Before interviewing for my current job, I first did some research on the company, a Catholic institution. I found it via Google and within moments was reading its mission statement and core values which was to “reveal God’s love for all, especially the poor and vulnerable, through our compassionate service.” Okay, I thought, I can embrace that.
Portuguese writer and 1998 Literature Nobel Prize winner, Jose Saramago, wrote a loose interpretation of the life of Jesus. Some of his provocative additions, that intended to fill up biblical blanks and to present a more human Jesus, resulted in the anathema of Portugal's political and catholic leaders. As a consequence, he left his country and went into exile in Spain where he died some years later.
By now, people have heard of Vice President Pence’s “policy” of avoiding eating with women except his wife. Many are applauding his stance as “respecting his wife” and “protecting himself from adultery.” To be clear, if you have an affair, you cannot blame that on a chef's salad. The Devil did not make you do it and neither did the lunch.
Recently, the Public Religion Research Institute (PRRI), a nonpartisan, nonprofit research organization released the results of a poll it conducted regarding religious liberty issues. The group found that 64% of respondents did not support religiously based refusals to serve gays and lesbians.
The elderly and pious Protestant sisters Martine and Philippa lived in a small village on the remote western coast of Jutland in 19th-century Denmark. Their father was a pastor who founded there a Lutheran congregation he wanted to be as rigorous, disciplined, and essential as the first Reformation communities. For this reason, he named his daughters in honor of the Reformers Martin Luther and Philipp Melanchthon. With their father now dead and the austere congregation drawing no new converts, the aging sisters preside over a dwindling congregation of white-haired believers.
The First Amendment of the United States guarantees that the government shall not establish a religion. Nor would it interfere with the free exercise of religion. There is a nice bright line between church and state that we who are believers appreciate and respect. That is why we do not ever talk about things that are political. And considering how Adventism was founded in America, it is no wonder that our church has historically avoided involvement in politics.
I routinely will myself toward optimism. It is easy to be pessimistic, not just lately but chronically. Recently, however, as an ethicist, I find it difficult to speak with any hope of being persuasive. For instance, in a Spectrum Sabbath School post in December , I was buzzing along writing about "character" in relation to the story of Job. “Lying,” I wrote, “was something that everyone knew was wrong and that eventually liars are marginalized in human society.” I stopped myself mid-sentence.