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2005 Discussions

Date: January 29, 2005

Speaker: Jerald Whitehouse

Position: Director, General Conference Global Center for Adventist Muslim Relations

Topic: Adventist-Muslim Relations, Post 9-11”

Venue: Chan Shun Auditorium

Attendance: 129

Presentation: Jerald described 10 steps by which SDAs can reach Muslims while showing sensitivity for their beliefs & practices and our common heritage with Abraham. Adventist must expand their definition of mission & reformulate fundamental beliefs within “culturally meaningful ways” for the Muslim, recognizing that some will become “Adventist Muslims,” others “Muslim Adventists,” and still others “secret believers.”

Date: February 12, 2005

Speakers: Carl Wilson; Dr. Russell Staples; Dr. David Grellman; Dr. Bill Greenley; Dr. Hesron Byilingiro

Positions: Professor Emeritus of Missions, SDA Theological Seminary; former missionaries’ child in Rwanda ; former director of Magonero Hospital in Rwanda ; Tutsi from Rwanda studying at Andrews University .

Topic: “The Rwandan Genocide and the Adventist Church : Victims, Perpetrators, and Lessons to Learn”

Venue: Chan Shun Auditorium

Attendance: 124


Presentations: Staples gave a 100-year background on conflicts in Rwanda (1885-1994); Grellman told anecdotes about how Adventism was used by Rwandans for political & social advancement; Greenley told of unfair & difficult working conditions & tensions leading up to the 1994 massacre at Magonero; Byilingiro told of losing all his family members in the massacre & of post-massacre efforts at reconciliation & peacemaking.

Date: March 5, 2005

Speakers: Margaret McFarland, esq.; response by Brent Geraty, esq.

Positions: General Counsel for District of Columbia Housing Authority and AU Board of

Trustees member; AU Counsel

Topic: “The Case for An Adventist Law School ”

Venue: Physics Amphitheatre

Attendance: 60


Presentation: McFarland stated that an SDA law school could present a unique perspective on church/state issues; protect minority, Sabbath, noncombatant, nonunion, higher education, hospital, and SDA athletes’ rights; and be a locus for a scholarly law journal. An SDA law school could prepare specialists in international and religious liberty law, train service-oriented mediators, pioneer more humane teaching methods and joint degree programs (JD & DMin.). It would increase AU’s enrollment, enhance academics, boost alumni pride and donations, and exalt the university’s academic profile. Geraty agreed that how lawyers are trained bears on how our rights are protected in court.

Date: April 2, 2005

Speakers: Dr. Charles Scriven; responses by Dr. Gary Land & Dr. Sten LaBianca

Positions: President, Kettering College of Medical Arts; chair, AU History & Political Science Department; AU Behavioral Sciences Department & Horn Archeological Museum

Topic: “Schooling for the Tournament of Narratives: Postmodernism and the Idea of the Christian College ”

Venue: Chan Shun Hall

Attendance: 75

Presentation: Scriven argued that higher Christian education should be partisan, that neutrality was a dangerous mistake from the Enlightenment, and postmodernism recognizes that outlooks are bequeathed to individuals through the “tournament of stories” (narratives we grow up on). Postmodern Christian education should emphasize intellectual accountability, Christian commitment, a countercultural slant, a total way of life, & engage students in healthy conflict. Land & LaBianca urged Scriven to develop the practical application of his paradigm for SDA education, including a specific vision about how the hope of the hereafter impacts classroom curriculum.

Date: May 21, 2005

Speaker: James N. Rodbard, esq.

Position: Kalamazoo attorney & President of American Civil Liberties Union ( Michigan )

Topic: “Litigating for Liberty : Resisting Assaults on America ’s Religious Freedom and

Civil Liberties”

Venue: Chan Shun Hall

Attendance: 56

Presentation: Rodbard gave several cases to show how ACLU has defended Michigan individuals’ religious rights (Muslims, Sikhs, Jehovah’s Witnesses, Hindus), then focused on four current issues: public display of 10 Commandments (ACLU opposes this in courtrooms; OK in parks), Xmas crèches & Santa Claus (ACLU sees this as “ceremonial deism”), Workplace Religious Freedom Act (ACLU favors it but sees problems in application), and evolution vs. “intelligent design” (ACLU opposes teaching the latter in public schools). “Religion belongs in our families, our homes, our places of worship, not in our schools and court houses,” Rodbard declared.

Date: June 25, 2005

Speaker: Dr. Allan R. Handysides

Position: Director, General Conference Health Ministries Department

Topic: “The Adventist Health-care Ministry: Achievements and Challenges”

Venue: Chan Shun Hall

Attendance: 80


Presentation: At the centennial of LLU and the GC Department of Health Ministries, Handysides outlined changes & challenges faced by SDA hospitals in Third World nations as local unions & divisions took over administration from Western missionaries: mission offerings declined, technological equipment was not up-dated, failure to retain qualified physicians and staff—all led to declines in quality & closing many institutions. Solutions suggested included removing some hospitals from union and division control and establishing a centralized organizational structure to control these medical systems. Discussion of AIDS and what the GC Health Ministries Department is doing to combat it.

Date: July 30, 2005

Speaker: Walter Sawatsky

Position: Professor Associated Mennonite Seminaries; editor, Religion in Eastern Europe

Topic: Evangelicals in the former Soviet Union

Venue: Chan Shun Hall

Attendance: 51

Presentation: The Soviet Union successfully secularized and atheized Russian society; toeday only about 4% of Russians are Christians. Historically, Russian evangelicals experienced a strong tension between centralized leadership and personal experience. After 1990 evangelicals needed to discover what kind of a free church they would be. They have now splintered into many different denominations which in turn reveals a need for Christian unity. There is considerable reluctance to address the social and political dimension of the gospel, for fear of alienating those who may differ politically. Education will play a key role as the evangelicals develop mature free denominations.

Date: August 20, 2005

Speaker: Dr. Neils-Erik Andreasen

Position: President, Andrews University & vice-chair, 2005 General Conference

Nominating Committee at St. Louis , MO

Topic: “Personal Impressions of the 2005 General Conference Session at St. Louis , MO ”

Venue: Chan Shun Hall

Attendance: 86

Presentation: Andreassen saw 2005 GC sessions as “significant” for 3 reasons: 28th Fundamental Belief (Christ’s power over ancestors’ & devil spirits) voted; administrative reorganization (of conferences, missions & unions); and “political deals” cut (first woman vice-president, women elected as associate treasurer and associate secretary, that GC presidents must be ordained excludes women, first use of job descriptions for Nominating Committee). He raised three questions: if expensive quinquennial sessions are the best way to serve the church or is there a better way; if GC headquarters could be moved to a less expensive area; if number and size of GC offices could be reduced.

Date: September 17, 2005

Speaker: Dr. John Baldwin

Position: Professor of Theology, SDA Theological Seminary at Andrews University

Topic: “Responsible Stewardship of Nature: Reflections Toward a Seventh-day

Adventist Theology of Ecology”

Venue: Chan Shun Hall

Attendance: 95

Presentation: Baldwin emphasized the current environmental crisis, the basis for an SDA theology of the environment, and practical steps we can take to address the crisis. His 5 aspects of a biblical doctrine of Creation as the basis for a theology of the environ-ment include: a definition of nature (God made it and owns it); the status of present nature (fallen); appreciation for the present environment (cherish & celebrate it); care of the existing environment (be good stewards); and the New Creation (with no curses on it). Each of us can support environmentalism by becoming vegetarians, better stewards of God’s creation (Rev. 7:3), recyclers, and by becoming active in environmental groups.

Date: October 22, 2005

Speaker: Hansulrich Gerber, Swiss Mennonite

Position: Coordinator of Decade to Overcome Violence, World Council of Churches

Topic: “Interfaith Action to Overcome Violence”

Venue: Chan Shun Hall

Attendance: 65

Presentation: Gerber addressed the concerns, goals, and achievements of the World Council of Churches’ Decade to Overcome Violence Commission, which seeks to arouse consciousness regarding the types of violence, challenge churches to help overcome violence, gain cooperation to maintain peace and security, develop peace building strategies with other faiths, and challenge the militarization and proliferation of small arms and weapons in the world. He concluded with an appeal to church communities to help overcome domestic violence, curb gang violence, and reduce violence in the media in order to promote a culture of peace that reflects the Gospel of Christ.

Date: November 12, 2005

Speakers: Dr. Duane McBride and Dr. Curtis Vanderwaal

Position: McBride is chair of the Behavioral Science Department (AU); Vanderwaal is

Research Profesor of Social Work (AU)

Topic: “Reflections on Current Drug Policy and Research”

Venue: Chan Shun Hall

Attendance: 30

Presentation: McBride reviewed the history of US drug use from colonial times to the 19th century, highlighting social reform efforts (Harrison Act of 1914, Volstead Act of 1919, Marijuana Tax Act of 1937), & presented 5 current viewpoints on drug use (strict prohibition, harm reduction, medicalization, legalization/regulation, open markets). Vanderwaal described pros and cons of two models and their solutions for drug use—the moral model and the medical model—before explaining three policies that work: diver-sion to treatment, community involvement, & limiting access. He raised many questions concerning the Christian implications of drug use and social control mechanisms.

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