November 26, 2009 – Vol. 186, No. 33
This issue had some stuff that really “twisted my knickers” as they say in the UK. So I’m going to tackle the really bothersome stuff first.
“COMPASSIONATE AND CLEAR”, ANDREWS UNIVERSITY HOSTS CONFERENCE ON ADVENTIST RESPONSE TO GAY MARRIAGE
The Marriage, Homosexuality, and the Church Conference held at Andrews University on October 15-17 was a misguided PR effort. There was no reported “discussion” of the issues with any other than church officials and guests who preached “reparative therapy” who supported the official SDA Position Statement on Homosexuality, even though it was reported that representatives of the pro-gay group Adventist Kinship were in attendance. That’s probably because no one in attendance wanted to debate what the Adventist Church considers a “sexual perversion”, (1) consider the findings of the American Psychiatric Association, (2) or look into the means that are employed in “reparative therapy. (3) What seemed to be important was preserving the ability of SDA’s to discriminate against gays. (4)
The Adventist Church’s position on homosexuality has been and will continue to be challenged not only by gay and progressive Adventists, but members of other faith groups that find our position inconsistent, and not just with our professed Christian values. Kim Ranger, A Quaker, quotes the Seventh-day Adventist Church’s Fundamental Belief No. 13, “Unity in the Body of Christ”.
“In Christ we are a new creation; distinctions of race, culture, learning, and nationality, and differences between high and low, rich and poor, male and female, must not be divisive among us. We are all equal in Christ, who by one Spirit has bonded us into one fellowship with Him and with one another; we are to serve and be served without partiality or reservation.”
In GOD-GIVEN NATURE, Kim Ranger makes a scriptural argument for the inclusion of gays in an unrestricted membership in the Adventist community.
G. Alexander Bryant reported that ADVENTIST CHURCH GROWTH RATE TRENDS HIGHER IN USA, CANADA, BERMUDA. As of September 30, there are 1,097,217 church members in the North American Division for a net increase of 12,379. This number will increase when more of the expected 50,000 baptisms are counted in the 2009 evangelistic Year of Evangelism. (This is an increase of approximately 10,000 baptisms over the previous year and half of the 100,000 Year of Evangelism goal.) I hope these numbers will be taken into consideration when NAD plans future administratively ill conceived, traditionally organized, and massively over funded evangelistic strategies.
HIGH COURT RULING SUPPORTS ADVENTISTS’ right to reorganize the Southern Africa Union Conference. (Inexplicably, he article did not reveal why reorganizing was desirable.)
Roy Adams asks, how can we give thanks for the Lord’s protection WITHOUT GLOATING when random events kill innocent people? “ A wheel that somehow fell off a truck being towed Wednesday on the Capital Beltway’s outer loop bounced wildly, crossed the median, struck the grill of a tractor-trailer, and ricocheted back across two shoulders and three travel lanes before landing on Channing M. Quinichett’s Honda Civic. . .God was the only one who could have anticipated the tragedy, so why didn’t He?
ANOTHER LOOK A SOLOMON’S POOLS by Randall W. Younker, Constance E. Gane, and Paul Z. Gregor is an archaeology MUST READ. Are the Pools of Jalul the ones to which Solomon refers? Do they go back to Solomon’s time (tenth century B.C.)? The Andrews team is still working on this question.
LOAVES AND HAYSTACKS by Wilona Karimabadi is all about good old Adventist food and why we eat it. Here are cottage cheese loaf and haystack websites that my wife recommends.
IN RESPONSE TO DAWKINS, Norman L. Mitchell focuses on the question of origin. “The big bang theory begs the question as to what came before it. For people who ridicule the idea of miracles, to believe something as incredible as the big bang theory—outside of it being miraculous—is puzzling. In my humble opinion the astronomical claims for the big bang and its role in the creation of the universe constitute the best confirmation (outside Scripture) of the Bible’s claim about God’s action in the Creation.”
Doctors Handysides and Landless offer their usual understandable information regarding DIVERTICULAR DISEASE and polycystic ovarian syndrome.
Like Roy Adams, Stephen Chavez’s IN HIS HANDS reminds us that life is a tentative thing. ‘It doesn’t come with a guarantee. Every day people leave their homes never to return. We had no control over when and where we were born, and most of us have no control over the circumstances of our deaths. Death is a reminder that our lives are not our own; they’re gifts we enjoy day by day. And length of life is no indication of God’s favor.”
(1) Reasons For Which [Seventh-day Adventist] Members Shall be Disciplined
Church Manual Amendment Actions of the General Conference
July 14-28, 2005, page 83.
#4. Such violations as fornication, promiscuity, incest, homosexual practice, sexual abuse of children and vulnerable adults, and other sexual perversions, and the remarriage of a divorced person, except of the spouse who has remained faithful to the marriage vow in a divorce for adultery or for sexual perversions.
(2) INSUFFICIENT EVIDENCE THAT SEXUAL ORIENTATION CHANGE EFFORTS WORK, SAYS APA
Contrary to claims of sexual orientation change advocates and practitioners, there is insufficient evidence to support the use of psychological interventions to change sexual orientation,” said Judith M. Glassgold, PsyD, chair of the task force. “Scientifically rigorous older studies in this area found that sexual orientation was unlikely to change due to efforts designed for this purpose. Contrary to the claims of SOCE practitioners and advocates, recent research studies do not provide evidence of sexual orientation change as the research methods are inadequate to determine the effectiveness of these interventions.” Glassgold added: “At most, certain studies suggested that some individuals learned how to ignore or not act on their homosexual attractions. Yet, these studies did not indicate for whom this was possible, how long it lasted or its long-term mental health effects. Also, this result was much less likely to be true for people who started out only attracted to people of the same sex.
Based on this review, the task force recommended that mental health professionals avoid misrepresenting the efficacy of sexual orientation change efforts when providing assistance to people distressed about their own or others’ sexual orientation.
(3) I also suggest checking out Mark Benjamin’s Turning Off Gays in which he discovered that “a loose network of Christian ministries and social workers, with the blessing of the political right, are putting gays and lesbians on the couch, determined to ‘cure’ them”.
TURNING OFF GAYS
By Mark Benjamin
Turning off Gays is a four-part investigation into “reparative therapy”, the Christian right’s chosen way to convert gays and lesbians into heterosexuals. The following is an excerpt from the first of the four-part investigation.
Claims about [reparative therapy ministries] are, according to virtually all mental health professions, wrong, bizarre and potentially dangerous. “I can give you a short answer of where reparative therapy fits in with the modern mental health profession: It does not,” says Dr. Douglas Haldeman, president of the Association of Practicing Psychologists, a group affiliated with the American Psychological Association. ‘These theories have been discredited for years.’
Despite their dubious scientific and therapeutic standing, reparative therapy ministries, some of which accept kids and operate like a cross between churches and boot camps, largely function without oversight and licenses.
(4) “Several Adventist attorneys–including James Standish (GC PARL): Barry Bussey (GC PARL); Gerald Chipeur, a partner with the Canadian law firm Miller Thomson; and Alan Reinach, executive director of the Church State Council that supported California Proposition 8 against gay marriage–addressed the challenges to education and health-care hiring practices posed by gay marriage legislation enacted in Canada and being considered in several American states.”