I found Bill Knott’s editorial “‘Be Not Afraid’ vs. ‘Let It Be’” (Dec. 22, 2011) one to be treasured and meditated upon, a gem of rhetoric and composition.
This column is definitely well written, but beyond that, it resorts to a rhetorical device we should use more often: Instead of hammering out our core beliefs at face value, we may, at times, by comparing and contrasting the ups and downs of our prevailing culture, chisel away, polish, and hammer home the outmatching biblical option. This may also enable us to sift through our inherited or personally developed cultural understandings in order to look culture in the eye and point out—in Robert Browning’s words—, “here you miss, or there exceed the mark.”
In fact, by weighing the implications of the quicksand that surrounds us we may come to the conclusion that we cling tighter to the Rock of Ages.
Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
Becoming is a Process
Rex Edwards made some powerful statements in his article about sanctification, “Becoming What We Are Not” (Dec. 23, 2011). I read some and thought, Wow, I need to read that sentence again. His point “all can make that area of life in which they are defeated the area of their greatest victory” is interesting. I wonder if that means not just overcoming a certain defect, but overcoming it to a point where we would be least tempted in that area. That would truly be amazing grace.
One more thought on the example Edwards made concerning the life of Moses. He wrote, “In a fit of anger he smashed the tablets.” Ellen White wrote, “In utter discouragement and wrath . . . he threw down the tables of stone by divine direction” (Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, vol. 1, p. 1109). She doesn’t say Moses wasn’t angry (of course, he would be), it just gives a little different insight that he didn’t break them solely in a fit of temper.
As Edwards indicates, only with God’s help can we have ultimate mastery over our weaknesses.
A Refreshing Thought
A. Allan Martin’s article “Transcending Talk With Tithe” (Dec. 22, 2011) has printed a marvelous idea for actually getting young people involved right away.
We older folks have had our “day in the sun” and we should get out of the way. We need the vibrancy of young adults and work with their innovative approaches. After all, who will know better than they what will connect with their generation.
My Grandpa, Asa T. Robinson, used to read to me from the Review when I was 4 or 5 years old, almost 80 years ago. Great paper then and a great paper now!
Loma Linda, California
Santa Claus or Christ
Regarding “The Man in the Red Suit or the Humble Shepherd” (Dec. 15, 2011): Many years ago I saw a sculpture of Santa, decked out in red and white, kneeling at the side of the manger with baby Jesus on the straw. At first I thought it was sacrilegious to mix the two. After I made a negative comment about it, a clerk in the store explained to me that it was to help children realize that even Saint Nicholas worshiped Jesus, and if he had lived at the time when Jesus was born he would have been there to welcome Jesus. It was a picture of a meek and humble Santa that was subordinate to Jesus just like we are.
That changed my thinking and that’s what I taught my kids. The historical Saint Nicholas was real, but the red and white Santa Claus represents your parents giving you gifts. It is the parents that know if the child has been naughty or nice. Santa is not like God.
Some of the greatest stories written are fictional. Writers make characters live. Santa Claus was real in the poem by Clement C. Moore, “Twas the Night Before Christmas.”
December 25 is the fictional birthday of Tammuz, a pagan goddess. In December the Middle East is too cold for shepherds and sheep to be outdoors.
Santa as a piece of fiction does not take anything away from Jesus, a real person. Jesus ministered to others, and He thought about all of us when He died on the cross as the ultimate gift.
--Janett H. Goolsby
Altamonte Springs, Florida
Implications of Creation
Mark Kellner’s editorial “If the Creation Account Isn’t True . . ." (Dec. 8, 2011) was right on. His remark, “If God did not create man in His own image . . . how can we truly believe that He can recreate us for a new heaven and a new earth?” is so true. Either it’s all true, or none of it is true. We surely have to be sure of what we believe.
As for me and my house, we have no question but that the Bible is true from cover to cover. But if they have already made up their mind otherwise, there may be no way to convince skeptics that the Bible is true.
My thanks to all the staff at the Adventist Review for their work to keep the Review coming week to week. Over the years I have appreciated being informed about what is happening in the Adventist world. Sometimes there has been information not easy to share, but I appreciate the honesty and transparency.
I have always enjoyed and appreciated Beatrice Neall’s articles. However, “What the Prodigal Did Right” (Dec. 8, 2011) gave me a new perspective on the prodigal. Since I pass along my Reviews to someone else, I made a copy of Neall’s article so I could re-read it. I started highlighting what I thought were the major points and by the time I had finished, almost the whole article was highlighted. There’s so much in that article for me to think about and chew on. Please pass along my appreciation to Beatrice Neall.
The Melody Lingers
We were thrilled with the article “Her Music Continues” (Dec. 8, 2011), about Virginia-Gene Rittenhouse. We knew her well as a great musician and friend. Glad attended her wedding at the South Lancaster, Massachusetts Seventh-day Adventist Church.
There was one error in Preston Hawes’ report of her funeral: The Thayer Mansion is not in Sterling, it is in Lancaster, Massachusetts.
--Phil and Glad Lewis