Adventists have been making news this week, most notably for involvement in the Chilean miner rescue story that captivated the world. We reported on a story from the Guardian in which Seventh-day Adventist pastor Carlos Parra Diaz purportedly claimed that his work with the miners was the "macro" work, while suggesting other clergy on the scene were doing less important work. The report suggested that pastor Parra Diaz also claimed partial responsibility for the miners' rescue by virtue of his having prayed for their safety.
Our article prompted accusations of media bias and falsification of quotes on the part of the Guardian. (As an aside, it should be noted that a news organization does not become one of the UK's most respected outlets by falsifying quotations. That conspiratorial theory should be eliminated.)
Today, the Adventist News Network responds with Victor Hulbert's commentary piece highlighting the importance of the work Parra Diaz provided.
ANN tweets: "An ANN Commentary says that none of the 33 Chilean Miners are Adventist, and we need not crave a news connection."
The article first provides further detail about Adventists' involvement in the miner incident:
- Commenting on the Adventist supplied t-shirts that were worn by many of miners on their way out -- displaying the slogan "¡Gracias Señor! Thank you Lord" -- the article then states, "The local Adventist church has played a vital role attending and assisting the families of the miners spiritually at "Camp Hope" during the 70 days." Undoubtedly, Adventists are delighted that the local church was able to supply support in this way, and Pastor Diaz should be commended for his enthusiasm, care and commitment.
The article then takes shots at the Catholic News Service and the Guardian, particularly for the latter's depiction of competition between the clergy on the scene.
- Quite naturally, in a country where the majority of the population is Catholic, Bishop Gaspar Quintana Jorquera of Copiapo was also on site giving pastoral care and celebrating mass. Somehow the Catholic News Service fails to mention the three Protestant pastors that were there. It wasn't just Adventist-supplied Bibles that went down the supply shaft, the Baptists supplied mp3 players with New Testaments on them and various Catholic symbols, crucifixes and small statuettes of the Virgin Mary also encouraged the miners.
This then gives the secular press some wry amusement as, for instance, the Guardian Newspaper headlined an article, "Chilean miners: Rival churches claim credit for the miracle." While poking fun at all three faiths -- and pointing out some antagonism between the clerics, the article did give the Adventists credit for being first on the scene and for obtaining permission to give a 10-minute talk to the assembled 33 families before their nightly briefing by government officials. "I do macro work. I am pastor to all," Diaz told the Guardian.
It is perhaps the being pastor to all that is significant in this story. It is hard to pastor under the spotlight of the media and in the emotional bubble that made up Camp Hope. However, it is right that the pastor should have been there, and for all the media complaints of a religious frenzy it is without doubt that the pastoral care provided during those 10 weeks will continue to be needed in the coming months while the media turn their attention to other new stories.
The article concludes with this more important muse:
"Do I have courage to make a difference in my smaller sphere, away from the media, but as a servant of Jesus?"
This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at http://spectrummagazine.org/node/2722