July 23, 2012

Web Letters

The Journey Toward Truth
Herbert Blomstedt begins his presentation “Present Truth in Music” (July 12, 2012) with a profound insight: that truth is dynamic and not static. He says truth cannot be possessed. There are no “perfect answers” as to what is truth in music, science, theology, art, or any other field.

Truth is a journey. But it is also subjective and depends on one’s pre-existing ideas, teachers, desires, and colleagues on the journey. Therefore, when Blomstedt uses the term “truth” as applied to music, he is speaking of his own truth journey. The term “excellence” strikes me as a more fitting word for his passion, because, as he says, “music does not serve dogma well.” We bring our own emotions, praise, and words to worship music; otherwise it would not be truth for us but only entertainment, no matter how lofty.

Few of us approach science with all the wisdom of the scientist, or bring to theology or art professional understanding of those specialties. I think it is difficult to present the interests of the professional or aficionado of a particular kind of music as a standard for all without making it a bit elitist. It’s good to keep in mind that what is to one person “sentimentality” is to another a heart experience with Christ that can change a life or encourage its spiritual growth.

--E. M. Rydzewski
Clarksville, Maryland

Thank you for the article “Present Truth in Music” by Herbert Blomstedt. His call for excellence needs to be heard by us all, as we too often take music selection and performance casually, with little thought or preparation in our worship services. Blomstedt’s example and his career through the years has been a continued encouragement to so many.

--Dwight Lehnhoff
Knoxville, Tennessee

I respect Herbert Blomsted’s knowledge of music. But if ignorance is bliss, I’m glad I’m ignorant about what constitutes a good music composition. “Tell Me the Story of Jesus” (number 152 in the Seventh-day Adventist Hymnal), has always ministered to me and always will, even though Blomsted says the music sends a conflicting message.

--Jerry Oster
Evans, Colorado

ADRA’s New Leadership
This is to express high appreciation for the candid and sensitive reporting of events relating to the change of leadership at ADRA in the article “ADRA International Board Votes Leadership Change; Launches Search Process” (July 19, 2012). Clearly, this was a carefully considered and essential course of action.

The report gave just essential basic facts upon which the board had to take action for the good of ADRA, the clientele it serves, and its professional personnel. Though I thoroughly enjoyed the materials I received in the mail, I must confess that as a contributor I was increasingly uneasy about the expense of the promotional materials.

I am proud to say that this has been handled and reported in a manner that builds confidence.

--H. H. Hill
Pendleton, Oregon

Vindication for the Chamberlains
Regarding “Coroner’s Verdict Vindicates Chamberlains” (July 12, 2012): The vindication of the Chamberlains by Coroner Elizabeth Morris in Darwin, Australia, brought a lot of memories about the injustice they suffered. During my first visit to Australia in 1975, it was my privilege to attend camp meeting in Tasmania and have the consecration prayer for the ordination of Michael Chamberlain to pastoral ministry.

Ten years later, traveling with the King’s Heralds for a month, participating in a series of youth rallies and congresses, we were informed and visited by the pastor in Darwin Lindy Chamberlain’s condition in jail. We prayed for her and couldn’t understand how a loving mother could have been accused of killing her baby. During one of my flights I was flabbergasted to hear how many in Australia believed that she had sacrificed her baby!

I read the books, and saw the movie “A Cry in the Dark,” but the most wonderful time was when she was liberated by the discovery of the pajamas Azaria was wearing the day the dingo took her away. Australian people are wonderful; our Sanitarium products are cherished by them; and I’m glad our church image is seen in a different light, and not as a cult offering baby sacrifices.

--Leo Ranzolin
Estero, Florida

Past and Future
I appreciate Bill Knott’s editorial, “The Problem With Nostalgia” (June 14, 2012). The men and women from the days of the apostles to the pioneers of the Advent movement would want us to focus on their passion and their commitment of taking the gospel message to the world.

Today we have at our disposal all the means of transportation and communication known to humankind. To whom more is given, more is expected. I honor the work and sacrifice of those who came before. They wouldn’t want us to just look at their situation; they would want us to push ahead.

This quotation by Ellen White speaks to the heart of the issue: “We have nothing to fear for the future, except as we shall forget the way the Lord has led us, and His teaching in our past history” (Life Sketches, p. 196). That’s why it’s important to remember that those from the past who have given their talents and lives to share the gospel.

Three angels are described in Revelation. Why angels? They represent speed. Imagine how impossible it would have been for John to describe printing presses, cars, trains, jets, telephones, television, and other electronic media? His world had only handwritten material that could travel no faster than by foot, horse, or sailing ship.

I see another way to view the three angels and their speed: The first angel represents the invention of the printing press and how quickly the Bible became available to people in their own language. The second angel represents transportation by steam and gasoline powered engines that opened a world of travel by car, train, and plane. The third angel represents communication with invention of the telephone, telegraph, television, computer, smart phones, iPods, and the list goes on.

Early Christians mentioned in Scripture set the then-known world “on fire.” The reformers and early Advent pioneers expanded that message with the means available in their eras. Today, the technology for taking the gospel to the world is unprecedented, making it possible to reach every nation, kindred, tongue, and people.
What’s next? The second coming of Christ.

--Natalie Dodd
Centerville, Ohio

Singles and the Church
I appreciate the fact that the Adventist Review had a cover story, “Adventist and Single” (May 17, 2012), validating singles and their role in the Seventh-day Adventist Church.

The article spends several paragraphs demonstrating the diversity of the single population. Yet it was accompanied by a review of online dating services that included the opinions of just one person. A young college student can hardly be considered representative of all Adventist singles. The writer recommended a non-Adventist dating site after just a five-minute profile. Which provides a more valid match? A comprehensive profile based on subjects of unique interest to Seventh-day Adventists, or one that is fast and easy?

Claudio Consuegra, [director of family ministries for the North American Division] stated, “I’m not a believer in online dating services of any kind.” Given the decades of successful marriages through Adventist Contact, I believe people have a far better chance of a successful marriage if they meet through www.adventistcontact.com than meeting on their own, because they are matched on shared interest, attitudes, and life practices (the only scientifically validated system for compatibility), and they have a comprehensive profile of relevant questions to ask each other so they can get better acquainted. Adventist Contact recommends that if people meet someone they think they would like to marry, that one or the other move so they can see each other on a daily basis for extended period of time and get well-acquainted. People can wear “masks” and misrepresent themselves no matter how they meet.

Studies show that anywhere from 17 to 30 percent of couples now meet online. eHarmony takes credit for one out of every 20 marriages in the country. Online dating is here to stay, and I believe in the importance of providing a specifically Adventist option for our church members.


Time to Enditnow
I’m writing to thank Hyveth Williams for “Another Story About Mary” (Apr. 19, 2012), and shedding light on abuse and violence in Christian and non-Christian households alike.

My husband and I, having attended an ENDITNOW conference in Loma Linda last autumn, also thank her for commending, and in a sense recommending, the General Conference Women’s Ministries Department’s program ENDITNOW.

Abuse and violence exist. And the first step in stopping abuse and violence toward women is to believe that it actually does exist, even if the perpetrator is the beloved, cheery, fantastic, story-telling preacher (public persona) who still “shepherds” the flock and rewrites history to portray himself as the victim.

Our conferences have to be educated about this program. Perpetrators and victims alike have to be ministered to and supported. In many of our churches victims are shunned and perpetrators continue the devastating behaviors toward victims that will affect them for years to come, if not for life.

--Diane Schuetz
Avila Beach, California