November 13, 2006

Web Letters

Information Overload
Thank you for the timely article by Gary Swanson, “Who Cares?” I’ve been getting the impression lately that I care too much about unnecessary trivia. I’m a trivia/information junkie and the Internet is my downfall. (The Internet is great for quickly looking up Bible verses and words like “egregious” and “detritus”.)

Swanson’s article enjoyable because it was written in a style that reminded me of everything my high school journalism teacher taught many years ago, and it brought home the fact that all this information-seeking can be a tool of the enemy to distract me from my main purpose, to “fear God and keep His commandments.”

I will print out Swanson’s quote from Quentin Schultze: “The opposite of wisdom is not a lack of information or technique, but foolishness,” and tape it on my computer monitor beneath Robert Frost’s quote, “The woods are lovely, dark and deep, but I have promises to keep, and miles to go before I sleep, and miles to go before I sleep.”

--Frances Clemons

Relating for Fundamentalism
I had a profoundly wonderful time reading Bert B. Beach’s article, “The Appeal--and Peril--of Fundamentalism” (Oct. 26, 2006). The experience was like sailing into a calm harbor after struggling through the billows of stormy seas. It was written with such force and clarity. It addresses all our major concerns: violence, the threat of secularism, and human salvation. I was happy to be reminded that a cloying nostalgia for the “good old days” is simply a romantic dream that vanishes when confronted by stark reality.

Yes, we should recapture the ardor of our Christian forebears. But we need not romanticize their environments, because they were filled with horrors we no longer face, such as lack of disease control, inability to visit loved ones living far away, or lack of access to an advanced education.

What Beach summed up as well as anyone I’ve read is our opportunity to use our freedom to shape God’s kingdom--not with diabolical hatred for anyone unlike us, but with love, which is God’s mighty arsenal in the war between good and evil.

--Allwyn W. Metherell
Chico, California

While I found Bert B. Beach’s essay on fundamentalism quite enlightening, I believe that fundamentalism in the developing world, fundamentalism that likes to think of itself as Christian, often gets its inspiration from fundamentalism in the developed world that arises not from the marginalized and oppressed but from those who are at the center of power for various reasons such as ethnicity, politics, and privilege.

Religious Fundamentalists in developed nations go overseas, spend a lot of money under the guise of developmental aid, and seek alliances with elements who share their taste for bigotry and love for an imagined idyllic past. This North-South collaboration in fundamentalism negatively impacts the marginalized and oppressed in developing nations because the marginalized often receive the brunt of the excesses of this North-South collaboration.

As an Adventist I have seen this type of collaborative fundamentalism at work in the Adventist church and how it has negatively impacted the oppressed and marginalized here in the United States.

--Binta M. Robinson, J. D.

How Can You Say That?
I was appalled by Roy Adams’ editorial, “In an Upside-down World” (Oct. 26, 2006) in which he described Howard Stern as a “foul-mouthed purveyor of the coarse and the prurient.”

I looked up the meaning of “prurient” in the dictionary and it has something to do with sex and lewdness. Adams’ description might be true, but that kind of journalism should not have a place in the official church paper. You’re opening yourselves to lawsuit, in this case libel. I cannot understand how the editors let that editorial be printed without deleting those unkind words.

--Mel Liwag
Altamonte Spring, Florida.

Thanks for the Reminder
The “Ask the Doctors” column is well written and informative. In addressing the sensitive topic of nutritional supplements, I appreciated the reminder that in the doctors’ opinion “it is unethical to use one’s position of trust in the church to promote products for gain” (Oct. 26, 2006). Thank you.

--Ronni Hackleman
Cicero, Indiana

Rex Edwards’ article, “Celebrating Uniqueness” (Oct. 19, 2006), left me with the question: Whom can you trust to speak for God? Someone has observed, “The service we render to other people is the rent we pay for living in this world”; and that has been one of my guidelines for living, as well as Jesus’ comment in His Sermon on the Mount: “But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you” (Matt. 6:33).

--John Sellers

Judgment and Justice
I am writing regarding “The Verdict,” by Mary June Flaiz-Wilkinson (Oct. 19, 2006): I have never served on Jury duty. It seems as though when the opportunities were there, I always had a valid excuse for not doing it. After reading her fascinating account, I regret not being involved in the process. May be I’ll get a chance yet some day. If I do, I’ll be better prepared to fulfill my duty because of that powerfully descriptive article. Her style of writing kept me in suspense, eager to know what would happen next.

Truly, as the author concluded, it makes one think seriously about the judgment. If faithful we can be justified, in the words of Ellen White, “through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, Who stands in the courts of heaven as the sinner’s substitute and surety” (Selected Messages, book 1, p. 398). What blessed assurance!

--Laurice Kafrouni-Durrant
Keene, Texas