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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.

Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Finally a review of Blue Like Jazz

It has come to my attention that I promised a review of Blue Like Jazz, which I never got around to writing. As Adventists, we are very good at coming up with doctrines. If the Bible says A that means B and if the Bible says C, we have D. And when you put B and D together you get E. For example, vegetarianism is not really discussed in the Bible (outside of an oblique reference to the time before the flood.) But yet it is a very Biblical doctrine. And I am getting a little side-tracked here, but the point is that Adventists tend to be very cerebral and logical about our faith.

Miller's book is a jumble of anecdotes and stories. If you don't look too closely, there is a logical progression of sorts. The book is very entertaining and humorous, but of course then he will you surprise you with some deep thought. In my favorite story, a Christian group of students at Reed decided to put together a confessional booth for a festival on campus. This festival consisted of mainly large amounts of drugs, alcohol and partying of all sorts. The twist was that the Christian group confessed the sins of Christianity. I thought it was a very powerful story.

His book has very little doctrine. It is mostly just experiences about God and how God has worked in his life. It was helpful for me to remember that Christianity is about a relationship with Jesus and not just a bunch of doctrines.

Monday, February 27, 2006

Latest News

So this morning I woke up to find an e-mail from my dissertation advisor, telling me to go ahead and schedule my defense. So he seems to be happy with the dissertation, although I still have a little work to put in to it.

Sunday, February 26, 2006

Speaking of Blogroll

I am on a blog roll. This will be my third post of the day. Now I should be working on my dissertation, but I am having a few motivational issues. It wasn't helped by having a large infusion of blogs to read through. One of my goals for this blog was to share Sabbath School material with others, in hopes that Sabbath School will be more meaningful. Of course I have now learned that there are several other people out there doing the same thing, only better. For example, Pastor Greg,has an excellent post about family unity.

Back in Roman times, after all, one of charges laid against Christians was the way they subverted “traditional family values.” Christianity undermined the authority of parents, people said. Christianity weakened the ties of marriage, people said. Christianity encouraged children to revolt, women to think for themselves, and men to lose all sense of honor, dignity, and even patriotism.

It reminds of In Search of Paul, by Crossan, which I review here. Roman society was very male dominated. If you read Ephesians 5:21-33, as a Roman would have read it, it is quite shocking. It starts out, "Be subject to one another out of reverence for Christ." Of course today, our society is more egalitarian, which makes Pauls words seem much less radical than they were. In response to a preceived threat to the family, "Wives be subject to your husbands as you are to the Lord (Ephesians 5:22)" is frequently interpreted by conservative Christians to justify inequality. Later, "Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church...(Ephesians 5:25)." If anybody thinks husbands are getting off easy, please read your Bible again to see just how Christ loved his church.

Adventist Blogroll

So I ran into another Adventist blogger online, David Hamstra, who listed about fifty Adventist blogs. Wow I'm glad somebody was keeping track of all us out here (He calls us Sevies). So he inspired me to actually start up a blogroll. I had an account with blogrolling.com but I never did anything with it. So my blogroll has all the sites he listed, plus I added Monte Sahlin, which is the only Adventist blog that I have been checking on a regular basis.

If you have a blogrolling account, you can import this list onto your own blog roll. The instructions are located here and my OPML URL is http://rpc.blogrolling.com/opml.php?r=d179d77c30291f8653ff3467444088a2
Hopefully this will help get something started.

Adventism and Postmodernism

The Adventist church began and developed during the peak of modern thought. It is a thoroughly modern institution. So when I came across the website for the Center for Secular/Postmodern Mission, you can say I was skeptical about its effectiveness. How ready is our church to adjust to the postmodern reality around us? Although it will take time to see what results from this outreach effort, sometimes I wonder if it would be easier to just start from scratch. However James Coffin wrote a good defense for sticking with the denomination. Anyway, I have added their website to my useful resources list and I recommend that you check it out. So far most of their material has been gleaned from other sources, but I think they are off to a good start.

Friday, February 03, 2006

Is Intelligent Design good for Christianity?

There is a recent article on the Association for Adventist Forums website on intelligent design. It is well worth checking out. However I don't think that the author goes far enough. He does acknowledge that ID is not science, but thinks of it as good religion.

However, ID does more harm than good. It sets up a God of the gaps that can be dangerous. The most common example is the so called "irriducibly complex" systems. The argument is basically that these systems could not have been evolved, so therefore they must have been designed. However science is learning how these structures could be evolved, thus leaving less room for God to operate. It would be much better to just reject science altogether, then to try to use weak, psuedo-scientific arguments, to prop up your faith.