The February 2014 edition of Adventist World has at least five stories relating to social ethics and action (I may have failed to see these themes in the other articles). Below are excerpts from each article, and the complete magazine can be read online.
A Living Power (Ellen White, pp. 20-21, link)
“We cannot with safety swerve from principle, we cannot violate justice, we cannot neglect mercy.”
Service to Others Really Matters (Sandra Blackmer, pp. 24-28, link)
“StormCo’s premise is twofold. First, the goal is to establish and build strong and trusting relationships, so the teams return year after year to the same community. Second, the teams go with no “agenda.” Instead of arriving with a predetermined program, they ask town leaders what their needs are and the ways they think StormCo can engage with the community.”
Sharing Health and Hope (Sandra Blackmer, pp. 29-31, link)
“Each school day some 1,200 volunteers provide breakfast to 5,000 children living in areas of greatest need through Sanitarium’s Good Start Breakfast Clubs.”
Facing the Challenge of Abuse in the Church (Carla Baker, pp. 32-39, link to magazine)
“Though the church as a whole seems to find the topic of abuse unpalatable, the fact remains that as many as 25 to 30 percent of members in the North American Division experience some type of abuse in their lifetime.”
 R. Drumm, M. Popescu, G. Hopkins, and L. Spady, “Abuse in the Adventist Church?” Adventist Review, Oct. 11, 2007; archives. adventistreview.org/issue.php?issue=2007-1528&page=8.
Where in the World Is This?
This is actually a reference to an earlier article, “Two Hearts, One Mission” (July 2012).
Here are two more stories from the Adventist Review:
- ADRA Romania has Launched a New National Campaign Against Domestic Violence (Goleanu, 13 Feb 2014)
- Racism and Health in North America (Williams, 5 Nov 2013)
Here are social ethics/action stories from three Adventist news outlets–ANN (official), Adventist Today, and Spectrum.
Adventist News Network (ANN)
- In Europe, Adventists call on Sunday Alliance not to discriminate (11 Feb 2014)
- In El Salvador, Adventist literacy program brings new opportunities to thousands (Menendez, 7 Feb 2014)
- Adventists join others in opposing Female Genital Mutilation/Cutting (Oliver, 4 Feb 2014)
- In Ukraine, Adventists share message of hope amid political crisis (Kuzmenko, 3 Feb 2014)
- Remembrance: Running was first female professor at Adventist seminary (Spangler, 31 Jan 2014)
- Academic conference in Spain promotes tolerance toward religious minorities (23 Jan 2014)
- Several Adventists killed during political unrest in Central African Republic (Bakari, 21 Jan 2014)
- Monteiro released from prison in Togo (13 Jan 2014)
- El Salvador: Adventist Literacy Project Brings Opportunities to Thousands (11 Feb 2014)
- With Food Stamp Cuts, Adventist Community Services Preparing for More People in Need (31 Jan 2014)
- Study Committee Debates Extending Clergy Ordination to Women in the Adventist Church (28 Jan 2014)
- Adventists Die in Political Violence, Civil Unrest in Central African Republic (21 Jan 2014)
- New ADRA President Has Spent His First Year Getting the Organization Back to Basics (15 Jan 2014)
- Adventist Missionary in Togo Acquitted After 22 Months in Jail (13 Jan 2014)
- GYC Presenter Offers Public Apology (Carducci, 12 Feb 2014)
- Jesus and the Social Outcasts (Burton, 11 Feb 2014)
- 3 Angles News – Adventists Combat Female Genital Mutilation (Dietrich, 10 Feb 2014)
- Viewpoint: GYC Presentation Promotes Damaging Message About Gay Youth (Cruz, 9 Feb 2014)
- Chris Blake on Why He Is Neither Conservative Nor Liberal (Byrd, 7 Feb 2014)
- Reflections on an African Adventist Report on Ordination Issues (Marks, 7 Feb 2014)
- European Sunday Alliance Holds Second Conference (Byrd, 3 Feb 2014)
- First-ever posthumous award from the Anti-Defamation League to an Adventist (John Weidner Foundation, 31 Jan 2014)
- ANN Removes Article Indicating Movement Toward Women’s Ordination Worldwide (Wright, 30 Jan 2014)
- ANN Confirms Shift Toward Acceptance of Women’s Ordination (Wright, 30 Jan 2014)
- Ben Carson Joins Newt Gingrich’s Anti-Obamacare PAC (Wright, 30 Jan 2014)
- Religious Conservatives – And Their Neighbors – More Likely to Divorce, Study Finds (LA Times, 26 Jan 2014)
- Tide Turning On Women’s Ordination (Wright, 24 Jan 2014)
- TOSC Meets for Third Discussion on Women’s Ordination (Byrd, 22 Jan 2014)
- Three Angles News – January 22, 2013 (Dietrich, 22 Jan 2014)
- Bell’s Year Without God Gets International Media Coverage (Wright, 17 Jan 2014)
Give Kids in Egypt a Chance. A Better Future Starts with Education!
Nile Union Academy (NUA) in Egypt is a Christian secondary school dedicated to offering a high level education to rural students from across Egypt. We have been doing this for 60 years. Now we need your help.
You Can Make a Difference
We are excited to be celebrating our 60th birthday this year! But with the joy comes danger. NUA is dedicated to offering the most affordable education possible. In a desire to help as many as possible, we have kept our tuition intentionally low. Now, before June, we need to raise $30,000 to stay in operation.
- We need $18,000 to pay salaries for our 25 dedicated teachers and staff.
- We need $12,000 to pay for general school expenses such as books, electricity, maintenance and dormitory expenses.
- A donation of $250 will keep tuition at current levels for 1 student this year.
- 100% of donations (minus Indiegogo’s bit) will go directly to the continued education of students.
NUA exists because at different times many people like you have stepped up to help these kids. Help keep the dream of education alive for all NUA students!
See the campaign’s Indiegogo page here.
In a recent writing project, I included a brief interpretation of Jesus’ assertion that he brought a sword rather than peace (Matt. 10:34; cf. Luke 12:49-53). This is what Ellen White says about Jesus’ message:
How, then, can the gospel be called a message of peace? When Isaiah foretold the birth of the Messiah, he ascribed to Him the title, “Prince of Peace.” When angels announced to the shepherds that Christ was born, they sang above the plains of Bethlehem: “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.” Luke 2:14. There is a seeming contradiction between these prophetic declarations and the words of Christ: “I came not to send peace, but a sword.” Matthew 10:34. But, rightly understood, the two are in perfect harmony. The gospel is a message of peace. Christianity is a system which, received and obeyed, would spread peace, harmony, and happiness throughout the earth. The religion of Christ will unite in close brotherhood all who accept its teachings. It was the mission of Jesus to reconcile men to God, and thus to one another. But the world at large are under the control of Satan, Christ’s bitterest foe. The gospel presents to them principles of life which are wholly at variance with their habits and desires, and they rise in rebellion against it. They hate the purity which reveals and condemns their sins, and they persecute and destroy those who would urge upon them its just and holy claims. It is in this sense–because the exalted truths it brings occasion hatred and strife–that the gospel is called a sword. (Ch. 2, “Persecution in the First Centuries,” The Great Controversy, 1888/1911, pp. 46-47)
- When have you seen the cross and Christianity bring peace? How did it bring harmony or reconciliation? What social or emotional barriers were overcome?
- When have you seen the cross and Christianity cause division? What issues were involved? Was this permanent, or was unity ever restored?
- How does reconciliation with God lead to reconciliation between people?
In his doctoral dissertation published as The Silent Church: Human Rights and Adventist Social Ethics, Zdravko Plantak declares:
The reason Adventists need to become involved in the world is not because they think they can turn this world into God’s eternal kingdom. On the contrary, Adventists believe and preach that his eternal kingdom is still to come. Adventists must become involved because their God cares and wants them to care for each other. Identifying with Jesus means identifying with the poor, oppressed and those whose basic rights and freedoms are denied them. It is not enough to care for a person and have no concern about the laws that affect the life of that person in society. Many issues labelled ‘political’ have a broader human dimension. It would be hypocritical not to be involved in issues that are labelled political when they concern people, when they involve the lives and fates of human beings. (p. 48)
Recently, I contributed a few words to a project that looks at Adventism and biblical justice. Part of what I wrote about was demonstration, the need for a show-and-tell of God’s good and loving character. Then today, while reading the final chapter of The Acts of The Apostles (Ellen White, 1911), I read this quote that fit my thesis precisely.
There is nothing that the Saviour desires so much as agents who will represent to the world His Spirit and His character. There is nothing that the world needs so much as the manifestation through humanity of the Saviour’s love. All heaven is waiting for men and women through whom God can reveal the power of Christianity. (p. 600)