Thursday, July 12, 2012

Reviewing the Adventist Review

June 21, 2012
Vol. 189, No.17

WORLD NEWS AND PERSPECTIVES is an important section of each magazine. I don’t usually report on its contents because it is available at the online address I provide with every review.

Stephen Chavez is my favorite, when it comes to Review editors. His is a quiet voice of reason and inclusion. In his editorial, LET THE DEBATE BEGIN, he asks for warring factions in the church to talk together, not so that religious or political views will change, but so that the dialogue will humanize us—help us realize that we are brothers and sisters under the skin. A worthy goal.

Wilona Karimabadi stirred up some of the trouble Stephen wants to avoid with a discussion question on the Review Facebook page about eating out on Sabbath. And so it was in that spirit that I posed a question that I knew would get many responses. It was simply this: eating out on Sabbath. Big deal or not a big deal?  And 42 people let us know what the deal was.

INFORMATION AND CREATION by Werner Renz. If, as he hypothesizes, those believing in a literal six-day creation week are often labeled as “fundamentalist” and considered naive or hostile to science. This not only happens outside our church but increasingly informs the discourse within our church. There seems to be, both open and smoldering below the surface, a “six-day war” within the Seventh-day Adventist Church, what can be done about it?

Attacking the science and scientific thinking doesn’t seem to further that goal. Renz’, a retired pastor and radio producer, reports that the following pronouncements effectively call into question the scientific thinking that questions a six day literal creation, among other things:

if we are not able to locate the entity of information within the complex process of evolution, we would need to start from zero regarding the big bang and evolution… “Information is an entity that precedes energy and matter, because it quantifies energy and determines the form of matter.” In other words, information structures matter—truly “formation."

The problem is that scientists working with the fundamentals of evolution brew this “cosmic stew” within a closed system called “self-organization.”  By extension it includes science, evolution, and many other facets of the scientific worldview. However, there is another model of reality, distinct from the one I just described. This cybernetic model of reality is open for external input. Information is not necessarily part of the system but can enter the system and within the natural laws point to a “last” or ultimate reality. The “cybernator” (does this word actually exist?) is the pilot, or the creator, or the programmer writing software code.

Moderator’s Question: Editors, what are your publication standards?

THE CAPTAIN GOES TO CHURCH by James R. Nix was a disappointment. It detailed a goofy fraud perpetrated on gullible Adventist leaders in 1899. However the lesson to be learned from reading the story is vital. “Large sums of money, or the promise of it, earn the philanthropist power and influence—often to the detriment of the church.”

In THE GRAND INQUISITOR, we learn that Cliff Goldstein is of the opinion that The Brothers Karamazof by Dostoyevsky is the greatest novel ever written; it’s greatest chapter, The Grand Inquisitor.

Jesus Christ returns to earth, not in heavenly glory on bright clouds of angels, but “in that human shape in which He walked among men for three years fifteen centuries ago.” The time and place of this advent are awkward for the church: Seville, Spain, in the sixteenth century, where “the day before almost a hundred heretics had, ad majorem gloriam Dei, been burned by the cardinal, the Grand Inquisitor, in a magnificent auto da fé, in the presence of the king, the court, the knights, the cardinals, the most charming ladies of the court, and the whole population of Seville.”

Jesus is arrested, and is to be burned at the stake the next day following an interrogation by the Grand Inquisitor. What do you think happens? All is revealed in the greatest chapter of the greatest novel ever written. It’s obviously a MUST READ.

Hyveth Williams provides her selected list of RESOURCES FOR RECOVERY for those struggling with hidden childhood despair, emotional/mental stresses, and soul wounds related to childhood neglect or adult violence.

I must confess I liked Andy Nash when he was a progressive. Now he’s taking smug shots at his old friends. Come on Andy, we’re the ones championing women’s ordination, questioning fundamentalism, advocating brotherhood inside a broad religious tent, and enlightened views on homosexuality. A MEETING WITH ADVENTIST PROGRESSIVES isn’t a meeting, it’s a sellout.

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