April 9, 2009 – Vol. 186, No. 10
Clifford Goldstein’s essay, NECESSARY BUT NOT ENOUGH, is a MUST READ. He recounts his experience in the streets of Pune, India, in language that will simultaneously break your heart and remind you once again that compassion is the fundamental expression of a Christian life. Brilliant.
THE INBOX readers’ forum is excellent. I too share Cynthia Nkana’s concern about the conclusion of the Lucy Byard story by Benjamin Baker in the Review online article, DEATH IN D.C.
Lucy Byard was a light skinned African American who died because after she was admitted to Washington Adventist Hospital, she was refused treatment when it was discovered that she had identified herself as “Negro” on an admission form.
Baker concludes, “The Lucy Byard incident turned out to be the last tragedy that would occur before the church took decisive action and aggressively sought to address racial inequities. Shortly after this incident Black-administered conferences were instituted. Immediately things were done to set the regional conference system in motion. Although the Lucy Byard event was atrocious, God used it to serve His divine purpose.”
The “decisive action” required to set the “regional conference system in motion” aggressively addressed “racial inequities” and served God’s “divine purpose”? Both Cynthia and I aren’t so sure.
The report by the Adventist News Network, ADVENTIST SCHOOLS SHAPE NATION’S EDUCATIONAL LANDSCAPE, is the story of a successful partnership between the government of Romania and Adventist education which allows “Protestant denominations in Romania to access state funding for salaries and operational expenses for schools that teach grades 1-10”. Question: Should Adventists consider the possibility of qualifying some of our largest elementary and secondary schools for state funding as Charters? Adventist schools in Australia have been state funded for years.
The cover story, A PLACE TO BELONG, by Shoshannah Guerrero, is a straightforward, honest assessment of Adventist communities. Her “on the ground” report makes clear which communities attract and which repel Adventist young people. She also suggests ways for young people to find a congregation that meets their needs.
It is ironic that the FIRST ADVENTIST WOMAN IN THE PHILIPPINES TO EARN A MINISTRY DOCTORATE cannot be ordained.
Three things continue to trouble me. One is the way Ellen White’s commentary is stated as Bible fact. This occurs in Norman R. Gulley’s A CRY OF ANGUISH. Christ’s “agony in Gethsemane made Him tremble near the finish line. An angel came from heaven to strengthen Him. . .”
Gulley’s article also makes the evangelical assumption that God was somehow required to “sacrifice” his Son in the most horrible way possible to clear up the sin problem. That argument is irrational, given the Trinitarian doctrine of the Adventist Church. It also lends credence to the notion that the ultimate attempt to appease our God is child sacrifice, condemned without exception in the Biblical record.
Finally, this focus on the cross as the most important aspect of the life of Christ is a distraction from the contemplation of His life, what He had to say about discipleship, and what it means to be a citizen of His kingdom.