I appreciated the messages by Bill Knott and Stephen Chavez as we look to another year of plans and resolutions.
As Chavez wrote, it is good to have a new beginning. Unfortunately, many people start the year with great aspirations and are frustrated as time goes by. The secret is to discipline ourselves daily to have worship, to exercise, and to have a healthy lifestyle. The Lord will help us with our weaknesses. The more we set our priorities, the more they will become a part of our lives.
How timely was the article “A Kite, a String, and a Bridge,” by Bill Knott (January 2019)? He does not need to tell us that we live in “fractious times.” Never before have we seen such division in our world. We need to launch a kite of peace and understanding with our fellow citizens, families, and church members.
More than ever we need to see fervent prayers, reconciliation, and forgiveness as part of our Christian life. Let us make a prayer list, a vow not to criticize, and be the loving force that changes lives.
Leo Ranzolin, Sr.
I have a few thoughts to add regarding the article “Does God Like My Gun?” (November 2018).
In Matthew 5 Jesus talks about turning the other cheek when one is slapped, and walking an extra mile when forced to walk one mile. He also stated that one should pluck out one’s right eye if it offends, or cut off one’s right arm if it offends. Surely one’s eye or one’s arm can commit no offense, but one’s mind can and does.
In my opinion, Jesus wasn’t asking us to literally gouge out our eyes or cut off our hands. And He never mentioned nor implied resisting a criminal life-threatening assault on ourselves or others.
It seems clear that He was speaking figuratively in order to make the point that one shouldn’t be vengeful, but rather seek to have a positive or even redeeming influence. My reading of Jesus’ teaching is that rather than always delineating rules to follow, He often spoke in allegory to illustrate principles to live by. We can remember that religious leaders of the day had themselves and their followers all tied up with human rules while they forgot about the actual principles of a loving God that are behind true religion. We can do the same today, but we shouldn’t.
I may keep the Sabbath slightly different than another Sabbathkeeper does, as I may interpret the principle of Sabbathkeeping differently. Still, I am not entitled to judge and tell others that they are wrong according to my rules. I also cannot tell you that you are wrong and encourage you to violate your conscience while defending myself or innocent others. But on the other hand, by not responding I would have a difficult time living with myself.
I was perusing the September 2018 issue of Adventist Review from back to front as I frequently do on Friday evenings. I was startled to see a familiar image: a cover image of Between Rivers, my latest book. It took a moment for the image to register as it was not expected.
Please pass on my thanks for the book review. My thanks to all of you at the Review for the stimulating, thought-provoking, and potentially mind-altering magazine you produce every month. There is seldom an issue that doesn’t get read from back to front—or the middle, depending on which columnist is there.
I particularly appreciate the depth of Bill Knott’s editorials and Cliff’s Edge.
Chetwynd, British Columbia
For several years we have read Dixil Rodríguez in the Adventist Review. We are a Review family, and the favorite column in our home is Searching the Obvious. Thank you for the lovely Christmas story (“Room at the Inn” [December 2018]).
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