Thursday, June 30, 2011

La Sierra University finds itself shopping for help on the wrong side of town.

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

Reviewing the Adventist Review

June 9, 2011
Vol. 188, No. 16

It’s hard not to be distracted by this cover. Jesus as a Nordic androgynous superman? Seems weirdly irreverent. And blue eyed? Shouldn’t he look more like Clifford Goldstein? Then there’s Bill Knott’s admonition to pronounce Adventist, ADventist for theological reasons.

It’s comforting to know that the Joplin tornado only damaged the local Adventist church (no SDA lives were lost), and Ted Wilson is speaking to huge crowds and making friends in Angola, Madagascar, Mauritius, Reunion Island, and the Seychelles.

Don’t overlook the stories by Dixil Rodriguez and Andrew McChesney.

I’m glad I kept my mouth shut. Ricardo is under the impression that there were only four of us!

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

Thursday, June 23, 2011


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

Reviewing Spectrum

Spring, 2011
Vol. 39, Issue 2
This link will take you to the table of contents of the current issue.

This issue should appeal to a wide variety of readers. The following are my favorite articles.


READING THE BIBLE SCULPTURE SERIES: AN INTERVIEW WITH THE ARTIST by John McDowell is an artistic and literary success.

THE BIBLE IN ART AND LITERATURE may be a bit too academic for some, but Melissa Brotton, Lora Geriguis, and Sam McBride do an impressive job of demonstrating why biblical literature has inspired the greatest stories ever told.

WHEN WHAT IS TRUE IS NOT PURE: FLANNERY O’CONNOR AND THE LOGIC OF REDEMPTION by Ryan Bell is a thoughtful, contemporary argument for Christian art and the support of Christian artists.

Adventists of all stripes and convictions owe Bonnie Dyer a debt of gratitude so huge, that any talk of repayment is ludicrous. She has kept Spectrum, the magazine and blog, afloat when any but the most skilled and dedicated sailor would have gone down with the ship or beached the boat. Her magazine remains a vessel in which sanity, friendliness, goodwill, and intelligence have managed to repel the pirates of foolishness, resentment, and downright stupidity that infest the seas of Adventism. She deserves more than your goodwill. She deserves support.


Straining Gnats

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

Thursday, June 16, 2011

The extra laws are kept by dedicated literalists.

The Ten Commandments were not the only laws revealed to Moses at Sinai. Exodus 21-23 contain a miscellany of laws conventionally called the "Book of the Covenant". Also check out what was written on the New Stone Tablets in Exodus 34.

From Non Sequitur, by Wiley
(click image to enlarge)

Reviewing the Adventist Review

May 26, 2011
Vol, 188, No. 15

This issue breaks no new ground, theologically or intellectually. Consequently, it must be judged a success by everyone that matters in official Adventism. However, the odor of naivety and the smell of unconscious truth accompany some of the language used. I’ll bet you can sniff it out.

Gerald A. Kringbeil’s IT SMELLS! is ostensibly an editorial about the pleasing aroma of official Adventism’s sectarian “revival and reformation”. Yet it contains these words: “Paul (and Mary) were not too concerned about a corporate image or ministry emphasis. They realized in their different ways that this was a matter of life and death that required a heart response—up close and personal.”

JUDGMENT TIME? YES. is Mark A. Kellner’s admonition about God’s expectations that, inadvertently, might offer encouragement to critics of current church policies. “It’s not a comfortable position to advise repentance so as to avoid calamity. Just ask Jonah! But it’s an essential task for the Christian. And if others are offended, I’m sorry about that, but they must still be warned. The Lord expects no less.”

THE PERFECT HERO by J. Harold Alomia is Jesus, of course. However, he fails to mention Jesus’ scathing indictment of religious leaders in Mathew 23. Just an oversight, presumably.

REVIRGINALIZATION: A SPIRITUAL APPLICATION by Delbert W. Baker talks about the spiritual idea of revirginalization. “Revirginization is also a deeply rooted Christian desire. The Bible reminds us that we’re all sinners. We all want and desperately need a do-over. We want to become unsinners, to live as though we’d never sinned.

CAN WE TALK? Is Steve Moran’s advice on what to say to an atheist. My question: how is this different from engaging in a meaningful conversation with a church member? a marriage partner? one of your children? a neo-conservative? a flaming liberal?

1. Look for a Bridge: There is no better way to begin a conversation than by asking what the other person believes.

2. Demonstrate Love: “The first lesson from this story is that, when we engage in acts of kindness and compassion, some of the people we serve will move into a saving, trusting relationship with Jesus. The second lesson is less obvious, but perhaps more important. God has created each of us with the gift of compassion. Even atheists and agnostics have compassion; sometimes, it seems, in greater measure than in Christians.” Really?

Question: What other test is there for membership in Christ’s kingdom? It doesn’t seem to matter to the Son of Man whether you are atheist or believer when he shows up! Compassion is the only test, according to Mathew 25: 31-36.

“When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, he will sit on his glorious throne. All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate the people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. He will put the sheep on his right and the goats on his left.

“Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’ “

3. Have Reasonable Expectations: Don’t expect an immediate conversion to your way of thinking.

4. Tell a Story/Tell Your Story: Allow others to know you intimately.

Allan R. Handysides and Peter N. Landless provide their usual excellent advice in KNEE TROUBLE. It’s a MUST READ if you have a trick knee. Their advice in a nutshell: “If you have consulted with more than one physician and they both agree on your needing a knee replacement, I would think the operation will likely bring you significant improvement.”

Bert Beach suggests a pretty liberal Christian THEOLOGY IN A (POST)MODERN WORLD. However, I looked in vain for “equality of human rights as it affects” the ordination of women, homosexuals, and those with other genetic differences.

“While “objective neutrality” in the study of religion can be a useful tool of scholarship, though never fully attainable, it is both impossible and undesirable in dealing with theological doctrine and ethics. It is deplorable, at least from a Christian perspective, to be neutral, without sturdy personal convictions regarding certain issues. These questions include, among others: religious liberty and the right to believe or not to believe; equality of human rights as it affects men and women, race and caste; female and child slavery; crying human needs, such as hunger and poverty; the plan of salvation; the nefarious influences of few (or many) in unbalancing or deregulating economic and other systems and forces. A Seventh-day Adventist cannot be neutral in regard to the Creator and His creation. Adventists cannot be oblivious to the reminding and reviving power of the Holy Spirit and His gifts.”

ONCE MORE WITH POWER: REVIVAL AND REFORMATION: Shawn Brace reports a revival of Adventism in the New England Conference.

In WHEN GOD CALLS YOU HERE, Jimmy Phillips talks about “answered calls”.
“Have you been echoing Isaiah’s (and Adelaide’s) words? “Here am I. Send me!” (Isa. 6:8). Has it occurred to you that you may have already been sent?”

“Diets don’t work. But the concepts in Made to Crave will help you achieve the picture of health you desire. According to”

GOD AND HUMAN CATASTROPHE is Clifford Pitts attempt to justify God’s hand in cataclysmic events. Unfortunately, Pitts can only offer the following: “Our justification of God, then, is His own justification of Himself in the suffering and death of God the Son.”


Yoselin Perez was baptized in November

Adventists give aide in wake of deadly twister.

U.S. Postal Service cancels Sunday delivery.

PBS release highlights church's health work.

Adventist publishing house stems money losses.

The Price of Respect

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

Thursday, June 9, 2011

How the information got out!

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

Reviewing Adventist World, NAD Edition

May, 2011
Vol. 7, No. 5

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.


This section is particularly informative this time around. It includes Ted Wilson’s essay, FREEDOM TO CHOOSE, and reflects his uncompromising traditional views regarding the Investigative Judgment. His support of religious liberty does not include “things that are completely against God’s law”. Perhaps he had California’s Proposition 8 in mind. The piece also includes some naively disconcerting words about religion and politics when viewed in light of La Sierra University’s one-year AAA probation period.

“Christ’s work for our salvation did not end with His death on the cross. He is interceding for us now in the Most Holy Place in the heavenly sanctuary. The investigative judgment begun in 1844 (Dan. 8:14) revolves largely around choices, as the records of each individual’s choice for or against God is being made public.

“This is why Seventh-day Adventists vigorously promote the protection of the religious rights of any person. We want to protect the right of every person to make a decision for God. Of course, we do not want to protect inappropriate things that are completely against God’s law, but we want everyone to be able to have the choice of believing in a loving and powerful God who has provided salvation for each of us. While we wish everyone would know and love the God of Scripture, we don’t force this on anyone. Forcing someone to do even right things goes against God’s will and plays into Satan’s lie about God. God must be obeyed out of love. This is the essence of religious liberty.”

“As we look back in history, we can see that whenever religion and politics are closely united, there is a potential for abuse. Often when predominant religious organizations have access to social and political leverage, there is the potential for diminishing personal freedoms for those who may not be in the majority.”

Paul Brantley, the GC General Vice President for Strategic Planning and Assessment assures readers in CAN WE BE ADVENTIST AND EXCELLENT TOO? (only in the print edition) that “we in the North American Division are available to provide guidance with any entity…that wishes to work within church structure [including individual churches] to construct a system of planning and assessment”. I wonder how many churches will take advantage of this offer.

In SUCCESSFUL HOSTING NET 2011, Errol N. McLean quotes a document produced at the 2010 Annual Council. “The church’s growth rate is simply not keeping up with the world’s burgeoning population. An honest evaluation of our current evangelistic impact on the world leads to the conclusion that unless there is a dramatic change, we will not complete Heaven’s assignment in this generation.” NET evangelism is not an effective evangelistic tool. Church pastors who would like to see NET money spent in ways that would directly benefit their local parishes.


I sure that Sung K. Kwon would put that NET 2011 money to better use in his community services programs. WHEN YOU CARE ENOUGH outlines the variety of community service programs supported by the GC that are proven soul winners.

Allan R. Handysides and Peter N. Landless have written a concise, informative, and up-to-date discussion on HYPERTENSION. It’s a MUST READ even if your heart isn’t giving you trouble.

Adugnaw Worku’s, A HAND OUT AND A HAND UP, is a terrific mission story and amazing autobiography. It’s another MUST READ.

Ellen White’s books are being published as modern paraphrases for a variety of audiences. William Fagel tells that story in ADAPTING THE WRITINGS OF ELLEN WHITE.

If you are FREE TO CHOOSE, skip the essay on free will by Angel Manuel Rodriguez. Its obfuscation of the subject fails to elucidate.


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

GSI: Contrarian Science Practiced Here

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

Thursday, June 2, 2011

If you are not ordained and do not work for the Adventist Health System, this is an important question!

From Non Sequitur, by Wiley
(click image to enlarge)

Reviewing the Adventist Review

May 19, 2011
Vol. 188, No. 14

This is an "end times" issue. It seems we have learned very little from the apocalyptic vocalizations of Harold Camping. In the short term, our "living in the last days of earth's history" pronouncements may be good for a few converts, but in the long-run, this continual harping leads to disillusionment and ridicule. Obviously, there are those within he Adventist fellowship who disagree. You will hear their voices here.

A MUST READ article by Karen Birkett Green provides information crucial to understanding and dealing with childhood grief.

IS "REFORMATION" A CONFUSING TERM? Mark A. Finley provides the authorized definition.
"The spirit of revival and reformation will lead every institutional leader and administrative committee to reevaluate the practices of the institution they lead in the light of biblical principles and the counsels of the Spirit of Prophecy. They will ask, Does the institution I administer genuinely reflect the God-given principles and values of the Seventh-day Adventist Church?"

In THE COURAGE OF OUR CONVICTIONS, Sandra Blackmer explains what it means to stick up for our Adventist convictions in the fast approaching "end-time".
"Regarding God’s people in the end-time, Ellen White writes that 'the whole world was converted and in harmony with the Sunday law, and this little feeble people stood out in defiance of the laws of the land...and claimed to be the only ones right on the earth.' They do this, she says, because they 'take their stand on the living Word' " (Maranatha, p. 209).

Ellen G. White spoke about end-time readiness in GIVE ME OIL IN MY LAMP.
This article was originally published in the Review and Herald, September 17, 1895, under the title “Have You Oil in Your Vessels With Your Lamps?

"It is in probationary time, the time in which we are living, that we should calmly contemplate the terms of salvation, and live according to the conditions laid down in the Word of God. We should educate and train ourselves, hour by hour and day by day, by careful discipline, to perform every duty. We should become acquainted with God and with Jesus Christ whom He has sent. In every trial it is our privilege to draw upon Him who has said, 'Let him take hold of my strength, that he may make peace with me; and he shall make peace with me.'

"The Lord says He is more willing to give us the Holy Spirit than parents are to give bread to their children. Then let us have the oil of grace in our vessels with our lamps, that we may not be found among those who are represented as foolish virgins, who were not prepared to go forth to meet the bridegroom."

Gena Wahlen provides advice for getting ready for end-time events in PACK YOUR SURVIVAL KIT NOW.
"Talking about the end of time can be challenging. While we don’t want to be alarmists or date-setters, we do believe that the end is near and that certain cataclysmic events will take place before Christ’s second coming."

SEX AND THE CHRISTIAN is Tom Shepherd's warning that these are dangerous times.
"I am afraid that society around us, with its use of sexuality to sell everything from movies to magazines, beer to soap, and cars to cameras, has blinded our eyes and dulled our senses to the immense soul-destroying impact of sexual immorality.:

CHILDHOOD GRIEF, by Karen Birkett Green is a MUST READ. She discusses the common symptoms of childhood grief, and provides ways for adults to help children deal with the underlying painful feelings.
  1. Children May Not Always Grieve in the Same Way Adults Do. While children may display certain characteristics that we as adults recognize as grief, they may exhibit some behaviors that we do not identify as part of the grieving process.
  2. Encourage Children to Talk and Share Their Feelings. The subject of death is often an uncomfortable one for most adults. We may not know how to approach the subject with our children and may cope by convincing ourselves that by avoiding it, it will simply go away with the passage of time.
  3. Be Aware of Common Thoughts and Feelings of Grieving Children. Encouraging your child to share their thoughts about the death of a loved one might uncover some common thoughts and feelings that children have about death.
  4. Be Mindful of Religious Jargon When Talking to Children About Death. As Christians we will undoubtedly use religious themes when talking to our children about death. It’s important that they understand the Christian perspective of death; however, we must be careful in the words we use to explain it.
  5. Do Not Force Your Child to Attend Funerals and Other Memorial Services. Taking time to explain the formalities of death, such as funeral home viewings, funerals, and memorial services, is helpful in preparing your child for what to expect and removing the shroud of mystery that often surrounds these rituals.
  6. Inform Your Child’s School of the Death. Many parents often fail to inform teachers or administrators at their child’s school or day care about the death of a loved one.
  7. Help Your Child Find Ways of Remembering the Person Who Has Died. Helping your child find meaningful ways to remember the person who has died can also be beneficial to their grieving process.
UP TO THE CHALLENGE is Hyveth Williams RX for end-time challenges.
"The world is falling apart. Major disasters are everywhere. People are dying by the thousands without knowing Jesus Christ as their personal Savior. We have an urgent, divine summons to all who live in these last, difficult days.

"Our mission is to partner with Christ “to seek and to save the lost” (Luke 19:10). Ours was originally a “movement,” not to build institutions that demand more of our financial resources to maintain, leaving little to employ ministers to work for Jesus. Too many divinely called men and women, filled with the Holy Spirit and trained to labor for the Lord, are being turned away because of a lack of funds to hire them. Our mission is clear: we are to know nothing more than Jesus Christ and Him crucified. We must go speedily and tell everywhere that humanity’s hour of decision has come."

AN UNFORGETTABLE FLIGHT as told by Denny Kucich and narrated by Beverly Bass, is the story of a random act of kindness that turned a plane load of individual commuters into a community of friends.
"Just before takeoff a line of soldiers came down the aisle and took the seats across the aisle and in front of me. More came. Still more. Finally 10 soldiers filled all the vacant seats, totally surrounding me. I looked around...not one was buying a lunch. I was hungry, but I couldn’t bring myself to eat in front of them. I walked to the back of the plane and handed the flight attendant a $50 bill. 'Please take a lunch to all those soldiers,' I said."

This is the story of how Andy Nash became THE FACE OF HOME DEPOT, and what he learned from the experience.
"The crowd cheered. Then the Home Depot big shots hustled me outside to have my picture taken with two beautiful Home Depot models in front of the official Home Depot race car. (I was the only thing in the photo that wasn’t orange.)"

"GOODNIGHT IRENE is the reflection of Irene Wakeham who is looking forward to her ninety-ninth birthday on June 26, 2011. She describes what she still wants to do as she faces " the fact of my own mortality". Inspiring.


NEW: Radio Preacher's 'Rapture' Prediction Fails
After 'Great Disappointment, Adventist learned lessons, leaders say.

New: RHPA Officers Re-elected, Board Downsized
Adventist publishing house stems money losses.

New: Union College President Departs
David Smith to pastor Collegedale, Tenn., church.

Kenya: Wilson Stresses Unity
GC president meets head of state.

An Uncomfortable Adventist Truth

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