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Party!: The Spectrum Blog turns one year old

By Alexander Carpenter
Let’s celebrate the people who make the Spectrum Blog an interesting conversation to follow. Now at a good soiree, you wander around and meet people and converse while trying to balance your petit fours and beverage. I’ve solicited a favorite Adventist image from contributers Sharon and Johnny and a favorite Adventist sentence from Nathan. And Bonnie handles the food. Also, since Tom and Elaine are our most loyal commenters, here’s a photo and some biography. Treat this post like a Spectrum Blog party and meet some of the people who make thoughtful Adventism real.
a Devilishly Fun Idea
Bonnie Dwyer
ideas blossom around tables, and so it was with the Spectrum Blog.
A year ago, four of us, Alex Carpenter, Leigh Johnsen, Sharon
Fujimoto-Johnson and I, €”met at   a restaurant in Davis,
California to discuss the idea of adding blogs to the web site. It
was a beautiful June day. We chose an outside table, and the
conversation began. An hour or so later, we left with a plan in
place, and the Spectrum Blog was born.
week we met again, via conference call. Johnny Ramirez joined us and
the plan that we discussed was the next version of the web site. Not
to get ahead of ourselves, because there is plenty to do to get us to
web 2.0, but work has begun on an integrated site that is completely
interactive and networked for great conversations.
the conference call Alex reminded us of our anniversary this week and
I volunteered to do the food for the celebration. Now food on a blog
site is tricky. You don’€™t want to spill on your computer and
gum up the works. Finger foods would seem to be best, but you don’t
want sticky fingers either.
come to mind. Chocolate cookies. Lillie, a friend from church,
recently shared with me her double chocolate chip cookie recipe.
They’€™re quick and easy, €”just the thing to make on Friday
afternoon for Sabbath munchies. Plus, they have a major ingredient
that is similar to any complicated project that can be described by
saying, the devil’s in the details.”Well, the
devil’€™s (food cake mix) is in the cookies. Here’s the
recipe so you can join in the celebration by making a batch. Or,
since this is a blog, share your favorite cookie recipe with the rest
of us.
Chocolate Chip Cookies
pkg. Devil’€™s food cake mix½
cup butter or margarine1
tsp.  vanilla2
cup chopped nuts1
cup chocolate chipsInstructions:1. Beat half of the
dry cake mix with the butter, vanilla, and eggs at medium speed in a
food processor.
2. Stir in the rest
of the mix, nuts, and chocolate chips.3. Drop dough by
teaspoon about 2″ apart on an ungreased cookie sheet.4. Bake 10-12 minutes
at 350 degrees.
Meet Dr. Thomas J. Zwemer:

Vice President for Academic Affairs, Emeritus of the Medical College of
Georgia. His academic career covers 42 years starting at Marquette
University, Milwaukee, Wisconsin, following at Loma Linda University,
Loma Linda, California, and the Medical College of Georgia, Augusta,
GA. Tom served two terms on the Board of Trustees of Loma Linda
University and three terms on the Board of Trustees of Southern
Missionary College. Tom completed his pre-dental education at Emmanuel
Missionary College and Atlantic Union College. Tom is an alumnus of The
College of Dentistry, University of Illinois, Chicago and the School of
Graduate Studies Northwestern University. Tom is a veteran of WWII
serving as a medic attached to the 40th Infantry Division in the South
Pacific. Tom is married to Betty L. Johnson Zwemer of Jamestown, N.Y.
they have three children, three grandchildren, and one great grandchild
Meet Elaine Nelson:
Grew up in Bible Belt South as a Preacher’s kid.  All
education through first year college at SDA institutions.  After kids
were grown I completed undergraduate degree in Organizational Behavior
from University of San Francisco, graduating with my elder daughter who
received her master’s degree.  Nearly twenty years later decided to get
M.A. in Liberal Studies online and completed before 82nd birthday.  As
a retiree from medical ancillary work, I’ve enjoyed the gift of time,
especially reading and contributing to the very provocative subjects
presented on the Spectrum Forum. I’ve always been a questioner and
unsatisfied with simplistic answers and depending on others, it’s
either a blessing or curse to be saddled with being Devil’s Advocate.
Probably came with the genes or the SDA indoctrination with “Truth”
that should not be questioned.
Meet Johnny A. Ramirez:

When asked for my favorite Adventist image I thought of this
picture.  It has two of my good friends growing up, Alf and Nathan, and we’€™re
doing drill team stuff at a camporee as part of the S. Lancaster Pathfinders
group.  It feels, to me, like an iconic picture of my youth.

Meet Sharon Fujimoto-Johnson:

This may be predictable, but my search for a favorite Adventist image
took me back to my childhood and an iconic Harry Anderson painting:
“Jesus: Friend of Children.” Like many other Adventist children, I grew
up with Harry Anderson’s illustrations gracing the pages of books I
read over and over again. Prints of some of his artwork may also have
in my family’s home. In “Jesus: Friend of Children,” Christ is
strolling through a garden surrounded by children who are all looking
up into his face and smiling. Pink flowers are blooming in the trees,
and the grass is a luscious green. It’s idyllic and harmonious in
color, subject matter, and composition. I used to imagine myself in
this painting, even though I looked nothing like any of the children
depicted. I was drawn to the tranquility and the beautiful colors.
Back then, we lived on a hill in a midnight-blue house with a
pumpkin-orange door. Six days a week, I chased butterflies with my
brother, picked buttercups and dandelions, and read books in my bedroom where light
filtered through a white birch tree and into my window. On the seventh day, we went to church
in a college town where the children were much louder and rowdier than
I cared for. I didn’t like Sabbath School. I didn’t have any friends
there, and all of the rah-rah, rumble-tumble unnerved me. I would have
much preferred walking with Jesus in a Harry Anderson garden. On some
level, this is still true. Even now, the presence of God is most real
to me in quiet places and in beauty. My belief system has evolved
significantly over the years, but my fundamental belief in the gentle,
joyful Jesus of my childhood remains unchanged.
Meet Nathan Brown:

what is desperately needed are people who speak distinctively and
movingly from within Adventism to the larger community; voices who,
from the core of Adventist particularity, express a universal message
for our time; people who allow the power of the gospel to challenge
those who oppress the vulnerable.” €”Charles Scriven   

came across this sentence quoted in Zdravko Plantak’s The Silent
, but I believe it was originally published in Spectrum quite
some years back. This sentence has become something of a mission
statement in my writing. It is such a neat summary of what many of us
are trying to do in different ways, so far as trying to encourage
Adventism to see itself as a vital, relevant and necessary voice in the
world and to be such a voice both within Adventism and beyond. So much
of the much-needed renewing of Adventism comes down to finding new ways to
think it and say it, to ourselves and to others, for our own sake and
for the good of the world.
Thus far: 336 posts. 99,461 page view which means that today, one year after we started we’ll hit one hundred thousand page views. But the most important statistic is this one: 3550 comments. Thank you dear readers for joining the Spectrum conversation. The best is yet to come. . .

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