Reviewing the Review: Living History Edition


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January 21, 2010 - Vol. 186, No, 2

GENERAL COMMENTS I’m loving the reviewing the Review. This issue is not only exceptional, it’s personally, very special.

WHAT PEOPLE SWALLOW Roy Adams’ Editorial advocates anchoring both religious and scientific beliefs on common ground. “Christians might admit that we also believe things that others could consider fantastic—the Incarnation, for example. But we openly anchor our belief on the biblical revelation and admit that those things have no scientific warrant to support them. How much it would clear the air if scientists also would openly admit that much of what they believe about origins is simply that: belief!”

GEARING UP WITH GOD is important for Kimberly Luste Maran as she fights to establish Christian values in her young children. “I still have my own struggles; now I also feel as if I’m at a corner—and turning back is not an option. Will I have to gear up and fight as offerings of the predominant culture threaten to flatten me and run rampant around my family?”

PASTORS: UNSUNG HEROES OF THE CHURCH are celebrated by Fredrick Russell. Their job description is daunting! “Pastors serve in contexts in which they have massive responsibility but very little formal authority. . .They have to lead from a basis of moral authority and the power of their ideas. . .Pastors have no choice as to whom they will work with. . .Pastors often get squeezed between the expectations of the conference and the expectations of their congregation. . .Pastors see people at their best and they see them at their worst. They are with their people in times of celebration, and they are with their people when they are bowed with grief.”

THE DECISION THAT NO ONE WANTS TO MAKE is the MUST READ Cover Feature by Gina Wahlen. “Dealing with aging, incapacitated parents can be heartwrenching, particularly when dementia/Alzheimer’s is involved. While not everyone experiences such traumatic situations, sooner or later most will face the question of how best to care for parents who, for a variety of reasons, are no longer able to be as independent as they once were.

“And the challenge is growing rapidly. In 2000 an estimated 420 million people around the globe were older than 65 years. By 2030 it’s expected that 973 million people worldwide will be over the age of 65.2. In the U.S.A. 35 million people were over 65 in 2000, and 9.3 million were over 80 years. By 2030, 71 million are expected to be over age 65, and 19.5 million over the age of 80.3.”

FAWN—THE DOG WITH THE BIG HEART is the MUST READ story of hospital chaplain Phil Johnson’s shelter dog, Fawn, a retired racing greyhound. “Fawn has gained nearly total access to the hospital. As the months have passed and word has gotten out about the beautiful greyhound from the chaplain’s office, he’s been invited to see patients in both short-stay surgery and the emergency department, units I first had thought too high-stress to venture into. Each week it takes us longer and longer to complete our rounds as staff and visiting family members stop to give Fawn a pat.

“Every year about 20,000 retired greyhounds are available for adoption in North America. Perhaps there’s room in your life for one of these gentle animals. From my experience, you will gain not only a new friend but an invaluable partner in a real ministry to your community.” To find out more about greyhound adoption in your area, go to www.adopt-a-greyhound.org or www.ngap.org.

Rebecca de Graaf reminds readers that WHEN YOU ARE ALONE WITH GOD you are never alone even as an ADRA manager of a health project located in one of the most remote areas of Afghanistan, the central highlands of Bamyan Province. This is a MUST READ.

As a recently retired professor who taught at Cal State University Chico for thirty-five years, I’m delighted that the Review has sent public universities a little love! IT’S NOT AS SCARY AS YOU THINK is the story of what happened when Bonnie McLean chose a public university for her postgraduate program.

Before enrolling, Bonnie “believed that drugs and alcohol abounded”. However, beginning with “an acceptance letter in March and a second in April disclosing a full scholarship and teaching assistantship at Western Michigan University”. She arrived on campus in August, not knowing what to expect. Four months later, she realized that God wanted her there.

“No one harassed me at social gatherings because I didn’t drink alcohol. . .My religious background has been recognized as a valuable source of knowledge. . .Vegetarians thrive at academic institutions. . .The adage “You find what you’re looking for” rings true. . .Sometimes, witnessing means not saying a word about Christ. I prayed that I would be a blessing to my students, and the end-of-semester reflection they handed in demonstrated that I did make a difference to many of them. I wanted to show them Christ’s love, but not force it down their throats. I hope they saw Christ through me.”

This article is a MUST READ. The picture included with LIVING HISTORY by Oliver Jacques now has an honored place in my wife, Claudia’s heritage album. The additional picture was taken at the funeral of Grandpa Isaac, Claudia’s great grandfather. It was taken in Alexandrodar, Russia, shortly before Claudia’s grandfather, Leonhard Penner sold his business and brought his extended family to the United States in 1913. The little boy in this picture is the John, my wife’s father, who is mentioned in the Review Article. (See the story of our family, Journey to Christmas, posted on December, 22, 2009.)

Oliver Jacques’ is the son of the John Godfrey Jacque, the author of the book, Escape from Siberian Exile, now available in paperback from Flipkart. The following are Oliver’s words.

“Looking at the [Review] photo, I studied the honest faces of the hardworking believers who, nearly a century ago, worshipped in Alexandrodar. I wondered how many survived the persecution of the empire’s long-suffering nonconformist Christians; persecution accelerated and intensified by Rasputin. . .who initiated the pogrom intended to send my dad to die in the northernmost exile camp in western Siberia; the pogrom that drove some members of the congregation to seek freedom to worship and serve their church in America.

“How many survived the relentless genocides conducted by Lenin and Stalin? My precious, bighearted grandparents, charged with being ‘rich kulaks’, were dragged from their comfortable home, only to die of typhus after two weeks in the stinking hell of a Communist prison. George, Dad’s only brother, died after five years of slave labor in the gulag.

“I peered into the sweet face of Marie, the gentle girl who was to have married Dad. What became of her? The well-behaved, innocent children, what happened to them?”

FILTHY RAGS by Yvonne M. White recounts her experience when confronted by a homeless woman at the door of her church. The woman called her “‘Mommy’. She hugged me tight, not letting me go, and I began to feel nauseated from the stench of urine and vomit permeating from the drenched, filthy rags clinging to her frail body. Her breath was strong with the odor of alcohol and tobacco. I tried to push her away, but she wouldn’t let me go.

“I used to believe that Communion service was only for those who had offended a church member, giving us an opportunity to wash one another’s feet and ask for forgiveness. Before this experience I felt I didn’t really need my feet washed. But now, every time I participate in the Communion service, I do so with great contrition of heart as I reflect on that cold, rainy November night when the Lord stopped by our church in the person of that homeless woman to reveal to me the true condition of my soul.”

CHURCH NEWS AND PERSPECTIVES includes the following: An update from Haiti. NOTA an Adventist a capella singing group wins an NBC-TV Sing-off. Jan Paulsen believes that the environment is a “Christian Issue”. A Russian proposal may restrict missionary activity. ADRA’s global Antiviolence Campaign in support of women has gone global. (In Malawi, ENDITNOW, has received national support.) And the Traveling Bible Project is a hit in Jamaica.


This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at http://spectrummagazine.org/node/2170