Reviewing. . .Spectrum

(system) #1

Spring, 2008 Volume 36, Issue 2

GENERAL COMMENTS This is an excellent issue. The Ages of Adventism by Bull and Lockhart and The Point of the Spear by Benjamin McArthur are MUST READS. The film, The Power of Forgiveness is a MUST SEE. How Birding Became Almost Cool by Hayward and McClelland is beautifully written and magnificently illustrated. Even if you’re not a member of the birding community, this article is a rare treat.

EDITORIALS Naming Names by Bonnie Dwyer Bonnie delivers the goods this time. This issue does indeed tell "the story of Adventism". Historians, musicians, birders, artists, poets, bloggers, and editorial writers all make a contribution.

Manifesto for a Prophetic Adventism by Charles Scriven In this passionate editorial, Scriven asserts that "for members of alert and open mind, hand-me-down Adventism is now, in substantial part, discredited. . . When poverty and mental breakdown are more of a threat than jewelry and dancing, the latter obsessions seem like the equivalent of buggy whips."

Referring to Spectrum, Adventist Today, loosely affiliated institutions, peace groups, lay ministries, Adventist service organizations, and bloggers, Scriven issues the following challenge. "So let's shake our fists at the naysayers and dream-slayers, and rise up in one accord to declare, as trumpets do, that we are here. And let's say further, and say unmistakably, that we will cause something to happen; we will make a difference. . .Prophetic Adventism will remain but a little flame—except as we who see the vision link arms and do all we can make the circle wider."

FEEDBACK Old Testament Sexual Laws by Jim Miller This letter is enlightening and knowledgeable. As usual, dispassionate scholarship trumps bigotry.

CONVERSATIONS A Young Conductor Makes Waves Shi-Yeon Sung Joins the Boston Symphony Orchestra An Interview by Alita Byrd It is thrilling to discover that Adventism has not stifled the career of such a marvelous talent. (I’m referring to the "the dispensation rule" that allows, even requires, the employees of Adventist institutions to work on Sabbath, while employees, working the same hours for a secular employer, are "officially" committing a mortal sin.)

SPECTRUM BLOG A Discussion of Postmodernism from the Spectrum Web Site Responses to David Larsen’s review of Everlasting Gospel / Ever Changing World by Jon Paulien, Pacific Press As far as I'm concerned, “postmodern” literature is full of fuzzy language and unhelpful generalizations about individual religious beliefs. Consequently, I'll leave a critique of the book and a commentary to someone less biased than myself.

GOD IS NOT a poem by John McDowell John, The Science of Santa Claus portrait that accompanies your poem is just plain goofy! And even though I have trouble with visualizing God "as a cold wind blowing through emptiness", no one deserves that illustration.

SANCTUARY a prose poem sermon by Kendra Haloviak I agree with Kendra. A Christian sanctuary should be a safe place, physically and psychologically, "from which to launch a mission. . .a place to welcome the world".

THE AGES OF ADVENTISM by Malcolm Bull and Keith Lockhart The full text of their remarks at the 2007 Adventist Forum Conference in Santa Rosa, California The subtitle says it all, Adventism in the Present Tense: Pondering Our Pasts, Plotting Our Futures. It’s seventeen pages of fascinating SDA history and future prognostication. It is a MUST READ.

THE POINT OF THE SPEAR: Adventist Liberalism and the Study of Ellen White in the 1970’s by Benjamin McArthur This article is also a MUST READ. The following quote is the last paragraph. "The North American Adventist Church in 2008 is far from the world it knew in 1970. The sense of confidence the Church shared with the nation forty years ago has largely evaporated. Growth is no longer assumed; simply holding our own is now the challenge. This suggests that a new "Adventist Project" must be generated. Once again, Adventist scholars must take it upon themselves to help reshape the Adventism that might carry meaning for contemporary America. The stakes are high, and resistance is certain. But we owe the church no less."

HOW BIRDING BECAME ALMOST COOL A review of Scott Weidensaul’s, Of a Feather: A Brief History of American Birding by James L. Hayward, paintings by James McClelland This article is to be avoided if you don't have some ready cash. It's a fascinating introduction to birding. (I’m only buying Of a Feather for my wife or allowing her to read this article because she is already a novice birder and has previously purchased the "required" expensive binoculars!)

INTRODUCING THE ONLINE SPECTRUM BOOK AND FILM CLUB Check out the book and film club selections through April of next year. They set the stage for fascinating Internet conversations.

Prayer: Does It Make a Difference? a book by Philip Yancy Reviewed by Daneen Akers The following quote is the one that stuck with me. "In the end, one of the best reasons we have for praying is Jesus. Surely if anyone was privy to God's will it was Him, but he still prayed-- even angrily and tearfully at times. That's probably a good example for us all."

The Power of Forgiveness, a film by Martin Doblmeier Reviewed by Shasta Nelson This film is a life changer, a definite MUST SEE. _____ Andy Hanson is Professor of Education at California State University, Chico and blogs at Adventist Perspective.

This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at