October 10, 2006

Web Letters

Another Thing To Tell Your Kids 

Seven Things I Hope You Tell Your Kids” (Aug. 10, 2006), by Randy Fishell contained excellent principles to teach our families. I was especially thankful for the fourth item: “The Seventh-day Adventist Church has gotten a lot of things right.” Would that every member, young or old, be soul-convinced and persuaded that this message is a heaven-sent gift to our church to take to the world during the time of the end. Its calling and existence fulfill prophecy. May we always feel the sacred privilege of this great responsibility and choose to be loyal to the end.
Fishell suggested more things that our kids should be taught. I would add another vital principle to teach and practice at home, school, and work— anywhere, that is the principle of gratitude. People do not usually give a gift for the thanks they receive, but a thankless receiver tells about his character.
Also, in the September 14, 2006 issue, I was inspired by the item, “Let No Man Despise They Youth…” telling the stories of the young people who were involved in the “birth” of the Seventh-day Adventist Church. We also enjoyed the reports of the “Top 20 in Their 20s.” God bless them as they continue their walks with God and His church.
Velma Beavon
Dayton, Montana

Learning to Live From Our Hearts


I found the column by Kathy Beagles "Every Principle, Every Rule, Every Standard" (Sept. 21, 2006) initially hopeful but then a little disappointing. Being a fourth generation Adventist I have had many discussions about the pros and cons of growing up Adventist. It always seems to be an unspoken assumption that the discussion must end with confirming that the advantages outweigh the disadvantages. However, for me it still seems in many ways a great liability I have to work hard to overcome.
Beagles’ statement, “an adherence to a lifestyle and an acknowledgement of a set of truths does not transform wounded personalities,” revealed the core of the problem for many of us raised in Adventist “culture” and tradition. That’s why I was disappointed that the proposed remedy she offered focused almost exclusively on principles. I’m sure she realizes that the over-emphasis on principles was a large part of the problem originally, but simply redefining how to apply them, to some extent, misses the real issue she already touched on. It seems to be another left-brained, intellectual fix to a heart condition untouched by philosophical and institutional answers.
I am learning, slowly and painfully, that we all desperately need to learn how to live from our hearts and to understand what that means. Since our hearts are often wounded, we need a church—no--a family that encourages many more ministries in this area than we currently have. Sadly I have come to see great resistance, both in local churches and in leadership, to “healing” ministries” that directly deal with the pain and wounds that we all carry from our past. Many subscribe to the belief that we must just “put all that behind us and forget about it” and get one with the business of church growth. But we should know by now that we have a serious problem of losing people out the back door while we give great attention to bringing in more converts. It is time to follow Jesus’ example and minister to hearts--both to our own, then to those around us.
Floyd Phillips
Neoga, Illinois



Sari Fordham’s column, “The Thing About Fortresses” (Sept. 14, 2006) was a breath of fresh air, especially the comments about church-bashing. Sari Fordham even calls the practice “the norm.” Why not spend our Sabbath worship time doing just that—worshiping Him?
Bob Davidson
Carlisle, Pennsylvania

Saddened by Surat News


I was saddened to read of the loss of life and damage to the Surat (India) Adventist Hospital due to recent monsoon rains.
Surat hospital is the outgrowth of a tiny one-room “dispensary” (medical clinic) my dad built near Surat in the 1920s. My parents were pioneer missionaries in Gujarat. Dad built the little clinic using the normal building materials of the time in rural India—bamboo, lashed together and plastered with a mix of mud, clay, and cow dung—then white washed; no flooring, no glass in the windows. My mother, a nurse, was the only medical provider in the area that included a number of villages.
Every morning before Mom’s clinic opened for business, Dad carefully examined the little dispensary and the cabinets and drawers for cobras, vipers, scorpions, centipedes, etc.—all with potentially fatal venom—that invaded the space during the night.
Decades later, in the early 1960s, my parents were invited to revisit the Surat Adventist Hospital on the celebration of its founding.
Memories, glorious memories.
Bob Smithwick
Los Altos Hills, California

Men Aren’t the Only Ones


I just read the article “Why Men Hate Church” by Bonita Joyner Shields (Aug. 17, 2006). I agree with her point that we are in a spiritual battle that is not just tinged with feminine ideals as to the way churches portray themselves. As a man, I have spoken to many women about coming to church and they have their own set of reasons for why they don’t come either.
It all boils down to the fact that I am comfortable with the way things are and I am not willing to make changes to the truth because it is not convenient to do so. Also, I find that family considerations play a big role in why people don’t come to church. We can lead people to the truth but it is the Holy Spirit who ultimately convicts souls. We humans get frustrated over this sometimes, because people don’t respond in the manner in which we think they should. We can, however, keep praying that God will send the Holy Spirit to convict hearts.
Stuart Dixon
Lenox, Mississippi