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  1. Elaine Nelson
    21 July 2011 @ 6:56 pm

    Nathan, you nailed it! A writer would much rather be engaged in argument with a reader, or face total dissent, than to be ignored–but only when both the writer and what he intends to say has touched a chord.

    So much of the bland articles in the Review, or on the ABC book shelves are not worth the paper they are printed on. They are an insult to most people’s intelligence.

    Just this morning, after hearing a new book reviewed by Jon Stewart (always a good interviewer), I immediately ordered Michael Sandel’s new book “Justice” on how we can apply the old philosophical principles to the many questions we are facing today. The reviews posted by Amazon, and the author’s few minutes with Jon, convinced me that it would be more than worth my time and money to be challenged by the many questions facing us each day.

    We do not need soothing platitudes, but to be challenged about the many positions we take on government, institutional, and even church policy. What is the metric which is used to make critical decisions?

    Only by reading and understanding the same problems that have been faced in civilization’s history, will we be able to form better judgments today.

  2. Ella M
    23 July 2011 @ 7:55 pm

    I recognize that blog writing is set up for debate, but much of what is written deals with trivial details rather than the big picture. There is much concern with what various terms mean in Greek or Hebrew. Quotes from the Bible and White are presented with authority when one can find the exact opposite in the same writings somewhere else. I belief this is due to the differences in time and place, but this is not usually pointed out.
    It is also refreshing when a writer actually learns and accepts something new or is open to a new idea. I like humility in writers who admit they don’t have all the answers and share their own struggles and doubts with us and yet can share positive spiritual experiences.
    In denominational magazines I often find gems hiding in the fluff, but you have to start reading an article to discover it. I find myself avoiding well-known personalities who write; you know what they are gong to say before they say it. There is much triteness in church writing, and sometimes it makes me cringe. There is also an avoidance of anything that could make a writer from a different belief system look good or have anything valuable to contribute otherwise someone will assume you share their worldview.
    In writing we always run the risk of criticism or we aren’t writing well. There isn’t space to explain all we believe, and if we leave the door open just a little, some will force their way through and distort our words.
    It’s not that we don’t have smart readers, we have readers stuck in a generation, era, or location and unwilling to think outside the bland.

  3. William Noel
    29 July 2011 @ 7:17 pm


    Once again, you’ve put your finger on a real challenge in the church in a thoughtful way. Well done.

    I wish I could share Chris Blake’s hope when he said Adventist writing was not “doomed to a future of the bland leading the bland.” Publishing is an empire ruled by people whose concepts are so severely disconnected from the market that the necessary changes may be far more than anyone in church administration is willing to accept. So long as that continues then the ultimate collapse of Adventist publishing is unavoidable with the only question being how long it takes to happen.

  4. Elaine Nelson
    29 July 2011 @ 7:49 pm

    No one can be a really good writer unless he has read widely of many authors and ideas. In doing that, he allows himself to be exposed to all sorts of ideas; introduces thinking, even questioning his early ideas and if he can still support the Adventist positions in a valid and clear manner to a variety of reader’s levels, there may be a place for such writing in SDA publication.

  5. Preston Foster
    03 August 2011 @ 3:23 pm

    Great stuff, Nathan. This is a great area of opportunity.

    At times, I dream I am rich and could pay someone to write the Sabbath School lesson in an interesting, challenging way. For me, it seems predictable and ladened with jargon. I hope for something to make us think and challenge our assumptions.

    Thanks for giving me something new to chew on.

  6. Elaine Nelson
    03 August 2011 @ 4:38 pm

    Preston: discard the quarterly. Use your God-given brain and structure your on SS class.

    The one I have attended for many years has never used the quarterly. The class chooses a book or topic worthy of reading and discussing. Loma Linda has had such classes for many years, some with lack of seats for the crowds.

    The quarterly is a dumbed-down way for non-creative thinkers who will consent to abide by the script including the comments–no one needs to think.

  7. Preston Foster
    03 August 2011 @ 7:41 pm


    I have more than myself in mind. I am a member of a church — a group of believers. And I am not the teacher of the class (though that only partially limits my influence). As the class is presently structured around the tools provided (without much resistance or dissatisfaction), it is the quarterly that sets the agenda for discussion.

    I would like to see a set of tools that challenge us to think about what the Scripture is saying. Tools that make us, as a group, want to read the Word more and use the Word to interpret the Word. It is an investment the church is already making. I’d like to improve the return on that investment.

  8. Elaine Nelson
    03 August 2011 @ 7:56 pm

    Preston, that would be so much more helpful and aid in real Bible study as compared to the kindergarten type SS quarterly with such simplistic questions, already answered with EGW commentary. Where is there an opportunity for a student to personally evaluate the texts when they are all force-fed? This is a very shallow type of study which insults one’s mind. It’s like going to school and having all the answers printed beneath the topic.

    BTW, over on Spectrum a new discussion just began with a critique of the current SS lesson where the contributors had their essential intent and meaning completely turned around to reflect the very opposite of the writer’s contribution.

    This occurs too often: someone is asked to write a lesson, and then it is “edited” (read censored) by a nameless committee who has the ability to negate all the writer intended. The result is a reversal of the writer’s article!

  9. Desre Nikolich
    07 September 2011 @ 11:00 am

    Ouch…I think I caught a bullet!  It hit me right between the eyes and lodged in my frontal lobe! Very thought provoking Nathan!

    I agree that credibility is required within our church literature and 'branding' with a reasoned and enlightening thought process. 

    The flip side of this however is cerebral Adventism which does not capture the heart and soul.

    Emotionalism is different than spirit. If non-verbal communication is about 70 per cent of communication, in written form, writing nuances which capturing some of these right brain processes enable people to connect as well as reason. 

    Here's to IQ and EQ friendly writing and reading!!

    BTW would love to hear your thoughts on the inclusion of both IQ and EQ in written communication!