December 22, 2008

1536 Web Letters

Election Reflections

William Johnsson’s clearheaded, spiritually incisive, and fair-minded response to Senator Barack Obama’s election on November 4, 2008 as the forty-fourth president of the United States, has once again called our community of faith to the high ground.
While reports that many of our leaders have appropriately and elegantly pointed to the significance of the United States’ election of its first African American president, other reports continue to circulate--namely, that some of our leaders, appearing to be so deeply invested in politically conservative politics, could not and have not acknowledged the obvious--that something historically unparalleled has occurred in the United States. When one considers the scarred history of race relations in America, the election of Senator Obama is earth shaking. Clearly, women and men within our country and beyond sense its significance.
Whether we voted for the president-elect or not, Johnsson is correct: biblical faith calls us to redemptive intercession on behalf of the newly-elected leader. May God give us more leaders like Johnsson, who, with Christian spirit, and eagle-eyed insight, continue to affirm God’s mission to the human family, while acknowledging the historic events of our times.
Leslie Pollard
vice-chancellor, Loma Linda University
Loma Linda, California

Cheers for the article by William Johnsson about president-elect Obama!
I’m a fourth-generation Seventh-day Adventist, who enthusiastically voted for Barack Obama. While I disagree with him on the matter of abortion, I overwhelmingly agree with the other major issues he raised, including affordable, fair healthcare; equal rights; elimination of taxes for senior citizens; sustainable energy; environmental activism; ending the war in Iraq, etc.
Not only is [Obama] well-spoken, distinguished, responsible, and intelligent, he is now a beacon to the world that we in America can not only elect a Black American as president, but a Black American with a Muslim middle name. This speaks volumes to the international community that we are indeed a country in which the majority of the people have moved beyond the ugliness and hatred that has so marred our history.
Isn’t this a sign of the power of God working among our people? After all, God is no respecter of persons; He loves us all the same.
I’m so very proud to be an American, even more so now that we have a president-elect who is part of an ethnic minority. We should be proud that the White House, once built by slaves, will now be occupied by a Black man. What a thrilling progress has been made from the dark days of ignorant and bigoted ideals that were once so prevalent in the early days of our country.
Thank you for this amazing column. Perhaps it’s time we ended the segregation in our own church in the form of White and Black conferences and experience the unity about which President-elect Obama speaks.
In the face of the financial challenges the church faces, it could serve to reduce costs and unite us as a people. The audacity of hope indeed!
Benjamin Dean
Ocoee, Florida

Now that a Black American has been elected president, the Seventh-Day Adventist Church in the United States should feel embarrassed and abolish racially segregated conferences. It is hard to imagine that in God’s church a situation arose in which it seemed necessary to separate Christians on the basis of the color of their skin.
Is the Christian message of no effect? We in other countries feel ashamed whenever this subject is raised in conversation. It is a blot on our reputation, and it shows disparity between what we preach and what we practice.
Wladek Hamulczyk

In Our own Image
After reading the online article,“Can Any Good Thing . . .”  I had to wonder whether we are here to seek truth or to validate what we already believe.
We seem to believe that if we can prove that the approach of others is wrong that means our approach is correct. Is it possible we have erred by insisting that the Bible was commissioned by the Creator, and that He allowed humans to live thousands of years before sending such vital information to them about Him?
Darius Lecointe
West Friendship, Maryland

Those Labels
I couldn’t agree more with Fredrick Russell and his column, “I’ll Tell the World That I’m a Christian” (Oct. 16, 2008).
It seems over time that Adventism has gotten struck in a time warp of clichés; and, unfortunately, that hasn’t always worked for the good of our church. I live in a part of the world where these terms are bandied about on a weekly basis, and it’s not surprising that Adventists in the community are regarded with suspicion and mistrust because of language that can be misconstrued as sectarian.
We must be followers of Christ—“Christians”—first, then Adventists. Let’s not get so caught up in our own Adventist culture that we lose sight of our Christianity.
Let’s move away from clichés such as “our truth,” “our health message.” After all, isn’t it God’s truth that gives us salvation?
Marci Neal

An Inclusive Ministry
Thank you for the online republication of “My Starbucks Kids” by Connie Vandeman Jeffries. I give her a “10 out of 10.” God bless her and her “kids”
Glen Walker

Prophetic Overview
Clifford Goldstein’s article, “Revisiting Daniel 2 (Oct. 16, 2008), was excellent. He made a good argument that Rome, in its various aspects, continues to exist today; but that the vision of Daniel 2 tells us that these various surviving parts of Rome will never recombine.

Does the symbolism of the feet and toes of iron mixed with clay apply only to the remnants of Rome, or does Daniel 2 also apply to political conditions on this earth prior to the Second Advent, meaning that there will never be a dominant political world empire such as existed in the Mediterranean region with the Roman Empire?

Roland Zimmermann
Redlands, California