July 20, 2006

Web Letters

Answers to the Editor’s Questions
In the article, "Four Big Questions” (May 25, 2006), regarding racial unity the author wrote: “Some Black leaders, who have suffered injustices in the church, see no prospect of change and want the present structures to continue. Some White leaders are more comfortable with the separation. But some lay members, Black and White, think it is time for us to come together. And maybe this is the way the change will come--as a movement of the laity who desire fellowship with one another above all else. In some areas conferences are beginning to explore initiatives, as Black and White leaders bring ministers together for fellowship and joint planning. Such efforts toward visible unity should be applauded and encouraged.”

The editor said he was a “dreamer,” let me suggest a really big dream: the elimination of state conferences in the North American Division and merging them within the corresponding Regional Conferences. Canada would be divided into two or three Regional Conferences. Thus the Union conferences could be eliminated as well. Then a Black church, a Caucasian church, and a Spanish church in the same city would more than likely be in the same conference, rather than in different conferences. Camp meetings and other youth and adult meetings could be held in different locations every year.
The major key in this dream is that there would have to be a system of safeguards enforcing diversity of the conference’s elected officials. Every race should get a chance to assume the presidency, for example. But, as in every other job, performance still would count regardless of race. Due to slavery’s injustices, Black leaders would want an enforceable system to avoid “white domination,” especially when Blacks have demonstrated that they have been successful in church growth/evangelism and administration. Hispanics have similar needs as Blacks; their numerical growth is significant.
Let’s come together, but let’s be real in the process.
David Battle
Minneapolis, Minnesota
Kudos and a huge hug to William G. Johnsson for such a well thought out, well-worded, and timely article.
As a third generation Adventist, with one Black parent and one White, having grown up working at Hinsdale Hospital, graduating as a four-year senior from Broadview Academy, having experienced a love/hate relationship as an adult with the organized church, and raising my Black son as a single mother with an incredible support group, I certainly identified with all four areas covered.
The closing paragraph brought tears to my eyes and, had I not been at my work desk, I would have stood and shouted “Amen!”
Know this: God is in control, and He is still on His throne. So get ready, people, because He is getting ready to stand up. Just hold on!
Natanja Hensley
Chicago, Illinois
Four questions? Maybe four imperatives would have been more appropriate. North American sacred services are too often characterized by “church as usual”; a dilemma readily evident throughout diverse worship services from “conservative” to “celebration.” But even though many members are perplexed and at times frustrated, there’s still nothing quite as spiritually rewarding as the joy of attending an Adventist service on Sabbath morning.
As to the other questions: Is it not true that the future of our institutions, race relations, and movie habits are all critically important taboos to tackle? As we cooperatively seek solutions, let’s pray for wisdom to reach beyond politically correct platitudes and instead seek Christ-centered relevance--lifestyle issues included.
Pastor David Grams
Appleton, Minnesota
No Sympathy for Singles
I recently read “The Update” 
I must say that it was not much of an article, insofar that it doesn’t really tell much about the kind of life single people lead. It hit on a few high points then dropped the ball. It never said a word about how the church should relate to them, which is exactly how the church and everyone else relates to singles. We get 15 seconds of recognition, then we are dropped like a hot potato.
People do not know how to relate to us, nor do I think they really care. Most people are intimidated by singles and only acknowledge us when something looks suspicious, such as when we happen to talk to a married person without his or her spouse being around; most of the time we’re simply ignored. People seem to think that we are poison; or that we don’t have anything else to do, and nobody knows or cares to relate to you or with you.
If you’re single, healthy, and attractive, you might get some attention and invitations to go places or do things, until someone’s spouse starts to feel intimidated by your singleness. Then you’re ousted and left in the cold once again.
So being single and Adventist (or any religious affiliation) means being like someone with a plague or someone who is a threat. We’re just like the lepers in the Bible. As a matter of fact, I’m surprised we aren’t required to call out, “Single, single, I’m a threat to civilization.”
Vickie Jenner
I read the articles [Single and Christian] that dealt with being a Seventh-day Adventist and single. To be honest, I found them lacking. None of them really dealt with the pain or the deep need in human hearts to be married. The articles implied that if one is not happy being single, something’s wrong with his or her Christian walk. Or, if one does not feel totally happy with God, then one is not ready for a mate.
These positions are neither biblically sound, nor do they acknowledge the real pain that can come with being single. These ideas are emotionally damaging and unrealistic. I don’t like being single; I’ve never liked it; and I never will. God didn’t say that it was not good for man to be alone for no reason. How was Adam alone? Was not God there? Did he not have communion with the angels? Was not all of creation there for Adam to enjoy? Of course, but even in Adam’s communion with God, it was not good for Him to be alone; there was no one like him.
Ellen White put it best. About Adam she wrote: “Without companionship the beautiful scenes and delightful employments of Eden would have failed to yield perfect happiness. Even communion with angels could not have satisfied his desire for sympathy and companionship. There was none of the same nature to love and to be loved” (Patriarchs and Prophets, p. 46). None of the articles addressed that last point. In the end, it is given to man and woman to have one of the same nature to love and be loved. Without that, even communion with God will not yield perfect joy.
Marko Kolic
Berrien Springs, Michigan
Speak English, Goldstein!
Please help us! Can’t someone at the Review come to our rescue? In the past, Clifford Goldstein has been one of my favorite writers. But it’s getting more difficult to understand his verbosity. He’s using farfetched, unverifiable, and seemingly manufactured words.
I’m referring to his column, “Essence and Accidents” June 22, 2006). What on earth does eupraxophies mean? I have five dictionaries and not one has that word in it. The “word check” on my computer refused to accept it and almost crashed when I tried to use it in a sentence. Of all the hundreds of thousands of perfectly good words in the dictionary, why does Goldstein need to make up a new one?
Frank A. Peterson
Keene, Texas
I enjoy reading Clifford Goldstein’s columns, and I savor his use of language. Occasionally he manages to use words that extend my vocabulary, and I enjoy looking them up.
So when I came across eupraxophies I went to my Oxford English Dictionary to find it. Not there. Eupraxy (noun) and eupractic (adjective) I found, listed as both obsolete and rare (def.: well-doing; inclined to act rightly). Eupraxophies must be exceedingly so.
Definition, please.
Gerald Reynolds
Fresno, California
Clifford Goldstein’s columns are delightfully provocative, even if he sends me to the dictionary at least once every time. But I went to three dictionaries for “eupraxophies,” without luck. Puh-leeze!
Just to get even Cliff--what is the essence, no accident, that the words “scrumdunctious,” “splendiferous,” and “cumbrocious” have in common?
Delmer Holbrook
Colton, California
More About Jesus
More articles by Loron Wade, please! In his devotional, “The Real King” (May 25, 2006), this theologian waded into a topic average church members prefer to ignore. In a clear, easy-to-read form, he showed how Jesus, our Substitute and Savior will guide us through to the very (many say, “scary”) end of time.
Via prophecy, parable, sanctuary, and judgment Pastor Wade led me to a place of peace, joy, hope, trust, and profound praise to Jesus, my very own Substitute and Savior, my Friend and King forever.
Gracias, pastor. Dénos más, por favor.
Pam Baumgartner
College Place, Washington
Not Funny, Chavez
Special thanks to all of you on the Review staff. You’re doing a special work that brings many blessings to us all.
I have just a small comment to make about Stephen Chavez’ article, “Jesus Laughed” (June 8, 2006). It indicated Bill Gates and Donald Trump might find it difficult to enter heaven. This might indeed be true, but I wonder if it is good taste for us in our church paper to insinuate anything of such a nature about anyone. Certainly we are not the judge.
The same paragraph indicated that the same could be said for “most members of ASI.” This is a severe judgment, and I hope they understand what was meant, not the way it sounded.
I write this in Christian love, even for those who may find it hard to enter the gates to the kingdom.
Pastor Arthur Eugene Anderson
Ukiah, California