Thursday, October 27, 2011

Security at Silver Spring escorted me from the building.

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

Reviewing the Adventist Review

October 13, 2011
Vol. 188, No.27

All but one of the essays and editorials in this issue reflect the upside of being an Adventist. SWEENEY’S GARDEN, OF AIRPORTS AND PHARMACIES, and GETTING BEYOND PAIN are inspiring and spiritually uplifting, and CHURCH TRENDS provides authoritative answers to often asked questions regarding SDA demographics. Unfortunately, NO FEAR, is frightening in its attempt to reassure.

Kimberly Luste Maran interviews Rustin and Stacy Sweeney, who moved “across the tracks” to share their lives with the residents of a poverty stricken and crime ridden neighborhood. SWEENEY'S GARDEN is more than the story about a garden. Their community garden symbolizes Rustin and Stacy’s willingness to share what they have, materially and spiritually, with their neighbors.

In OF AIRPORTS AND PHARMACIES, Dixil Rodriguez discovers that the waiting room in a pharmacy can be a place to provide others with help and healing.

R. Steven Norman III reports on his visit to Vad Vashem, the Holocaust Museum in Jerusalem. GETTING BEYOND PAIN that visit entailed, resulted in a “rebirth, renewal, and a life recommitted to love”. It’s a MUST READ.

In CHURCH TRENDS, Monte Sahlin supplies the answers to three commonly asked questions regarding membership in the North American Division: How many active members? What is the average age? Is the Adventist Church growing?

Lelis Souza de Silva argues that there are five reasons why Adventists should not be afraid of end-time trouble. Unfortunately, NO FEAR is simply a recounting of terrifying events followed by timeworn bromides that offer the assurance that Adventists might escape torture and death if they survive until the actual Second Coming.

World News is available online.

An Eye-opening Experience

Modified from the comic Non Sequitur, by Wiley
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Thursday, October 20, 2011

The Truth!

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

Reviewing Adventist World, NAD Edition

October, 2011
Vol. 7, No. 10

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 ISSUE discusses the need for effective evangelistic work in cities and Adventist standards of thought and behavior. As usual, I have supplied my recommended reading and a comment or two.

QUOTE OF THE MONTH from “The People’s Place”
“True mission 
work is meeting people where they are and responding to their plight.”—Pastor Busi Khumalo, director for Youth and Adventist Chaplaincy Ministries in the Southern Africa Indian Ocean Division

TOO MUCH TV? by Allan R. Handysides and Peter N. Landless

In BIG CITIES—BIGGER VISION Ted Wilson emphasizes the importance of evangelistic work in cities, even though he doesn’t recommend living in one. He recommends Ellen White’s idea of “’outpost centers’—including training schools, lifestyle health facilities, and missionary homes—would be established just on the edge of urban areas. A cycle of outreach moves the missionary into the city to engage with people on the level of their need, inviting responsive persons out to the outpost center for rehabilitation and recovery, and then returning with them to continue the cycle of witness. This in-out movement is essential for this special work, because God never intended believers to spend all of their lives in dense, overstimulated urban areas of the modern world.”
--I wonder if Ellen White would have considered Silver Spring a “big city”.

On his GERMAN TRIP Wilson discussed the danger in “friendly relationships with other faiths...These must not substitute for the core of Christian activity, that of sharing the gospel and three angels’ messages with those who need to hear. During our trip in Germany, emphasis was placed on the need to focus on the distinctive biblical truths of Seventh-day Adventists and not to focus on ecumenical activities”. He also condemned the “intellectual attacks on the veracity of Scripture…even as pressure builds from the academic world of higher criticism to recommend new and more subjective methods of interpretation that conflict with the accepted Seventh-day Adventist approach to biblical interpretation. Seventh-day Adventists endorse the historical-biblical or historical-grammatical approach, which allows the Bible to interpret itself.”
--For Ted, Matthew 7:11-13 just isn’t enough.

FUNDAMENTAL BELIEF NUMBER 14 is thoughtfully illuminated by Cheryl Doss. –However, I prefer the wording of the belief itself. As far as I am concerned, the other 27 are superfluous or off-putting.

“The church is one body with many members, called from every nation, kindred, tongue, and people. In Christ we are a new creation; distinctions of race, culture, learning, and nationality, and differences between high and low, rich and poor, male and female, must not be divisive among us. We are all equal in Christ, who by one Spirit has bonded us into one fellowship with Him and with one another; we are to serve and be served without partiality or reservation. Through the revelation of Jesus Christ in the Scriptures we share the same faith and hope, and reach out in one witness to all. This unity has its source in the oneness of the triune God, who has adopted us as His children. (Rom. 12:4, 5; 1 Cor. 12:12-14; Matt. 28:19, 20; Ps. 133:1; 2 Cor. 5:16, 17; Acts 17:26, 27; Gal. 3:27, 29; Col. 3:10-15; Eph. 4:14-16; 4:1-6; John 17:20-23.”

In FOR THE GLORY OF GOD, Angel Manuel Rodríguez uncharacteristically attempts a response to the important question: “What is the purpose of church standards?” Characteristically he bungles his answer and leaves nonAdventist readers under the impression that all drugs are forbidden!

Superstar Ignored

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

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Alternate Science

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

Reviewing the Adventist Review

September 15, 2011
Vol. 188, No. 26

This issue had some happy surprises and one report by Ted Wilson that should prove cautionary as he circumnavigates the world with his revival and reformation sermons. His GERMAN TRIP designed to connect Adventist Leaders, Laity, Pastors in Revival Focus provoked questions that required Ted to reaffirm that “There is no part of the Bible or of our fundamental beliefs that is not important.” His fundamentalist views were questioned pretty directly.

Sandra Blackmer’s report on THE FULL PLATE DIET described a diet that has every chance of producing “A Paradigm Shift” in the way Americans, even omnivorous ones, go about dieting.

In MY CHURCH SAVED ME, Emily Carlson makes the case for not giving up on Adventism even though she doesn’t know how to fix the problems she enumerates. Listing the problems from a young member’s perspective can be a first step in their solution. Officialdom, are you listening?


Carlos Medley’s REST FOR THE WEARY is a very practical defense of the Sabbath.

Reviewing the Adventist Review
September 22, 2011
Vol. 188, No. 27

This is the WEEK OF PRAYER ISSUE and contains daily devotionals for adults and children. Ted Wilson, William Johnson, and Ellen White are the authors for the adults. Charles Mills authors THE CHILDREN’S READINGS.

World News is available online.

Ted Ignores Good Advice

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

Thursday, October 6, 2011


To be continued...

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

Reviewing the Adventist Review

September 8, 2011
Vol. 188, No. 25

This issue is definitely worth skimming it from cover to cover. If you don’t have that kind of time, I have provided an introduction to the pieces I was impressed with. If World News interests you, it’s available online.

WHAT ARE THEY THINKING is a cautionary editorial by my favorite editor, Stephen Chavez.
“As the enemies of Christianity become more strident, apparently it’s not enough to guard against heresy; we also have to guard against stupidity done in the name of Christianity.”

TEN YEARS AFTER THE SKY FELL, Shawn Boonstra reflects on the event that changed our lives in America.
He tells the story of two young Adventist women, Nichele Nelson and Valerie Silver-Ellis, who died in the World Trade Center and the courage of their surviving loved ones. In a story inset, GO FORWARD IN FAITH, Kimberly Luste Maran reminds us that LeRoy Homer, the husband of a Mount Holly, New Jersey church member, was the pilot of the plane that crashed in Shanksville, Pennsylvania.

RELIGION THAT IS PURE by Carol Nash Jordan is a plea to make a difference in the lives of children without parents.
“The movement for churches to establish orphan ministries is growing. Consider organizing a small group—
perhaps your Sabbath school class—to serve as an orphan support ministry. There are many possibilities, but whatever you are led to do, expect to be changed.”

In SILENT SERVICE, Dixil Rodriguez tells the story of a mysterious fellow traveler.
“He has the ability to find people in hidden places and gives them something from the backpack. I watch him approach the homeless, hiding among street signs, huddled in corners on hard cobblestone. Who is he?

Monte Sahlin is a contributor who doesn’t disappoint. The four books he recommends: Experiencing the Joy, The Reason for God, I Am Persuaded, and A Student Missionary Story are indeed TOOLS OF THE TRADE.

Finely, don’t miss CARRYING OTHERS' BURDENS, a reflection by Heather Vandenhoven. Readers will discover why she could make the following improbable statement: “My clothes were now soaked, my eyelashes dripped with rain, my hair was showered with water, but the rain no longer rushed me. I stood, enjoying the freshness of the air.”

The GLOW (Giving Light to Our World) lay ministry has come to my neck-of-the-woods. However, their evangelistic series didn’t work out so well in Orland. Even after members canvassed the entire small town, it was reported that only one non-Adventist showed up for one meeting. Perhaps it had something to with the advertising. Looks kind of cultic/Aztec don’t you think?

Planning for Our Future Benefit

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