June 7, 2012

Web Letters 5-15-12

Don’t Forget the Columnists
I was pleased to read the cover feature “Women and Their Words” (May 10, 2012). Talented women have played an important part in the history and development of this fine magazine. Their words and thoughts have been an inspiration to many.
In addition to these fine editors, the paper has also featured excellent female columnists throughout the years. Two of these special women come to my mind. Long time readers will remember the blessings they received from the writings of Miriam Wood and June Strong, both of whose writings influenced so many readers.

Wood, also known as the Adventist Ann Landers, ran a question and answer column in the Adventist Review for 12 years. It was a delight to read her sensible and on-target advice. In addition, she was the author of at least 16 books, some of which still occupy a place in my personal library.

June Strong also excelled as both a columnist and a book author. Countless young people have been influenced in their life choices by reading Mindy. Two of her books, Journal of a Happy Woman and A Warm and Welcome Place, will always be among my favorites. I have been blessed by reading them several times throughout the years. As in the past, so it will be in the future. Talented women and their words will continue to further the Lord’s work and hasten His coming.
Edith Padfield Galambos
Hamburg, Pennsylvania

Knowledge and Faith
I attempted the self-referential folder trick Clifford Goldstein described in “Taking Reason on Faith” (Apr. 19, 2012). When I pulled the SF icon into its menu, my computer suddenly shrank into a tiny black pellet that zipped into the power cord and disappeared into the wall outlet. Can he help me get it back? I promise not to do it again.

Writing from another computer now, I enjoyed Goldstein’s column about the limits of provable knowledge and the ultimate need of some degree of faith in order to know anything. He wrote in terms of philosophy and linguistics. If he considered mathematics I think he’d find his argument proven.

In 1931 the German mathematician Kurt Friedrich Gödel published his famous “Incompleteness Theorems.” In them he proved that in any valid system of reasoning there exist true statements that cannot be proved by that system, including the statement that the system itself is a valid system.
Gödel’s rigorous proof of his incompleteness theorems used mathematics that we can’t adequately describe here, but they confirm Goldstein’s idea that reality cannot be fully explained using only logic and reason. Some things that are true must be accepted by faith if anything else is to be known at all.
Dennis Murphy
Morgantown, West Virginia


Titanic Lessons
Regarding Delbert Baker’s column, “Titanic Lessons” (Apr. 26, 2012): The loss of the Titanic has created as much hype in the years since its sinking as its actual pre-voyage promotion. The irony of its monumental “unsinkable” status is well documented and etched in Western folk lore as the greatest example of a monumental disaster attributable to human error of judgement.
But times are changing and we are now privileged to access via the Internet considerable factual evidence about the sinking of the unsinkable, beyond imagining the unimaginable.

Here in Australia a documentary was aired that presented further facts about the Titanic voyage underling human error. Those facts further emphasise human pride, poor judgement, and greed economics that resulted in terrible loss of life. . . .

What are the lessons to be learned from this? Not just the ones suggested in Baker’s article. . . . Here are five additional lessons that emerge from the wreck of the Titanic. . . .

6. Be ready. We know not the hour when the Lord will return. We know not which moment we may lose our life.
7. Be watchful. Keep our lamps trimmed so the light does not fade and we lose our way. Stay switched on to separate truth from fiction.
8. Be merciful. Are we prepared to lose our earthly life to receive the heavenly kingdom?
9. Be thankful. Live knowing that a far greater price was paid than that of the Titanic to secure a place in God’s heavenly kingdom. We are journeying to our real home.
10. Be joyous. Praise God daily that He gave up His Son in death that we may have eternal life. . . .
Libby Beament
Stanhope Gardens, New South Wales, Australia

About Others Like Mary
I’m writing about Hyveth Williams’ column, “Another Story about Mary” (Apr. 19, 2012).

Williams told of a woman who timidly attended her church, but slipped out before Williams could reach her. After finally catching up with her, Williams carefully developed a trusting relationship with her.

Then one Sabbath when Mary was absent Williams called her and found that a person had told her that she was dressed improperly to attend that church. What this well-meaning, but misguided person did not know was that this struggling woman wore pants and high-necked, long-sleeved sweaters to cover scars she had receive from her abusive husband.

I’ve often heard of people who struggled to timidly venture into church, only to be driven away by misguided persons because of the way they dress.

I pray that church leaders will understand this problem and enlighten their well-meaning but misguided members who are driving desperate would-be or former members from the church.

I am concerned also about those whom Williams says, “Perhaps because of a lack of mental health training, many pastors and leaders continue to counsel abused spouses and children just to pray for their abusers and keep silence. In this kind of atmosphere victims are made to feel ashamed, sometimes blamed, and always are told to avoid taking action that would bring public notoriety to the church.”

Although I have heard this counsel from a number of sources, I wonder if this is the counsel Jesus would give. Jesus, who told the parable of the shepherd leaving the 99 in the fold while he went to look for the one lost sheep?

I hope those who have the responsibility of wrestling with these and other such challenges will, by God’s grace, devise a way to protect the church and save untold numbers of suffering, lost sheep.
Richard S. Norman

Three Angels and More
In “Why Do Angels Come in Threes?” (Apr. 19, 2012), Nathan Brown has unearthed a “present truth” that has been languishing in the dust bin. When I became aware of what to look for, I found it everywhere in Scripture.

Brown found in the Three Angels that the gospel comes in three parts.

It’s in the Godhead in Matthew 28:19. It’s in 1 Corinthians 13:13. It’s in the writings of Paul (Eph. 1:3-14), Peter (2 Peter 1:1-10), and John (multiple times in Rev. 1). It’s in the description of sin (Gen. 3:6 and 1 John 2:16) and the righteous life (Micah 6:8). It’s in the three parts of the sanctuary. In each of these places can be found corollaries, commentaries, and confirmation of what Brown discusses in the Three Angels.

My Bible is bulging with references to what the Son, the Holy Spirit, and the Father are doing for us, in us, and through us. (Did you notice the sets of three?)
Thank you for the reminder.
Max Hammonds
St. Petersburg, Florida


Sabbath Reflections
I agree with Jimmy Phillips in “Selling the Sabbath Short” (Apr. 12, 2012). He wrote: “The true power of the Sabbath comes when we have a biblical understanding of why we keep it and how God desires us to spend it.”

Keeping the Sabbath was never a hardship for me. In fact, when I was a student I was thankful for the day. That meant no school work or music practice. In the years while dealing with family, home, and job, I began to view the Sabbath as more time to spend with my Savior. Six days a week the Lord and I must focus on the “have-tos,” but on Sabbath the Lord and I can enjoy the “want-tos.”
Natalie Dodd
Centerville, Ohio