June 18, 2009 – Vol. 186, No.17
Mark A. Kellner’s cover article, CHURCH “DROPOUTS” IS THERE HOPE? is an important piece of reporting marred, perhaps fatally, by the illustrations that accompany it. First of all, the illustrations suggest that Adventists are a herd of homogeneous sheep. Secondly, those who stop attending the local Adventist church are prone to wander mindlessly off high spiritual cliffs unless they are aggressively (violently?) hooked to safety by someone in a suit and tie wielding a long shepard’s crook. Unfortunately for Kellner and the reader, a picture is worth 1000 words.
Paul Richardson is now the North American Division’s Coordinator for Reconnecting Ministries, and it sounds like lots of “reconnecting” workshops are in the offing, so that NAD laymen and pastors can learn to provide support to independent thinkers, smart-alecky bloggers, old fuddy-duddies, energetic young adults, biblical scholars, skeptics, vegans, revolutionary Christians, new converts, traditional Adventists, and just folks who “can’t handle it alone”.
All of the aforementioned need a church home where “love and freedom” reign, according to Monte Salin and Martin Weber. And if you believe that a Division Coordinator and “reconnecting workshop instruction” can create that environment, I have a bridge I’ll be happy to sell you.
Jean-Luc Lezeau, Associate Director of the General Conference Stewardship Department, asks the question, FINANCIAL MEELTDOWNS—IS THE CHURCH SUSCEPTIBLE? His answer is: “Current world events are just more signs that He cannot delay His return too much longer (1). We have never seen so many catastrophes (2) and every continent (3) is afflicted by one type of conflict or another. But we’re assured that we don’t need to worry about the financial crisis—or even about our retirement funds (5)—because our Lord has promised that He will soon come again (6) to take us to the home He has been preparing for us from all eternity.”
(1) Has He been informed? (2) WW II? (3) Antarctica? (4) Didn’t I hear that the GC’s investment portfolio took a hit and there’s a hiring freeze? (5) If that includes me, someone needs to reassure my wife! (6) Who did He promise and how soon?
Roy Adams raises an important question in his editorial, WHAT DETERMINES WHERE WE GO? He wonders, “How many of those areas covered by these pro-tem missionaries and evangelists were really in dire need. Did not some of them—many of them, in fact—go to areas of the world where “the work” is growing much more rapidly than where they themselves live? How to explain that a person who wouldn’t touch evangelism with a 10-foot pole in their own country can be so eager to spread the message in fields far removed from home? Might there be a motive operating here that needs exploring? Why do we tend to go to areas of the world where the work is fairly well advanced, to the neglect of [other] areas?”
PAULSEN, IN HISTORIC VISIT, SEES GROWTH, VISION OF ADVENTISTS IN CHINA, reported by Raimund Dabrowski and Bill Knott, chronicles Jan Paulsen’s visit to China. This article is an inspirational MUST READ. Paulsen’s world is my world, and his words could be mine.
“We recognize and respect other religions, and that among Christians there are shades of difference. [It] is important for Christian believers [to] practice their convictions without being critical and hostile to other believers.
“I want the Adventist believers in China to relate to all other expressions of belief and faith and be good neighbors not only to other Christians but also to Buddhists and Muslims. Negativism is something we reject.”
I have only one criticism. Two prominent women leaders, Hao Ya Jie and Zu Xiu Hua, whose “parishes number in the thousands of believers” are not pictured.
Jay Gallimore is my kind of guy. He sensibly avoids THE PITFALLS OF HEALTHFUL LIVING and has earned a BOUQUET for his persuasive advocacy of healthy food and a Christian attitude.
“Healthful living must be applied in an imperfect world with multitudes of variables and cultures. My body handles a vegetarian diet just fine. I have no food allergies. So for me, eating flesh food when I am surrounded by large varieties of fresh fruit, vegetables, nuts, grains, and so forth is not wise or right. But what if I were in a place where there was no supply of fruits and vegetables? What if the only way to maintain good health was to eat clean flesh food? Would that be wrong? It might be personally distasteful, but not wrong. The principles of healthful living must be applied in light of the conditions in which I find myself.
“Another danger we need to avoid is a wrong attitude. People must have the freedom to apply the principles of healthful living to meet their own personal situations. In fact, that freedom is a principle from heaven, as well. When health education loses this attitude, it loses the Lord’s blessing. This is ministry—not force.”
Monte Sahlin can be counted on to suggest important TOOLS OF THE TRADE. The books, A Demographic Profile and Adventists and the Internet, should be in every church library. These books can be ordered on the Internet and by phone. 1-800-272-4664.