October 22, 2012



Shadow Men: A Play
Clifford Goldstein, Shadow Men: A Play (Warburton, Victoria: Signs Publishing Company, 2012), 108 pages, A$14.95, reviewed by Chantal J. Klingbeil, host of Hope Channel’s weekly live TV Bible program StoryLine.

Shadow Men is an unusual book. To begin with, it’s not a biography, history, or even a novel—it’s a play. But don’t imagine elaborate costuming and colorful scene changes. This play is set on death row. The most visible prop is a large clock that counts down the hours.

2012 1530 page29Although Jason and Archie have shared neighboring cells for years, they have always been separated by a wall and have seen each other only briefly. But they know each other’s shadows well. The conversation between Jason and Archie has a dark sense of urgency. Both are on death row, but now the countdown is on. Within a matter of just 17 hours Jason will face the electric chair. The minutes are filled with remembering, waiting, hoping, and wondering. Naturally the conversation centers on life and death. Jason and Archie are ready to ask the tough questions. As the minutes tick away the men become brutally honest with themselves and each other, and even with Preacher Mike in his brief visit. The play is peppered with brief appearances by other characters at crucial moments. Jason’s brother’s brief visit, and the stunning news it brings, turns everything upside down and leads to urgent confessions that completely changed the way I viewed Jason and Archie, and leads to big questions about innocence and guilt. Prison guard Stokes, a self-styled character reader, makes puzzling predictions about the prisoners. And, of course, an assortment of lawyers, working against the clock, give the play a glimmer of hope that kept me glued to the story until the very last page.

Clifford Goldstein is well known in Seventh-day Adventist circles. He is an accomplished author who has authored more than 20 books and works as editor of the Adult Sabbath School Bible Study Guide at the General Conference. With Shadow Men Goldstein moves away from his often apologetic style to target more consciously a secular audience. The purpose of the book is to help people ask the deep questions about the meaning of life. And ask the big questions it does. Although it’s intended for a secular audience, I found myself forced to rethink my faith assumptions and take stock of why I believe what I do. The play format is a great medium for keeping things from getting too profound or philosophical—after all, the clock is counting down the minutes.

Shadow Men is a creative, intriguing book that is worth reading, rereading, and sharing. I’m looking forward to Shadow Men taking on an even wider audience when it takes on a second life as a performed play. 

At Rest

BROST, Benjamin B.—b. Mar. 23, 1912, Wirch, N.Dak.; d. Feb. 23, 2012, Portland, Tenn. He served in academies in Tennessee, Kansas, and Colorado. He is survived by one daughter, Jean Davis; one sister, Hilda Husted; four grandchildren; four great-grandchildren; and one great-great-grandchild.

CASH, Robert W.—b. Aug. 2, 1920, Arpin, Wis.; d. Jan. 28, 2012, Grand Rapids, Mich. He served at the South American Division headquarters and as treasurer of the Ecuador Mission. He also worked at Cedar Lake Academy, Union Springs Academy, and Columbia Union College, and served as an auditor of the Columbia Union, Northern Union, and Lake Union conferences, and in the auditing office of the General Conference. He is survived by two sons, R. William “Bill” and Fred; and four grandchildren.

CHRISTIAN, C. Dionisio—b. June 27, 1929, San Pedro de Macoris, Dominican Republic; d. Apr. 1, 2012, Sebring, Fla. He served as pastor, education director, youth director, theology professor, mission secretary, and union president in the Dominican Republic, Panama, Honduras, and Puerto Rico. He also served in the Inter-American Division as director of lay activities and stewardship, public affairs, and religious liberty. He is survived by his wife, Melba; two sons, Dionisio and Roberto; two daughters, Dinorah Rivera and Esther Christian; one brother, Ismael; 10 grandchildren; and eight great-grandchildren.

COFFIN, Galen H.—b. July 28, 1920, Lafayette, Ind.; d. Feb. 3, 2012, Gresham, Oreg. He served at Youngberg Adventist Hospital in Singapore. He is survived by his wife, Beth; one son, David; one daughter, Kathy Marshall; one brother, Harold; four grandchildren; and two great-grandchildren.

CRAIG, Amelia—b. June 27, 1912, Russia; d. Mar. 15, 2012, Avon Park, Fla. She served as a literature evangelist in Wyoming, and as food service director for Platte Valley Academy, Union College, and Shenandoah Valley Academy. She is survived by two daughters, Carol Remington and Lorene Watters; four grandchildren; five great-grandchildren; and six great-great-grandchildren.

DART, George Charles—b. July 8, 1929, Atlanta, Ga.; d. Mar. 3, 2012, Loma Linda, Calif. He served as a pastor in Mansfield, Ohio, and Keene, Texas; and as principal of Blue Mountain Academy, Milo Academy, and Ozark Adventist Academy. He also served as president of the Texas and Southern California conferences and superintendent of schools for the Oregon Conference. He is survived by two sons, Chuck and Jed; two daughters, Cheri and Jolene; one sister, Virginia Collin; and four grandchildren.

This article was published October 25, 2012.