Sunday, December 30, 2007

Reviewing the Adventist Review

December 13, 2007

GENERAL COMMENTS: I'm not sure who to blame. Is it the failure of the Review mailroom to get the weekly Reviews out in a timely manner, or is it the failure of the U. S. Postal Service? I got my last three editions of the Review between December 22 and 27. I checked with another Review subscriber today, and I'm not the only one. (My cartoon,
“Waiting for the Review” is an expression of my frustration.).

LETTERS: A. Allan Martin's words from the Seventh-day Adventist Theological Seminary stick in my mind. “I have high hopes that before 2014, when my daughter will enter her young adult years, we will have progressed to where all levels of our beloved church would embrace new generations and be dissatisfied with the fact that half of them leave the Adventist Church. Flipping a coin is not how I would wish to forecast my daughter's future with our faith.”

LIVING OUT OUR DREAMS by Stephen Chavez is up to his usual high standard. His dream for our Church matches my own. “Our own dreams come true when we give others a reason to dream.”

THE DIGITAL PARADIGM by Claude Richli is disturbing. His reading of the parable found in John 15 creates the illusion that Jesus went around proclaiming, “It’s my way or the highway!” If you didn't “abide” in Him, God discarded you like a withered branch. The author defines Jesus teaching as simple and digital. “We’re either on (the vine) or we're off as in cut off, out of the loop, not real Christians.” Claude uses John 15:5-6 from the Revised Standard Version of the Bible to support this theological argument. Other translations suggest other possibilities. My New Jerusalem Bible renders this saying in poetic form.

I am the vine
you are the branches.
Whoever remains in me, with me in him,
bears fruit in plenty;
for cut off from me you can do nothing.
Anyone who does not remain in me
is thrown away like a branch
-- and withers.

It's important to understand the Jesus is talking to his disciples, not to a general audience. In this context Jesus is talking about effective ministry and the consequences to those of his disciples who do not demonstrate the fruits of His spirit. Claude, you are a branch who advertises himself as being “in Christ”. I suggest you reread the rest of the book. Your Heaven's Digital paradigm is mechanistic and judgmental as well as “radical”.

God has never chosen to talk to me “in a voice as clear as if a person stood next” to me, so I don't know how to relate to Renee Sim’s THE COST OF THE CALL.

Sari Fordham's A (SOMETIMES) BEAUTIFUL WORLD expresses the mixed feelings of all thinking and caring people as we celebrate the birth of Jesus, The Hope of the World.

The subtitle of the theological essay, A COSMIC RELIGION? was an inappropriate introduction to the article. “The Signs are there. And it's coming -- ready or not!” led me to believe that this was another warning about the end of the world. I was pleasantly surprised. The tone was scholarly and evenhanded. The only thing that disappointed me was the final paragraph, a quote from Ellen White that discounted most of the scientific authorities quoted in the article who "treat upon these subjects from a merely human point of view".

Jan Paulson continues to impress me as a Christian, Seventh-day Adventist, and a man. We are fortunate to have him as our General Conference President. PRIME MINISTER PRAISES ADVENTIST SCHOOLS DURING PAULSEN VISITP justifies these praise words.

LAW SIERRA STUDENTS IN FREE ENTERPRISE TEAM WINS WORLD CUP is a tribute not only the SIFE team but the curriculum and teachers that inspire them.

Jonathan Gallagher has been a speaker at Grace Connection, and I continue to be impressed by the way he represents not just our Church but Christian believers everywhere. The report from the United Nations, “OBJECTIVE CRITICISM” OF RELIGION DEEMED A HUMAN RIGHT is a testimony to rational thought.

FOR LOVE OR MONEY by Angela Baerg provides practical financial advice for all of us but particularly college students and young married couples.

Because I am a layperson who is sometimes a speaker, I enjoyed Suvi Anderson’s personal account of the joys and misgivings of amateur preachers. HE SAID, “GO!”

THE LORD IS MY LAWYER by Kelly Razzouk is troubling in two ways: the title itself and the illustration of Jesus as defense counsel elevated in the air between a downcast sinner and his guardian angel pointing out the man’s sins in a book. Editors, before you include another well-meaning essay about Jesus as our defense counsel, reference the words Jesus spoke in the upper room just before he was betrayed. (I’m quoting from John 16:25.) “The hour is coming when I shall no longer speak to you and veiled language but tell you about the Father in plain words. When that day comes you will ask in my name; and I do not say that I shall pray to the Father for you, because the Father himself loves you for loving me and believing that I came from God.” The "not" in this passage is known by many biblical scholars as to the missing "not" in Christian theology.

LESSON FROM A LAPTOP Seth Pierce provides a humorous reminder that it is important to match our private lives with our public ones. (Seth, perhaps you can explain in a future essay why your identifying logo is a huge open Bible facing the reader, masking your head and neck, and held by hands that are out of proportion to the rest of your body. Weird.)

GOT ANYTHING GOOD? by Amy Pringle is a reminder that panhandlers, like the rest of us, look “gift horses in the mouth”, and well-meaning contributions are not always appreciated.


carpenterale said...

This is great Andy. I'd be interested in crossposting these great Reviews of the Review on the Spectrum Blog, as a regular feature. Would you be interested in that?

Anonymous said...

the photos is such as to remind people that God's Word is more important than the person writing about it...and because im never happy with the way my photos usually turn out...:)


Andy Hanson said...

Thanks for the clarification. I hope you reconsider your logo, however. Andy