Thursday, April 28, 2011

Cost Effective Evangelism

Modified from the comic Dilbert, by Scott Adams
(click to enlarge)

Reviewing the Adventist Review

April 14, 2011
Vol. 188, No.11

Dan Appel has written an MUST READ essay on suicide, Allan R. Handysides and Peter N. Landless provide an informative prescription for constipation, Sandra Blackmer has contributed an informational piece on the importance of forests, and Karen Brown has written a lovely reflection on what it means to live with a caring God.

This issue also highlights the schizophrenic messages of the official Adventist Church. My comment follows the reviews.

Accountability in administration was stressed by General Conference President, Ted Wilson, during the April 10 Spring Meeting Session.

The Adventist Church has intensified its earthquake and tsunami relief effort in Japan.

Randall Wisbey, President of La Sierra University vows not to "ensure that all biology students discuss key documents relating to our Adventist belief regarding origins including Fundamental Belief 6 and the 2004 Annual Council Reaffirmation of Creation, and Genesis 1 and 2." This is one of 14 measures adopted in the attempt to satisfy the requirements of the Adventist Accrediting Association.

On March 14, J. Wayne McFarland, the Adventist Doctor who’s Five-Day Plan helped millions quit smoking, died in Loma Linda, California. He was 97.

PASSING THE POISON is a Bill Knott editorial about what happens when members engage in “rumormongering that fastens on first one and then another church institution, leader, or pastor”.

INSTRUMENT-RATED CHRISTIANS by Gina Wahlen is a reminder that
you will touch down on your intended runway, in spite of stormy weather, if you rely on “God’s trustworthy instrument—the Bible”.

Fred Chileshe makes some unusual claims.

“Christ is the foundation of every doctrine we hold, whether it is the Sabbath, the state of the dead, health practices, or the prophecies of Daniel and Revelation.”

“A good Bible student should be able to preach the gospel even from a seemingly dull Bible book such as Leviticus. These types of books may have different approaches, but they all contain the gospel.”

CONSTIPATION is a common problem, particularly with us older folks. Allan R. Handysides and Peter N. Landless can be trusted to provide relief.

LOST AND FOUND by Dixil Rodriguez reflects on the surprising ways we can be “found” by old friends and acquaintances on the Internet. For her it’s “like a big cosmic sign shouting to our hardened ears: ‘I found you, and I want to contact you; send Me an e-mail. Here is my address: Calvary.’ Signed, Jesus.”

REACHING THE UNREACHED by John Baxter reports the challenges faced by the Adventist Church.

“In Matthew 24 and other places in Scripture we read about all sorts of signs that will be seen before the second advent of Jesus. So when we look around today, what do we see? We see those same signs: wars, famines, selfishness, violence, sexual promiscuity, earthquakes, addictions, and others.”

“All these are signs of the times—signs of our times. Most are signs that Jesus said we should expect just prior to His second advent. Yet there is one sign—the sharing of the good news of salvation—that we can help to fulfill: ‘And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in all the world as a witness to all the nations, and then the end will come” (Matt. 24:14, NKJV).’”

However, according to Baxter, the vast majority of 4.4 billion people—“almost two thirds of the world’s population—are unevangelized. More than 2 billion people worldwide have not had the opportunity to hear the gospel message”.

“This is a paradox for the church. The ‘groaning’ of the earth and the accompanying signs boldly proclaim the nearness of the coming of Jesus. Yet there are still literally billions of people who have not yet had an opportunity to hear the everlasting gospel. Jesus said these people must have a chance to hear before He returns.” But “out of every dollar of Christian mission offerings, only one half of one percent goes toward reaching the unreached”.

The Central California Conference supplied the two GLOW STORIES recounted here. GLOW stands for Giving Light to Our World by literature evangelism. To find out more about GLOW, go to

NO MORE HOPE? Is a MUST READ compassionate and careful examination of what the Bible says about suicide. This essay alone is worth the price of the year’s subscription.

"Consciously choosing to lay down one’s life is not in itself a sin. It is very often a very poor choice, though not always. It is sometimes a choice that is made when we are not in control of our faculties; sometimes it is made out of the very best rationale; and sometimes it is chosen for the worst of reasons. It all comes down to motive. It is not the act itself that determines right or wrong; it is the reason for the act that is the determining factor.

“As humans, we judge from outward appearances; God, on the other hand, looks at the heart. And, because man cannot read the human heart, we are in no position to judge in general or in the specific case whether this act is a sin or not.

“What we can know is that the God who was willing to die to make every provision to save us will bend over backwards to make the right (and just) decision. And when someone like my young friend, who loved God with all of her heart, in the darkest moments of her mental illness chooses to lay down her life, I will believe that the love of the God who died for her is big enough to do whatever is necessary to offer her eternal life.”

In REDEEMING THE PAST Andrew McChesney is asked to “play God”. His response is illuminating and wise.

The ongoing destruction of many of earth’s natural resources is fast becoming an urgent matter to people not only in North America but in scores of countries worldwide. Not the least of these resources is forests—vital to sustaining life on this planet…

Few people understand better the important role forests play in maintaining a healthy environment than does Richard Guldin, director of Quantitative Sciences for the United States Forest Service, Research and Development. Guldin, also an associate head elder of the Spencerville Seventh-day Adventist Church in Maryland, recently talked with Adventist Review features editor Sandra Blackmer

According to Guldin,“Forests take 40 to 60 years to grow, and in some cases 150 years or more to reach maturity. Sustainable forest management is about carefully balancing what you take from the forest today and what you leave to produce benefits for future generations.”

SAFE IN HIS CARE is the story of Karen Brown’s encounter with a fledgling sparrow in a car wash at the end of a hectic day. It’s a beautifully written look into the mind of a women secure in the love of God.

As I said before, this issue highlights three of the schizophrenic messages of official Adventism.

On the one hand, we are living in end times as evidenced by “wars, famines, selfishness, violence, sexual promiscuity, earthquakes, addictions” according to John Baxter. On the other hand, the church actively encourages retirement planning and Richard Guilden argues for the conservation of forests that “take 40 to 60 years to grow, and in some cases 150 years or more to reach maturity”. This is done “to produce benefits for future generations”.

Is the Second Coming predicated on the reformation and revival of current members, a la Ted Wilson, or evangelizing the “billions of people who have not yet had an opportunity to hear the everlasting gospel…before Jesus returns”?

One would think that the financial support of evangelism would be our leaders’ top priority “in the last moments of earth’s history”, yet Adventism’s much larger and continuing investment in official, brand-name institutions suggests that the church is engaged in long term institutional planning and growth.

Trouble at La Sierra University

Comic modified from Pearls Before Swine, by Stephan Pastis.
(click to enlarge)

Thursday, April 21, 2011

IN MEMORIAM: Lest We Forget the ADRA Reorganized

Modified from the comic Dilbert, by Scott Adams
(click to enlarge)

Reviewing Adventist World, NAD Edition

April, 2011
Vol. 7, No. 4

Adventist World is free online. For that reason, I only review or comment on articles and editorials that I believe to be of special interest.

I found three things of special interest in this issue: ADRA’s incredible performance in Haiti (The specifics of that report are included in this review.), Docs Handysides and Landless discussion of CHOLERA, and Michael W. Campbell’s MARGARET ROWEN: THE BIZARRE LIFE OF A FALSE PROPHET. (It’s a MUST READ that includes a forged mystery manuscript, The Seventh-day Adventist Reform Church, a confession, and a Murder Plot!)

The following list of activities briefly summarizes ADRA’s work over the past year:

Camp Management
  • ADRA managed a camp of more than 20,000 displaced Haitians in the Port-au-Prince neighborhood of Carrefour.
  • Activities included the training of zonal community leaders and counselors, providing security, water, health and psychosocial programs, and food and nonfood item distributions.
  • ADRA and Canada-based partner GlobalMedic purified more than 130,000 liters of water a day in Carrefour during the initial phase of the response, using 64 water purification units, including 62 motorcycle-powered mobile units.
  • Mobile units were dispatched to approximately 50 sites a day in Carrefour, Port-au-Prince, Jacmel, and Cap Haitien.
  • Assistance also included more than 5 million water-purification tablets, 110,000 water-purification sachets, 55,000 oral-rehydration salt units, and 86,000 Aquatabs donated by UNICEF.
  • Since the earthquake, ADRA has purified nearly 5 million gallons (more than 18 million liters) of water.
  • A water-purification system called Nomad continues to purify and provide 13,000 gallons (nearly 50,000 liters) of clean water each day to the ADRA-managed camp in Carrefour.
  • ADRA worked with the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) to distribute 4,802 metric tons of food to more than 776,000 people during three massive food distributions between January and March 2010.
  • A donation of 16.5 tons of baby food from Germany was distributed in the Carrefour camp.
Nonfood Items
  • ADRA distributed more than 50,000 nonfood items to earthquake survivors, including shoes, hygiene kits, jerricans, kitchen sets, shelter tool kits, solar light kits, tarps, tool kits, medicines, and flashlights. Upcoming distributions include mattress pads, blankets, and mosquito nets.
Sanitation and Hygiene
  • A total of 75 latrines were built in six camps, and one permanent latrine was improved, benefiting a total of 3,396 families. The project also provided cash-for-work for 86 individuals who dug the latrines.
  • ADRA constructed 95 new bathing places and rehabilitated one previous bathing space in eight camps, assisting 7,241 families.
  • ADRA secured support from UNICEF to provide 221 mobile latrines and daily servicing of waste removal from mid-March until the end of June 2010. In July ADRA received 150 mobile latrines from the Clinton Foundation on behalf of UNICEF.
  • A team of 50 sanitation workers from among the camp population cleaned the sanitation facilities twice a day.
  • ADRA constructed two solid waste pits and employed a team of 50 from the camp to pick up and collect waste on a daily basis.
  • Eight cash-for-work projects were completed, benefiting 169 workers with livelihood support.
  • Some 15 truckloads of trash were removed from one camp in Carrefour.
  • Seven camps received tools for camp cleaning.
  • A total of 35 stations were built for laundry washing.
  • ADRA built a bridge to improve the safety and convenience of camp residents walking to collect filtered water.
  • Between January and mid-April 2010 ADRA operated two free primary medical clinics in the Carrefour camp. One was set up inside a mobile tent and the other in a local primary school in Carrefour. During this period more than 7,000 people received assistance. After April the two mobile clinics were consolidated and have so far treated more than 5,500 patients.
  • ADRA conducted a one-month immunization campaign, which vaccinated more than 12,000 infants, children, and adults with vaccine materials provided by the World Health Organization.
  • ADRA community health nurses were based in each of the 12 designated zones inside the Carrefour camp. They were trained to triage patients, recognize infant and child malnutrition, and educate mothers in lactation and optimum nutrition.
  • A cholera prevention education project trained individuals in the community of Carrefour on preventative measures and emergency treatment of the disease.
  • Between February and early April 2010 ADRA ran Child Friendly Spaces in the Carrefour camp, involving 200 children each day who participated in various activity centers. A second phase targeted 220 children in two other camps.
  • ADRA tracked unaccompanied minors living in the camp, including supporting host families who cared for these minors.
  • In May 2010 a Training of Trainers program was conducted in two additional camps in Carrefour, where ADRA operated Child Friendly Spaces.
  • From February to April 2010 a team of 50 peer counselors worked in the Carrefour camp to advise families on post-trauma issues. Another team of advanced psychology students also provided group and individual counseling to families.
  • ADRA installed 30 tent classrooms at 13 educational institutions. These were outfitted with 301 school desks and 101 chalkboards. A total of 4,845 school kits were distributed to the students.
  • From June to August 2010, 250 non-schooling children and teens from the Carrefour camp participated in afternoon non-continuing education classes. ADRA provided tents, benches, uniforms, and school supply kits.
  • Information, education, and communication materials were distributed in Carrefour, including brochures on proper mosquito net use, shelter weatherproofing, and facts about the earthquake.
  • More than 120 adults participated in an adult literacy and numeracy program between June and August 2010.
  • ADRA provided 900 family-size tents throughout Haiti, including 453 in Carrefour.

A Chuckle for My Literalist Friends

From Non Sequitur, by Wiley
(click image to enlarge)

Thursday, April 14, 2011

There are flaws, and then there are flaws!

Comic modified from Pearls Before Swine, by Stephan Pastis.
(click to enlarge)

Reviewing the Adventist Review

March 24, 2011
Vol. 188, No. 9

This issue has something for everyone. I was fascinated to learn who runs the Church when Ted Wilson is swanning around the world and impressed by Wiona Karimabadi’s WHAT’S HAPPENING TO THESE KIDS? Steohen Chavez’ editorial, JESUS AND THE WORD, and the book review, LORD’S PRAYER THOUGH PRIMITIVE EYES were thought provoking.

TRUST JESUS’ PROMISE, Mark Kellner’s advice about church leadership, is a MUST READ for board members sorting out the ADRA administrative shakeup. Dilbert Baker provides helpful advice for all of us who have had to deal with THE BLACK SWANS of life. For mission story lovers there is Hartman’s UNTIL WE MEET AGAIN.

ALL TO JESUS by William Murrill is for guilt trippers and those who don’t pay tithe on their gross salaries and retirement benefits; and finally, in a piece not included in the print edition, Shawn Boonstra’s essay for end-of-the-worlders: AS THINGS UNRAVEL: AN ADVENTIST PONDERS THE MIDDLE EAST.

Oroville Parchment is Ted Wilson on a day-to-day basis. He “acts as an extension of the president’s office, speaking on behalf of Wilson and fielding requests as varied by subject as they are by locale”. Because “Wilson will be in the office fewer than 30 business days from January 1 through the end of September”, Parchment deals with people who want to “share something with Wilson” or “want to tell Wilson some reoccurring dreams”.

“I say to myself, if I were living in [church cofounder] Ellen White’s day and she wrote a letter like that to me, would I respond to her? It does cross my mind. I hope I’m not putting off God by politely turning these people down.” I’ll bet God wouldn’t have been put off if those letters had been accompanied by promises of substantial stock options.

Back on February 27, John Boehner addressed the National Religious Broadcasters Convention. A downsized General Conference Session is under discussion. Newbold College plans layoffs in a restructuring move. And Loma Linda’s new 106 bed Murrieta branch hospital is now open

In JESUS AND THE WORD, Stephen Chavez makes the case that “the proof that the Bible is inspired (God-breathed) is not merely because the Bible says it is; the proof is seen in the lives of Christ’s followers who live as Christ lived—graciously, inclusively, lovingly, sacrificially”.

TRUST JESUS' PROMISE is a report on 88-year-old Harold Camping’s revised pronouncement that Jesus will return on May 21, 2011. Mark Kellner wonders about how Camping has gotten himself into so much trouble.

“One could suggest many reasons for this, but perhaps the lack of accountability for Camping—he’s the top executive at Family Radio and there’s no one to challenge his word—is the greatest deficit here. Had there been a pool of leaders from whom Camping could get counsel, he might have stayed on the straight and narrow.” Are you listening, Ted?

In THE BLACK SWANS OF LIFE, Dilbert W. Baker imparts lessons he has learned in the face of difficult situations.

“The following three principles have been found to be of great assistance in black swan situations:

“First, Do the next right thing. “Debriefings of survivors show repeatedly that they possess the capacity to break down the event they are faced with into small, manageable tasks…

“Second, Develop a core truth you can live by before you need it…A positive message can keep your spirits up and your mind focused on doing the next right thing…By contrast, a negative perspective can lead to despair and death.

“Third, Surrender but don’t give up. That may sound like a paradox. But the concept of surrender is at the heart of survival. Fear, especially the fear of death, can be a paralyzing force that keeps us from doing what’s necessary to survive. Good survivors realize that they may die, but they’re going to persevere anyway.”

In LOSS IS GAIN, Vicki Griffin employed Dilbert Baker’s “core truth you can live by” when her “black swan” struck. “When trials hit like a tornado, God’s angels seek to save the believing child of God from utter, hopeless, reckless, relentless, unremitting grief.”

WHAT'S HAPPENING TO THESE KIDS? by Wilona Karimabadi discusses childhood obesity, a national tragedy that cries out for individual and official church action.

“God created our bodies to move and thrive. He has provided us with the foods we need to live our best lives on this earth. That so many children—who are so precious to Him—are facing serious health and emotional problems as a result of poor nutrition and lack of physical activity is deplorable. We as a church cannot stand idly by. We have been blessed with a unique message for healthy living that others are only starting to learn about, and we can use this knowledge to save children.

Andrew McChesney’s FOOD FOR THOUGHT is an account of what happened when “Zoran Novakovich, a Yugoslav border guard, could not understand why he and his comrades kept finding Russian-language Bibles hidden on trains headed toward the Soviet Union.”

In WORSHIPPING GOD, Dan Serns shares the following tips to make family worship an enjoyable experience for everyone.

“(1) Talk with the family about setting a time. Begin with 10 to 15 minutes. Find a time that is convenient for everyone in the family, and adjust it every year or so if needed…(2) Have worship alone at first, if necessary. Sometimes the family is not ready to join you...(3) Take turns leading out. I set up a rotation so each family member had a week to lead out in worship…(4) Have variety. Worship can include songs, Bible readings, memory verses, expressions of thankfulness, prayer, mission stories, character-building stories, and so forth…(5) Invite others, especially your children’s friends and their families and your neighbors, to join you from time to time.”

THE LORD'S PRAYER THROUGH PRIMITIVE EYES reviewed by J. T. Shim reviews the new work by retired missionary and theologian Gottfried Oosterwal. Gottfried Oosterwal; Pacific Press Publishing Association, Nampa, Idaho; 2009; 160 pages; paperback; US$13.99.

“In The Lord’s Prayer Through Primitive Eyes Gottfried Oosterwal tells gripping stories of living as a missionary in the remote Bora-Bora culture in New Guinea, and how he grappled to reveal the concepts of the Lord’s Prayer to them. With new insight he applies what he learned to us.”

Reflections: Matthew Hartman remembers his experiences as a student missionary in Peru. It’s a MUST READ commercial for youthful mission service.

Matthew “learned that no matter how inadequate and unqualified one may feel, if you step up to the task in faith God equips you to do His work. In the process, He leads you, not necessarily down the easiest road, but down the most adventuresome road. He prayed he would never forget the experiences, the people, and these lessons”.

BROWN, Doreen C.—b. Aug. 6, 1916, San Angelo, Tex.; d. June 28, 2010, Phoenix, Ariz.
COOK, LaRue L.—b. Jan. 23, 1920, Bolivar, N.Y.; d. Sept. 19, 2010, Columbus, Miss.
CORRECES, Dalisay L.—b. Jan. 7, 1921, Philippines; d. July 29, 2010, Sebring, Fla.
HOAG, Clarence James—b. Oct. 17, 1939, Erie, Pa.; d. Aug. 26, 2010, West Helena, Ark.
JUSTESEN, Jerome P.—b. June 6, 1937, Ontario, Canada; d. Aug. 4, 2010, Avon Park, Fla.
PETERSEN, Betty G.—b. Nov. 21, 1926, Burt County, Nebr.; d. July 29, 2010, Grand Island, Nebr.
ROE, Cyril E.—b. Nov. 17, 1924, Ripley, England; d. Apr. 7, 2010, Ormand Beach, Fla.
SCALES, William C.—b. July 22, 1915, Charleston, W. Va.; d. June 2010.
SCOTT, Edgar—b. July 23, 1931, Elva, Ill.; d. Aug. 28, 2010, Sebring, Fla.VELBIS, Cenon—b. July 30, 1940, Philippines; d. Sept. 6, 2010, Kissimmee, Fla.

William Murrill, ALL TO JESUS is an appeal for money. Unfortunately, “ALL” is not getting there. There is a top-heavy bureaucracy, a huge media ministry that is ineffective and occasionally goofy, evangelistic campaigns that attract the unbalanced and fearful, and GC leadership that operates in a theological time warp. Is it any wonder that the money to support this NAD operation is declining while directed giving by NAD Adventists to charitable projects and institutions not affiliated with or administered by the church is growing. Local church expense offerings are also increasing.

AS THINGS UNRAVEL: AN ADVENTIST PONDERS THE MIDDLE EAST. That Adventist is Shawn Boonstra. This piece appears in the online edition but not in print. That omission is fortunate. The following extensive quote reveals a weird amalgam of old time Catholic antichrist hate mongering with a new Muslim twist. The fact that this stuff appears in my church’s flagship journal is embarrassing.

“But Seventh-day Adventists watch the Middle East from a unique perspective. Revelation 13 describes a coming religious coalition – one that involves the “whole world.” We have an easy time imagining how Christian America might coalesce, and we can see building pressure from Rome in Europe. But those nations have a long history of Christianity, even if the faith is no longer widely practiced in some. The question that leaves us scratching our prophetic noggins is how rapidly expanding Islam might factor into the picture – a broad and complex faith group that has frequently been at odds with Western Christianity.

“It’s not that there hasn’t been some motion in the expected direction. Rome has at least one door through which to build dialogue with the Muslim world: the Virgin Mary. She holds a place of high regard in the Koran, and it hasn’t entirely escaped the notice of Muslims that she chose to supposedly manifest herself, in 1917, to three young girls in the city of Fatima, Portugal—a city indirectly named for Mohammed’s daughter. According to some Muslim accounts, Fatima (the girl, not the city) occupies a position of honor in heaven second only to Mary. The late Bishop Fulton J. Sheen made this observation:

“Since nothing ever happens out of Heaven except with a finesse of all details, I believe that the Blessed Virgin chose to be known as “Our Lady of Fatima” as a pledge and a sign of hope to the Moslem people, and as an assurance that they, who show her so much respect, will one day accept her divine Son too.”

Intern Training at the Geoscience Institute

Modified from the comic Dilbert, by Scott Adams
(click to enlarge)

Thursday, April 7, 2011

When Lay Members Speak Truth to Power

Comic modified from Pearls Before Swine, by Stephan Pastis.
(click to enlarge)

Reviewing the Adventist Review

March 17, 2011
Vol. 188, No. 8

The big news in this issue is Cliff Goldstein’s confession that the Big Bang theory has at least some merit. The rest of the issue, like Limoni Manu O’Uiha’s tribute to the Leaning Tower of Pisa, leans toward interesting. It’s one you can feel comfortable sharing with nonAdventist friends and neighbors.

ADRA, along with members of the New Zealand Adventist Church, have teamed up with the Sanitarium Health Food Company to assist earthquake victims in the Christchurch area. Coverage includes David Asscherick’s firsthand report.

Marge Jetton, “Blue Zones” icon, has died. She was 106.

A NAD Spanish NET Event featured Adly Campos. She is their first female primary speaker, and the first to focus on family relationships.

Gerald Klingbeil’s editorial, WHAT DRIVES YOU? asks the question, “What drives you as you give your tithe and offerings? What motivates you to volunteer time at a homeless shelter? What does my heart really say when I give and share and listen and encourage and hug and cry and—yes—open my bank account?”

WHAT GREATER LEGACY? by Sandra Blackmer offers the following tribute to her mother who recently lots her fight with cancer: “She allowed God to use her to reach others.”

MY OBESSION WITH DVDS is an account of Andrew McChesney’s discovery that he was addicted to DVD’s and how our intrepid Moscow reporter conquered that addiction and made some garbage man happy!

In THE BIG BANG THEORY Clifford Goldstein takes a tentative step to meld science and faith. It’s a cautious first step down a slippery slope.

“I can live with Big Bang cosmogony for now, although it’s probably wrong or, at least, in need of radical surgery. But that’s the nature of most scientific knowledge: tenuous, contingent, and often false (though I don’t think the moving earth is going to be changed anytime soon).

“Thus we have to be careful about how closely we tie our faith to science, even when it buttresses our beliefs, and even more so when it contradicts them.”

AS OTHERS DON'T SEE US by Mark A. Kellner contains two memorable quotes from media specialists.

“A lot of Christians believe media don’t like us because of what we stand for. I think a lot of media don’t like us because of the way we behave.” Mark DeMoss

“A ‘perception audit’ might be useful: leaders and constituents in a given congregation or other unit would want to ask themselves these questions: ‘Who are you? What do you do?’; ‘How are you perceived?’; and ‘What’s the difference between the two?’” Larry Ross

In FLAWED-BUT BEAUTIFUL Limoni Manu O'Uiha reflects on lessons learned from the most famous leaning tower in the world.

“Like the Leaning Tower of Pisa, the church, in many ways, is far from being perfect. It has its own problems and weaknesses. Nevertheless, in spite of its flaws, the church is still beautiful. Failure to recognize this fundamental truth has led some Adventist Christians astray. The quest for perfection rather than progress often leads to disillusionment and apostasy.”

SYMBOLS OF CHRIST'S FIRST AND SECOND ADVENT by Hyveth Williams is a call to action.

“Since the church is the apple of God’s eye, we can’t just sit here another day and continue to drink from spiritual wells we did not dig without protesting the greed, violence, prejudice, and abuse that sap the moral strength of our world. We can’t just sit by another year and warm ourselves by fires we didn’t kindle and remain silent against sin’s increasingly evil shadow over an age of excess and aggression.”

Rick Fleck writes THE LETTER to Bill Lotoski, a dying mentor and friend, from Centinela State Prison in Imperial, California, where he is serving a life sentence. What he has to say is, in Rick’s words, “of life-and-death importance”.

IT'S NOT JUST THE ECONOMY is a reminder from Andy Nash that, “The primary problem with giving in North America isn’t that because of the economy members are giving less than they used to. The problem is that many members aren’t giving at all.” Why do you suppose that is? Here’s hoping that Andy addresses himself to that question in his next column.

WORD-LESS features one of the longest words in the English language. Marcos Paseggi uses it in the following paragraph. It’s context should provide a clue to its meaning, but for a dictionary definition, you’ll either have to read the essay or look it up.

“So it is always with Jesus. Generally His most powerful statements lack any verbosity, but they surely leave an indelible impression. “Come, follow Me”; “It is finished”; “I will come again”—these are not expressions to trifle with. You may believe in them or not, but you cannot ignore them. It’s impossible to belittle them. No floccinaucinihilipilification here.”

It finally dawned on Eve what Genesis 2:24 was all about!

Modified from the comic Non Sequitur, by Wiley
(click to enlarge)