Reviewing the Review: Vol. 185, No. 6


(system) #1

February 28, 2008 Vol. 185, No. 6

GENERAL COMMENTS: This issue could have earned another gold star from this reviewer if the editors had insisted that major authors communicate with sharper focus and fewer words.

LETTERS: In general readers make thoughtful comments that reference articles and editorials, most recent of which are two months old. This makes it next to impossible to re-evaluate the author's original message.

EDITORIALS Roy Adams challenges Christians to be "Brave People", even though most of us are spectators on the sidelines of history.

Sandra Blackmer reminds us not to be so involved with the important business of church affairs that we forget "It's All About People" connecting with people.

LIVING AUTHENTICALLY IN A PHONEY WORLD by Ricardo Graham is the cover story. The subject is an important one, and Graham's call for integrity is timely. The writing starts out well, and Jesus' and Ellen White's condemnation of the practice and why it is particularly harmful is effectively presented. After that, however, the writing begins to lose focus and becomes preachy. This is where editors have a responsibility to the author and readers. With editorial help, Graham could have condensed this piece by one third and strengthened its impact.

In contrast to the Graham article, the words of Ellen White on the same subject are thoughtfully conceived and editorially polished. YOU—GENUINE, AUTHENTIC, REAL is an excellent example of effective communication between author, editor, and reader.

WITH WINGS AS EAGLES by Leo Van Dolson is just plain confusing and badly in need of editorial help. A transition statement linking Ronald Pinkerton's hang gliding adventure and Isaiah 40 is nonexistent. An explanation "of receiving double for your sins" in Isaiah 40:2 occurs out of context and without reference.

Under the subhead, "Filled to the Brim" Van Dolson recounts the story of Jesus and the wedding in Cana without further reference to Isaiah 40. He then asserts that, "Fermentation in the Bible is a symbol of sin. Sin sparkles for a while, but soon the sparkle goes and the fizz becomes flat. The unfermented wine that Jesus provided was symbolic of the true joy that He alone can give." Unfermented grape juice then becomes a symbol for God's blessings; a cup the symbol of our lives. The development of this analogy takes up the last half of the article. It is only in his last sentence that the author once again mentions soaring with the wings of eagles. (Van Dolson provides no references for his assertions that "fermentation" is a biblical symbol of sin or that Jesus created unfermented wine.)

KIDS VIEW by Marcia Mollenkopf might have made Black History Month come alive. Instead, children are provided with a jumble of unrelated pictures, stories, a quiz, news items, and a confusing March calendar of four leaf clovers. Once again, editorial assistance was needed.

HOMAGE TO A STORK by Clifford Goldstein is a sarcastic rational defense of creationism, along with the assertion that it was God who said our world came into existence "as a six-day preplanned creation, nothing left to chance, and no death." By implication, he argues, only a fool could believe in evolution. "We might as well pay homage to the stork."

Cliff, God said lots of things in the Old Testament that even you don't believe to be true. God told people in the Old Testament to do things that you would not do if threatened with death. There are two distinct stories of creation in Genesis. You seem to believe the first one. What about the second? I am not a neo-Darwinian, but a geologic column does exist along with dinosaur bones and plate tectonics. I'm waiting for you to make a case for creationism that takes these matters into account.

WORLD CHURCH 300 young adults from all over the world went on a seven-day "Cruise With a Mission". It was a "combination spiritual retreat, mission trip, and vacation. . . Participants disembarked the ship in Belize and Guatemala to conduct medical and dental clinics, lead a Vacation Bible School programs, and help renovate several parks and schools." A second Cruise With a Mission is scheduled for the December 14-21, 2008.

Weimar College in Northern California closes after 30 Years because of declining enrollment.

David Penner resigns as the Principle of Newbold College.

Jan Paulsen “appeared as a guest on the February 11 edition of Night talk with Mike Schneider, a one-hour program airing on Bloomberg TV”. “When asked about the church’s future goals, Paulsen said, ‘My goal for the church is that we become more effective in communicating not only ideas but care for people, so that they may discover that Seventh-day Adventists are good people to get to know.’”

Doctors Handysides and Landless discuss BARIATRIC SURGERY and HUMAN PAPILLOMA VACCINE in their usual informative and thorough way.

MESSAGES TO YOUNG PEOPLE has two authors, Julia Vernon and Jane Smith. In her article, ”Don’t Hinder Them”, Vernon suggests that adolescents, if loved and supported by their families and church groups, will “come to Jesus, not on our terms, but on His”. In other words young people can learn important life lessons in the secular world without being damaged spiritually by critical adults.

Jane Smith, a pseudonym, isn't so sure. “Positive Reinforcement” is her take on the secularization of Adventist young people within the Church. Her essay raises important questions about adult standards of behavior and their impact on adolescent Adventists. “In a youth group I led, it became almost a joke that we couldn't maintain a spiritual conversation for five minutes without someone mentioning a movie he had seen. I suggested a one-week moratorium from talking about movies. The kids voted it down as impossible.”

GROWING A PERSONAL MINISTRY by Valerie N. Phillips is a gentle but powerful reminder that a gift given in love, even to someone you have never met, is a blessing to both the one that gives one the one that receives. “Little is much when God is in it.”

Marcia Mollenkopf bakes bread, and when her loaves don’t turn out perfectly, even the crumbs of her failures are put to good use. CRUMBS OF FAITH is a lovely testimony to a beautiful Christian life. “If cooks can be creative with crumbs of bread, think what God can do with the crumbs of what we call our failures.” __ Andy Hanson is a professor of Education at California State University, Chico. He's got some comics at his blog, Adventist Perspective.


This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at http://spectrummagazine.org/node/424