August 8, 2006

Web Letters


Deep Impact


Regarding, “Does the Adventist Church Impact the World?” (Jul. 13, 2006): The writer does a wonderful job telling about how the church reaches out to our world, our communities, and our families.
One part that was missed is the work that Adventist Community Services does at home during crisis and calm. The work done by unpaid volunteers and a few paid staff during times of recovery and when people are trying to exist after natural disasters is recognized by many organizations, such as the Red Cross, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), and the Salvation Army. But we don’t hear about it much in our own circles.
There is a lot going on and a lot more to do. If you would like to be a part of the team here at home, contact your church or conference Community Service leader and ask how you can help.
Dave Rasmussen
Oahu, Hawaii

Christian and Single


I enjoyed the article “Christian and Single” . It is very practical. However, I would entreat Ms. Swilley to expound on what kind of activities singles would enjoy or be involved in at local church level.
Many times I have seen singles boldly accusing the church of not helping them out of their dilemma. For one reason or another, as shared by Swilley, you see the youth dating non-Adventists. They are busy with other activities outside the church, even on Sabbath. They have intimate relationships with non-Adventists and are often unwilling to participate in church activities.
Some singles start getting involved in church activities after leaving an unpleasant past, with the result that the church has problems accepting them.
Maybe the church needs education in this regard. Indeed, the church will lose out if singles cannot be accommodated.
W. D. Saiwa
Blantyre, Malawi

The Forgotten Family


Regarding “Single Parents: The Forgotten Family”: Wow, what an article. Thank you for putting into words how I feel.
Even though I enjoyed this article, something was left out. I am a fourth generation Adventist. I have been separated for one and a half years, waiting for my divorce to be final. Almost every sermon is about the family as husband and wife with 2.3 children (as mentioned in the article).
It’s sad to have to sit through 30 to 45 minutes of constant reminders of what you couldn’t accomplish. Yet there’s little help, solutions, and or advice to those going through this. There is nearly no information on this issue offered from the pulpit. Unfortunately, this is the real world.
Jeanette Diaz

All Grown Up?


I’m writing to add my voice to the many readers of the Adventist Review regarding “Growing Up Adventist” (Mar. 23, 2006). My heart thrilled with the article and the response. What a wonderful church to belong to!
I am a fourth generation Adventist, and I am grateful to my maternal great-grandmother for accepting the message through the efforts of a faithful literature evangelist in Kilmarnock, Virginia. My growing up Adventist never seemed restricted or regimental and, as one writer expressed it, “what a hedge of protection the Adventist lifestyle afforded.”
May the good Lord continue to bless you as we wait to greet our Lord and Savior.
Mildred Graham
Clarksville, Maryland
I just had a thought that could be a blessing to our beloved church:
We have been receiving the weekly Review for the almost 60 years of our marriage. We also study our Sabbath school lesson every day. This is not a boast; it is because we love this message so much and feel humbled at the privilege of “belonging.” What a great and grand responsibility we have in knowing, believing, and acting as God’s ambassadors!
We were so touched with the article, “Growing Up Adventist,” and the companion piece, “I Am Encouraged” (June 22, 2006). I am sad to know that many of our leaders, as well as many members, do not receive the weekly Review. How about sending this set of two issues to all non-subscribing members? Maybe it will convince them of what they are missing, and what a “called out” message we Seventh-day Adventists have to live in the world. We should be joyful Christians. Our standards of long ago are not grievous or legalistic, just privileges to show respect and love to our Creator and Savior.
Those of us who realize the blessing of the weekly Review could help pay the expense of these blessed issues.
Thanks for considering this idea.
Velma Beavon
Dayton, Montana
Thanks for your suggestion. Reprints of James Nix’s original article are available from the Review and Herald Publishing Association. Order in bulk and pay only for shipping. For details call 1-800-456-3991, or e-mail [email protected]
Reluctantly, I must respond to the article, “Growing Up Adventist,” by James Nix. I became a member of the church in the late 1950s when I was 20 years old. It took 18 more years of struggle for me to find the good news of God’s grace through the ministry of Morris Venden. Now, I too, celebrate Adventism and Adventist theology.
The title of Nix’s article seemed insensitive, maybe even arrogant, declaring indirectly that everything done in the name of the church has been right and a blessing to all. The author may be sincere, and his experiences true, and the eight reasons given that make our church great certainly very true. But to state, “There are undoubtedly at least a ‘few’ who experienced the Adventist Church of the 1950s and 1960s negatively” is, as the author himself feared, “naive and brainwashed” (p. 8).
I am grateful and appreciative for the editorial policy and courage of the Adventist Review staff, who never fail to be honest about the problems within the church by printing many articles, some by well-known authors, that describe the negative results of self-centered and legalistic attitudes within the church. According to those articles and letters, there were not just a “few” in the 50s and 60s, there were many in the 70s, 80s, 90s, and even today who are experiencing the church negatively. Nix is simply “preaching to the choir” and denying the sad facts of many articles and especially the statistics printed in the past.
More then 25 percent of newly baptized members will leave the church, 50 percent of our young people leave the church and not return. “No Apologies Needed”?--really! You have reached about 10 percent of the North American church membership with this article which is, most likely, the most ardent and conservative supporters of the church and the Adventist Review. I wonder what the letters to the editor would have been from the other 90 percent, but especially from the 25 percent that leave the church and the 50 percent of young adults who also leave. I have a feeling that the ratio of positive to negative letters would be very different.
Maybe if we examined this matter frankly we could see how to stop the bleeding. I hope we are not becoming indifferent to these children of God who once sat next to us in the same pew, and are still loved and pursued by God.
Please continue to be courageous and remind us of both the good and the bad. How else will we know the big picture?
Hans Steinmuss
Martinsburg, West Virginia
I Am Encouraged”: Readers Respond to ‘Growing Up Adventist’” (June 22, 2006) nostalgically captures high points of our recent growing up years but omits critical elements. The vignettes chosen generally reflect a time when just coming together on Sabbath was enough, irrespective of whether the service or the sermon was well planned, or not; when the time of trouble was emphasized over time with Jesus; when placing things over the Word was more imprinted than placing the Word over things. That emphasis has adversely shaped the spiritual interests of subsequent generations.
Preaching and promoting a mid-twentieth century North American Adventist sub-culture--theologically and liturgically--as representative of “that ol’ time religion” is simply and profoundly not working. Confirming evidence is found in one of the church’s most valuable, yet vanishing resources--our young adults. Just as disappointing is how during each weekly worship hour far too many thinking individuals are theologically unchallenged, unfed, and unsatisfied.
Thankfully, our church is in a culturally broadening transition that will keep the best of the past while stretching for the “much better” in the future. Real-to-life biblical theology must be heard from speakers who truly understand and live its practicality. The “speaking as one having authority”--with competence and mastery--is an aspiration heaven will eagerly endow as “a Word from the Lord” on today’s least gifted speaker as readily as it did on the Master Presenter millennia ago.
The twenty-first century globalization of commerce and church demands a richer and more thoughtful context for spiritual community and commitment. Evidence confirms that the Spirit of God is fact meeting that demand, infusing vitality into the life of receptive individual members, congregations, and church leaders. Inevitably an authentic and compelling, creative force is nurtured, refurbishing the inner spirit and outer life. Such a fresh theological reference is addictive. Once experienced, there is a craving for still more of heaven’s endowments, profoundly impacting pew and pulpit. So, progressively, instead of focusing on “Growing Up Adventists” our church will celebrate “Adventists Growing Up,” “exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think,” even to “all the fullness of God” (Eph 3.20, 19).
Ric Tryon