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Reviewing the Review: Vol. 185, No 4

February 14, 2008 issue

GENERAL COMMENTS: The Review markets itself with the following words:” Subscribing to the Review is a commitment to watch and be ready. Change is coming.” Unfortunately, this edition is pretty much the same old thing. The cover story, CHRISTIAN DATING: HARNESSING FIRE, HONORING GOD, is a huge disappointment. More about that later.

LETTERS: I don’t know what other readers think, but I would be unhappy if my letter to the editor was published two months after the article to which it refers. There is even a letter included here referring to an article that appeared three months ago!

AS GOOD AS ITS PEOPLE, by Adventist Review Editor Bill Knott, is a song in praise of Adventist believers worldwide. It is also an ambitious goal statement in which he lists what is required of the magazine that “is to continue its historic role of uniting the far-flung world of Adventism”. This is all well and good, Bill, but my question to you is, “How can you ‘travel nearly 200,000 miles by air and car and rail’ last year and also do your job?” The Review needs your undivided attention; it’s not getting it, and it shows.

The editorial, A MIND-CHANGING MENUE by Carlos Medley, is a thoughtful tour de force in which advice designed “to save a failing restaurant” becomes the recipe for saving a failing church.

CHRISTIAN DATING: HARNESSING FIRE, HONORING GOD by Jenifer Jill Schwirzer “contains [as advertised by the Editors] material best appreciated by mature readers”. In this article, “mature” should be read is an acronym for the words “Adventists over fifty”. The best thing about this piece is the sidebar that provided scientific information about the heat of the sun.

THE BLESSED HOPE by Tony Moore is a promo for his “twenty 30-minute episodes [a life of Paul] that have been airing on the Hope Channel and 3ABN since February of 2004.

Check out the Review and Herald’s WAREHOUSE CLEARANCE SALE insert. These books are up to 85% off retail price. Categories include: general topics, Bible study, church history, devotionals, Ellen White, kids’ books, multimedia, posters, stories, and teaching resources.

WORLD NEWS PERSPECTIVES includes news that: Atlantic Union now has 100,000 members. (This Union includes the conferences of Bermuda, Greater New York, New York, Northeastern, Northern New England, and Southern New England); Thomas Zirkle, 71, an Adventist Surgeon, Health Ministries Associate Director, and Medical Missionary died on January 11 in Loma Linda, California; New Zealand has held their first “Big Camp” and Tui Ridge Park; and the Adventist University of Eastern Africa, Baraton, has reopened after post election violence in Kenya forced its evacuation.

Sari Fordham experienced what she believed to be an EARTHQUAKE just after she moved to California. That wasn’t an earthquake Sari; it was a tremor. When my family and I lived in the San Fernando Valley, we experienced two real earthquakes. Unfortunately, it will require not just a tremor or an editorial but a doctrinal earthquake to make it possible for North American Adventists to “embrace positive transformation [and] resist a lukewarm, going-through-the-motions religion and look for something deeper”.

WHAT I LEARNED ABOUT CHURCH FROM MY ROSE CLUB by Loren Seibold is a lovely example of how to instruct without being preachy, how to speak the truth without rancor, and how to warn without shrillness. (Editors, did you have to jam a big black-and-white column-and-a-half ad for SoyaPower right at the end of this beautiful and beautifully illustrated essay? It was an unpleasant distraction.)

Seth Pierce discovered a universal spiritual truth when HOMEWARD BOUND for the Christmas holiday. When he, his wife and their one-month-old baby were stuck in an airport during a seven-hour flight delay, they discovered, along with their fellow sufferers, that the longing for home made “our petty arguments, barriers, and differences fade away. . . And because we knew everybody was trying be at home for the holiday, we all wanted everyone else can make it.

LIVING TRUSTFULLY by Marja L. McChesney is a story that should have emphasized the kindness of strangers rather than trusting God, and the idea that “God has plans for each of us that may be different from our carefully laid plans”. These moral principles are very often not supported by real-life experiences. On Wednesday, December 19, 2007, my colleague, his wife and nephew, were killed in an automobile accident. It’s impossible for me to believe the accident was God’s plan for that family.

Betty Colvin discovered that what seemed to be an uninteresting canoe trip on “A SMALL LAKE” wasn’t so small or uninteresting after all. She also discovered that Bible study could be just as interesting and as much fun if you give it a chance.


Andy Hanson is a professor of Education at California State University, Chico.

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