Where is the Wind Blowing?

"Sometimes very important elections receive very little attention," writes E. J. Dionne Jr. in the Washington Post.

The big news is the surprise election of the most moderate president that the Southern Baptist Convention has had in almost thirty years. He adds: The mellowing of evangelical Christianity may well be the big American
religious story of this decade. And significant for the Adventist blogger community: One other force was at work in this year's Baptist voting: the rise of the blogosphere.  Over
the past several years, an active network of Baptist bloggers has
opened up discussion in the convention and given reformers and
moderates avenues around what Parham called "the Baptist establishment
papers" and other means of communication controlled by the convention's
leadership. Thus may some of our oldest and most traditional
institutions be transformed by new technologies. Read the whole article here.

Art: PBS Series, "Art in the 21st Century"

By: Sharon
Fujimoto-Johnson

How does contemporary art address the idea of spirituality? In the first season of the PBS series, "Art in the 21st Century," one program was dedicated to exploring this question through the work of five contemporary artists:

  • Beryl Korot harnesses the power of modern technology to create a space for reflection and intimacy.
  • Ann Hamilton, an experimental and tactile artist, explores the creation of art using bubbles.
  • John Feodorov seeks to blend his Native American heritage and humor.
  • Shahzia Sikander's paintings explore the balance between Islam and life in America.
  • James Turrell has devoted his life to capturing the ethereal properties of light and its powers to evoke transcendence and the sublime.

This series is now available on DVD and VHS, but the web site itself provides a wealth of photo galleries and video clips and is definitely worth exploring. There is also a companion book to the series:

In it, Lynn M. Herbert writes, "The realm of
the spiritual is... a
place where we are encouraged to explore the unknown."

Art itself remains relatively unexplored in Adventist circles--or so it would seem to me. Do you agree? Where is art in Adventism? How might we explore the spiritual in visual arts? And how might the creation and appreciation of art enrich the spiritual experience? Who is God as Creator and Artist? These are some of the questions I'm interested in exploring in the art-related posts on this blog.

A Brief History of Gay Adventism

"Nothing in the world is quite like growing up a Seventh-day Adventist and then discovering you are gay.We have always been taught that Christianity and being gay don't go
together. This dilemma can be devastating to gay Seventh-day Adventists who find themselves in the torment of reconciling their sexual
orientation with religious teachings." Learn the history of Kinship International.

Mr. Cox Brings It Home

Regarding the National Religious Campaign Against Torture, Adventist Pulpit writes: "At a time when many are pushing for a more prominent public display of
the 10 commandments I think it is valuable to see religous leaders
seeking to do more than just show the commandments, but live the
principles of the faith by calling for an end to US sponsored torture."Preach it.  And so should every American pastor.

Adventist Leadership Misses Torture (Statement)

Given these official, voted statements by the Seventh-day Adventist church:

A Statement on Tolerance


Religious Minorities and Religious Freedom: A Statement of Commitment and Concern

On Being Transformed in Christ—An Affirmation of Christian Values and Quality of Life

A Seventh-day Adventist Call for Peace

and Adventist best-seller The Man Who Couldn't Be Killed:

"His face was swollen from the beating the
night before. His legs throbbed from standing through endless hours of
interrogation. . .his persecutors thought they had taken away Mr. Wong's religious freedom."

Why did the Seventh-day Adventist church NOT join the significant statement in today's New York Times by the non-partisan National Religious Campaign Against Torture?

Or maybe those Baptists, Evangelicals, Sikhs and Nobel laureates Pres. Jimmy Carter and Elie Weisel are just getting too wimpy.

Just about a month ago, Senator John McCain reminded Adventist leaders that leadership is tied to moral standing.

"Citing recent problems at the Abu Ghraib
prison in
Iraq, McCain, himself a survivor of torture as a prisoner of war in
Vietnam's infamous 'Hanoi Hilton,' said the nation must do better:
'Because we hold others to a standard, we must be even more scrupulous
in our own affairs. This does not mean that America has always been
perfect. Nor does it mean that we are perfect today. But we must strive
for perfection, whether it means interrogating enemy detainees in
accordance with our values or treating immigrants as individuals
possessing of certain basic human rights. Only by acting in accordance
with our values can we further the interests we seek abroad."

Senator McCain has called for an end to American torture. And he backs up his words with works.

Perhaps the remnant leadership should do the same.
If only the Adventist Peace Fellowship wasn't so works oriented. Just showin' everyone up.

Essential Reading

Monte Sahlin's blog on religion, values, and contemporary issues gives readers a quick digest of information relevent to the Adventist context.

His quick summary on how the Da Vinci Code functions within postmodern religious discourse gets well beyond the usual platitudes.

Monte writes:

"The idea that the largest religious establishments in the world today
are corrupt and have engaged in massive cover-up over the years is
entirely believable to the average person. It has already been proved
to them in contemporary headlines. If you must teach your children that
they most not entirely trust the youth pastor or parish priest, then
why should it seem strange to wonder if basic doctrines are somehow
untrustworthy?"

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Art: Spring 2006 Cover

By: Sharon
Fujimoto-Johnson

 

When we took on a complete redesign of Spectrum around eight years ago,
Bonnie Dwyer, editor, and I were intent on incorporating more visual art into the
magazine, beginning with full-color artwork on each cover. Clearly I'm biased,
but I happen to think that Spectrum continues to be a visually-attractive
magazine. It will be a pleasure to post here from time to time on art-related
topics, such as the art in each new issue of Spectrum, Adventist artists, and
the broader world of Christian art.The cover art for the Spring 2006 issue is
an old photograph taken by Arthur Maxwell, who is best known as "Uncle Arthur" of the classic children's
book series, The Bible Story and Uncle Arthur's Bedtime Stories:

This photo of Arthur Maxwell's sons,
Malcom and Graham, was originally used on the cover of an early edition of
Uncle Arthur's Bedtime Stories. (Incidentally, storytelling continues in the Maxwell
family. Several other
Maxwells
, including Graham, are now writers as well.)

For many of us who grew up in Adventist
homes, Maxwell's books are familiar icons of an Adventist childhood, much like Fri-Chik or Pathfinders. In this issue of Spectrum,
Lynn Neumann McDowell writes that "Uncle Arthur may well rival Ellen White as
the most influential author in Adventism."
 
And speaking of Ellen, an article by artist John Hoyt in the current issue
features James and Ellen as the American Gothic couple:

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