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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.

Thursday, August 31, 2006

Good Commentary by Alden Thompson

You should check out what Alden Thompson wrote on Spectrum Magazine's Sabbath School Commentary. He discusses the identity of the little horn. While I tend to be agree with those who say that the little horn represents Antiochus Epiphines, he has some good points. For example one of the reasons why it can be hard to identify which symbol represents which bad guy, is that they truely do all look the same. Here is a key quote where he extends the metaphor Opus style:
But that’s also why the story turns scary here, for we can be so eager to pin the right label on horns and beasts that we forget to look in the mirror and recognize ourselves as potentially close relatives of the beast.


Just after I started my new job, I purchased a bicycle with the intention of using it to commute to work. My main goal was to get excercise in a convenient manner. Of course, I haven't had to purchase as much gas, so there are other benefits to this as well.

It is interesting what I have learned while riding my bicycle. I knew that people are willing to take risks when in a hurry, cutting people off, speeding, and swerving in and out of lanes. The dynamics are different when you are on a bicycle. I no longer have a ton of metal and glass between me and that speeding swerving car. People are taking risks with my life so that they can get to work 1 minute faster. In truth there is only one part of my route that is a problem and I don't think that there is an alternate that is better. Fortunately it only lasts for about a block.

But here is a friendly reminder from a bicycle commuter. If you are passing somebody on a bicycle, be considerate and give them lots of room. If you don't have room to pass them, wait until you do. And for those of you interested in bicycle commuting it is an easy thing to start and they are plenty of good resources about it on the internet.

Friday, August 25, 2006

Dark Matter

In an earlier post, I discussed the work of Mordehai Milgrom. Well it turns out he may have a higher hurdle to clear in order for his work to be accepted. There have been some new observations that seem to confirm the existence of dark matter. A good summary of the experiment is at Cosmic Variance. I encourage all who are interested in Physics to check it out. As much as I dislike dark matter (it seems like a kludge to me) it seems to be supported by the best facts we have so far.

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

3ABN and train wrecks

I'm not sure what attracts humanity to scandal. A coworker had a train wreck analogy which he applied to Paris Hilton. You know what is going to happen, nothing can be done to avoid it, and there will be a big crunch at the end. I'm sure there is a similar dynamic going on in our Adventist sub-culture when it comes to some of the recent events of 3ABN. Adventist Today pointed out that they receive a lot of traffic because people are looking for information about the divorce and re-marriage of Danny Shelton. They have published a series of letters, which confirmed some of the rumors I have heard from both points of view. (Confirmed meaning that the rumor is based on the actual point of view of the affected parties.)

Now I don't have the time or interest to figure out what really happened, but I thought the letters provided a good example of some of the pitfalls that a ministry can face if it is too tightly controlled by a dominant personanility. In the event of mistakes there is usually not a good procedure to address and resolve it. According to the Doctor's letter the investigation into the matter was more white-wash than substance. Part of the allegations touch on the tight control Danny Shelton has on his ministry. This issue was touched on by Ron Corson on his blog, who found Danny's response less than satisfactory.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Boycott of Tyndale?

This is a story that I have been following somewhat. Tyndale has licensed a video game version of the Left Behind series, which has caused quite a bit of controversy. For those who haven't heard of it, one of the aspects of game play is that players go around New York converting heathens or killing them if they refuse to convert. (Or if you want to you can just kill them, but you may have to pray to improve your score in the game.) According to Talk2action.org, a boycott of Tyndale is being initiated because of their involvement in producing this game. In the story they have links to previous articles related to this game. As Monte Sahlin said in a recent post about James Standish, "Nowhere have Christian standards fallen so far as in regards to war and peace."

Thursday, August 03, 2006

Church Growth

Monte Sahlin has a post about the correlation between a congregation's willingness to change and church growth. He talks about two specific examples, use of internet technology and also electric guitars in worship.

The last few weeks my wife have been attending the local Spanish church, which is a perfect example of willingness to change. It is a very large church with a lot happening. They had a praise and worship style service, which my wife and I had never seen in a Spanish church before. Most Spanish churches are much more conservative than their English counter parts. The first thing we noticed was that there are a ton of children in the church. However more surprising was the number of people in the 18 to 40 age bracket. In comparison, my in-law's church has a very bi-modal distribution with quite a few children and lots of old people but not much in between.

The local church has also realized that the younger generation may not speak Spanish well, if at all. These same young people aren't usually as comfortable in the English churches. (Not as true in California, where churches tend to be ethnically mixed.) So the church has translation services as well, which is one of the reasons that we tried the church out, since I don't really speak any Spanish at all. It seems like they have some very active and innovative out-reach activities. I will keep you posted as I learn more about them.