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Announcing a Summer Spectrum Role Shift

Alex Aamodt and Vaughn Nelson

Here at Spectrum, we are happy to announce several role transitions for the editorial team. I’ve been privileged to serve as the managing digital editor over the past two years and work with many of the incredible writers who contribute to the website. Now I’m transitioning to a new role as an editor-at-large for Spectrum. My principal focus will be reporting on the important stories across Adventism that we care so much about sharing with all of you, as well as helping with the transition to the updated Spectrum website that we are excited to showcase soon.

Vaughn Nelson is joining the team as the interim managing digital editor, taking over responsibility for the day-to-day work of running Spectrum’s digital presence. Raquel Mentor, associate digital editor, also continues as an indispensable team member who contributes to the editorial work and leads Spectrum’s social media presence.

“I’m happy to announce the following slight Spectrum role transitions, which will temporarily expand our editorial and journalism work through the summer,” says Alexander Carpenter, executive director. “This staffing flexibility is due to the generosity of Spectrum’s donors. Thank you! Spectrum’s tens of thousands of monthly readers will benefit from the talents of Alex Aamodt and Vaughn Nelson as they continue to serve the organization’s mission.”

Over the last few weeks, I’ve gotten to work alongside Vaughn and see his editorial talents in action, and I’m grateful that we all get to benefit from his presence!

—Alex Aamodt 

* * *

I am thrilled to be spending the next couple months sitting on this side of Spectrum’s digital editorial desk. I’m grateful to Alexander Carpenter’s generous invitation to join the Spectrum team part-time for the summer and to Alex Aamodt for the high bar he’s set managing the daily publishing on this website.

I hold deep appreciation for the community that generations of Adventist Forum/Spectrum members have cultivated and protected—a community that I have experienced most directly through its incarnations at La Sierra University and Southeastern California Conference. Growing up in a nurturing multigenerational Adventist family of pastors and health professionals, I was primed to love life in this faith tradition. As an emerging adult, I experienced the intellectual challenge, spiritual courage, and professional expansiveness of La Sierra and Southeastern that allowed me to question, grow, renegotiate, and stay.

Still one of the best decisions of my life, transferring as a junior to La Sierra University introduced me to faculty mentors in the then-School of Religion that educated heart, body, and mind as one. While completing a BA in Religious Studies and later an MDiv from the newly minted HMS Richards Divinity School, I learned the faith-affirming practice of deconstruction, the foundation-building value of questioning and doubt, and how it feels to trust in one’s bones that—in the words of Ellen White emblazoned on countless Fritz Guy handouts—truth can indeed afford to be fair.

Southeastern California Conference is also my professional home. Over fourteen years, three congregations gently and generously taught me to be a pastor. In 2014, I was ordained by the La Sierra University Church while serving alongside colleagues whom I admire and cherish immensely. 

Since September 2019, I have been working full-time on a PhD in Practical Theology at Boston University’s School of Theology. Now in the early stages of dissertation writing and field work, my subspecialty in Religious Education has developed into a focus on the pedagogical role of everyday religious eating practices in personal formation and social transformation. My research will include a case study of eating practices that are shaped by Adventist piety, in hopes of better understanding how they contribute to the formation of bodies, identities, dispositions, faith, and the politics entangled with each of these. I’m pursuing this particular question as part of my broader interest in the relationship between everyday religious habits and practices and the struggle for social-systemic justice—or, to borrow from the late anthropologist Saba Mahmood, the “politics of piety.” (My Spectrum journal article on disability and Sabbath is another expression of this same general interest.) When I reflect on the intellectual and spiritual genealogy of my questions, I realize that they can be traced back through dual convictions that were contagious in the communities I’ve mentioned: that the prophetic call to let justice roll down like water is meant urgently for this world, and that the diverse and distinct piety and embodied faith of the global Adventist community—in all its peculiarity—offer vigor and vitality necessary in responding to the prophets’ call.

I look forward to expanding my horizon of Adventist life and faith through this time at Spectrum and to helping facilitate community through conversation

—Vaughn Nelson


Alex Aamodt is editor-at-large and the Roy Branson Investigative Reporter for Spectrum. You can contact him here.

Vaughn Nelson is interim managing digital editor for Spectrum and a PhD candidate in Practical Theology at Boston University’s School of Theology. You can contact him here.

Title image by Spectrum.

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