Teaching Peace — A Bibliography

Videos “Before You Enlist” https://www.afsc.org/video/you-enlist-2011 “Conscience of a Nation” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5JFAN–llOE “The Conscientious Objector.” https://www.adventsource.org/store/adult-ministries/audiovisual/the-conscientious-objector-blu-ray-38916 “Field Punishment No. 1” https://www.imdb.com/title/tt3124186/ “The Good War and Those Who Refused to Fight It: Conscientious Objectors in WWII.” https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0314116/ “Hacksaw Ridge.” https://www.imdb.com/title/tt2119532/ “A Matter of Conscience.” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-qSLHb0TGcQ&t=614s “Operation Whitecoat.” http://operationwhitecoatmovie.com “Out of Cordoba.” https://www.imdb.com/title/tt1604147/ “Pax Service: An Alternative to War.”…

One of Us

Sermon preached Easter 2019 Parents, you have probably seen the bumper sticker that says, “Insanity is Hereditary: You Get It from Your Children.” Kids. What can we say about them? They have this ability to drag us through the spectrum of human emotions from one day to the next, and sometimes from one minute to the next.…

Adventists and Military Service — Beginnings

The Seventh-day Adventist Church was organized in Battle Creek, Michigan, in 1863, in the middle of the US Civil War. The church membership was entirely in the northern states, and decidedly abolitionist, and yet was opposed to war and the bearing of arms. The passing of the first US draft law spurred the organization effort.…

Ellen White and Health Extremism

During her lifetime, Ellen White wrote and spoke much on the topic of health. I think her best book is The Ministry of Healing. After her death, many snippets of her counsels to individuals were collected and published without giving the context in compilations such as Counsels on Diet and Food. In July 1919 Adventist religion teachers…

Red Letter Words

Luke 6:17-49 English Standard Version (ESV)   17 And he came down with them and stood on a level place, with a great crowd of his disciples and a great multitude of people from all Judea and Jerusalem and the seacoast of Tyre and Sidon, 18 who came to hear him and to be healed…

The 144,000 Re-Examined

There’s a human tendency to want to be considered part of a special group. To be seen as set apart. To be part of a group that’s better or holier than another group. Paul faced that in Corinth, arguing in his first letter to the Corinthians against those who thought they were better because they…

Quibbling Over Words

It’s common among Christians to quibble over supposed distinctions between Hebrew words meaning “killing” as opposed to “murder.” Thus, they say, the commandment prohibits “murder,” but not other forms of killing. Rabbi Marty Lockshin says, no. All the words are used in multiple senses, “to teach us to abhor all killing of human beings.” Wilma…

Social Justice and the Gospel

The Torah is the story of God liberating his people from bondage, and then telling them not to forget. They are to remember they were slaves freed by God, and so are to do justice to the poor, the widow, the orphan, the stranger. Later, the prophets spend their time reminding the people to remember…

Basics of Christianity: The Trinity

I am troubled by the fact that some Seventh-day Adventists are turning their back on the doctrine of the Trinity–that is, the confession that we believe in one God, the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. This is fundamental to Christianity. We are baptized in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. And the…

An End

My military career ended last week. I completed twenty years (broken into two periods, the first of which started in 1986). Because of the rules for Reserve and Guard members, I will get no pension, because I had some years in which I didn’t get enough “points” to have a “good year”–I thought my family…

Paul Tillich Against the Nazis

Over the last year I’ve been re-reading the responses of “confessing Christians” like Barth, Bonhöffer, and Niemöller to the Nazi threat. Now I’m turning my attention to Paul Tillich. He had been an Army chaplain in World War 1, and he was an early and vocal critic of Nazi power and antisemitism. I came across…

Groundhog Day

“Okay, campers, rise and shine and don’t forget your booties ’cause it’s cold out there today!” In the movie, “Groundhog Day,” that’s what weatherman Phil Connor  wakes up to in his hotel room in Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania. It happens again the next day, and he feels a sense of deja vu.  And it continues the next…

Rocks

President Trump said the U.S. Soldiers he’s sending to the border should shoot those who might throw rocks at him. Then, after a lot of push back from the military, he backed off and said he didn’t say that. He said they would arrest them. I thought of that wintry day in Boston, 1770, when…

Seeing the Face of Christ: Part 2

Two years after my Guatemala trip, I headed south once more, this time to El Salvador (Spanish for, “The Savior”). Leaving Guatemala, I had questioned whether I should leave the Army, but I had nothing about it, and that was bothering me some. I had learned one lesson very well, however: I decided not to…

Seeing the Face of Christ: Part 1

When Richard Nixon bombed North Vietnam in January 1973, a number of Christians urged evangelist Billy Graham to intervene. But Graham refused. He said, “God has called me to be a New Testament evangelist, not an Old Testament prophet.” It was the pressure of the situation, no doubt, that led him to make such an…

Pity the Nation

A poem by Lawrence Ferlinghetti (video) “PITY THE NATION” (After Khalil Gibran) Pity the nation whose people are sheep And whose shepherds mislead them Pity the nation whose leaders are liars Whose sages are silenced And whose bigots haunt the airwaves Pity the nation that raises not its voice Except  to praise conquerers And acclaim…

Closed Hearts and Minds

I’m dismayed at some Christians today. They are so caught up in rightwing conspiracy theories, nationalism, racism, fear and hate that they cannot see Jesus in those who are naked, hungry, sick, or in prison. They have a cynical world view, and in their fear they reach out to teachers and preachers and politicians who…

Between the Pincers

My great-grandmother’s family left New Brunswick at the beginning of the Acadian renaissance, in 1883  (a year before the Acadian tricolor was adopted at Miscouche). Acadian leaders had little sympathy for those leaving at this critical time.. Léon Thériault comments, …. Although exact figures are not available, it appears that people from St. Mary’s Bay,…

Adventist Beliefs — Things Unsaid

Here are some things that the Statement of Fundamental Beliefs of the Seventh-day Adventist Church never mentions. It never says which translation of the Bible to use, nor how many books are in it. You can use the KJV with Apocrypha or NIV without. It never takes a position on the “eternal generation of the…

INDIVISIBLE–A Chaplain’s War

We received free tickets to see “Indivisible” yesterday afternoon. It’s about Chaplain Darren Turner, and his 2007 deployment to Iraq. He had just finished chaplain school and been assigned to Fort Stewart when his unit deployed for 15 months as part of the surge. Fifteen casualties, IED and rocket attacks–what a way for a brand…

Abraham “in Hope Believed”

(October 20, 2018, Sheppard AFB) It’s great to be back with you again, There’s a bit of sadness with this visit, as this is the last time we’ll be having this service. I’m grateful to all who have taken part. It is obviously not the end of our concern and care for our Adventist members who are…

End It Now

My first ten years in the military (1986-1996) I knew of one Soldier suicide and no sexual assaults. In the past ten years, those are two major issues I deal with. Again. And again. And again. People in power think they are entitled. They think they are invincible. They think they should protect fellow members…

A Prayer for 9-11-2018

Almighty God, We gather this morning in memory of a day that changed our world. A day of darkness and fear, a day of loss and grief.  We remember our sense of vulnerability and the feeling of a world turned upside down. We remember the war that began then, and has continued for a generation.…

Wedding Sermon, Part Two

(At the wedding of Aimee-Joy Cork and Joseph-Alexander Hearn, August 5, 2018, Katy, Tx) The last time Joy sang that song in public she was holding my hands and looking into my eyes. It was May 23, 1982. Joy’s father was the pastor who stood before us. Some of you were there. Ten years later,…

Wedding Sermon, Part One

What a Wonderful World Text: Genesis creation story (Preached at Spring Creek Seventh-day Adventist Church the day before my daughter’s wedding). Shortly after we moved to Houston in 1998 we took a trip to New Orleans. Aimee was in first grade, and there was one thing she wanted to see above all others: Louis Armstrong…

The Changing Face of Ministry

There’s a decline in respect for pastoral ministry, it seems to me, even among pastors. And by “pastoral ministry” I mean the visiting and care for members. I’ve seen it in pastors who give excuses for not visiting members in the hospital, even when they were told in advance and specifically asked. “That’s the job…

Government Must Not Define Religion, Part Two

No military chaplain can be forced to violate their conscience; that’s clear in both law and Army Regulation 165-1. Unfortunately, an investigator at Fort Bragg faults a chaplain who followed his conscience and Army regulations (press release). When a lesbian couple applied for a Strong Bonds retreat, he found a substitute. For that, he was…

Old-Fashioned, Part Two

Jesus said, “Have you not read that he who made them in the first place made them man and woman? It says, ‘for this reason a man will leave his father and his mother and will live with his wife. the two will become one.’ So they are no longer two but one. Let no…

Old-Fashioned

I’m old-fashioned. I believe the Bible is the Word of God. I believe these foundational truths. I believe in God, the Father Almighty, Maker of heaven and earth. And in Jesus Christ, His only Son, our Lord, who was conceived by the Holy Spirit, born of the virgin Mary, suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified,…