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2012 Discussions

Date: January 28, 2012

Speaker: Dr. James Londis

Position: Chair, Humanities Department, Kettering College, Ohio

Topic: “Why Adventist Healthcare Still Matters”

Venue: Chan Shun Hall

Attendance: 67


Presentation: SDA healthcare has changed from 19th C. sanitariums (treated body & soul over several weeks with no government money) to 21st C. hospitals (multi-billion dollar enterprises, costly technology, quick turnarounds for higher profits, reams of paperwork).  Adventist care givers must heal the soul even if they cannot cure the body by showing love & caring, restoring patients to a sense of self-worth, pointing them to a loving God, focusing on their spiritual & emotional wellbeing.  Curing is one-way, but healing is transactional & benefits patients & caregivers.  God always answers prayers for healing (emotional, spiritual, psychological) even if He does not always cure the illness.

Date: February 11, 2012

Speaker: Dr. John Jones

Position: Associate Professor of New Testament Studies & Religion, La Sierra University

Topic: “E Pluribus Unum: For Us?  For the gods?  For Both?”

Venue: Chan Shun Hall

Attendance: 70


Presentation: Calling religious pluralism in the U.S. a “tossed salad” of Christians (91%) & non-Christians (9%), Jones explained how the “Axial Age” (900-200 B.C.) saw major shifts in world religions (Judaism, Confucianism, Buddhism, Hinduism, Monotheism, Daoism) from an emphasis on rituals, liturgical formulas, rules & sacrifices to a focus on spirituality, right actions, bringing justice to the poor, & raising philosophical questions about the Golden Rule, the meaning of life, & popular devotional experiences.  He also posited the idea that world religions have “evolved” and that one God might be guiding this development (citing Ellen White’s famous Prophets & Kings, 499-500 statement).

Date: March 31, 2012

Speaker: Dr. Brent Geraty

Position: General Counsel & Assistant Professor of Legal Studies, Andrews University

Topic: “Is Everyone in Adventist Education a Minister?  Reflections on a Recent U.S.

Supreme Court Decision”

Venue: Chan Shun Hall

Attendance:  45

Presentation: Geraty explained the impact of court cases regarding clergy, but saw Hosanna-Taber Evangelical Lutheran Church & School v. EEOC (2012) as the most important decision since this is the first time the Supreme Court has defined who a “minister” is: someone called a minister, whose duties reflect that of a minister, who considers him/herself a minister, & who plays a role in “conveying the Church’s message & carrying out its mission.”  By this definition SDA teachers are “ministers” because they “transmit faith to the next generation.”  To engage in discriminatory decision-making, even if shielded from legal action, would hurt SDA education & the Church.

Date: April 14, 2012

Speaker: Dr. Gary Hamel

Position: Professor of Strategic and International Management, London Business School

Topic: “Reinventing the Church for the Twenty-First Century”

Venue: Chan Shun Hall

Attendance: 180


Presentation: In Post-Modernism, the number of agnostics & atheists has quadrupled since 1990 & negative views of Christians are rising.  We must reinvent our definition of church to counteract the Law of Entropy by taking 4 actions: overcome denial of the problem; generate more options by innovating & experimenting; question old habits & “imbedded orthodoxy”; & invert the pyramid of bureaucracy holding us hostage to outdated ideas.  The church is not an organization but the people of God; they must be committed to redemption, renewal, & reconciliation, not to programs, policies, & positions.  Experimentation inside the church has to match experimentation outside it.

Date: September 22, 2012

Speaker: Dr. Jerry Thayer

Position: Director of the Center for Statistical Service, Andrews University

Topic: “CognitiveGenesis: The Impact of Adventist K-12 Schools on Students”

Venue: Chan Shun Hall

Attendance: 38


Presentation: In 2006-09, a La Sierra University group studied standardized test scores to compare cognitive development of 30,000 NAD SDA students in grades 3-9 & 11 with public school pupils & surveyed teachers, parents, & administrators.  Both SDA students’ achievement & abilities are above average in all subjects for all school sizes and for all ethnic groups: as much as 1/3rd grade level, usually in 60th-82nd percentile in math, social studies, reading, & science. SDA schools excel in teaching critical thinking.  The ability levels of students rose faster than achievement levels.  Every NAD conference showed above average performance with minor variations for school & class size.

Date: October 20, 2012

Speaker: Richard Coffen

Position: Retired book editor, Review & Herald Publishing Association

Topic: Thirty-Four Years Inside Seventh-day Adventist Publishing—A Retrospective”

Venue: Chan Shun Hall

Attendance: 30


Presentation: Coffen shared reflections about the managers, GC presidents, & authors he’s worked with over 34 years from the typewriter and linotype era (1970s) to the present.  His goals have been to reaffirm SDA doctrines & standards, educate & entertain readers, make authors look good, & push the frontiers of thought.  He shared anecdotes & letters about authors like “Prophetess Pearl,” plagiarizing Harold Metcalf, conservative “gem” Elder Frezee, & controversies following books by Rick Rice, Alden Thompson, Charles Wittschiebe, & Helmut Ott.  Some books sold well (Anvil Series) & others flopped (systematic theology), but he’s enjoyed a fulfilling career in publishing them all.

Date: November 3, 2012

Speaker: Curtis Vanderwaal, chair, Department of Social Work, Andrews University;  John Gavin, Chair, Department of Social Work, Washington Adventist University;

William Ellis, Professor of History & Political Studies, Washington Adventist University;

Edwin Hernandez, De Vos Family Foundations

Topic: “Checking the Political Pulse of the University: Findings from the 2012 SDA Religion and Social Issues Survey”

Venue: Chan Shun Hall

Attendance: 96


Presentation: Based on 530 surveys with 59 questions to educators at NAD SDA colleges (mostly moderate, white, married, educated, above middle age), results show 24% conservative, 50% moderate, 19% liberal, 7% other; 33% Democrat, 22% Republican, 36% independent, 9% other.  In 2008, 59% voted Obama, 37% McCain, 5% for others.  Concerns include health care (71%), economy (70%), education (56%), jobs (55%), & budget deficits (50%).  Half favor less government, 54% want  government to provide all with health care & 52% feel abortion is OK in extreme circumstances.  Then Edwin Hernandez gave a 7-point response to this data & implications for future research.

Date: December 1, 2012

Speaker: Dr. Larry Richards

Position: Director of Greek Manuscript Collection, Andrews University Seminary

Topic: “Inspiration: Manuscripts, Mistakes, and Choosing a Version”

Venue: Chan Shun Hall

Attendance: 44


Presentation: That none of the 5700 Greek biblical manuscripts at AU are 100% in agreement indicates “the writers were God’s penmen, not His pen” (EGW).  He gave NT examples of inconsistencies, explored the PaRaDiSe methodology, and explained how errors occurred from scribes mishearing, misreading, confusion over words & synonyms, historical errors, and clearing up apparent discrepancies.  He discussed pros & cons of several Bible versions depending on one’s purpose (devotional, study, youth ministry, scholarship) before concluding that all versions contain God’s Word no matter how phrased and are doctrinally reliable despite small punctuation or translation errors.

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