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2014 Discussions

Date: January 25, 2014
Speaker: Dr. John Berecz
Position: Clinical Psychologist, Buchanan, Michigan
Topic: “Angel Bones in Unexpected Places: Songs of My Salvation”
Venue: Chan Shun Hall
Attendance: 33
Presentation: Berecz shared his painful story of finding meaning in personal & professional chaos precipitated by a malpractice lawsuit as he felt the comforting presence of “Sara” (Holy Spirit), support from friends, & hymns (such as “Let It Be,” “There’s a Sweet Spirit in This Place,” “Into My Heart,” “I Would Be Like Jesus,” “At the Cross,” “Amazing Grace”) which he reworded to show how God’s grace & forgiveness helped rehabilitate his self-worth.  The Trinity, he said, is the only truly non-dysfunctional family in the universe.  Guilt is good if we’ve done wrong, but shame is always bad.  To love our neighbor & love God, we must first care about ourselves.

Date: February 22, 2014

Speaker: Dr. Monique Pittman

Position: Director of Honors  & Professor of English at Andrews University

Topic: “The Sacred Theater of Knowing: The Epistemologies of Hamlet on Film”

Venue: Chan Shun Hall

Attendance: 42


Presentation: After providing background information on the English Reformation under Henry VIII, Edward VI, Mary I, and Elizabeth I (1530s-1603), Pittman explained how Shakespeare’s play Hamlet treats issues related to guilt & innocence, good & evil, human effort in salvation, Purgatory, how to know Truth & gain moral certainty.  She closely examined Laurence Olivier’s 1948 & Kenneth Branagh’s 1996 interpretations of these themes in Hamlet through camera angles, lighting, close in & long shots, tilt shots, and quick cuts with PowerPoint slides & biblical quotes (such as Matt. 10:29-32) from the contemporary Geneva Bible, illustrating divine providence in human affairs.


Date: April 12, 2014

Speaker: Dr. Benjamin McArthur

Position: Professor of History, Southern Adventist University

Topic: “A. G. Daniells: Lessons in Leadership”

Venue: Chan Shun Hall

Attendance: 57


Presentation: Ben evaluated Daniells career by his 8 maxims for leadership: (1) effective leaders are well prepared by education & international experience; (2) have a sure grasp of how things work & the strengths & weaknesses of their personnel; (3) convey a vision of the church’s mission to its members; (4) accept counsel & take blame; (5) defer to those who get messages from God (like EGW); (6) know that some workers need chastening (like Kellogg); (7) know when to step down without being bullied to do so; (8) continue contributing even after they are no longer in charge.  Daniells succeeded at maxims #1, 2, 3, & 8; partially accomplished #4 & 5; but failed at #6 & 7.


Date: September 20, 2014

Speaker: Dr. Cheryl Doss

Position: Director of GC Institute of World Mission; member of TOSC Committee

Topic: “The Theology of Ordination Study Committee: One Member’s Observations and Reflections”

Venue: Chan Shun Hall

Attendance: 64

Presentation: After giving historical background on women’s ordination issues, she told of the makeup of TOSC (95 members=biblical scholars, church leaders, laity; 50% NAD, 25% women, 13% AU), its tasks (creating a theology of ordination document, division reports, position papers), early tensions among members (due to cultural differences & extreme headship positions), & efforts toward unity & harmony (worship talks, prayers, breakout groups). First vote showed 31 for, 31 against, 27 moderates (or 2/3rds would allow women’s ordination). The TOSC Report next goes to PREXAD & Annual Council (fall 2014) then on to the GC session in Texas (summer 2015) for a final decision.


Date: October 20, 2014
Speaker: Dr. Terrie Dopp Aamodt
Position: Professor of History & English, Walla Walla University
Topic: “Ellen White Goes Public: The Collaborative Biography Project Ellen Harmon
White: American Prophet”
Venue: Chan Shun Hall
Attendance: 89
Presentation: From 1842 to 1915, EGW’s public roles included giving ecstatic visionary & testimony experiences; participating in Methodist “shout services”; giving temperance lectures & newspaper interviews, & preaching in non-SDA churches.  After sharing her personal journey w/EGW, Terrie gave background on the EGW Conference in Portland, ME (Oct. 22-25, 2009) which brought ~50 scholars together to share & critique 20 papers re: EGW in a spirit of camaraderie & respect for her legacy to 19th C. US religious & literary history.  These papers were published by Oxford University Press in 2014 in book Ellen Harmon White: American Prophet, already favorably reviewed by scholars.

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