Party!: The Spectrum Blog turns one year old

(system) #1

By Alexander Carpenter

Let's celebrate the people who make the Spectrum Blog an interesting conversation to follow. Now at a good soiree, you wander around and meet people and converse while trying to balance your petit fours and beverage. I've solicited a favorite Adventist image from contributers Sharon and Johnny and a favorite Adventist sentence from Nathan. And Bonnie handles the food. Also, since Tom and Elaine are our most loyal commenters, here's a photo and some biography. Treat this post like a Spectrum Blog party and meet some of the people who make thoughtful Adventism real.

Celebrating a Devilishly Fun IdeaBy Bonnie Dwyer

Great ideas blossom around tables, and so it was with the Spectrum Blog. A year ago, four of us, Alex Carpenter, Leigh Johnsen, Sharon Fujimoto-Johnson and I, €”met at a restaurant in Davis, California to discuss the idea of adding blogs to the web site. It was a beautiful June day. We chose an outside table, and the conversation began. An hour or so later, we left with a plan in place, and the Spectrum Blog was born.

This week we met again, via conference call. Johnny Ramirez joined us and the plan that we discussed was the next version of the web site. Not to get ahead of ourselves, because there is plenty to do to get us to web 2.0, but work has begun on an integrated site that is completely interactive and networked for great conversations.

During the conference call Alex reminded us of our anniversary this week and I volunteered to do the food for the celebration. Now food on a blog site is tricky. You don'€™t want to spill on your computer and gum up the works. Finger foods would seem to be best, but you don't want sticky fingers either.

Cookies come to mind. Chocolate cookies. Lillie, a friend from church, recently shared with me her double chocolate chip cookie recipe. They'€™re quick and easy, €”just the thing to make on Friday afternoon for Sabbath munchies. Plus, they have a major ingredient that is similar to any complicated project that can be described by saying, the devil's in the details.”Well, the devil'€™s (food cake mix) is in the cookies. Here's the recipe so you can join in the celebration by making a batch. Or, since this is a blog, share your favorite cookie recipe with the rest of us.

Double Chocolate Chip CookiesIngredients:1 pkg. Devil'€™s food cake mix½ cup butter or margarine1 tsp. vanilla2 eggs½ cup chopped nuts1 cup chocolate chipsInstructions:1. Beat half of the dry cake mix with the butter, vanilla, and eggs at medium speed in a food processor.

2. Stir in the rest of the mix, nuts, and chocolate chips.3. Drop dough by teaspoon about 2" apart on an ungreased cookie sheet.4. Bake 10-12 minutes at 350 degrees.

Meet Dr. Thomas J. Zwemer:

Vice President for Academic Affairs, Emeritus of the Medical College of Georgia. His academic career covers 42 years starting at Marquette University, Milwaukee, Wisconsin, following at Loma Linda University, Loma Linda, California, and the Medical College of Georgia, Augusta, GA. Tom served two terms on the Board of Trustees of Loma Linda University and three terms on the Board of Trustees of Southern Missionary College. Tom completed his pre-dental education at Emmanuel Missionary College and Atlantic Union College. Tom is an alumnus of The College of Dentistry, University of Illinois, Chicago and the School of Graduate Studies Northwestern University. Tom is a veteran of WWII serving as a medic attached to the 40th Infantry Division in the South Pacific. Tom is married to Betty L. Johnson Zwemer of Jamestown, N.Y. they have three children, three grandchildren, and one great grandchild

Meet Elaine Nelson: Grew up in Bible Belt South as a Preacher's kid. All education through first year college at SDA institutions. After kids were grown I completed undergraduate degree in Organizational Behavior from University of San Francisco, graduating with my elder daughter who received her master's degree. Nearly twenty years later decided to get M.A. in Liberal Studies online and completed before 82nd birthday. As a retiree from medical ancillary work, I've enjoyed the gift of time, especially reading and contributing to the very provocative subjects presented on the Spectrum Forum. I've always been a questioner and unsatisfied with simplistic answers and depending on others, it's either a blessing or curse to be saddled with being Devil's Advocate. Probably came with the genes or the SDA indoctrination with "Truth" that should not be questioned.

Meet Johnny A. Ramirez:

When asked for my favorite Adventist image I thought of this picture. It has two of my good friends growing up, Alf and Nathan, and we'€™re doing drill team stuff at a camporee as part of the S. Lancaster Pathfinders group. It feels, to me, like an iconic picture of my youth.

Meet Sharon Fujimoto-Johnson:

This may be predictable, but my search for a favorite Adventist image took me back to my childhood and an iconic Harry Anderson painting: "Jesus: Friend of Children." Like many other Adventist children, I grew up with Harry Anderson's illustrations gracing the pages of books I read over and over again. Prints of some of his artwork may also have hung in my family's home. In "Jesus: Friend of Children," Christ is strolling through a garden surrounded by children who are all looking up into his face and smiling. Pink flowers are blooming in the trees, and the grass is a luscious green. It's idyllic and harmonious in color, subject matter, and composition. I used to imagine myself in this painting, even though I looked nothing like any of the children depicted. I was drawn to the tranquility and the beautiful colors.

Back then, we lived on a hill in a midnight-blue house with a pumpkin-orange door. Six days a week, I chased butterflies with my brother, picked buttercups and dandelions, and read books in my bedroom where light filtered through a white birch tree and into my window. On the seventh day, we went to church in a college town where the children were much louder and rowdier than I cared for. I didn't like Sabbath School. I didn't have any friends there, and all of the rah-rah, rumble-tumble unnerved me. I would have much preferred walking with Jesus in a Harry Anderson garden. On some level, this is still true. Even now, the presence of God is most real to me in quiet places and in beauty. My belief system has evolved significantly over the years, but my fundamental belief in the gentle, joyful Jesus of my childhood remains unchanged.

Meet Nathan Brown:

"But what is desperately needed are people who speak distinctively and movingly from within Adventism to the larger community; voices who, from the core of Adventist particularity, express a universal message for our time; people who allow the power of the gospel to challenge those who oppress the vulnerable." €”Charles Scriven

I came across this sentence quoted in Zdravko Plantak's The Silent Church, but I believe it was originally published in Spectrum quite some years back. This sentence has become something of a mission statement in my writing. It is such a neat summary of what many of us are trying to do in different ways, so far as trying to encourage Adventism to see itself as a vital, relevant and necessary voice in the world and to be such a voice both within Adventism and beyond. So much of the much-needed renewing of Adventism comes down to finding new ways to think it and say it, to ourselves and to others, for our own sake and for the good of the world.

Thus far: 336 posts. 99,461 page view which means that today, one year after we started we'll hit one hundred thousand page views. But the most important statistic is this one: 3550 comments. Thank you dear readers for joining the Spectrum conversation. The best is yet to come. . .

This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at