Saturday, December 1, 2007

Reviewing the Review

November 8, 2007

Once again I enjoyed reading this edition of the Review when I got back from a two-week stay in the Midwest. As they say in New Zealand, it was “good value”. Now for the rest of the story.

I continue to have a difficult time understanding why letters are published almost two months after the articles to which they respond. Often, their impact on the reader is diminished or nonexistent. Also, in the last week and a half, I have received three Reviews! (I have a comic comment on this frustrating and too often occurrence in another “review” of the Review.)

SWEAT THE SMALL STUFF by Roy Adams is a gem. I was one of the folks who hoped that Roy not Bill would become the Editor of the Review. However, this editorial seems to reveal a man who isn't constrained by “that” title; who is very comfortable speaking his mind about the fact that “Adventists can earn the unenviable distinction of being numbered among the destroyers of the earth”. Roy, I'm with you all the way. The world should know that SDA’s are people who are committed to “bringing some of nature's beautiful music back”.

Sandra Blackmore's editorial, SCHOOL DAYS, has special meaning for me. As a university professor, I am delighted to have mature (read older than thirty) students in my classes. Invariably they set the academic standard for everything we do together.

HOW SHOULD CHRISTIANS VIEW ISRAEL by Mark Kellner is informative and fair. His reflections on his July 2004 trip to Israel reminded me of a trip I made when I was nineteen. I considerer Mark a friend. He called me to correct some misinformation in one of my past reviews of the Review. He is a charming person, as friendly as his picture suggests.

His reference to the Garden Tomb “as being of “questioned authenticity” made me smile. I visited the spot in 1962 along with Professor Siegfried Horn, and it is obviously a tourist trap. According to Horn, the city walls of Jerusalem were extended to include Golgotha, and the location of Jesus’ tomb is unknown. The actual site of the crucifixion is enclosed in a basilica owned by six “Christian” orders that hate each other. In the past fifty years, these “guardians” of the site have attacked each other physically, inside the basilica and on the roof. In at least one modern fracas, a number of these old men have ended up the hospital with serious injuries.

Edward Reid’s IS THERE SOMETHING ABOUT MARY? CAN PROSTESTANTS AND CATHOLICS AGREE ON MARY? is of historic interest. However, I came away from the article wondering whether Mr. Reed was aware that Paul's letters were written before the Gospels. Paul makes no mention of a virgin birth. Reid reminds us that “Mariology” is “based on nonscriptural sources and is based on nonbiblical teachings such as the natural immortality of the soul”. I would be more comfortable with comments like that if all of our Twenty-eight Doctrines passed the same test.

Seri Fordham is as bright and engaging a writer as is her smile. I really dig her socks! Her thoughts AFTER A BRIDGE COLLAPSE are a reminder that “tragedy might be as sudden as a falling bridge, but most of it is as constant and is preventable as poverty”.

BEWARE OF GIBEONITES SEEKING FAVORS: AN ANCIENT STORY WITH MODERN IMPLICATIONS by Thurman C. Petty, Jr., portrays God as a collaborator in political and moral depravity. The illustrations were particularly offensive.

Mark Kellner, “with additional reporting from Florida Hospital” notifies readers that ADVENTIST--OWNED FLORIDA HOSPITAL GETS $10 MILLION DISNEY DONATION. Mark, when Des Commings, Florida Hospital Foundation President, reports that “Disney understands that Adventists are the healthiest people in the world”, a scientific attribution supporting that statement is required.

In this issue of the review, readers learn that ADVENTIST WORLD RADIO PLANS TV SERIES. Doesn’t this title seem a little strange? However, the people at Adventist World Radio are an amazing bunch, and Shelley Nolan Freesland, is right when she informs us that very few SDA church members are aware of the contribution they make to freedom of religion worldwide.

I guess it's a good thing for RISK MANAGEMENT TO OUTSOURCE CLAIMS PROCESSING, but I was left with three questions. First, who is the “unnamed contractor” who will be responsible for future health care claims processing? Second, what will the current Adventist Health Management do when it will be “focusing more on administrative issues with local conference administrators”? Finally, I’m not sure who the “clients in North America” are. In the concluding paragraph, ARM is identified as “serving clients in North America including the Adventist Development and Relief Agency, Griggs University, the church's North American administration, and employees at the world church’s headquarters in Silver Springs, Maryland”. This inquiring blogger wants to know.

WHEN THE WAVES WERE HIGH AND MY BOAT WAS SMALL, Margie Littell Ulrich reminds us that the Circle of Beneficence is more than a figment of the imagination. You're right, Margie. All of us need all of us.

There is a holiday sale on ADVENTIST PREACHING. These are “inspiring sermons for home and church”. I don't know everyone on the list, but HMS Richards was a personal friend of my father’s and one of the men I most admired growing up in Glendale, California.

GROWING A FAMILY MINISTRY by Kathryn Leigh is well written, thoughtful, and inspirational. At least occasionally, what I assume to be non-Adventist writers make important contributions to the Review.

I hope Seth Pierce survives the Seventh-day Adventist Theological Seminary. His editorial WE HAVE THE TRUTH is bold and to the point. When he writes, “everything we believe, including our distinctive doctrines, is all found in Christ. If it isn't, it should be thrown out”. (Seth, shouldn’t it read, “should be found in Christ?” I would like to know if “is all” are the words you originally submitted for publication.) He goes on to say, “We need to rethink what having the truth means when we are asked, or we make it as a statement by which to judge others. Christianity's truth is Jesus Christ.” I couldn't agree more.

I'm not sure why THE PERSISTENT POTTERY PEDDLER was included in this issue. The story recommends quiet language, attentiveness, awareness, not giving up, not saying too much, and, smiling a lot. I hope it takes more to be an advocate for Christ’s Kingdom than it does to sell pottery.

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