April 6, 2009

1510 Web Letters

A Place to Worship
Heartfelt thanks to “Marie Walkingstick” for her article, “A Place to Worship Thee” (Mar. 26, 2009). This is the most beautiful expression of worship I have ever seen in print.

When God said to take dominion over the earth, He meant to care for it and nurture it, not beat it to death and take as much of it as we can get for ourselves. Where or what would we worship then?

We all need a place, as well as a time to worship Him.
We will be sharing this piece with our congregation.
David Lloyd
Friesland, Wisconsin

An Invitation to Witness
I enjoyed reading Andrew McChesney’s column, “Taking Notes” (Mar. 19, 2009), about his interactions with traditional Jews about Sabbath observance.

However, I hope he will choose differently should he again be blessed with such a privileged invitation. He wrote that he declined the invitation to the shabbat feast because of the temptation to write about wealthy individuals who would be present. Well, he wrote about them anyway.

I suspect that his friend Avraham felt more hurt and insulted instead of “annoyed” that his gracious invitation was turned down later in an e-mail note. Avraham probably had to apologize in turn for why his special guest had not arrived.

Surely God used McChesney’s experience to influence others, but I wonder how much love was shown. I think his story is better described as a missed opportunity than a witness. How much better would his witness have been if he had simply accepted the invitation and let God help him with the temptation about the “billionaires”?

I mean no criticism. I’ve done as poorly myself plenty of times.
Dennis Murphy
Morgantown, West Virginia

Farm Treasures
“Treasures from The Farm” (Mar. 19, 2009) is beautifully written; my appreciation to Merle Poirier for her talent and skill. I could connect with something like this. I grew up on a farm in North Dakota. The Lord was good to me. I retired from the General Conference in the presidential area with Neal C. Wilson.

It would be neat if other articles like this could be written. Those stories mean a great deal in terms of our history, legacy, achievement, accomplishment, and blessing.
A. J. Patzer
Walla Walla, Washington

Thanks to Merle Poirier for sharing insights from her family in “Treasures from the Farm.” Our family heritage is important.
Harry Bennett, Jr.
National City, California

I read the above-mentioned article with joy and excitement. It was a blessing with such profound and deep spiritual insights. I am a first generation Adventist and these kinds of stories are enriching in so many ways.
Lungelo Solombela
Cape Town, South Africa


The Personable Paul Harvey
Thank you for the article about Paul Harvey, “Radio Legend Paul Harvey Dies." The “Walter” mentioned at the end of Ansel Oliver’s article was my dad. I was listening [to Harvey’s broadcast] on the radio that day and I couldn’t believe my ears. Dad was 80 that day; and he lived to the age of 93.
Ellie Jensen

God’s Chosen People
Regarding Clifford Goldstein’s column, “The Infernal Theme” (Mar. 12, 2009), and Mark Kellner’s editorial, “We’re All Lubavitchers Now” (Feb. 12, 2009): A blessed theme throughout the Bible is that God loves Jew and Gentile alike.

Jews were a special people as they faithfully drew others to the Creator God (Ex. 19:5, 6; Deut. 4:5-7). In order to fulfill this special spiritual role, God told them their hearts had to be circumcised (Deut. 10:16; 30:6). After multiple failed opportunities (Isa. 42:24), God announced well in advance that this role would end and be transferred when he told Daniel, “Seventy weeks are determined upon thy people and upon thy holy city, to finish the transgression” (Dan 9:24, KJV).

God’s deeper definition of Israel was always conditioned on faith as evidenced by obedience (Deut. 8:19; 11:13-17, 22, 23, 26-29) and always included righteous Gentiles, who can even be priests and Levites. (Gen. 14:18-20; Isa. 60:2-10; 66:18-21).

God told Peter not to call Gentiles unclean and immediately led him into a cross-cultural, cross-ethnic, Jew versus Gentile setting, giving him a chance to practice what he had just learned. Peter declared, “I now perceive that God is no respecter of persons” (Acts 10:34, KJV).

Terror produced by sin usually boomerangs. In the short run life is often unfair; but in the long run people groups reap what they sow. Unless this punishment is done at the express command of God, punishers often fill their own cup of iniquity and will ultimately be punished. Beware of volunteering to help God with His punishing responsibilities. “Vengeance is mine; I will repay, says the Lord” (Rom. 12:19; see also Isa. 14:4-6; Jer. 25:8-14; Hab. 2:7, 8).

Any potential righteousness by victimhood has transitory validity. Ultimately the best defense is God’s righteousness as it becomes the living, thriving center of our individual and collective beings.

Paul recognized that we are all especially indebted to those different from ourselves. “I am debtor both to the Greeks, and to the Barbarians” (Rom. 1:14). I pray the Review soon matures into the truth that there is no difference in God’s eyes between Jew and Gentile (Rom. 10:12, 13; 1 Cor. 7:19; Gal. 3:6-9; Col. 3:11).
Donald Lawrence
Rindge, New Hampshire

In the Twinkling of an Eye
I am responding to the editorial, “While We Wait” (Mar. 12, 2009) by Stephen Chavez. If his dying friend had read “Deliverance of the Saints” described by Ellen G. White in Early Writings, his heart would have been immeasurably comforted and encouraged to hear that “those who had died in faith under the third angel’s message, keeping the Sabbath, came forth from their dusty beds, glorified, to hear the covenant of peace that God was to make with those who had kept His law” (p.285). To the dying man it would seem as though he had not died. He would be alive, waiting to greet Jesus as He returns. For him there would be no disappointment.
Ethel M. Jensen
Marlborough, Massachusetts

Gifted and Talented
Spiritual Gifts in the Modern World” by James J. Londis (Mar. 12, 2009) defined beautifully the difference between talents and gifts.

As a church treasurer I also read with interest the report about General Conference cash and investments (“Adventist Church Controlling Costs During Global Financial Challenge”). I appreciate the steps being taken to conserve the church’s financial resources. The paragraph regarding “unrealized and realized losses . . . and the interest and dividends . . . giving a net negative return . . . of approximately 3 percent” didn’t seem too bad, until I realized it was for 2007. When will figures for 2008 be available?
Beatrice E. Green
Midland, Michigan

The financial report for 2008 will be received by the delegates to the Spring Meeting of the General Conference Executive Committee the first week in April, 2009. Look for coverage of that report in the near future.—Editors

A Tragedy Made More Tragic
I read with great interest the article, “Death in D.C.”  The conclusion of this story, however, does not address the real issue that has plagued our church.

God’s divine wisdom never suggested separation of His people, but a heart change to reflect the character of God. Regional conferences were a response to racism in the church. Christ came to change His church into His bride, a bride who reflects the fruit of the Spirit, not society’s evil. Was it God’s will to have a divided church? There is nothing in the Holy Scriptures to support this.
Cynthia Nkana
Ooltewah, Tennessee