Thursday, April 14, 2011

Reviewing the Adventist Review

March 24, 2011
Vol. 188, No. 9

This issue has something for everyone. I was fascinated to learn who runs the Church when Ted Wilson is swanning around the world and impressed by Wiona Karimabadi’s WHAT’S HAPPENING TO THESE KIDS? Steohen Chavez’ editorial, JESUS AND THE WORD, and the book review, LORD’S PRAYER THOUGH PRIMITIVE EYES were thought provoking.

TRUST JESUS’ PROMISE, Mark Kellner’s advice about church leadership, is a MUST READ for board members sorting out the ADRA administrative shakeup. Dilbert Baker provides helpful advice for all of us who have had to deal with THE BLACK SWANS of life. For mission story lovers there is Hartman’s UNTIL WE MEET AGAIN.

ALL TO JESUS by William Murrill is for guilt trippers and those who don’t pay tithe on their gross salaries and retirement benefits; and finally, in a piece not included in the print edition, Shawn Boonstra’s essay for end-of-the-worlders: AS THINGS UNRAVEL: AN ADVENTIST PONDERS THE MIDDLE EAST.

Oroville Parchment is Ted Wilson on a day-to-day basis. He “acts as an extension of the president’s office, speaking on behalf of Wilson and fielding requests as varied by subject as they are by locale”. Because “Wilson will be in the office fewer than 30 business days from January 1 through the end of September”, Parchment deals with people who want to “share something with Wilson” or “want to tell Wilson some reoccurring dreams”.

“I say to myself, if I were living in [church cofounder] Ellen White’s day and she wrote a letter like that to me, would I respond to her? It does cross my mind. I hope I’m not putting off God by politely turning these people down.” I’ll bet God wouldn’t have been put off if those letters had been accompanied by promises of substantial stock options.

Back on February 27, John Boehner addressed the National Religious Broadcasters Convention. A downsized General Conference Session is under discussion. Newbold College plans layoffs in a restructuring move. And Loma Linda’s new 106 bed Murrieta branch hospital is now open

In JESUS AND THE WORD, Stephen Chavez makes the case that “the proof that the Bible is inspired (God-breathed) is not merely because the Bible says it is; the proof is seen in the lives of Christ’s followers who live as Christ lived—graciously, inclusively, lovingly, sacrificially”.

TRUST JESUS' PROMISE is a report on 88-year-old Harold Camping’s revised pronouncement that Jesus will return on May 21, 2011. Mark Kellner wonders about how Camping has gotten himself into so much trouble.

“One could suggest many reasons for this, but perhaps the lack of accountability for Camping—he’s the top executive at Family Radio and there’s no one to challenge his word—is the greatest deficit here. Had there been a pool of leaders from whom Camping could get counsel, he might have stayed on the straight and narrow.” Are you listening, Ted?

In THE BLACK SWANS OF LIFE, Dilbert W. Baker imparts lessons he has learned in the face of difficult situations.

“The following three principles have been found to be of great assistance in black swan situations:

“First, Do the next right thing. “Debriefings of survivors show repeatedly that they possess the capacity to break down the event they are faced with into small, manageable tasks…

“Second, Develop a core truth you can live by before you need it…A positive message can keep your spirits up and your mind focused on doing the next right thing…By contrast, a negative perspective can lead to despair and death.

“Third, Surrender but don’t give up. That may sound like a paradox. But the concept of surrender is at the heart of survival. Fear, especially the fear of death, can be a paralyzing force that keeps us from doing what’s necessary to survive. Good survivors realize that they may die, but they’re going to persevere anyway.”

In LOSS IS GAIN, Vicki Griffin employed Dilbert Baker’s “core truth you can live by” when her “black swan” struck. “When trials hit like a tornado, God’s angels seek to save the believing child of God from utter, hopeless, reckless, relentless, unremitting grief.”

WHAT'S HAPPENING TO THESE KIDS? by Wilona Karimabadi discusses childhood obesity, a national tragedy that cries out for individual and official church action.

“God created our bodies to move and thrive. He has provided us with the foods we need to live our best lives on this earth. That so many children—who are so precious to Him—are facing serious health and emotional problems as a result of poor nutrition and lack of physical activity is deplorable. We as a church cannot stand idly by. We have been blessed with a unique message for healthy living that others are only starting to learn about, and we can use this knowledge to save children.

Andrew McChesney’s FOOD FOR THOUGHT is an account of what happened when “Zoran Novakovich, a Yugoslav border guard, could not understand why he and his comrades kept finding Russian-language Bibles hidden on trains headed toward the Soviet Union.”

In WORSHIPPING GOD, Dan Serns shares the following tips to make family worship an enjoyable experience for everyone.

“(1) Talk with the family about setting a time. Begin with 10 to 15 minutes. Find a time that is convenient for everyone in the family, and adjust it every year or so if needed…(2) Have worship alone at first, if necessary. Sometimes the family is not ready to join you...(3) Take turns leading out. I set up a rotation so each family member had a week to lead out in worship…(4) Have variety. Worship can include songs, Bible readings, memory verses, expressions of thankfulness, prayer, mission stories, character-building stories, and so forth…(5) Invite others, especially your children’s friends and their families and your neighbors, to join you from time to time.”

THE LORD'S PRAYER THROUGH PRIMITIVE EYES reviewed by J. T. Shim reviews the new work by retired missionary and theologian Gottfried Oosterwal. Gottfried Oosterwal; Pacific Press Publishing Association, Nampa, Idaho; 2009; 160 pages; paperback; US$13.99.

“In The Lord’s Prayer Through Primitive Eyes Gottfried Oosterwal tells gripping stories of living as a missionary in the remote Bora-Bora culture in New Guinea, and how he grappled to reveal the concepts of the Lord’s Prayer to them. With new insight he applies what he learned to us.”

Reflections: Matthew Hartman remembers his experiences as a student missionary in Peru. It’s a MUST READ commercial for youthful mission service.

Matthew “learned that no matter how inadequate and unqualified one may feel, if you step up to the task in faith God equips you to do His work. In the process, He leads you, not necessarily down the easiest road, but down the most adventuresome road. He prayed he would never forget the experiences, the people, and these lessons”.

BROWN, Doreen C.—b. Aug. 6, 1916, San Angelo, Tex.; d. June 28, 2010, Phoenix, Ariz.
COOK, LaRue L.—b. Jan. 23, 1920, Bolivar, N.Y.; d. Sept. 19, 2010, Columbus, Miss.
CORRECES, Dalisay L.—b. Jan. 7, 1921, Philippines; d. July 29, 2010, Sebring, Fla.
HOAG, Clarence James—b. Oct. 17, 1939, Erie, Pa.; d. Aug. 26, 2010, West Helena, Ark.
JUSTESEN, Jerome P.—b. June 6, 1937, Ontario, Canada; d. Aug. 4, 2010, Avon Park, Fla.
PETERSEN, Betty G.—b. Nov. 21, 1926, Burt County, Nebr.; d. July 29, 2010, Grand Island, Nebr.
ROE, Cyril E.—b. Nov. 17, 1924, Ripley, England; d. Apr. 7, 2010, Ormand Beach, Fla.
SCALES, William C.—b. July 22, 1915, Charleston, W. Va.; d. June 2010.
SCOTT, Edgar—b. July 23, 1931, Elva, Ill.; d. Aug. 28, 2010, Sebring, Fla.VELBIS, Cenon—b. July 30, 1940, Philippines; d. Sept. 6, 2010, Kissimmee, Fla.

William Murrill, ALL TO JESUS is an appeal for money. Unfortunately, “ALL” is not getting there. There is a top-heavy bureaucracy, a huge media ministry that is ineffective and occasionally goofy, evangelistic campaigns that attract the unbalanced and fearful, and GC leadership that operates in a theological time warp. Is it any wonder that the money to support this NAD operation is declining while directed giving by NAD Adventists to charitable projects and institutions not affiliated with or administered by the church is growing. Local church expense offerings are also increasing.

AS THINGS UNRAVEL: AN ADVENTIST PONDERS THE MIDDLE EAST. That Adventist is Shawn Boonstra. This piece appears in the online edition but not in print. That omission is fortunate. The following extensive quote reveals a weird amalgam of old time Catholic antichrist hate mongering with a new Muslim twist. The fact that this stuff appears in my church’s flagship journal is embarrassing.

“But Seventh-day Adventists watch the Middle East from a unique perspective. Revelation 13 describes a coming religious coalition – one that involves the “whole world.” We have an easy time imagining how Christian America might coalesce, and we can see building pressure from Rome in Europe. But those nations have a long history of Christianity, even if the faith is no longer widely practiced in some. The question that leaves us scratching our prophetic noggins is how rapidly expanding Islam might factor into the picture – a broad and complex faith group that has frequently been at odds with Western Christianity.

“It’s not that there hasn’t been some motion in the expected direction. Rome has at least one door through which to build dialogue with the Muslim world: the Virgin Mary. She holds a place of high regard in the Koran, and it hasn’t entirely escaped the notice of Muslims that she chose to supposedly manifest herself, in 1917, to three young girls in the city of Fatima, Portugal—a city indirectly named for Mohammed’s daughter. According to some Muslim accounts, Fatima (the girl, not the city) occupies a position of honor in heaven second only to Mary. The late Bishop Fulton J. Sheen made this observation:

“Since nothing ever happens out of Heaven except with a finesse of all details, I believe that the Blessed Virgin chose to be known as “Our Lady of Fatima” as a pledge and a sign of hope to the Moslem people, and as an assurance that they, who show her so much respect, will one day accept her divine Son too.”

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