Thursday, December 6, 2007

Reviewing the Review

November 22, 2007

GENERAL COMMENTS What is generally an excellent edition of the Adventist Review is almost fatally damaged by the feature article, GROWING GOD’S LOVE IN OUR CHILDREN. It is reviewed last. Now the rest of the story.

I am including only one of the seven web addresses included in Peggy Harris in her response to "Abuse in the Adventist Church" (Oct.11, 2007). The CEASE website address is " cease". Chris Bullock's question, “Can church culture be influenced?” is directed to Ansel Oliver’s article, “Paulsen: Include Young Adults in the Church, women in Ministry” (Oct. 11, 2007). Bullock points out that church culture determines whether or not young adults are included in church decision-making, not the pronouncements of authority figures.

It's not often that the review prints sarcasm, but G. Sittlinger sets the standard when commenting on “The Copycat With the Green Crayon” (Sept. 13, 2007). The words, “Why would I [worry about my daughter's behavior] when I am “surrounded by fellow believers who seen so sure of their salvation and of always doing the right thing as they become more like Jesus”. Ron McDonald’s comment regarding “Common Sense" (August 23, 2007) reminds the reader that the poor were also mentioned, along with the Commandments, when the rich young ruler asked Jesus what he might do to “enter life”.

Bill Knott argues in THE MAKER’S DOZEN editorial that Adventist church members need to financially support the Review in its effort to meet the needs of the 38,216 new members added this year. Unfortunately, the number of magazines in circulation does not equal the number of magazines read. Most of the Reviews sent to my friends in this community, are discarded unread. This is the legacy of a magazine that for years preceding Johnson's editorship had no consistent intellectual content.

Mark Kellner makes a strong endorsement for LOGGING ON TO TECH’S BENEFITS. He confesses that he is keen on blogs even though they can be “either enlightening or infuriating depending on your point of view”. Mark, I’m keen on the Review with the same caveat.

HOME INFLUENCES by Ellen White is as timely today as it was when she wrote it

I particularly enjoyed Dan J. Fahbach’s WISDOM FROM JONAH. He makes the timely observation that even in the Old Testament, there are stories that illustrate that God is a God of all people not just Israel. It was particularly interesting to know that as recently as eighty years ago Moslem worshipers in Mosul, Iraq, practiced three days of fasting in honor of the Fast of the Ninevites. There is also a place of worship in Mosul called the Mosque of Nebi Yunus, the mosque of Jonah, a shrine of great sanctity.

However, one concluding sentence should have been omitted, “Yet he forgives whom he wills and destroys whom he wills.” This is an Old Testament idea that is diametrically opposed to Jesus’ revelation of the character of God.

ALL OR NOTHING by Clifford Goldstein is an eloquent reminder that fame and riches don't make people happy. We also learn the Clifford does not like music, any music! One sentence is also a reminder that Cliff is irrepressible when it comes to creative language. “De Kooning was confronted, too, with the cold, immutable fact that in some wet loamy hole worms were licking their chops in anticipation of his arrival, and all the one-man shows and fantastic prizes for his paintings couldn't keep him from them, either.”

ADVENTIST TEEN HELPS ECUADORIAN CHURCH MEMBER TO NEW HOME is an amazing and inspirational story. Learn more about the Maranatha Volunteers International and Ultimate Workout and seventeen-year-old Janelle Pierson at

OAKWOOD COLLEGE is soon to become Oakwood University.

ADVENTIST COMMUNICATORS SINGING THE BLUES? NOT HERE in Nashville, Tennessee. A very cool bunch of Adventist communicators conferenced there in October.

One other reasons I read the small print in articles like MARAN, DOWERS HONORD WIN ADVENTIST COMMUNICATIONS AWARDS is that there are some wonderful surprises embedded in paragraphs after the first. It's no surprise to me that Kimberly Luste Maran won the 2007 Young Professional Award, or that Dick and Nadine Dower received the group's Lifetime Achievement honor. But the most exciting reward mentioned, at least to the Adventist congregations in Paradise and Chico, California, was the fact that Melanie Eddlemon won the Student Award. A hometown girl makes good! “Lifelines”, a series of public service radio health spots produced by the Church's North American Division also won an award of excellence.

ASK THE DOCTORS by Allan HANDYSIDES AND PETER LANDLESS was of particular interest. I have never read a more concise and informative discussion of breast cancer and cholesterol. These guys continue to impress me week after week.

TWO LETTERS AND A PHOTOGRAPH by David Bland was marred only by these two sentences. “Finally, pray with care. Sometimes the well-meaning prayer of a sincere Christian can put God in a terrible bind.” I can't for the life of me envision the God of the universe “in a terrible bind” because of a well-meaning prayer. Where do ideas like this come from? Isn’t it certain kinds of prayer that put people in a “bind”?

I continue to be impressed by the number that dedicated members of our Church who dedicate their lives to helping less fortunate people who live outside the United States. My heroes, THEY STILL GO.

A DIFFERENT KIND OF DEATHBED CONVERSION is an allegory written to encourage parents and grandparents who worry about the fate of wayward children and grandchildren. The “planting the garden” analogy doesn't include gophers, and that's probably a good thing.

Gilbert Goodwin beautifully defines GRATITUDE, and A PSALM FOR THANKSGIVING (Psalm 67) on the inside back cover is one of my favorites.

Now for one of the most unfortunate “authoritative” articles I have ever read. GROWING GOD’S LOVE IN OUR CHILDREN. Linda Mei Lin Koh, the Director of Children’s Ministries for the General Conference, suggests that a story in which a father decides to save the lives of train passengers by “leaving his little boy on the track to be crushed by the oncoming train” teaches children about God’s love and the supreme sacrifice of his Son.

She notes that children often draw Adam and Eve leaving the Garden of Eden in a car driven by an angel or Jesus. “When you say Adam and Eve were driven out of their beautiful garden you set up young children for this kind of (sic) misconceptions. Watch your words carefully, specially when teaching preschool children and young primaries.” (I think that this salvation image more accurately portrays the Plan of Salvation than this writer can imagine!)

Under the heading, “Involve Children and Learning Activities, Linda advocates cutting newspaper clippings of terrible events such as the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, or the 2004, Indian Ocean tsunami, and giving them to children to read. She then suggests that teachers can then relate these events to the promise of a better home with Jesus in Heaven.

If these worship activities are used to help children understand Biblical truths and the fundamental beliefs of our Adventist Church, God help the children, and God help the Church.

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