Intelligent Dialogue About Intelligent Design
The editorial by Roy Adams, ?An Evolving Storm? (Oct. 27, 2005), shows laudable balance and perspective. Seeing through the anti-Intelligent Design (ID) rhetoric of some evolutionary scientists, Adams pierces to heart of the matter by indicating that advocates of Intelligent Design stay clear of church/state complications by simply asking that if a teacher so chooses, he or she may ?teach the controversy.?
It seems to me that as a biologically powerful alternative philosophy of origins, views about ID should at least be heard in the classrooms. Adams shows that even E.C. Scott, defender of evolution, thinks that this issue is a matter of ?fairness? and ?equal time.?
John T. Baldwin
Seventh-day Adventist Theological Seminary
Disasters: Natural and Manmade
I was touched by the report about 22 members lost in the mud slides in Guatemala. We will be praying for the survivors so that their lives can return to normal as soon as possible. However, I would like to know whether you reported the number of Adventists lost in the genocide that took place in Rwanda in 1994.
Rita U. Zirimwabagabo
Telling It Like It Is
Regarding Karl Haffner?s online column, ?Politically Carrot?: Well said! The whole Protestant movement was formed by men who were more than mere cowards. They were totally politically incorrect; yet they would not recant. Martin Luther said before the Diet of Worms: ?To violate one?s conscience is neither right nor safe.? He knew that he would be branded ?heretic,? which could lead him to the martyr?s stake. Did he flinch and choose prettier words? Praise God, no!
Then, some 250 years later, a small group of colonists stood up and wrote one of the most daring documents ever written to that time: The Declaration of Independence. In it they called the king of England a ?tyrant? and named some 27 injustices that he had done to the colonies. Our freedom to worship today is in place because a few great men were not afraid to mince words and risked their lives to speak the truth. We are living in a time when ?hate crimes? are back in vogue. With that movement, we might soon be eating our carrots behind bars. But let?s not let that deter us. Ellen White wrote: ?The greatest want of the world is the want of menmen who will not be bought or sold? (Education, p. 57) Speak on, brother!
Cindy Lou Bailey
Last night, while settling in for a good calming read before turning out the light, Karl Haffner?s column set me straight up in bed.
It had been a prickly day, tippy-toeing around countless explosive diplomatic mine-fields. Many RADIO 74 listeners work for the United Nations or for embassies in Geneva, just across the nearby Franco-Swiss boarder. I grapple to find socially and legally acceptable language at this Christian radio station to get the gospel to listeners representing more than 100 nations. Even delivering a newscast can be hazardous. A new law in France makes all public speech that might ?offend? someone a crime, punishable by a $60,000 fine and a year behind bars.
Experience reveals the two touchiest topics are homosexuality and the Papacy. I congratulate Haffner on making the point while steering clear of these ticking time-bombs. In case Haffner is looking for a job, RADIO 74 could use him, especially if I end up in the clink.
Karl Haffner?s sarcastic comment (we can?t actually tell who he?s quoting here Leubrie, Tharp, or Haffner?) in the recent Adventist Review Online, ?All women are victims. One wonders how the poor fragile dears function in daily life,? shows a sad indifference to women in Adventist church life. Did Haffner know that some women are even threatened with stoning when they appear to preach, others are not allowed to speak without wearing a hat, in some places men walk out when the woman preacher appears on the platform to speak, others, when preaching, have to stand on a lower platform than men do?
I could give many other stories to illustrate the point. Haffner?s column shows a cruel and sad indifference to the plight of women in our church. I suggest he study some of these issues before he makes cynical wise-cracks at the expense of women generally. God grant us grace to be open and honest with each other.
Director of Women?s Ministries
South Pacific Division
Challenged to Go Forward
Even though I attended GODencounters this year, I was challenged and deeply moved, probably more so, by reading Sam Leonor?s sermon, ?Crossing Jordan,? as captured in the Adventist Review. The faith invitation came off the pages more like a dare, causing me to wince at how ?safe? I?ve been playing my life lately. Security is not offered by risking to step beyond the shoreline. I am wonderfully encouraged by the candor that Sam and Erika shared on your pages and what I have heard other young adults affirm as the result of being obedient to God. I?m grateful for the refreshing edge you share in this article and its call to get wet.
A. Allan Martin
Seventh-day Adventist Church
A Proper Role Model?
After reading the article, ?Finding His Religion? (Sept. 8, 2005), I had to write and give my opinion. As an Adventist minister I share with my congregation the biblical concept of being ?in the world? but ?not of the world? (John 17: 11, 14). In a world constantly trying to reach our young people and divert their attention from Christ to the glitter of the world, I find it incredible that the Review would publish an article that encourages our young people to partake of the world and think that they will not be affected by it.
I find it hard to believe that the dean of students at Southwestern Adventist University, David Knight, would encourage one of his students to participate in the TV program, American Idol. Doesn?t he know that one reason for our colleges and universities is to protect our students from the influences of the world? Is this the advice our administrators are giving our young people?
Rickey Smith mentioned sharing [his faith] with other members of the show who were Mormon, Catholic, Pentecostal, and Baptist; but what about the other side of the coin, the witness of a person on a show there to breed entertainers for the world? The people of the world see the Adventist Church as no different from any other church. We are different; we have a message to come out of Babylon, not to be part of its glitter. I saw about three minutes of American Idol once, and I cannot picture Jesus being there or commending any of His people to be there.
Unfortunately, the Review, in publishing this article, is saying to the members of our church, especially our young people, that we no longer need to keep ourselves from participating in the world?s entertainment.
On the cover of the Review it said, ?Finding His Religion.? Religion isn?t found in the world or on American Idol. It is found in following Jesus.
Silver Spring, Maryland
Ready for Translation?
I received your e-mail today with the article, ?When Leaders Don?t Pray.? I was impressed with how little I pray as a leader (pastor), so I thought I?d share it with my church. I translated it into Spanish and figured that maybe somebody else could benefit from this in Spanish if you wish to publish it in the Spanish version of Adventist Review or El Centinela.
Suicide: Intervention and Prevention
Since the age of 10 I?ve known at least five Seventh-day Adventists who have taken their own lives.
I also know people slowly killing themselves through drink. My former husband?s lung cancer killed him because of smoking. We have not been educated enough to spot and deal with depression. People are told to pull themselves together and ?get over it.? I hope the article, ?Suicide: Intervention and Prevention? will help.
Grief By Any Other Name
Does grief always have to be associated with the death of a loved one? There is another grief not mentioned as much as death.
My wife of 60 years is in her fourth year of Alzheimer?s disease. Her memory, for all practical purposes, is non-functional. However, she does remember the words of old hymns, some of which we have not sung in many years. She is not under stress; I am the one affected. Some call Alzheimer?s a living death.
There are only two ways a person can react to death or dementia. One could be critical of the Lord and say, ?Why me?? Or, one could be brought nearer to the Lord. I fall in the latter category. I have prayed more recently than before this tragedy struck our family. The old hymn, ?I need the prayers of those I love,? really applies to me.