Web Round-up

Adventist stories relating to social ethics and social action:

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Brown: What We Do With the Bible (AR)

In his latest Engage installment, Nathan Brown looks at reading the Bible. Excerpt:

At least one in every 15 Bible verses—more than 2,100 out of about 31,000 (of course, these specific numbers vary on different counts and in different translations)—speaks of God’s concern for the poor, His impatience with injustice, and His desire for His people to work on behalf of the oppressed and marginalized. While reading the Bible must be more than merely a statistical exercise, we should be alert nonetheless to those ideas and themes that just keep re-appearing through the various stories and literature that make up the Bible. As such, we cannot rightly read the Bible and miss the repeated call to “do justice” (see Micah 6:8).

Read the entire article here (Adventist World, 15 Jan 2015).

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Viewpoints 17: Ryan Bell, Former Adventist Pastor

Former Adventist Pastor Ryan Bell recently spent a “Year Without God,” where he submersed himself in atheism. After the completion of the project at the end of 2014, Bell announced that he now considered himself an agnostic atheist. I interviewed Bell for my Viewpoints interview series at Adventist Today (interview link, news story link, series link).

Here is an excerpt from the conversation:

AToday: You said in an interview that there are more important questions than if god is real. What types of questions, are more important to you and why are they more important?

Bell: I think one of the things that led me to where I am now is a concern that the kind of belief in God that most of us have puts our focus and our emphasis off into another world—some other time, some other place. What I think are the most important questions are the questions that pertain to how we live now. This is where I actually find Jesus to be quite a compelling character because he—sort of against his cultural stream—focused on the immediate needs of his community, the people that he encountered.

To me the question of whether there’s a god or not sort of pales in comparison to questions like How should we live with one another? What are we going to do about the climate crisis? What are we going to do about income inequality and racism? If I had to pick a way to spend my life, I would rather spend my life working on those issues than endlessly going around the question of whether there’s a god or not. I would rather focus on those humanistic questions—relationships between people, our communities and nature.

While working on the interview and news story, I read or listened to the following resources:

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Viewpoints 16: Rudi Maier, “Church and Society”

Rudi Maier, retired seminary professor and former head of ADRA International, has completed a major publishing project–Church and Society: Missiological Challenges for the Church. We discussed this book for the Viewpoints interview series at Adventist Today (interview link, series link).

Interview excerpt:

AToday: There are other books on missions. What makes this book different? What is the significance of this book for Adventists today?

Maier: Many times we describe missions as being overseas. Mission in Africa. Mission in Asia. Missions is something that is taking place wherever there are people, and there are people right here in our neighborhood and in our churches This book is about ministering to these people, to their hurts, but also see their potential. Many of the issues highlighted in this book need to be dealt with professionally, that is, by people who have the professional skills to deal with them properly. But that should not be the end of it. Research has shown that listening to people and showing them that you genuinely care about their situation can be a huge part of the healing process.

Furthermore, mission not only needs to minister to individuals but should have an impact on society as a whole as well. The question of how we as a Church have a responsibility to the wider issues in society is addressed in a number of chapters, such as advocacy, human rights, immigration, and the question of the death penalty.


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Dwight Nelson & David Asscherick Discuss Torture & Protest

Faster Pastors: Torture and Protest

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ANN: Denomination Appoints Ebola Response Coordinator

Ansel Oliver reports for the Adventist News Network:

The Adventist Development and Relief Agency has appointed an Ebola Response Coordinator in a move that Seventh-day Adventist Church leaders say will help the global denomination and its numerous entities respond to West Africa’s Ebola outbreak.

The agency last week hired Elizabeth Foulkes, who previously worked on the international health team at World Vision US, to serve in the newly-created position for a term lasting at least three months.


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Web Round-up

I’ve been neglecting this blog, so here are a number of articles worth contemplating:

Luke’s Picture and Mary’s Song (Nathan Brown, Adventist World, 8 Dec 2014)

We are heirs of this prophetic and faithful tradition, re-telling these stories, rehearsing these songs, re-enacting these scenes; and responding to the call to understand the story of Jesus as changing the world, challenging the powerful, and lifting up the oppressed, the humble, and the hungry. That’s a scene worth painting, preaching, and living.

Young Adventists Join #BlackLivesMatter Protests (Jared Wright, Spectrum, 7 Dec 2014)

Tonight I stood among our students as they made their voices heard. I marched with them. I felt their unrest. I could sense that they wanted change and equality. As I looked at their faces, I couldn’t help but think how this experience would change them forever. Being able to protest for change is a beautiful thing. And we are proud of how they conducted themselves in the midst of their pain and anger.

Adventist Leaders in NYC, Elsewhere Speak Out on Failure of Justice in Police-related Deaths (Adventist Today, 8 Dec 2014)

“I call on our pastors and lay leaders to speak up respectably in support of the safety and civil rights our young men and women,” stated Pastor Daniel Honore, president of the Northeastern Conference of the Seventh-day Adventist denomination. The statement was in response to widespread disappointment among many Americans at the failure of a New York City grand jury to indict the police officer involved in the death of Eric Garner.

Hundreds of Students at Andrews University March for Racial Justice (Shenika McDonald, Adventist Peace Fellowship, 7 Dec 2014)

On Saturday, December 6, approximately 250 Andrews University students, faculty, staff, and Berrien Springs community members participated in a justice march to the Berrien Springs Police Department.  It was the first public protest in the school’s history.

Northeastern Conference President Calls for Racial Justice (Adventist Peace Fellowship, 8 Dec 2014)

The Ear: Nathan Brown Focuses on Justice (Charles Scriven, Spectrum, 6 Dec 2014)

Do Justice is a collection of 29 chapters by a variety of Adventist writers, leaders, academics, activists and experienced ADRA personnel. We ended up with quite a collection of contributors and felt the privilege of curating this quality of material. In the editing process, we were inspired, educated and humbled.

Justice in print and in person (Brenton Stacey, Record, 20 Nov 2014)

The telling of a young asylum seeker’s journey from Afghanistan at the launch of a justice book has poignantly illustrated the rationale for its publication.

Witnessing in the Czech Republic (Petr Cincala, Adventist World, 2 Sept 2014)

We had begun by creating a civic association, a nongovernmental organization (NGO), through which we established community groups and activities such as family center events, adult English classes, youth and health clubs, and a gospel choir. Before we could even begin to share the gospel, the community residents had to become accustomed to a pastor, someone who cared about them and prayed for them. These were the beginning phases of our ministry.

Why Adventist Memories Stay as “Good Ole’ Memories” and Not “A Person to Follow” (Justin Yang, 14 Nov 2014)

Back in the 2013 NAD Year-End Meetings, the NAD Young Adult Life Team presented a research that had been conducted in partnership with the Barna Group. The research illuminated 2 simple facts:

First, that the SDA Millennials viewed the Adventist Church to be far more anti-science (47%), repressive (37%), overprotective (36%), exclusive (34%), shallow (29%) and doubtless (28%) than any other christian millennials viewed their own church/denomination to be.

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