Wednesday, March 30, 2011


Dear ADRA Board Members,
My name is Andrew Hanson. I blog at Adventist Perspective and Reinventing the Adventist Wheel. I have just completed a one-man journalistic attempt to understand what happened at ADRA during the last four months. ADRA supporters really want to know why Sandefur was replaced, why Maier was chosen to replace him, and the criteria Maier used to terminate and promote officers and staff. Consequently, I've been talking to current and former ADRA employees and listening to other ADRA supporters who have been putting their personal spin on what happened and why.

Rather than summarizing the information I've gathered and writing an article that would attempt to indirectly inform the Board’s decisions, I decided to provide a framework in which the board can (1) be made aware of the various opinions of ADRA supporters regarding the current administrative shakeup (2) be of assistance in reviewing and analyzing the ADRA bylaws, i.e., the administrative process that resulted in the decisions made, and (3) efficiently critiquing the outcomes of those decisions.

It is hoped that posting this survey will allow readers to know that their questions and opinions will be considered by members of the board without name calling or partisan diatribe.

This post should alert the ADRA Board that their policies and procedures are currently being examined and will be closely monitored in the future.

Andrew Hanson
March 30, 2011


During my research, current and past employees of ADRA have expressed their opinions regarding the recent administrative shakeup.

How would you rate these opinions as factual on a scale of 0 to 10? (10 highly probable, 0 not plausible) If you have no basis for expressing an opinion, do not rate the statement.

1. Governance Issues

( ) Informal and inconsistent ADRA Bylaws enabled Wilson and Maier to legitimately claim that they had the right to make personnel decisions without consulting the ADRA Board.

( ) Political Reasons for Replacing Sandefur: Sandefur voted against Wilson’s candidacy for GC President.

( ) Differences in Sandefur and Wilson’s fathers’ theology and backgrounds placed these men in different political camps.

2. Philosophical Reasons

( ) Sandefur regards ADRA as fundamentally humanitarian. Wilson regards ADRA as fundamentally evangelistic.

( ) Sandefur believes ADRA is an outgrowth of Christian charity. Wilson believes ADRA is an identifying characteristic of the “elect”.

( ) Sandefur employed and promoted “progressive” Adventists

3. Administrative Reasons

With regard to Sandefur:

( ) Sandefur was an ineffective administrator.
( ) ADRA International was losing its worldwide credibility.
( ) ADRA Board had lost confidence in Sandefur.
( ) Sandefur misused ADRA funds.

With regard to Maier’s qualifications as successor:

( ) Superior administrative experience
( ) More informed visionary outlook
( ) Shared Wilson’s theological views

With regard to Maier’s performance as CEO:

( ) Makes personnel decisions according to ADRA Board policy and bylaws
( ) Establishes a justifiable, consistent, and transparent criteria for personnel decisions
( ) Implements personnel decisions after adequate handover orientation
( ) Organizational morale is taken into consideration, and a considered effort is made to explain the reasons for changes to remaining employees

With regard to the consequences of Maier’s administrative decision making:

( ) ADRA International is more democratic in its working policies.
( ) ADRA International is better off financially.
( ) ADRA International has improved its communication network.
( ) ADRA International has made progress, formally and legally, in licensing
foreign bureaus and offices.
( ) ADRA International is in a better position to acquire grants and sponsorships.
( ) ADRA International is in a better position to acquire personal contributions.

From Restoration to Revival
or From Cave to Corporation

Modified from the comic Non Sequitur, by Wiley
(click to enlarge)

Reviewing the Adventist Review

March 10, 2011
Vol. 188, No. 7

For me, this issue was a SDA potluck. Bill Knott’s Vegetarian Meatloaf and Shawn Boonstra’s Frychick gave me heartburn. Carlos Medley, Dixil Rodriguez, and Jill Morikone brought food that provided much needed palliative relief, and a gulp of Monte Sahlin’s constructive analgesic analysis relieved the burn. The rest of the food was filling but bland.

Ted Wilson called for prayer and humility in a featured sermon at a three-hour televised event in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic. 13,000 people attended.

James E. Graves, Jr., has been confirmed as a member of the Fifth Circuit of the United States Court of Appeals.

Dorothy Amey, cancer survivor, former missionary, and teacher, is actively involved in providing food for hungry Californians. She works in the SDA Pantry program of the Camarillo, SDA Church.

Dwayne Leslie has been appointed Associate Director of Public Affairs and Religious Liberty Department and Director of the Office of Legislative Affairs for the world church.

David Ln, renowned Adventist pastor in China, died four days before his 94th birthday. His funeral was held in Loma Linda, California on February 20.

This issue emphasizes integrity as a fundamental manifestation of the Christian life. For followers of Christ, integrity means more than having strong moral principles; it means living an examined life, speaking your truth thoughtfully, without consideration of audience or livelihood. It means expressing what you believe humbly, with an open mind, with the understanding that your truth isn’t THE TRUTH, but an approximation of ultimate Truth.

Christ understood the moral dilemmas of every age. He understood that when Christians attempt to live a life of integrity, our choices are often limited and the consequences of our actions are difficult to determine. That’s why he simplified the Law for us—love each other as best you can and make an honest attempt to live as He lived. To make what he meant even clearer, in Mathew 25:31-40, he described what will happen at the Second Coming.

This is why it is painful to read EFFICIENT—OR SUFFICIENT—FAITH? Bill Knott’s defense of living a life of “doctrinal distinctiveness” as evidence of integrity.

“Seventh-day Adventists ought never to be afraid of doctrinal distinctiveness. The [28] truths we hold to be self-evident in Scripture are not a set of market-tested consensus statements, but the full-orbed wheel of biblical faith that takes seriously all that Christ has told us is important.”

Far less painful are the following definitions: for Ellen White, integrity, is GOD’S ESTIMATE OF CHARACTER that reveals “something radiating from within” that reveals “true goodness, purity, meekness, lowliness”. For Judith Nembhard, WALKING IN INTEGRITY means living a life that goes “beyond outward conformity to a religious creed and center on inner commitment. When faced with a moral dilemma, people of integrity choose to adhere to what they know to be right rather than what is accepted”.

STIRRED, BUT NOT SHAKEN by Shawn Boonstra is another polemic about the meaning of the recent tsunamis and earthquakes. As Adventists we should know that “the prophetic hourglass is nearly out of sand”, and that “each successive catastrophe is also a clear message to God’s church”.

In 1905, my five-year-old mother, along with her dolly, had to be evicted, by broom handle, from her under-the-bed shelter after attending a revival and reformation sermon in which an Adventist evangelist predicted that wars and catastrophic natural events “proved” that the Seven Last Plagues were in the offing, and the Final Judgment was no more than a year away. Enough Already.

A WALKING FAITH, the brief editorial by Carlos Medley focuses on the seasons as metaphors that reveal God’s goodness.

NO ONE IS ON THEIR OWN by Ferdinand Regalado reminds the reader that it wasn’t only Abram that was called out of Ur. God called Sarah and the rest of the family as well.

SEARCHING THE OBVIOUS by Dixil Rodriguez is a conversation with a kindergartner. Moralizing about what she learned and shares with her readers would spoil the story. It’s a MUST READ. (Dixil’s contributions alone are worth the cost of a subscription.)

PEDDLING HEAVEN'S TREASURE by Birol C. Christo is a parable about what it means to have open minds and open hearts.

DEFINING DISCONTENT by Jimmy Phillips is his reflection on what can happen when you spend so much time worrying about doing the right thing that you “lose sight of Jesus’ words: ‘Do not worry about tomorrow’ (Matt. 6:34) and ‘Love your neighbor as yourself (Matt. 22:39).’”

CHURCH TRENDS is the latest information from Monte Sahlin on how to discover the spiritual impact of your church on the people who attend. He’s offered a survey if you want one. Email him at

GLOW STORIES are stories “that result from an outreach initiative in multiple North American Division conferences based on the concept of church members carrying Adventist literature with them wherever they go and handing it out, free of charge, at every opportunity”.

WHAT'S IN YOUR DASH? by Jill Morikone is another MUST READ that asks the reader to consider, “What is your dash looking like so far?”

“A dash on a gravestone [is simply] a punctuation mark between someone’s date of birth and date of death. A line etched in stone. How could a line really encompass the living, breathing part of a person? Someone’s whole life with its joys, sorrows, emotions, and accomplishments will all be reduced someday to a single line—simply that, a dash?”

Dr. Standish reports on his geoscience research.

Modified from the comic Dilbert, by Scott Adams
(click to enlarge)

Thursday, March 24, 2011

He said his name was Boonstra.

Comic from Rubes, by Leigh Rubin.
(click for enlarged image)

Reviewing Spectrum

Winter 2011
Vol. 39, Issue 1

This issue brought me to face with the realization that Spectrum’s editors and audience, while willing to opine about what bothers us about the Adventist Church, seem reluctant to speak out or take action that will bring us into direct conflict with official church hierarchy, i.e., refuse to pay tithe or organize protests at Silver Spring. In other words, Spectrum, magazine and blog, is a place where disaffected, cultural Adventists like myself, can let off steam. It’s not a place where activists are comfortable.

In her editorial, A TIME TO MOURN, Bonnie reflects: “In the spiritual journey of our community, we pause for reflection at the passing of these family members. Each was controversial in his own way—Wilson for his handling of crises related to church theology and the equality of women, Maxwell for his theology, and Drum for her sexual orientation. Yet they are all part of the Adventist family and so deserving of our love.”

Bonnie, Holly Drum was not a part of the “Adventist family”. She was an Adventist pariah. She was a practicing homosexual. For that offense against God and the Adventist Church, she warranted inclusion in this “A” list of sinners: sexual pervert, sexual abuser of children, fornicator, one who is promiscuous sexually, one guilty of incest, and a producer and distributor of pornography. (Adventist Church Manual, p.44.)

There was no cry of outrage that our church may have been complicit in Holly Drum’s suicide and who knows how many others? It was only recalled that she was crushed when she was “disfellowshipped by her home church in Oregon years ago and that she was very interested in finding out if a local church would be open and accepting”.

Charles Scriven’s editorial, MEMO TO ELDER WILSON begins with these words: “Because my counsel is unbidden, it may never reach you, or if it does, it may seem obtrusive. But we are brothers in the faith, and that makes me bold to offer perspective on two challenges you are embracing. One is revival and reformation.” The other is “the doctrine of creation”.

Chuck, aren't you distraught that your carefully reasoned, logical, friendly, even obsequious attempt to reason with Ted will fall on deaf ears? He has repeatedly demonstrated that he is dismissive of your “perspective”. He is a divinely appointed, he already knows THE TRUTH, and controls all the levers of power in a hierarchical system that takes its orders from the top. That’s him.

I ask again, “Where is the outrage, the call to mobilize, the call to action? Don’t look for it in Spectrum. Our motto is “community through conversation”.

You can click on the site and discover what’s in this issue for yourself. The Sabbath articles were boring. Perhaps it’s because I am a cultural Adventist who has had the Sabbath “truth” preached, discussed, and inculcated since the day I was born at Glendale Adventist Hospital. John Brunt’s article is reviewed because his advice is instructive. I have not commented on the other Sabbath articles, lest my observations do them an inexcusable injustice.

I agree with reader T. Joe Willey that “It is high time for Adventists to throw amalgamation theories and the hocus-pocus satanic eugenics into the trash bin of pseudoscience, and simply abandon ‘amalgamation of man and beast’ and the surrounding Noah’s curse with a footnote that the Ellen G. White Estate no longer maintains these views after the nineteenth century—the position essentially taken in The Story of Redemption.

Bonnie Dwyer’s CELTIC SABBATH JOURNEY was suspenseful because if she had discovered Celtic Sabbath Keepers, I would have had to question my personal research into early church history. The sources I know agree that most Christians were worshiping on Sunday before the time of Constantine. At that time early church theology and practice emphasized the resurrection. Sunday worship was also regarded as evidence that early Christians were not a Jewish sect. Paul’s words in Romans 14 may also have been used to sanction worship on a different day.

NEGOTIATING SABBATH OBSERVANCE IN THE LOCAL CHURCH by John Brunt provided the following sensible Sabbath observance principles: 1. Positive Sabbath experiences don’t just happen. They take lots of thought, work and advance planning. 2. Part of a positive Sabbath experience is negotiating community within diversity. 3. Corporate Sabbath observance is affected by age and stages of emotional and spiritual development. 4. Sabbath observance is not only theoretical and individual; it is practical and communal as well.

If I hadn’t known that archeologists freely admit that WE DIG DIRT, I would have found the article by John McDowell fascinating.

THE HOLISTIC SPIRITUALITY OF ELLEN WHITE by Harri Kuhalampi is psychological snake oil.

I agree with Heather Langley that there is an ART OF INTERVENTION, and Kent Rich’s life is a portrait of all of us can celebrate.

THROUGH THE LENS OF FAITH, the producer of the film, Adventists, offers the reader some memorable lines.

“I believe we are called upon—even commanded—not just to convey the story, but if we are to truly be part of the transformation of this world, then we are called to become part of the story ourselves. Jesus was the master storyteller, but in the end he became the story. His life, death and resurrection became the heart of the Christian story, our story. To be an active part of that legacy commands us to advance as Jesus did—in wisdom and age and grace before God and men.

“How does film illuminate faith? How do our stories of faith not get separated with the chaff? By telling stories so profound and compelling, so poignant and riveting, that the medium itself is humbled in their telling. If we live the lives we are called to live—with our whole hearts—if we are truly committed to being part of the transformation of this world, then we will have no choice but to become part of the stories ourselves. It holds true whether we are filmmakers, health care workers, teachers, caretakers, no matter what we do or in what field we labor.”

CAPTURING SPIRITUAL MOMENT—DIGITALLY by Rajmund Dabrowski proves that a picture us worth 1000 words.

TIME TO ACT: STRONG CONVICTIONS EXPRESSED AT A NATIONAL SUMMIT ON ADVENTIST EDUCATION by Gilbert M. Valentine resulted in the following bureaucratic gibberish:

“To request the North American Division Office of Education to establish a Commission on Education in North America (CENA) to study and make strategic recommendations to the relevant authorities that will ensure the future viability of both K–12 and higher education in the North American Division. The Commission should be subdivided into subcommittees co-opting expertise and resources as appropriate to accomplish its mission for K–12 and higher education.

“The Commission’s terms of reference should include but are not limited to the following issues:
1. Identity and Mission
2. Structure and Governance
3. Marketing
4. Funding
5. Constituency Involvement
6. Leadership Development
7. Pastoral Partnership

“The resolution was forwarded to the North American Division Office of Education by the Summit conveners Professors Kiddo and Valley the following week. The resolution is now in the hands of the North American Division. Whether the turn taken at these crossroads leads to peril or promise remains to be seen.”

CONGRATULATIONS! NOW WHAT? Q & A WITH MT. ELLIS ACADEMY’S PRINCIPAL DARREN WILKINS by Jared Wright is a refreshing commentary on Adventist education. If I were going to revitalize Adventist education in North America, I would eliminate a layer of official bureaucracy—local conferences would be my choice—refuse to spend another dollar on idiotic evangelistic campaigns that attempt to frighten people into the church with beasts and end-time terror, critically evaluate all print and media projects and drastically reduce the amount of tithe money invested in them.I would then put people like Darren Wilkins in charge of the money saved.

Jared Wright: “If there are changes that need to be made in Adventist education at the academy level, what near-term or long-term changes might you call for?”

Darren Wilkins: “Well, every school has a different set of circumstances, so I hesitate to generalize. I will say this. We could fill every desk in every SDA school in North America with children of immigrant families who can’t afford to pay for private school. If we really want our schools to have an impact on the next generation and on the future of the church, we need to figure out how to get those kids in our schools.”

SHE PRESENTS A PAPER ON THE THEORY OF EVERYTHING by Mike Mennard is an interesting poem. The premise, that science is leading to a “truth” that God exists, seems tenuous. However, it’s an interesting proposition. The illustration is remarkably unattractive.

A Conversation With Cliff

Modified from the comic Dilbert, by Scott Adams
(click to enlarge)

Thursday, March 17, 2011

A Chuckle for the Creation Science Guys

Comic from Rubes, by Leigh Rubin.
(click for enlarged image)

Reviewing Adventist World, NAD Edition

March, 2011
Vol. 7, No. 3

Adventist World is free online. For that reason, I only review or comment on articles and editorials that I believe to be of special interest.

There are two reasons to read this issue. The first is an amazing mission story, GO FORWARD by Wendy Harris-Guptill, and the second is the outstanding medical reporting on TUBERCULOSIS by Allan R. Handysides and Peter N. Landless.

The rest pretty much the same old stuff. Knott suggests that we “keep praying for the ‘organized church’” Wilson proclaims that we are living “in the last days of earth’s history”, and Angel Manuel Rodriguez opines that even though God did some pretty dastardly things in the Old Testament, “The cosmic judgment will make clear that God was righteous and just in how He dealt with the sin problem.” If that sort of thing floats your boat, enjoy. If it doesn’t, and you have trouble going to sleep, this issue belongs on your bedside table.

A Righteous Reaction

Comic modified from Pearls Before Swine, by Stephan Pastis.
(click to enlarge)

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Fungus Turns Aunts into Zombies

Once in a while, I challenge Adventist scientists and theologians of every stripe, to explain how a certain biological phenomena came to be. Currently, Adventist scientists are taking a beating for their silence concerning whether or not the earth was created in six literal twenty-four hour days. Perhaps if their critics were asked to explain some of the things that happen in the natural world, they would be a little less enthusiastic in their persecution of fellow church members.

So, in an attempt to test this theoretical possibility, I challenge biblical literalists to explain when, how, and why this fungus was created.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Maier Passionately Addresses ADRA’s Financial Crisis

Modified from the comic Dilbert, by Scott Adams
(click to enlarge)

Reviewing the Adventist Review

February 24, 2011
Vol. 188, No. 6

This issue has something in it for everyone.

M.A. Wilson asks this important question: “How do we justify the institutions we’ve created in Adventism just to support the machinery of the institution? In our system incredible amounts of tie, energy, and finances go to ministries and support staff, a lot of which never reaches the church at the congregational level?”

A featured highlight of Ted Wilson’s South Pacific visit to New Zealand, Australia, Fiji, and Papua New Guinea, was his bible study with Sir Michael Somare, the Prime Minister of New Guinea.

Retired White Estate Associate Director and cofounder of Babcock University, Roger W. Coon, died on February 2. He was 83.

Dorothy Jones, a retired Adventist teacher and counselor, living in Nashville, sends birthday cards with a devotional message to more than 1,040 people around the world each year.

Both Nile Academy and Zeitoun Adventist School in Cairo, have temporarily suspended classes. 930 students have been affected by the political upheaval in Egypt.

A Ellen G. White Research Center has opened its doors at Central American Adventist University in Alajuela, Costa Rica.

In his editorial, WHISTLING IN THE LIGHT, Bill Knott assures his readers that “the gracious Lord will put before you some cause, some need, some project in which you may invest some bit of what He has given you”.

TRUE REPRESENTATION is a confession by Wilona Karimabadi that she never expected to be treated with respect by professors or her student colleagues on the campus of Johns Hopkins University. What do you suppose it was about her Adventist upbringing that produced this unwarranted concern? *

“On this secular campus, inside classrooms filled with people who don’t share my core beliefs, I have been enveloped in a true spirit of openness. When I have shared pieces that talk about my faith, I have never experienced any rolling of the eyes, condescending chuckles, outright shock and disbelief, etc. My classmates have read and evaluated my work with respect and genuine interest, asking honest questions in that same spirit. And in conversations outside of class, I have always been treated in that same way. Truthfully, I never expected that.”

* As a public school English teacher and university professor of education, I have often used Jesus as an example of what it takes to be an effective teacher. On only one occasion in 42 years has a student criticized my use of Jesus as a model. A former Adventist, a young man in his twenties, raised by Adventist parents in an Adventist community, loudly protested and dropped my Educational Psychology class.

In LESSONS JESUS TAUGHT, Mark Johnson describes the ideal Adventist church as “a place where the weak, the wounded, and the weary can rub shoulders with other people and find healing and acceptance, new direction and inspiration. I would rather have people who are having struggles in life in the church where they belong, hearing what Jesus has for them, than having them outside, wondering what in the world they are going to do”.

Andrew McChesney is Editor in Chief of the Moscow Times, an English-language daily newspaper. When he gave up trying to find THE BEST JOB IN THE WORLD, it found him, thanks to the alert editors of the Adventist Review. Andrew’s love of God and his passionate concern for his Russian friends and employees continue to inspire me to be a better Christian. For me, he’s always a MUST READ.

The introduction to ADVENTISM'S FIRST BLACK FAMILY by James Nix and Lawrence Onsager promises a fascinating look at a remarkable family. It doesn't disappoint.

“Achieving a historic first is rarely easy. But achieving several such firsts is nothing short of newsworthy. Such is the legacy of the William J. Hardy family of Michigan, Adventism’s first African-American church members. In addition to the family’s being the first Black Seventh-day Adventists (despite their current anonymity), William Hardy is credited with being the first Black man elected to public office in Michigan, and Eugene, William’s son, was the first Black to graduate from high school in Michigan.”

(RELEVANT) NOW? by Linnea Helgesen offers some sensible advice to Adventists when discussing apocalyptic visions.

“In a world of fearful apocalyptic visions of environmental chaos and poverty, the sober Seventh-day Adventist approach, at times healthily skeptical of its own apocalyptic vision, can prove to be the present truth of our time. Because of our past, we have already tried different approaches to the apocalypse: fire and brimstone preaching, generous antichrist labeling (instead of appropriately focusing on systems rather than people), and some of us have even attempted to fit 9/11 into our prophecy charts. Been there, done that. We know we have made mistakes, and because of it we have a golden opportunity to avoid repeating them.”

GOD OF ALL HOPEFULNESS by David Marshall is a beautifully written devotional piece in which he reminds us that when tragedy strikes, ours is a “Lord of all Hopefulness, Lord of all joy”, and that message can be delivered by a most unlikely angel. It’s a MUST READ.

PREACHING THE EVERLASTING GOSPEL TO ALL THE EARTH is Jason Canfield’s advice about “reaching out” to Mormons. “Truth alone is not likely to be enough to convert your average Latter-day Saint. The one thing that everyone can do is befriend Mormons. It is through friendship evangelism that it is possible to reach Mormons.”

It sounds to me like a standoff. Adventists don’t have much of a chance to convert Mormons, and they don’t have much of a chance to convert us. However, “befriending” each other might give the Holy Spirit a chance to make both Adventists and Mormons better people. I’m convinced it’s possible.

Editors, Delbert Baker needed more help. PREPARED FOR ANYTHING is a reasonable first draft, and he makes some excellent points when he discusses “situational awareness” and the dangers of “intricate theories and last-day scenarios preached by the TV preacher who draws straight lines from current events to Old Testament prophecies”, but the piece needed an editorial second effort before it was published.

In NEVER ALONE, Erica Ariza writes about the time when she “couldn’t pretend everything was fine”. She met a homeless man with Parkinson’s and Emphysema.

Geoscience Institute Confidential

Comic modified from Pearls Before Swine, by Stephan Pastis.
(click to enlarge)

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Ted, knives make me nervous.

Comic modified from Rubes, by Leigh Rubin.
(click for enlarged image)

Reviewing the Adventist Review

February 17, 2011
Vol. 188, No. 4

This issue left me scratching my head. A quick scan of titles and introductory paragraphs left me with the impression that a theologically progressive wind was blowing through open windows in Silver Spring. However, after reading the magazine from cover to cover, I was disappointed to discover that it wasn’t a wind; it was a fitful breeze.

LETTERS once again included comments that weren’t congratulatory. Commendable! Floyd Sayer took a shot at Hyvath Williams for her progressive attitude toward “worship styles, music, dress, and theology”. Ron Bergman included a zinger in his comments about Bible study. “Some even claim to be studying the Bible when they’re reading Ellen White’s books.” (Fuddy-duddy 1, Thoughtful Critic 1)

In his editorial, TEAMWORK, Gerald Klingbeil extolls the value of couples working in ministry. “I am wondering how much talent and passion the Seventh-day Adventist Church is losing by overlooking the great blessings and opportunities of couple ministry.” (Klingbeil 1, Misogyny 0. Too bad homosexual couples could not be included. Adventist Church 0, Homophobia 1.)

When Gina Wahlen checked out ELLEN WHITE'S E-MAIL ADDRESS one more time, and to her delight she discovered herself “on a backstage tour of heaven and earth”. (Thoughtful Critic 1, Disinterested Reader 0)

LET THE REBELUTION BEGIN by Jeffrey Rosario cites some troubling statistics that led him to believe that his “generation of Adventists is increasingly an endangered species: “There’s a 50 percent chance that a teenager who gets baptized in his or her mid-teens will leave the Adventist Church completely by the time he or she is 25.

“One in every five Adventist churches in North America doesn’t have a single child, teenager, or young adult. In fact, the median age in our churches is nearly 60—20 years older than the average American.

“According to a survey, seven in 10 youth (ages 18-30) who attended church regularly in high school reported that they stopped attending by age 23. Of that group, 34 percent said they never returned to church, even occasionally, by the age of 30. Translation: 1 in 4 protestant youth have left the church for good.

“Here is the bottom line: God expects greatness from us. Our movement began with young people who had a high-caliber Christian experience. It was “normal.” And if this is going to be a useful generation of Adventists who are worthy of their name, then we’d better ditch these low expectations and bring back some raw, biblical Adventism. It’s likely that Jesus will not return until we expect greatness from the current generation. Remember, Adventism is never more than one generation away from extinction.” (Intelligent Warning 1, Thoughtful Critic 0.) Jeff, it’s the current “raw [literal] biblical Adventism” that’s the problem.

SABBATH, MOVIES, AND THE PLAINS OF MOAB is David Tasker’s attempt to make Adventism relevant.

“Controversies over falling standards (e.g., music and appropriate worship styles) have always been with us. But are we learning from these interchanges? There is good evidence to suggest that while we have been preoccupied with standards, we may have in fact been distancing ourselves from the ideals of Scripture. This article illustrates the dilemma of failing to get it right in explaining one church “standard” (theater attendance) to ensuing generations, and suggests how Scripture deals with the issue of passing on values with credibility and power to the next generation. (Promoting the “ideals of Scripture” 1, Preoccupation with standards 0)

NEAR-DEATH DELUSIONS by Cliff Goldstein is a warning about taking reports of NDE’s, near death experiences, seriously. (Preoccupation with standards 1, (Promoting the ideals of Scripture 0)

THE DANGER OF UNBELIEF by Ellen White is an admonition to live life with humility and a mind open to the voice of God. (Open mind 1, Closed mind 0)

Shawn Brace makes an appeal for the “milk of human kindness” in CANCER FOR TWO, LOVE FOR ONE. “Sadly, in our attempts for theological purity and behavioral perfection, the milk of human kindness and, indeed, the Christian mandate to love are often glaringly absent. We, who boast of being God’s chosen in these last days, too many times forget that above all, Christ says that His disciples will be identified by their love for one another. (Christian love 1, Theological purity 0)

In PREPARING FOR THE HARVEST, Hyveth Willaims asks us to join her “in choosing love every day, for there is no occasion so terrible that hatred, bitterness, or betrayal is worthy of our energy. (Love 1, Hatred, bitterness, betrayal, 0)

LEARNING BY DOING by Amir Gulzar is the story of a courageous young evangelist, 12-year-old Bwambale Kataka Genick, in a place called Oicha in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. (Active concern for others 1, Disinterested observer 0)

REMEMBERING TO LAUGH by Andy Nash provides the following advice. ”As sober as life can be, when we don’t make space for pleasure in our homes and churches our kids will look for it elsewhere. We need times of solemnity and study; we also need times of levity and laughter—all generations playing together. That’s the church many of us grew up in and still want for our kids today.” (Laughter 1, Gloom 0)

Mark Kellner, himself, is in THE VERY BEST PLACE TO BE when he publically calls it to our attention that the gospel message is not exclusively Adventist. He references Captain Stanley E. Ditmer of the Salvation Army who served others, met their needs as human beings, and preached “the gospel” for 51 years. One of Kellner’s treasured memories is meeting the man who “wrote a song that the Salvation Army sings to this day”. This is the first verse and chorus.

“I shall not fear though darkened clouds may gather round me;
The God I serve is one who cares and understands.
Although the storms I face would threaten to confound me,
Of this I am assured: I’m in His hands.”

“I’m in His hands, I’m in His hands;
Whate’er the future holds I’m in His hands,
The days I cannot see, have all been planned for me;
His way is best, you see;
I’m in His hands.”

(The Gospel 1, Theological purity 0)

An ADRA employee has come to discuss his severance package.

Modified from the comic Non Sequitur, by Wiley
(click to enlarge)