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Sabbath School for a New Generation

Among Seventh Day Adventists, Sabbath School is a time for discussion and learning. It is the belief of this site that Sabbath School should be an exciting venue for the discussion of new ideas, instead of rehashing old arguments. So welcome to a virtual Sabbath School, a Sabbath School for a new generation.

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I am an Electrical Engineer, working at Intel in the Portland area. I received my undergraduate degree from Walla Walla College and graduate degrees from the University of Southern California. The views expressed on this website are my own and do not reflect the viewpoints of anybody else. I reserve the right to change my mind at any point in time.

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Blue Like Jazz

Well, now that I am finished reading about Paul, I have started reading Blue Like Jazz, by Donald Miller. As a preview, here is his authors note.

I never liked jazz music because jazz music doesn't resolve. But I was outside the Bagdad Theater in Portland one night when I saw a man playing the saxophone. I stood there for fifteen minutes, and he never opened his eyes.

After that I liked jazz music.

Sometimes you have to watch somebody love something before you can love it yourself. It is as if they are showing you the way.

I used to not like God because God didn't resolve. But that was before any of this happened.

And sometimes I have to quote what other people write, because they say it better than I ever could. Well, I will give a full report when I am done reading the book.

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

So what kind of church do you attend?

Interesting "interview" on the ooze. So why do you go to church? The "traditional" church that he describes is a caricature of most church services that I have been to. I have never been to his "NT church," but it sounds interesting. I can see how spiritually engaging it could be. At this point, I am tired of coasting and I want a meaningful church. Fortunately, I am in a position where I can make changes. Our pastor is very open to suggestions. But even if those changes aren't made church-wide, my Sabbath School would also benefit from them. These are things to think about as we plan ahead.

The article also has a link to a discussion, but you have to be a member of the Ooze (it's free) to read it.

Book Review: In Search of Paul

I just finished reading In Search of Paul by John Crossan and Jonathan Reed. Overall it was a heavy read, but I learned some interesting things. Paul uses metaphors that would have made sense to people of that time. However he takes themes common in Roman Imperial theology gives them a twist. For example a common theme was Ceasar Agustus was a god, who saved the world by giving it peace through victory. He was a conquering king. Jesus was savior of the world, but he did it by becoming a servant. Quite a contrast. Whereas Rome preached peace and victory, Paul preached grace and peace. Peace was acheived using much different methods.

One interesting note concerns 1 Thessalonians 4:16-18 (RSV).
16For the Lord himself will descend from heaven with a cry of command, with the archangel's call, and with the sound of the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first; 17then we who are alive, who are left, shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air; and so we shall always be with the Lord. 18Therefore comfort one another with these words.

This text is closely modeled on the practice of greeting important dignitaries visiting a city. Say a king is coming to town. The city officials would meet the king outside the city and accompany him into town. In addition most cemetaries were located just off the road outside a city. So Paul uses this metaphor of greeting the king to describe what the end of time would be like. Now I have heard many Adventists argue that this text says that Christ won't touch the ground, but we will meet him in the air. However the text itself is ambiguous and if Paul truely meant to base his discussion on a common practice of his day, I don't think we can assume that this text says what we think it says.

The book contains a heavy dose of descriptions of Roman society, archeology, and the writings of Paul. I had trouble focusing on certain sections, but overall I am glad I read the book. Learning about Roman society also helped me to understand Revelations and also early church history. You can see how Roman ideas about patronage resulted in veneration of Saints.

Monday, October 17, 2005

Process vs. Free Will Theism

I'm revisiting this subject. As you may remember, I recently reviewed a book on this topic. Well, here is David Larson's take on it as well. David Griffin articulated ten points that describe what is process theism. David Larson maintains that traditional free will theism can agree with nine of these points.

Without hesitation, qualification or equivocation, traditional free will theism can and should affirm 9 of the 10 "core doctrines" of process philosophy as identified by Griffin. These are:

1. "The integration of science and religion into a single worldview."
2. "Hard-core commonsense notions as the ultimate test of the adequacy of a philosophical position."
3. "Whitehead’s nonsensationist doctrine of perception."
4. "Panexperientialism."
5. "All enduring individuals as serially ordered societies of momentary ‘occasions of experience.’"
6. "All actual entities have internal as well as external relations."
7. Please see below
8. . "Doubly Dipolar Theism."
9. "Cosmological support for the ideals needed by contemporary civilization."
10. "A distinction between verbal statements (sentences) and propositions and between both of these and propositional feelings."

The seventh is
Although there is a divine actuality that influences human experience and, in fact, all finite beings, this divine influence never involves an interruption of the normal pattern of causal relations, being instead a natural dimension of this normal pattern.

This seventh point is basically about how God can intervene in the world. Anyway, read the whole article. I found the discussion of supernaturalism and miracles especially intersting.

Thursday, October 13, 2005


Well, it has been awhile since my last post. Anyway, I found some new web-sites that seem intersting. First is Ponder Anew. This the website of David Larson, a professor at Loma Linda University. Also of interest is the website for the Center of Secular/Postmodern Mission.