June 17, 2010

1517 Web Letters

According to Cliff
Ah, Clifford Goldstein--a sheepdog with teeth. His logic is flawless. His use of irony is rarely understood or appreciated. His deliberate/accidental (you choose) use of a “Darwinian tone” (“fight you for every minute”) in his column “Seventh-day Darwinians, Redux” (Jun. 10, 2010) makes the point.
Those who object to the tone and want Goldstein to make “nice-nice” are asking the church to embrace eons of Darwinian carnage and to accept that six plus one equals 10 to the fiftieth power (or some such nonsense). As if it does no violence to John 1.
Goldstein’s succinct column gives new meaning to Cliff Notes. Perhaps our leaders could read the article, cancel their vacations at Glacier View, and invest time and money elsewhere; feed the hungry, clothe the naked. Headlines would read: “Darwinians Do for the Least of These.” The unitarian/universalist element within Adventism really begs the question: What does it mean to be a Seventh-day Adventist, especially as it relates to Darwinism, homosexuality, abortion, and non-violence?
God have mercy on us. It’s not that we’re a classroom of dullards, we’re just sleeping.
Richard Hempel
Mountain View, Arkansas

Although I agree with Clifford Goldstein’s views on the biblical narrative of six-day creation, I was quite surprised that he would introduce a phrase like “Seventh-day Darwinism” into his June 10, 2010 column.
The phrase represents both a logical fallacy and an internal inconsistency. How can a “Seventh-day Sabbath keeper” be a Darwinist? After all, Seventh-day Sabbath can be believed and observed only by a person who believes in six-day creation. “Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy,” commands the Creator, “for in six days the Lord made heaven and earth” (Ex. 20:8, 11).
Acceptance of the Sabbath demands acceptance of creation as in Genesis. No one has the option of saying, “I will keep the Sabbath, but remain a Darwinist.” Faith in God enables one to accept the creation narrative and keep the Sabbath. Faith in science as a basis of certainty may lead one to deny creation and embrace Darwinism. But neither logic nor biblical faith can permit a fallacy such as “Seventh-day Darwinism.”
John M. Fowler
Burtonsville, Maryland

Staying True
Praise the Lord for the clear, straight-forward remarks of Mark Kellner about this God-ordained movement of ours in “This Is Not ‘My’ Church” (May 27, 2010). This church is being sifted, and we are in times of “either-or,” “get in or get out,” “get on or get off,” “cave in or stand up and be counted.” God help us to be loving, accepting, and above all, faithful, to our God, to His Word, and to this God-anointed message entrusted to us.
Philip W. Dunham
Via E-mail
It’s sad to see how different the church is today from when I was first baptized 64 years ago at 19 years of age. Each generation seems to feel more like what we used to call “worldly.” The signs of the Second Coming of Jesus, heard for all my 64 years as a Seventh-day Adventist, are actually happening right before our eyes.
It’s time to wake up and tell the world what we have learned about our heavenly Father, and start living like we really believe it. Or it will be like it was in Noah’s day, when it was time to get on the boat.
There really is a similarity to what Jesus said in Luke 17:26, 27 to what we see today. Now is not the time to question God. Now is the time to be ready if we want to be on the boat.
Edith Mason Litvin
Beaverton, Oregon

Facing the Inevitable
We thoroughly enjoy Cliff’s Edge. And Goldstein’s column, “The Last Enemy” (May 13, 2010) was no exception. However, he’s going to have to stand on more than his tippy toes to really see over the top. We were born more than 90 years ago, so we’ve been over the top for a while.
Having managed a large retirement facility for 16 years, we watched our dear residents change attitudes toward material things as they advanced from independent living toward nursing home care. We discovered that most of them were increasingly ready to get rid of it all.
Now, like them, our greatest desire, apart from waking up with new bodies and new life, is for a demise that will create the least interruption to the crowded lives of our precious loved ones. We have both chosen to return to dust as fast as possible after we die.
As we all know, closure involves much more than a funeral or memorial service. Death can create countless instant changes for those left behind. Goldstein’s column nudged us to write a closure message from each of us to be sent to the people we love, requesting that funds that may have otherwise been spent on honoring us after we are gone be given toward hastening the reunion day for which we’re all eagerly watching, working, and waiting.
Elwood and Amy Sherrard
Chatsworth, Georgia

Financial Security
I’d add two more items to Melody Tan’s great list of ways to stay out of debt:
Number 9: Give generously to help advance the Lord’s work. “Those who are generous will be blessed, they share their bread with the poor” (Prov. 22:9, NRSV).
Number 10: The most important: Return a faithful tithe. “Honor the Lord with your wealth, and with the firstfruits of all your crops; then your barns will be filled to overflowing, and your vats will brim over with new wine” (Prov. 3:9, 10, NIV).
Those two items might seem counterintuitive; but God promises that when we put Him first in every part of our lives, including our finances, He will take care of all our needs.
Jennifer Dietrich
Chatsworth, Georgia