Thursday, December 16, 2010

Reviewing the Adventist Review

Nov. 18, 2010
Vol. 187, No. 37

This issue has left me unsettled, once again, about the future of Adventist education. On the bright side, there’s the story of a kitten rescued in the fast lane of a LA freeway!

Abandoned Churches in isolated Alaskan towns are once again open for business. There is a new church structure in Angola that will provide needed supervision and leadership. Greggs University and International Academy is moving its operations to the Lake Union Conference offices in Michigan, and will merge with Andrews University. And Andy Han von Walter, a student from Southern University, was a finalist on Jeopardy’s College Challenge.

In FINDING THEIR FOOTING, Bill Knott has written a well-crafted appeal for subscribers.

TAKE A VACATION by Sandra Blackmer reminds us of how much we need to make work less of a top priority.

PENTECOSTAL POWER by Clinton Wahlen is persuaded that “Being filled with the Spirit is not a solitary, ecstatic experience or an end in itself, but the way God opens doors to people’s hearts to hear and respond to His Word. It is always connected with the teaching and preaching of the Word.”

In GOD OR NOTHING Cliff Goldstein argues that the choice is God or nihilism: the rejection of all religious and moral principles, often in the belief that life is meaningless. No one would argue that nihilism is one choice for nonbelievers, but it certainly isn’t the only one. Some of my atheist friends profess a social morality and live conspicuously loving and compassionate lives.

ADVENTIST EDUCATION LEADER [LISA BEARDSLEY] UP TO THE CHALLENGES reported by Mark Kellner and Ansel Oliver, had me nodding my head in agreement with the educational philosophy Beardsley expressed until these last paragraphs in which she seems to make the assumption that Adventist college and university students lack the maturity to think for themselves. Here are the paragraphs. What do you think? Are you comfortable with the idea that Beardsley is the new GC Director of Education? I’m not!

“Although she seeks to increase Adventist identity and spirituality on denominational campuses, Beardsley isn’t opposed to exposing students to a variety of ideas and evidence, even when in conflict with official Adventist beliefs.

“It needs to be done, but in balance with Adventist identity and mission,” she says. “It needs to be done in appropriate context at the right time and with sufficient support for students as they wrestle through intellectual issues, such as what is the current scientific thinking about the age of the earth, and how do we reconcile that with our belief that God is our Creator.

“Still, she cautions that such topics should be taught with ‘maturity, judiciousness, and mindfulness.’

“ ‘There are things that academics talk about among themselves with other professors, and there are things they talk about with undergraduates. And it’s not the same thing. . . .We should never throw our students to the wolves and let it be survival of the fittest.’ ”

In CATCHING THE SPIRIT OF MISSION Feryl Harris chronicles her and her husband’s adventures as missionaries in a variety of settings and countries. She describes the rewards of being of service to others.

150 YEARS AND COUNTING is Ross Calkins way of saying SDAs are a ragtag bunch that have managed to survive as a church in spite of our differences for a century and a half, because, somehow, “we have committed to continue our journey in love”. I pray that he’s right.

THE MAN, THE BANKER, AND THE PRICELESS GEM by Julian Vines is a parable about protecting a priceless treasure and investing it wisely, i.e., “helping young people find true prosperity in freedom of choice”.

THE SIMPLE POWER OF INDUCTIVE PREACHING by Andy Nash celebrates the preaching and studying what the words of the Bible have to say about our present lives.

THE MITZVZH by Erin Stone is his memorable account of saving Freeway, a kitten who had inexplicably found himself on the fast lane of a busy freeway. As the author comments, “Doing mitzvoth [doing good deeds] strengthens the connection between God, who gives the commandments, and people, who perform the consequent good deeds…Bantering about biblical beliefs is laudable, and discussing theology or the fine points of religious life are all fine and good. But at the end of the day, what is important is doing. What is important is action. What is important is getting out of the armchair and putting boots to the ground. And the mitzvah is all about putting boots to the ground.”

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