The beliefs and sentiments expressed by those whose letters appear here are not necessarily shared by the Adventist Review or its editorial staff. These letters have been edited for clarity and length. -- Editors
This Historic Moment
“More Than Politics”, the online analysis by former editor William Johnsson about what Barack Obama’s election means for Seventh-day Adventists is a masterpiece; the best message I have ever read on the cancer of racism among Seventh-day Adventists in the United States. I was skeptical about reading the message in the first place because I thought it would contain the same racist comments I had heard from my local pastor.
There’s no doubt that the Seventh-day Adventist church is God’s true church on earth. Unfortunately, some of its members and leaders may not have a place in God’s kingdom because of racial or tribal discrimination, even among their fellow brothers and sisters in the Lord. Johnsson’s message is an end-time message and should be taken seriously.
I was overwhelmed with memories as I read William Johnsson’s comments on the Obama election.
I was a dental officer in the U.S. Navy during World War II. My first assignment after being commissioned was to report for duty to the Great Lakes Naval Training Center north of Chicago. This was early in 1944, at the peak of World War II, and Great Lakes was the largest Navy base in the nation. As I recall, there were 19 separate and independent “camps” at Great Lakes, each one with its own medical/dental clinic where new recruits were examined, screened, and treated as needed while they went through the training period prior to being assigned for regular Navy duty. At the height of the war 25,000 new recruits would “come in the front door” every morning, and 25,000 newly trained sailors would leave for assignments throughout the world.
At that time “negroes” (as they were called then) were traditionally assigned to kitchen duty--cooks, waiters, etc. This was the traditional and accepted practice.
Then one day a newly commissioned dental officer was assigned to my clinic, the first Black dental or medical officer commissioned in the Navy. He, like my dear wife and me, was newly married, and this trip to Great Lakes was the first time either he or his wife had been out of their home state of Alabama.
We became good friends. One day I invited them to our two-room apartment on the north side of Chicago for a home-cooked dinner. After some urging, they finally agreed to join us and we enjoyed a pleasant evening. A few weeks later, each of us got our orders: I was to report to a troop transport ship in San Francisco, and he had orders to report to a Navy base in San Diego. When I learned that they planned to drive west, as did we, I suggested that we drive out together and enjoy each other’s company. Besides, I was somewhat familiar with the highways, etc.
“No, we can’t do that,” was his response. I continued to urge him and he finally explained that there were very few hotels/motels that would accept “negroes.” He said he had a list of the few that did, but most were not on the normal interstate routes, so they just slept in their car at night.
Now we will soon have an African American president in the White House.
Robert C. Smithwick
Los Altos Hills, California
Whatever Is Pure
With so much on TV that doesn’t reflect Christian belief, is Swanson suggesting that one ought to search for the holy in the profane, as some leaders of the “emergent church” suggest? It’s one thing to recognize that the holy is occasionally found in the profane, but it’s quite another to suggest that Christians should actively search out the profane to uncover things holy. I don’t think Swanson was suggesting that one do precisely that, but again, I left his article not knowing exactly what he was suggesting.
As an aside: for a moving popular movie that leaves little question regarding its intent, I recommend Sony Pictures’ “Facing the Giants.”
The Best Day of the Week
Regarding “Raising Children to Delight in the Sabbath” (Nov. 13, 2008): For years I’ve talked up the idea of having a Sabbath Delight Club at my church. I have a vision of storytellers, music, videos, and other neat fun things to do that would be Bible or nature related. I can imagine nice t-shirts with a Sabbath Delight Club logo. It could be something that people would ask about, and children would be ready with a good answer.
When I was a kid Sabbath could be boring if I didn’t have friends over. We would take walks or play the piano and sing. Sometimes we went to the park to feed the ducks. But Sabbath was a delight when several of us were together.
It could be a good time for older folk and youngsters to get to know each other. There are a lot of older folk with good stories to tell. All they need is to be asked. It could be a wonderful ministry.
Bracing for the Final Crisis
The following quote by Ellen G. White, used in Angel Rodriquez’s article, “Non-Christians and Last-Day Events”, presents a few problems: “As we near the close of time, there will be greater and still greater external parade of heathen power; heathen deities will manifest their signal power, and will exhibit themselves before the cities of the world; and this delineation has already begun to be fulfilled” (Evangelism, p. 705).
The activities of these heathen deities conflicts with the picture of similar deities featured in the Mt. Carmel experience, when Elijah ridiculed the prophets of Baal for serving a god who was powerless to act. Our theology appears to be conflicted between one God and one supreme God among many.
Darius A. Lecointe
West Friendship, Maryland
A Timely Article
Time moves very slowly for children. Anyone who has lived to age 50 knows that a century is a very short time. When you have lived 80-some years, you know that 175 years is a snap of the fingers. Yes, [the falling of the stars] was a sign of the end.
My personal experience with church hopping is that it fulfills my personal need to stay distant. As I went through college and was overworked and suffered from extreme lack of sleep, the last thing that I wanted to do was go to a familiar place. I wanted to blend in with the pews. During that time I was not interested in anything but getting good grades and succeeding at what I had set out to do. Sabbath was the one day I took off. I didn’t do any studying; I only relaxed and tried to revitalize.
After I graduated I found I needed different things. With the birth of our first child, my wife and I sought out churches with the most vibrant children’s program. Now, due to our geographic location, we find it hard to find a church that meets all our needs, and for that we find ourselves church hopping again.
Many times we find it easier to watch church online instead of driving an hour to get a program that is less than stimulating. As a society we continue to progress in the area of personal development, and there is a trend to have less and less involvement with those around us. This is leading to a disconnected society.
While I appreciate and respect the points Benjamin Baker makes, I sincerely encourage every Adventist to encourage young people to continue to attend church.
We shouldn’t make them feel bad about visiting other churches. Let’s stay positive with regard to church attendance. People don’t need to be made to feel bad or disloyal to the church because they enjoy visiting other Adventist congregations.
Reading May Affect Your Work
I am impressed! The October 9 issue landed in our mailbox on October 7 and had a reference in one article to something that happened on September 4. That’s what we call timely!
The articles were hard-hitting and timely as well. You (and I) are partly responsible for me coming to work late this morning. I was reading the new Adventist Review instead of getting ready for work.
Kudos to the staff; you’re doing good things.