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
Obsessed No Longer
Andrew McChesney’s article “My Obsession With DVDs
” (Mar. 17, 2011) was just the pot of gold I needed on St. Paddy’s Day! I might have been green with envy over his victory had I not had a similar experience with my own obsession with music.
I came into the church at 22 years of age, having spent a good 12 of those years collecting music, mostly 33- and 45-rpm records. About a year after my baptism, while returning from a Week of Prayer at Atlantic Union College, I was convicted that I should get rid of those records that were bothering my conscience. Sharing McChesney’s same struggles regarding what to do with them, I decided to throw the whole lot into the dumpster behind the men’s dorm that very evening.
That night, while trying to sleep, I tossed and turned, wondering if I had done the right thing. Not only was I throwing out all those records--I was also tossing out all the memories those records had brought me. The next morning I thought, Perhaps I made a hasty decision; maybe I should keep the records that were not that bad.
Too late; as I got dressed I heard the sound of the trash collector’s truck hoisting that dumpster into the air and shaking every last piece of trash into the abyss of no return.
That was 1990. Fast-forward 10 years. I downloaded a bit of software to my computer called Napster and found that I could get music for free (before the court ruled music file-sharing illegal). I’m not exactly sure how it began; perhaps it was the desire to reminisce, perhaps it was the thrill of new technology, but before I knew it I had amassed a hard drive full of MP3s. Suddenly everything old was new again. Today, 20-plus years after “The Night of the Thumpasorus Peoples” went into the dumpster behind the men’s dorm, technology makes it all the more difficult to give up the funk.
Fortunately, we have a Savior who can identify with our weaknesses. Continue to fight the good fight; those of us who have tread that same path share in your struggles.
Goldstein’s Big Bust
Regarding “The Big Bang Theory
” (Mar. 17, 2011): The big bang theory does not postulate the origin of the primordial infinitely dense singularity of energy/matter construct, the implication being that its components always existed. I am guessing that Clifford Goldstein, in incorporating this theory into his faith, would suggest that the Lord created this singularity 13 billion years ago.
However, this would not solve the following problems: 1. The Lord clearly states that He created this earth and its surroundings in six days (Ex. 20:11). If He created the big bang, then it took 13 billion years to create earth! 2. Ellen White wrote, “In the formation of our world, God was not indebted to preexisting matter” (Testimonies for the Church, vol. 8, p. 258). 3. When electrons are created in the laboratory by colliding high-energy photons, simulating the creation of matter in the big bang, equal amounts of electrons (matter) and positrons (anti-matter) are produced. If they are not separated immediately in a magnetic field, they annihilate each other instantly, reforming the photons.
Would it not be safer to point out that setting aside the revealed information of the Bible results in utter puzzlement on even such fundamental topics as the “origin of matter,” not to mention the “origin of the universe”?
Finally, as Goldstein’s discussion was about a scientific theory, his conclusion should have warned against tying our faith to scientific theories! Science and scientific theories are not synonyms.
New Leipzig, North Dakota
More Than a Magazine
I have been blessed by the messages that have been posted on the Adventist Review
Web site. They are a blessing to me, and to our congregation of about 200 people. I have been downloading the messages by David Asscherick
from March 7-10.
Perth, Western Australia, Australia
Known, or Unknown?
I’m responding to Mark Kellner’s article “As Others Don’t See Us
” (Mar. 17, 2011). Several points struck me.
First, Ellen G. White wrote: “On every street corner you may see placards and notices calling attention to various things that are going on, some of them of the most objectionable character; and shall those who have the light of life be satisfied with feeble efforts to call the attention of the masses to the truth?” (Testimonies for the Church, vol. 6, p. 36, 37). This is even truer today.
Over the years I have traveled to churches in a certain area. On my way to and from I pass a nightclub. About 100 meters in either direction you can see a sign indicating that you are approaching the club. Our churches in the area all have signs on their property. However, no such sign informs visitors that they are approaching a Seventh-day Adventist church.
Once I was happy to see such a sign in another area, but when we arrived, the church was closed. There was no notice at the church informing visitors that the members in the pastoral district were at an evangelistic tent somewhere else.
On another occasion I chose to visit a new company. If I had not seen a brother who had dropped off some folks, I would have had difficulty in finding the fledgling group. I remarked that they should have signs. They agreed. Two years later there are still no signs.
The problem is that we think we are known. My wife and I attend a fairly large central church, the largest in the area (except for the university church). About 500 persons attend each Sabbath morning. There are more than 100 cars in the parking lot. There is a beautiful sign. Yet when a woman called the pastor in his church office because she was interested in the truth, she had to ask, “Where is your church?”
Second, I agree with Pastor Ted Wilson. We should spell out our name.
Third, it is sad that we have done so much pioneering work in health and not only does the world not know, but we don’t know or don’t appreciate it.
Finally, the Seventh-day Adventist Church in Jamaica has led the way in church signs. Some other denominations have followed our example.
--Norman W. M. Thompson
“As Others Don’t See Us,” by Mark Kellner, has some good thoughts. Maybe his quote from Mark DeMoss, “I think a lot of media don’t like us because of the way we behave,” is more true than we would like to admit. I suggest we look at “being known” from a scriptural perspective.
The Tower of Babel was built “so that we may make a name for ourselves” (Gen. 11:4). Compare that to Philippians 2:7 where Christ made Himself of no reputation, but humbled Himself to be a servant. God then exalted and bestowed on Him the name above all names (verse 9).
Let’s follow Christ’s example: humbling ourselves, being His servant, doing good as He did, then obeying the command He gave His disciples, “Love each other as I have loved you” (John 15:12). Christ also said, “By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another” (John 13:35, NRSV).*
The word will get out. Let God inform the media of Seventh-day Adventists however He chooses, instead of us “making a name for ourselves.”
A Mother’s Memorial
The article “What Greater Legacy?
” (Mar. 17, 2011) brought back memories of my mother. Last year, the Sabbath before Mother’s Day, our family buried my mother. She too left a spiritual legacy. Her formal education stopped at third grade for the same reason that Sandra Blackmer’s mother left school.
My mother and father church planted a Pentecostal church in the small community where I grew up. A large number of people attended my mother’s viewing service. They shared stories about her walk with God and her selfless ministry. One local evangelist told me, “When we were growing up, we used to laugh and throw rocks at your mother for preaching up and down the road. Now here I am doing the same thing, trying to tell people about Jesus.”
\Mother was 86 years old when she died. She and my father spent 68 years together in marriage. He is a World War II veteran, 91 years old, currently struggling with Alzheimer’s, bedbound, and “waiting on Jesus.”
My mother allowed God to use her to reach others. The church was a small building that seated a congregation of 100 to 150 people. One day she shared with me the disappointment of not having a larger building for services. I assured her that the building they built on family-donated property was sufficient for God’s work. I told her to look at it as an incubator, a place for Christians to start out in life. She was introduced to Adventism late in her life, after dementia had set in. My mother waited faithfully on Jesus. I, too, will wait.
Thank you for your story.
--Fartema M. Fagin
I Remember Neal
Much has been said and written about the late Neal C. Wilson
(Jan. 20, 2011). Practically all these testimonials concerned his contribution to the church as president of the General Conference. I have seen nothing about his life before that.
At Pacific Union College in 1943, Wilson and I were fellow students. All of us fellows lived in Grainger Hall, which was the only men’s dorm at that time. All the rooms were equipped with a transom above the door, an opening about 36 inches by 20 inches with a hinged door, to furnish fresh air without opening the room’s door.
One day Bob Reiger locked himself out of his room. A group of his neighbors gathered around to help. If someone could just climb through the transom, they could open the door from the inside. But none of us were physically designed to do that.
Then along came a tall, lanky fellow named Neal Wilson, who fit the bill; he looked about right to fit through the narrow opening. He agreed to help. So we pushed and shoved and lifted him up, and he managed to squirm through the transom and open the door. So even early in life, Neal Wilson showed signs of meeting the challenges of life and rising to the occasion.
Citrus Heights, California
*Bible texts credited to NRSV are from the New Revised Standard Version of the Bible, copyright © 1989 by the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of Churches of Christ in the U.S.A. Used by permission.