradicts itself. It is necessary, therefore, to do an analysis of its usage.
One of the benefits of studying church history is that it helps you see how much change there has been in Christian teachings through the years. By “church” I mean not just this denomination, but the whole sweep of Christianity that Ellen White reviews in The Great Controversy. In each era there are the faithful and the enemies of the faithful—and of course the whole point of that book is that in the end, the enemies lose and the faithful get their reward.
If woman was indeed created fully human with all the functions, abilities and inherent capacities of man including the desires, dreams and aspirations of same, and if God arbitrarily (for her own good) placed her in subjection, limiting her choices and spheres (either as punishment or more benignly for her protection) then women’s reaction to his restriction could only be submission, (using subjection as an excuse for not exercising accountable dominion) denial, (labeling her natural God-given aspirations and inner callings as evil or temptations of the devil) or rebellion (risking death ra
I’m not big on New Year’s resolutions and it’s been years since I spent hours on the first day of the year calling everyone in my address book. The truth is, the annual resetting of the calendar brings me more pain than joy. I’ve long rejected the samsara influenced myth that sees the first day of January as some sort of magical reset button. Oh, I wish we did have an opportunity to do some things over, but experience has taught me that this is absolutely impossible.
The Adventist church, like many conservative Christian denominations, takes an official position condemning homosexuality. The 1999 General Conference Annual Council approved a position statement, found on the church’s website at http://www.adventist.org/beliefs/statements/main-stat46.html that states:
I had a colleague (this was years ago) who was assigned to a small town church whose members opposed any celebration of Christmas. When December came, the church members would drive past and peer in the parsonage windows, to check whether the new pastor’s family had Christmas decorations. So when my friend’s wife insisted they have a Christmas tree for their little boy, they had to set it up in the bathtub, that being the only room the church members couldn’t readily see into!
One of the characteristics of the gospel According to John is that the main events in the life of Jesus are connected to Jewish feasts or specific times. The expulsion of the money changers and traders from the temple happened on a Passover (2:13). The feeding of the five thousand took place on another Passover (6: 4). Apparently Jesus did not go up to Jerusalem for this one. The healing of the paralytic at the portals of the Pool of Bethesda in Jerusalem was done on “a feast of the Jews” (5: 1).
This season’s Republican primary battle makes one wonder if the leading contestants have secretly signed a deal with a reality television promoter. It appears that every day brings a story more shocking than the previous revelation as the drama intensifies by the minute. While the plot thickens, the needle on the public shockometer hardly registers as people’s sensitivities are seemingly immunized to the bizarre dysfunction.
Georgia on His Mind
In Matthew 5, Jesus talks of the importance of little things, things as small as the dot over an i. Lynne Truss in her 2004 best seller makes the same point in the title of her book,” Eats, Shoots and Leaves”. Is this a statement about a murderous dinner guest? Or, sans comma, could it describe the diet of a panda?
Recently I watched an interview with the polished and handsome Mitt Romney. He’ll quite possibly be the nominee for his party next year, and even if he isn’t, he’ll have left a big footprint on the American political landscape. I don’t like everything he stands for (if you can figure out what that is), but he’s clearly smart and pragmatic and, from what I can tell, at least as moral as some of the previous inhabitants of that office.
And he’s a Mormon.
The gospel According to John invites us to enter an environment quite different from the one we have become accustomed to in the synoptic gospels. In these gospels Jesus preaches about the kingdom of God by means of parables that describe activities and objects of everyday village life. In According to John, as we have already pointed out in previous columns, Jesus preaches himself as the One Sent by the Father. His message is “I Am”.
Sunday morning delegates to North American Division year-end meetings addressed the Great Controversy Project, a favorite initiative of the General Conference President, Ted Wilson. The project involves raising the money and finding the will for mass distribution of Ellen White’s famous book, and many NAD leaders appear to have mixed feelings about it.
“Hope and Wholeness.” That, in a phrase, is what the North American Division has embraced as its mission.
Friday morning the North American Division year-end meeting began with a reading of world Adventism’s current mission statement, an admirable if somewhat conventional document of about a paragraph in length. Then NAD President Dan Jackson introduced a summary version that would express, for North America, the kernel of the world church’s statement.
It was my mentor, Dr. Jack Provansha, who introduced me to Hans Kung, a Catholic theologian from the University of Tubingen. (1) Having read Kung, (and not being struck dead by lightening) I went on to read other serious Catholic theologians such as John Wijngaards, Karl Rahner, Edward Schillebeeck, Anthony Tambasco and more devotional writers such as Father John Powell. I discovered the novels and the ‘who-done-it’s’ by the Catholic sociologist, Andrew Greeley and found these to be a great source for understanding the cultural context of Catholicism.