The spring day my mentor Bill Johnsson died, I made a decision I’d been considering anyway: stepping back from my Adventist Review column.
Just as Elder Johnsson once gave me a chance to write, it was time for me to do the same.
When I informed new Review editor Justin Kim, he invited me to continue through December. I’m excited for Editor Kim and his team—I love that the Review is now completely free online: accessible to all, like the leaves of autumn.
In my final column, a few final feelings:
First, gratitude. From the time I was 22, the Review has been a big part of my life: college internship, then a Growing Up Adventist humor column, then full-time as assistant editor, and later, a monthly column again.
It was actually the next editor, Bill Knott, who graciously invited me to write this column. Truthfully, when I worked at the Review, Bill and I sometimes clanked heads, like two kids on a playground. But sometimes when two kids clank heads, they feel oddly closer. (At least they have clanked heads in common.) As I’ve shared before, the often-quoted verse “Whenever two or three of you come together in my name, I am there with you” (Matt. 18:20, CEV)1 isn’t primarily about worship; it’s about reconciliation.
Second, inspiration. I have loved this church for a long time, and a special Friday night in Jerusalem made me love it even more. Adventists, I realized, are simply Judeo-Christians; we celebrate treasures new and old, as Jesus asked us to (see Matt. 13:52). I love our church’s renewed emphasis on verse-by-verse Bible study, including the power-packed new Seventh-day Adventist International Bible Commentary series.
I also want to mention an additional treasure we’ve been given—but first some background. During this past year I’ve been working on a major book project—Saved: The Story of God and Us. I’m excited about this narrative of Scripture, and I hope it’s a blessing. (You can see free excerpts at facebook.com/MeetAtTheText, where we also do inductive Bible study.)
But I have to tell you, as I’ve worked on this book, I’ve many times shaken my head with wonder at another set of books—marveling at the insights Ellen White was given by the Holy Spirit: the Spirit of Prophecy. If you’re in doubt, try writing your own commentary on any story in the Bible, and then compare it with the Conflict of the Ages. Truly, we have treasures in jars of clay.
My third and final feeling is hope. In my five decades I’ve seen many seasons in the Adventist Church, and our latest one hasn’t been our easiest. But I’m reminded of this statement: “The church may appear as about to fall, but it does not fall.”2
As we get back to what Adventists have always done best—immersing ourselves in Scripture—I believe we’ll soon see the renewal we pray for. And the Savior we long for.
From Growing Up Adventist to growing old Adventist, I thank you.
1 Scripture quotations identified CEV are from the Contemporary English Version. Copyright © American Bible Society 1991, 1995. Used by permission.
2 Ellen G. White, Selected Messages (Washington, D.C.: Review and Herald Pub. Assn., 1958, 1980), book 2, p. 380.