Reviewing the Review: Vision Edition


(system) #1

September 16, 2010 - Vol. 187, No. 31

GENERAL COMMENTS This issue features a “Why Did This Happen to Me?” cover with a pretty girl with a sad expression looking up at a magic marker rain cloud raining 13 magic marker raindrops and a magic marker lightning bolt. I mean, did her boyfriend forget to call, or is she worried about why she didn’t get invited to a party?

The cover appropriately reflects what’s inside. With one exception (See ViSION CHECK by Hyveth Williams) there isn’t much that seems really new, really serious, really thought provoking. In short, I read this issue because I review the Review. As I was doing my job, I kept thinking about the editors and staff doing what they have to do, week after week, month after month.

I wondered what they thought when they “put this issue to bed”? Were they exhausted, pleased, frustrated, thankful? Is three Reviews a month plus World one publication too many? Is consistent quality a concern? Just asking.

WORLD NEWS AND PERSPECTIVES Ray McAllister is the first blind student to graduate from the SDA Theological Seminary with a PhD. (More about him later)

Debbie Higgens will oversee “The Kilns”, home of C. S. Lewis in Oxford England, for the next two years.

Carmelle Bussey, a Southern Adventist University graduate, discusses her time spent as a counselor at a National Camp for the Blind at the Port Carling, Ontario, Canada.

COMMENT Roy, I know the feeling you describe in BEATEN DOWN BY THE CULTURE. Adams writes:

You want to respond but, if you’re like me, you don’t, reasoning: There’s no one “home,” anyway, to take my call; and what’s a single letter among the thousands they receive? Moreover, with my faith being assaulted at every turn and in a thousand ways, how many letters can I write? And, at any rate, who can stop this determined bandwagon in its track? It’s a sign of tiredness, of the force of the culture beating us down.

I too feel beaten down, but it’s by that “determined bandwagon”, official Adventist culture. But even though “my faith is being assaulted at every turn”, I am determined to persevere. My reviews are letters delivered to you, four times a month. I too am tired, but as you say, “Truth is stubborn and resilient. The [current Adventist] culture may try to smother it, but, like the Phoenix of ancient legend, it always rises back.”

REVIEWS In FAITHFUL LIKE JACOB, Lael Caesar answers the question, “How does Jacob get here from there—from schemer and exploiter to minister of grace and voice of prophecy?”

Jimmy Phillips makes an important point in MORE LIKE FALLING IN LOVE, PART 2.

Acting unselfishly for your mate is not for the purpose of earning their love. Why would it be? You don’t have to earn it; he/she already loves you. Rather, the reason we humble ourselves in service is because we value their happiness more than anything else. Somewhere in here the “debate” about faith versus works gains some clarity.

In A GLIMPSE BEHIND THE CURTAIN Ellen White discusses sin.

Sin is an intruder, for whose presence no reason can be given. It is mysterious, unaccountable; to excuse it is to defend it. Could excuse for it be found, or cause be shown for its existence, it would cease to be sin. Our only definition of sin is that given in the word of God; it is “the transgression of the law”; it is the outworking of a principle at war with the great law of love which is the foundation of the divine government.

James Londis discusses suffering in the cover feature, WHY DID THIS HAPPEN TO ME?

While God does not plan everything that happens, nothing that happens is outside God’s plan. No divine script is programming our days. Liberty (and to a great extent, contingency) defines human life. God’s “plan” can be summed up as His overarching desire that each of us make choices in harmony with love and truth, and that we exercise our freedom courageously so that we can enjoy even more freedom.

In THE MINISTRY OF QUIET, Clair Johnson reflects that when we visit the sick and shut-ins, sometimes “what we don’t say is the most important thing”.

I wonder how my visits affect those I seek to encourage. Are my words shouting so loudly that people cannot hear me? Am I really there for the right reason? Have I truly encouraged and helped someone along the way to wellness and wholeness?

Christina Hudgins reports on the way the Atholton Adventist Church in Columbia, Maryland, cares for young adults who are away from home. PRAYER4U focuses on three main areas:

Prayer—Parents and other concerned adults may no longer be in a position to instruct and counsel young adults directly, but through prayer they can ask God to guide, protect, and shelter the youth.

Contact—Staying in touch with each young adult at least once a month via e-mail, cards, and text messages, or calling them on the phone, lets them know adult church members care about them.

Packages—Twice during the school year church members send care packages, keeping individual tastes and preferences in mind.

VISION CHECK by Hyveth Williams is this issue’s MUST READ. I admire Hyveth for using her column to remind all of us that prejudice is blinding.

I met an incredible man in Sabbath school named Ray McAllister. In 1999 he received a Master of Divinity with special emphasis in Old Testament Theology from our Seventh-day Adventist Theological Seminary at Andrews University. On August 1, 2010, Ray graduated to a thunderous standing ovation of his peers and professors with a doctorate in Old Testament and a cognate in Religious Education. He’s proficient in several ancient biblical languages, such as Hebrew and Aramaic, as well as French and German—despite being totally blind.

Problem is, Ray doesn’t have a job. Despite his outstanding achievements and miraculous journey, no one has offered him anything. In fact, after the public applause of graduation passed into memory he said, without a hint of recrimination, that several potential employers have given him good reasons why he just wouldn’t fit into the Adventist ministry—not the least of which is the fact that he’s blind. ‘Sally and I will be a pastor for free. We are willing to offer ourselves as two for one,” said this former Sabbath school teacher and available itinerant preacher. 'But we’re not desperate. Our hope is in the goodness of God who called us to this ministry.'

No theology or church doctrine bars blind persons from serving our church and leading physically sighted people to Jesus Christ. If the Michigan Commission for the Blind and Christian Record Services recognize the talents and potential in Ray, surely someone in our church would be willing to put him to work for our Lord’s sake! Perhaps some have not come forward to offer the McAllisters employment in churches or universities because they are unaware of this jewel waiting to shine for Jesus.

Perhaps someone reading this column [or blog] has the vision and imagination to ‘see’ where they can use their unique talents to build up God’s kingdom.”

SECOND SPRING is Andy Nash’s determined effort to make his dream home his “dream home” again. “The For Sale sign still remains out front, but we’re not going to sit here and live for the future. We’re going to live for the moment.”

Gerald A. Klingbeil argues that God’s TIMING is “still impeccable. He is ready to let the universe know that “it is finished. While waiting for His church to get her act together, He is willing to hang on a bit longer so that more will hear the good news”.


This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at http://spectrummagazine.org/node/2685