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
Food for Thought
The cover article, “Loaves and Haystacks” (Nov. 26, 2009), was very timely. Not only because November 26 happened to be Thanksgiving Day [in the United States] when most eat too much, but because we are now on the border, as it were, of the eternal world, and our diet has more to do with our salvation than many realize.
Adam and Eve yielded to temptation on the point of appetite and lost Eden. Our only hope of regaining Eden, we are told, is to control our temptation to eat too much, even of the best of foods.
Thank you for the article.
Berrien Springs, Michigan
Education and Beyond
“Charting a Different Future” by Richard Hart (Nov. 12, 2009) provided great food for thought, which made me think of how my wife (fourth generation Adventist) and I (first generation) choose to educate our two girls, now aged 14 and 12.
For the first six grade levels we chose home school. Then we gave Adventist education a try and our girls attended a small church school for two years. Both girls loved going to church school; they had great teachers, a good education, and fun socializing with kids their ages.
We are back to home schooling this year and will most likely continue to do so until they are ready for college, at which point they can decide for themselves where they want to go. My wife and I hope they will go to an Adventist college or university, since both of us had such a blessed experience at Atlantic Union College back in the early 1990’s.
The sentence in Hart’s article about the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints just about got to the crux of why we have chosen to home school rather than go elsewhere. There is a large contingency of Adventists in our area who home school, and there is no shortage of Adventist schools here in Southern New England. So why do so many of us choose to home school?
Obviously the reasons vary like the New England weather. But one thing is certain: we all desire to see our children grow into the fullness of Jesus Christ.
We continue to support Adventist Education, and we know that there will be a place for our children there if needed. In the long run I am confident that God is raising up a faithful generation of children who may very well need an extra dose of love to deal with the issues of our future. If they’re getting this at home, then we are in good hands regardless of where our children attend school.
It’s easy to see the problem of higher education when you look at the cover illustration. Obviously, the crew decided to mutiny, cast out the true Helmsman, and figure they could do it by themselves.
If we could humble ourselves, realize our inability to bring the ship to calm waters, and put Jesus back at the helm, things would go better.
I doubt this will happen. Too often with higher education God isn’t needed.
Ethel F. Heisler
The editorial by Bill Knott, “The High and Middle Ground” (Nov. 12, 2009), is superb!! What a blessing it will be to all who believe the Fundamental Beliefs. May our Savior and Lord bless you as you serve Him through this paper!
Let Pastors Pastor
Fredrick A. Russell sent joy to my heart in his column, “Is There A Better Way?” (Nov. 19, 2009). I have known competent pastors who became administrators, never to return to pastoral ministry. This saddens me.
I suggest that much consolidation could take place in North America. Christian young women and men are graduating with business degrees who could easily be hired to care for the oversight of large segments of the church. Think of the numbers of competent people returning to shepherding the flocks!
The Challenges of Distance Education
Regarding the news article, “Commission Established to Review Church’s Griggs University” (Nov. 19, 2009): I’ve been a distance/online student for a number of years now. I have done my Bachelors Degree and Masters in Public Health through distance/online education in non-Seventh-day Adventist institutions. Currently, I am pursuing a Master of Arts in Educational Leadership through Adventist International Institute of Advanced Studies (AIIAS).
As a married working adult, I have found distance education a convenient way to pursue my educational goals while being able to provide for my family. I believe in distance education.
Having experienced distance/online education both from non-Adventist and Seventh-day Adventist institutions (University of Waterloo, Lakehead University, and AIIAS), I could see differences, both positive and negative. On the one hand, although there is much to be desired in how administrative services (from admissions to registration) are delivered to students in Adventist-run online/distance programs, I appreciate being able to learn in a Christian atmosphere with committed Adventist professors and students.
Although I see value in the work of this commission to improve the delivery of distance/online programs, I would be disappointed to see it recommend the closure of Griggs University.
Based on my experience, I recommend the following improvements:
1) Streamline administrative support from admissions to registration to payment to graduation. Individuals taking distance/online programs are typically busy professionals. Services provided in “one-stop-shopping/one-call” way will increase student satisfaction. Access to services should also be available 24/7, or at least for extended hours.
2) Students should have access to a wide array of programs and courses. Griggs University could serve as a “consolidator” of distance/online courses/programs from various Adventist institutions (e.g. AIIAS, La Sierra, Andrews, Oakwood, etc.). That way students won’t have to hunt for courses/programs, they can go to Griggs and do one-stop shopping.
3) The website has to be improved. Make it look more professional, easy to navigate; and provide useful, up-to-date information. See the following for examples of distance/online institutions: http://www.capella.edu/, http://www.waldenu.edu/.
4) Invest in technology to streamline the delivery of courses.
5) Promote, promote, promote. Use Adventist Review and other Adventist magazines—both print and online to profile the benefits of distance/online education.
A Lesson in Humility
While I agree that everybody should be able to attend the Lord’s Supper without feeling awkward or embarrassed, I would point out that the foot washing performed by Jesus was intended to teach His disciples a lesson in humility; and humility is something that should be part of everybody’s daily life.
If we all--Seventh-Day Adventists or Jehovah’s Witnesses--show in all sincerity our humble nature in daily life, surely there is no need to perform the actual foot washing during the Lord’s Supper.
Thanks for an informative magazine I will continue to read (despite the fact that I don’t necessarily agree to everything contained therein).