Satan’s manifesting himself in extraordinary ways isn’t a new idea to those of us who grew up in the Seventh-day Adventist church. When I was a teenager there was a brisk traffic in stories about Satan’s activity, usually involving Ouija boards and seances. Some foolish boarding academy teachers even read them to us for vespers (remember the Ouija board that wouldn’t burn and kept reappearing in the closet?) resulting in sleepless Friday nights among children for whom life was challenging enough just being away from home without anything else to frighten them.
Already in antiquity it was recognized that the Gospel According to John is different from the other three canonical gospels. The narratives in According to Matthew, According to Mark and According to Luke tell a single congruent story, while containing elements peculiar to each In them, the life and ministry of Jesus consist, basically, of a short period spent in Galilee of the Gentiles during which Jesus distinguishes himself by his miracles and his controversies with Pharisees.
Here in the United States, it seems as if the election cycle never ends. No sooner than an elected official is sworn in, his or her opponents begin their nasty usurpation quest. They and their supporters seem to do everything in their power to thwart the plans of the person in office, as they seek every opportunity to pounce on trivial shortcomings–whether real or imagined. For those of us who have become frustrated with the constant political posturing and endless campaigning, this is more than a “silly season” it is a pilotless runaway train.
“If we truly want a less violent society, not hitting our children is a good place to start,” was Paul Holinger’s response to the editor of the New York Times following a recent article on the status of “paddling” in the nation’s school systems. Dr. Holinger went on to say, “I see the carnage of physical punishment every day in the office. Physical punishment is a major public health problem in this country.”
I believe most Seventh-day Adventists welcome the call to revival and reformation. Most of us feel our spiritual deficiency—personal and collective—and would like to do something about it.
Last Sunday, as bemused citizens in scattered areas of Alabama, Georgia and Tennessee faced the reality of a seriously devastating multiple tornado attack, the President of the United States made a surprise “mission accomplished” speech. During the elections, the resilient rookie Senator from Illinois had promised to hunt down and kill the man whom the Bush administration blamed for the unnatural disaster that shook New York on September 11, 2001.
The most satisfying accession to the church I’ve ever experienced was with a young family with no Seventh-day Adventist connections that just showed up at church one day, and after a few months of attending came to me after services and said, “We love this church. Everyone is so nice. The worship services are a blessing. We’d like to become members.” I gave them some basic instruction (they’d gotten a good background to our central beliefs just through sermons and Sabbath School) and baptized them. It was, to me, the perfect way for someone to come into our church.
During Colonial times, the story is told of a benevolent woman who dedicated her life to providing medical service in the country of Haiti. While she was much loved by the Haitian people, she was still a foreigner. She was the outsider who came with superior skill and resources to “help” those deemed less capable and knowledgeable. And she kept close control over these resources.
Even after there were Haitian medical Doctors working in her clinic – she kept the key to the drug cabinet on a chain around her neck. If an operation were needed i
While Gen. 2: 4b – 4: 26 is a narrative, with a plot and recognizable actors, Gen. 1: 1 – 2: 4a is not. The narrative flow that characterizes Gen. 2 - 4 is absent in Gen. 1. Its architectonic structure makes for notable rigidity. It is like a building which has the scaffolding used for its construction still visible. The formulas that sustain the presentation are monotonously repeated: “And God said,” “And it was so”, “And God called it ‘thus’”, “And God saw that it was good”, “And it was evening and morning of day . .
Tomorrow was Passover. He must speak to his people. After many years of neglect, he had ordered the Temple Service restored and had made an edict that the yearly feasts would be celebrated.
Israel had neglected worship of Yahweh and fallen into apostasy. King Solomon knew it was due in large part to his own lack of leadership and his woefully poor example. His sins were now reflected in the lives of his countrymen.
Years ago I worked for a denominational leader who was so bad (there is no need to qualify that word—name a quality of leadership and he didn’t have it) that he nearly drove me and a number of my friends from ministry. Within a few weeks after I was ordained we were driving down the road to a call in another conference.
I recently recalled my painful experience of watching Hotel Rwanda. Nominated for three Academy Awards® and two Golden Globes®, Hotel Rwanda tells the true story of Paul Rusesabagina, a Hutu hotel manager who helped to save the life of over 1,200 Tutsi fugitives during the 1994 Rwandan conflict. As the nations of the world turned their heads, the Hutu military–assisted by gangs of radical extremists and the French army–conducted the most atrocious act of genocide in recent history as they slaughtered almost one million Tutsis and moderate Hutus.
I have always known that there are different kinds of Seventh-day Adventists, but nothing has brought that home like the discussions on this forum. Given all that we have in common with one another (more commonalities than differences, I’m quite sure) why do we so quickly fall into conflict?
Is it just about how we interpret the Bible? Mere intellectual differences would seem fairly easy to deal with, not unlike scientists discussing the meaning of a difficult gene sequence. Even if we couldn’t agree, it shouldn’t have to lead to angry, emotional accusations.
The Wisdom tradition flourished in Israel among the courtesans and the scribes who worked for the king. As such, those who sought after wisdom were people with social and economic advantages, agents of the king in diplomatic missions and members of the bureaucracy that keeps close to the centers of political power. What in the East was called wisdom came to be known as philosophy in Greece. In its origins wisdom had to do with the behavior to be adopted by those who live the way life should be lived.
As I write this column, all eyes are focused on Ham’s progeny as multitudes in the north of the African continent rise up against repressive systems of government. Changes have already been initiated in Algeria and Jordan (yes, Jordan is located in Hamitic territory), and pundits and politicians in the West are predicting and prodding regime change in the world’s oldest civilization. While the decades old regimes do have a faithful cadre of supporters, it is those who have been denied a voice that have dared to overpower the powerful with their demands for democracy.