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  1. lance hodges
    13 July 2012 @ 9:44 pm

    I don't know what his qualifications are for president, but his sermons as senior pastor are on point, well illustrated and not long and drawn out.  I hope he stays on as our pastor, knowing how long it takes to find a replacement senior pastor.  Don't be discouraged Alex, you have our support!!

  2. Ella M
    13 July 2012 @ 10:13 pm

         I have no doubt that he is of the highest integrity, ethical, transparent and excells as a pastor.  I have heard nothing against him and feel he is a forward-thinking young leader.  His writing and ideas have always been the best.  I would trust him completely.  But I know nothing of his administratve and financial abilities (wouldn't pastoral work include that?).
        Having said all this, could this be a case of church leaders taking a highly popular, successful, and inspiring pastor out of his realm and promoting him to what could be a position in which he would be less suited and effective?  I don't know, but I have seen so many wonderful pastors being taken away from their best work and put into positions of less importance but higher on the perceived success ladder.

  3. SecondOpinion
    13 July 2012 @ 10:14 pm

    Indeed, what went wrong?  Because something's not right in all of this.  Torkelson should exercise a little more of that transparency he's touting and tell the whole story.  Or perhaps admit that he and the search committee didn't do their homework well and placed a good man in very tough position.  A little confession is good for the soul…

  4. Truth Seeker
    13 July 2012 @ 11:34 pm

    In personnel decisions there are many times factors that should not be discussed publicly nor disclosed. The constant barrage of comments in various liberal media that there should be transparency is well taken when it relates to policies and programs.

    For example, I don't recall seeing information or a discussion why certain persons on the staff of AT were selected and why a its top man before the current editor either resigned or was deselected.

  5. Doctorf
    13 July 2012 @ 11:35 pm

    So the board members rendered credibility to an anonymous email? Sounds like fools are running the board. 

  6. Richard & Doris Williams
    14 July 2012 @ 12:11 am

    This church we love is in big trouble when we let the "right-wing religious kooks" take over by rumor, innuendo and character assination to set policy, practice, beliefs and doctrine, and choose personnel according to their warped concept of what is right for all the rest of us! I find it hard to fathom how and why a 2/3rds majority could/would cave in to them. 

    • Jean Corbeau
      14 July 2012 @ 11:03 am

      "This church we love is in big trouble when we let the "right-wing religious kooks" take over . . ."

      It will be in just as much trouble if we let the so-called "progressives" take over.

      • Richard & Doris Williams
        15 July 2012 @ 3:05 am

        As for me and my house, we'll take our chances with the your "progressives". At least,
        we won't be burned at the stake!

  7. SecondOpinion
    14 July 2012 @ 1:10 am

    Oh wait!  I have an idea 😉  Let's make the process of electing our next GC president as transparent as possible, too.  Why not publish the name of the nominee well in advance with the names and emails of the nominating committee members so we can all join in the politicking. I'm starting to like this transparency thing!  Seriously, the only way I can read Torkelson's desire to have a process "as transparent as possible [with] input and observations from a variety of viewpoints" is that he decided to put Bryan up for a media trial and allow him to be vetted in court of public opinion.  And THAT is wrong.  If the search committee was at all uncertain, they should have simply moved on and spared Bryan the shameful circus they have now created.

  8. Truth Seeker
    14 July 2012 @ 1:49 am

    In view of the brouhaha about Bryan's non-selection can anyone tell me what the following is all about? It appears, unless the site is publishing false information, that the Chairman solicited input far and wide. Any insights?

  9. Seminary student
    14 July 2012 @ 2:38 am

    I think that Bryan was not a good fit to be Walla ,Walla president . He might be a good speaker but he is not an administrator . Some of the " rumors " were that he is into the spiritual formation thing and that he doesnt believe in the inspiration of Ellen White . He tried to deny that but the evidence of all these years was so overwhelmingly against him that , ignoring those facts seem impossible . The commitee did not have any other choice than say no . we need to get a good faithful historic seventh day Adventist . Some one of the caliber of Colin Standish or Pastor Kevin Paulson or Pastor Jay Gallimore from Michigan  . We need to get back to historic Adventism , we need leaders who love this church , who have a clear understanding of scripture and who believe in sister White and who reject " evangelical adventism ".  Maybe they could even hire Dr. Samuel Pipim , he has experience working with young people . 

    • Richard & Doris Williams
      14 July 2012 @ 6:32 am

      Dear Seminary Student: Surely you jest!

      • Burt
        14 July 2012 @ 4:04 pm

        Unfortunately I'm afraid he's dead serious. 

        • Richard & Doris Williams
          15 July 2012 @ 3:03 am


    • Jean Corbeau
      14 July 2012 @ 11:06 am

      I agree with most of what you said, Seminary student, but, given the recent scandal involving Brother Pipim, it would be a big mistake to hire him, even though over the years he has been one of our ablest defenders of the faith.

      • Elaine Nelson
        14 July 2012 @ 6:43 pm

        "He has been one of our ablest defenders of the faith."

        That was what Penn State said of Joe Paterno and Sandusky; except for a minor problem.

    • Elaine Nelson
      14 July 2012 @ 6:40 pm

      Seminary Student:

      You are suggesting that a sexual predator who has confessed to his actions, should be the president of WWU?  Maybe he could then ask Sandusky be the men's dorm administrator.  Where 'ya been?

  10. Elaine Nelson
    14 July 2012 @ 4:25 am

    Was he not properly vetted?  It begins to sound like the Sarah Palin effect.

    • Anonymous
      14 July 2012 @ 3:02 pm

      Excellent point, Elaine!  …Great speeches, great charisma, but no proven leardership qualities, administrative ablities, or record of successful achievements.  Oh wait…that would be the Obama effect. My bad…

      To me, the theological issues are beside the point. It does not sound like Pastor Bryan had established a reputation as an academician. I don't understand why a college or university that wants to be respected for sound scholarship and teaching would look, for its president, to an individual would would appear best suited for Director of Advancement and Development. I suspect that the search committee's decision was made for the wrong reasons and the Board's decision was also made for the wrong reasons.

      • Elaine Nelson
        14 July 2012 @ 6:47 pm

        WOW!  Nate, I agree.  All except the Obama effect;-)   Sucessful achievements" depends on what area is being referred to.  Bryan had achieved great success, it
        seems, as a pastor.  One can be successful in some areas and deficient in others.  It depends on what the board was looking for, and maybe in the wrong places.

  11. Seminary student
    15 July 2012 @ 6:00 am

    Dr. Pipim is not a sexual predator . Elaine you dont have any evidence for that , it is his word against the lady from Africa , if  Pipim was a liberal  all these liberals would believe him but because he is a conservative , you  prefer to believe that unknown lady .maybe is. It ready to serve as president but a lot of the people from GYC who became leaders under Pipim would do an excellent job . Bryan , is not a faithful sda , he is a liberal who is into spiritual formation and all those  things that Elder Wilson spoke against .

    • Richard & Doris Williams
      15 July 2012 @ 7:05 am

      Produce your documented unbiased data, Pal — or withdraw your comments!

    • Kevin Riley
      15 July 2012 @ 8:15 am

      I thought the young lady was now not alone in her allegations.  Pipim admitted to his act, which at its best was a gross breach of professional ethics as well as a sin.  Hardly the sort of thing you want on the resumé of a college president.

    • Elaine Nelson
      16 July 2012 @ 4:05 am

      To the Seminary Student:

      Everyone is entitled to his own opinion.  Everyone is not entitled to his own facts.

      Maybe there should be  FactCheck here.

  12. Seminary student
    15 July 2012 @ 12:03 pm

    The main point is that Bryan is not qualified to be conference president , we all know that a Doctor of ministry is a joke , nobody takes that degree seriously  but because he is a liberal now the Dmin is the highest degree . Come on give me a break . What has he done for young people ? He has pastored. It churches , I heard his sermon material and it is. Not solid . They need someone maybe from the leaders of GYC , they are reviving the church . One of the leaders from Michigan conference  would make a great president of walla, walla .

    • Kevin Riley
      16 July 2012 @ 2:32 am

      There are some very respected people in various areas of Christian ministry with a DMin, and they are certainly not treated as a joke.  It is a practical rather than theoretical degree, but perhaps practical people make better worship leaders and pastoral counsellors – and sometimes even preachers and Bible teachers – than theoreticians?  In this case I would question placing someone with so little experience in the position of president.  That would be true whatever degree he holds.

      • Elaine Nelson
        16 July 2012 @ 4:10 am

        I believe that the M.Div, just as the D.Min are  professional degrees.  Other professional degrees are the MBA and the JD.  Academic degrees are usually the M.A and PhD in specific academic areas and have very different requirements.  Someone with more information and authority could explain the differences in degrees and the schools offering them.

        • Kevin Riley
          16 July 2012 @ 4:34 am

          A PhD and often an MA are research degrees – although often an MA is offered with research, coursework, and mixed mode options.  MDiv and DMin are applied degrees that may or may not (but often do) require some original research.  There are some professions where most people have a research degree (most people in the areas of liberal arts and mathematics and science and most people who teach in academic institutions), there are others where such a degree is rare and most people get an applied degree instead.  When seeking out a professional where technical skill is needed (medical practitioners, accountants, etc) an applied degree is worth much more than a research degree. 

          A PhD qualifies you to teach theology, a D Min qualifies you as an evangelist, missionary, pastoral counsellor, spiritual guide, or church administrator.  It also qualifies you to teach others in those fields.  I believe we need more people with the latter degree than the former.  I am nearing the end of the process of getting a PhD, so I don't in any way disdain academic qualifications, but I do very much believe in appropriate qualifications.  Someone with a DMin and experience in the academic world, as well as with administrative experience, could make as good a college or university president as someone with the same experience and a PhD.  Had I been on the board, the lack of such experience would have been my main concern.  There is a world of difference between running a church – even a large one – and running an education institution. 

  13. Edwin A. Schwisow
    15 July 2012 @ 12:17 pm

    Substantive news accounts regarding Dr. Pipim declare that he has acknowledged the veracity of the charges against his conduct, not just by one African woman, but now by a second individual. Has he now retracted these admissions? How often we find that those who preach passionately on questions of morality are desperately seeking redemption for their own mottled souls. I do not say this without compassion, but let us acknowledge that one of the fastest ways to kill any high school or university program is to put a man with acknowledged sexual problems in charge…. Penn State is learning. The Vatican knows.

    • Jack Hoehn
      15 July 2012 @ 4:01 pm

      It was so upsetting I couldn't type straight:

      Editors, please remove the Seminary Student comments from this post.  This is so scandalous that it discredits any real conservatives and it begins to make me believe it is a tasteless attempt at humor.  It it is NOT then it is pathology.  In either case please edit this out of here, it is trashing a serious discussion.

      • Stephen Ferguson
        16 July 2012 @ 3:15 am

        When ultra-liberals make these comments, even when they are rude and objectionable, they are often ignored by the moderators, perhaps out of fear as looking too heavy handed. Yet when someone is very conservative, there is suddenly this call to remove the comments. Have a look at the outright name calling on the homosexuality-related articles as a good example.

        For the record, I am not 'conservative' but probably a 'moderate' (as much as labels mean anything), but I do strongly respect the right of conservatives to have a voice, even when they say things that I feel objectionable and outright ignorant.

      • Stephen Ferguson
        16 July 2012 @ 3:21 am

        Jack, I should also just say, the rules of this site clearly say that we should not tell people to get out of the Church.  These articles are littered with probably thousands of comments by ex-Adventists, which if not just indirectly but also directly do just that – people who now suggest we shouldn't even believe in God, Jesus Christ or the Bible, let alone Adventism.  Yet what do the moderators do – nothing.

        Therefore, I think Seminary Student has every right to make comments, provided he does not use offensive language.  He may say things that are completely ignorant and stupid, and things I 100% disagree with, but he should have a 100% right to say it.  I can somewhat empathise with our more 'conservative' readers and contributors, who no doubt can see a perceived double-standard here. And again, I am not 'conservative' myself but even to me the double-standard appears obvious.

  14. Edwin A. Schwisow
    15 July 2012 @ 4:06 pm

    Ah, perhaps some will parse the issue of whether or not Dr. Pipim is a rapist. In my response above I refer generically to irresponsible, commandment-breaking sexual behavior involving a role model and exemplar of Jesus Christ and individuals who look to him for spiritual leadership. As to whether Dr. Pipim should ALSO be convicted and sentenced to prison, that's another issue I leave to those who understand the jurisdictional distinctions and rules of evidence better than I. I have no reason to discuss them here. Dr. Pipim to my knowledge has not been formally charged with criminal behavior; he has only admitted to behavior that in the eyes of conservatives and liberals alike is seen as tragic and disqualifying—even over here on the Left Coast. I understand that Dr. Pipim is an arresting and motivating speaker of exceptional talent, and to mute those talents because of a behavioral problem that seems to repeat itself seems a terrible waste. But we must recognize that above and beyond the issue of motivating and emotionally affecting young people through masterful speeches is the far more compelling issue of discipling through example. To whom much is given, much is required….

  15. Truth Seeker
    15 July 2012 @ 4:29 pm

    Is this really objective reporting when the editors suggest that something "went wrong." I consider that to be editorializing and trying to influence us readers. Indeed, it appears the process worked well and *nothing* went wrong at all.

  16. Elaine Nelson
    15 July 2012 @ 5:59 pm

    Even  if there were a video of  Pipim in the hotel room some here would not
    believe it.  Do you not believe his own confession?  Why  would he have admitted a heinous act if it were untrue?

  17. Truth Seeker
    15 July 2012 @ 6:14 pm

    Jack H. Don't get your knickers in a knot! Characters like this exist on every forum that is not tightly controlled. I've seen some just as ridiculous from regular contributors. I make a practice of totally ignoring certain posts; if I were to give you the names I might be kicked out!

    A hint — if a person has left the SDA church and continues to deride it I doubt I can learn anything constructive from him.

    • Stephen Ferguson
      16 July 2012 @ 3:13 am

      Truth Seeker, I do largely agree with you.  I suspect you and I often don't wholly agree, but I think we at least are both well truly within the SDA Church, and our dialogue at least can be constructive within that framework.  I do find it increasingly distracting and frustrating to continually fight 'rear-guard' actions from the many contributors who are obviously ex-Adventists, who often make comments about why we should question belief in God, Jesus Christ, life after death and implying we should all leave the Church (despite the so-called rules of the site saying that is prohibited).

      I also agree with you that when ultra-liberals make these comments, even when they are rude and objectionable, they are often ignored by the moderators, perhaps out of fear as looking too heavy handed.  Yet when someone is very conservative, there is suddenly this call to remove the comments.  Have a look at the outright name calling on the homosexuality-related articles as a good example.

      For the record, I am not 'conservative' but probably a 'moderate' (as much as labels mean anything), but I do strongly respect the right of conservatives to have a voice, even when they say things that I feel objectionable and outright ignorant. 

  18. Edwin A. Schwisow
    15 July 2012 @ 8:49 pm

    It is indeed very rare and generally considered counterindicative of the health of an institution when a search committee's nominee for high office is turned aside in this way. To use a metaphor from healthcare, a surgeon who determines that a patient needs a certain type of operation, only to discover when he opens things up that the patient has a different condition entirely would not be faulted for asking the question, "How could we have got this so wrong?"

    To further the metaphor, the patient remains alive, nothing has been damaged in treatment, but time has been lost and egos have been bruised. Insofar as selecting a president is a venture in maintaining and improving the health of an institution, I think the analogy stands: What went wrong? The WWU Search Committee did its diagnostic work of the presidential needs of the University, and to be rebuffed in this way suggests at least vaguely some kind of crisis of communication within the body of the university—as if the signals being sent are being misperceived, or perhaps even ignored, or that there is a serious pluralization of opinion regarding the course that is best to take in Walla Walla's future.

    I see no immediate problem with the process, or the fact that the process has revealed interesting things about the college and its board. But certainly the vote is a shocker, to the North Pacific Union constituency, to the students, to the faculty and staff, and to the alumni. Making lemonade out of a lemon of a situation will undoubtedly become a staple industry at the univeristy for some months to come…
    and I wish my alma mater well… This too will pass.

  19. Elaine Nelson
    16 July 2012 @ 1:52 am

    Is he now able to return to the pastorate with no damage to his reputation?  This may be a Catch-22:  rejected as university president, and out of his pastoral position (or if he returns it can never be the same); or find another equal position  within the denomination.  

  20. Stephen Ferguson
    16 July 2012 @ 3:04 am

    I think Seminary Student is missing the facts.  Let's even assume it wasn't rape and it was consenting.  The facts remain:
    – Dr Pipim admitting to have an extra-marital affair with a young 20-something woman in Botswana.
    – Dr Pipim was stripped of his position in the Church and disfellowshipped – i.e. he currently is not even a member of the SDA Church.  Dr Pipim agreed with this course of action – saying that he deliberately asked for the harshest Church sanction possible to demonstrate that such sin should be taken seriously.
    – Dr Pipim wrote some 21,000 treatise trying to justify his actions, including why he didn't come forward until he was caught out – check out his own website if you don't believe me.
    – After about a year, Dr Pipim was going to be re-baptised.
    – A few days before his rebaptism, another women came forward.  When confronted, Dr Pipim admitted it was true.  The pastor who was going to offiate cancelled the re-baptism – the letter from the pastor can be viewed on the Spectrum website.

    As Dr Pipim is not even a member of the SDA Church, I fail to see how Dr Pipim could seriously be considered for any post in the SDA Church, which he now doesn't even belong to, let alone a very high office as president of a University.  Moreover, regardless of whether the moral falls, which again Dr Pipim has wholly admitted to, were rape or not, at least demonstrates that it would not be wise from the perspective of Dr Pipim's own care and benefit to put him in a role where there are lots of young people. 

    Therefore, whether ot not Dr Pipim is a sexual predator is not relevant.  It is respectfully obvious that Seminary Student's suggestion is wholly absurd, and no rational person who took their role of appointing the President seriously could entertain such a proposal.

  21. Stephen Ferguson
    16 July 2012 @ 3:07 am

    And I should just say that I was one who did agree with some of what Dr Pipim said – not all, but certainly some.  For example, I have had recent problems with 'Deliverance Ministries' (a.k.a Strategic Level Spiritual Warfare) and from my own research, Dr Pipim seemed to be about the only major Adventist leader left talking about that issue.  In his book, Here We Stand, he had several chapters on that issue.  Therefore, I do appreciate some of the very good work he did.

    But the fact remains, he is not even an SDA member anymore.  He has serious personal and moral issues he needs to work through honestly before he can become a member of the SDA Church again, let alone be a leader to others.

  22. Seminary student
    16 July 2012 @ 3:09 am

    Elaine ,  Bryan is not the first person to be rejected to a position . This is the real world , people apply and dont get jobs others get fired from jobs . The suggestion of Pipim as a president was a joke that you all took too serious . Thanks editor for editing my comments .  on a serious note , Bryan came to Seminary for a week of spiritual emphasis and I have to say that I was not impress with his preaching , he was telling jokes and he not even quoted the bible . 

    • Stephen Ferguson
      16 July 2012 @ 5:09 am

      I am not sure you can criticise Dr Bryan because 'he was telling jokes' when you have just admitted that 'The suggestion of Pipim as a president was a joke that you all took too serious'.  

      That fact you are a seminary student is a little worrying – or is that a joke as well? 

    • Rudy Good
      18 July 2012 @ 1:07 pm

      If Seminary Student's Pipim comment was a joke he has a strange sense of humor. It would not seem odd for the original statement to have been made in a sarcastic manner. But, his next post was a defense of Pipim and said well maybe Pipim wasn't ready for the position, but that a lot of his cohorts were. He may have meant it as a joke, but his communication of the idea bears all the marks of a serious statement. Maybe it became a joke when he realized how indefensible the idea would be.

  23. Elaine Nelson
    16 July 2012 @ 4:16 am

    Seminary Student:

    I don't know how often you post here or other similar blogs but sadly, your comment was not too unusual as after the news about Pipim was made public there were many supporters who not only disbelieved but that he was being railroaded by disgruntled folks.

      Some practical jokes are not only not practical but can do harm–for those who did not see your retraction.  If this is your idea of a joke, you may not be believed in the future when you wish to be taken seriously.

    • Stephen Ferguson
      16 July 2012 @ 5:07 am

      Was it really a joke, or was Seminary Student just saying it was a joke after been hounded back?  And by the way, I did stand up for the right of Seminary Student to make his comments, even if they were idiotic (see my posts above), but I am not impressed if indeed it was all a practical joke. 

  24. Truth Seeker
    16 July 2012 @ 3:31 pm

    Stephen- "For the record, I am not 'conservative' but probably a 'moderate' (as much as labels mean anything), but I do strongly respect the right of conservatives to have a voice, even when they say things that I feel objectionable and outright ignorant."

    It is my perception that the far left enjoys more freedom on this blog and that of Spectrum to engage in ad hominem attacks and belittle conservative views, while a conservative may be told to bug off if he steps over the line. You have made some observations with which I agree.

    • Stephen Ferguson
      17 July 2012 @ 9:38 am

      Agreed.  I have similarly been labled a bully for daring asking why those who don't believe in God, Jesus or the Bible are spending so much time on an SDA website.  I personally didn't see it as bullying but a pretty legitimate question, especially since the cumulative impact of that line of comments as an implicit suggestion to leave the Church, which I note is supposedly against the rules of this site. 

      Nonetheless, I don't want to offend anyway, and if people have taken my tone at all as either 'shrill' or bullying, and keeping in mind that suggest email does not communicate tone well, then I profoundly apologise.  However, as you rightly observe, I have notice just a tad bit of hypocricy in the way ex-Adventists are accomodated, compared with personal attacks on conservatives, which appear to be fair game.

      I am not really sure why this bothers me so, because I am certainly no conservative and I should probably agree with those personal attacks.  Something about it though just grates me.  I think Jack's suggestion (above) that Seminary Student's post should somehow be removed by editors, but at the same time ex-Adventists can tell us all to leave the SDA Church, really struck a nerve. 

      Again apologies – not entirely sure why it struck a nerve but it did.  It probably also spilled over onto Stephen Foster's post on an SDA President. Apologies again.

      • Kevin Riley
        17 July 2012 @ 11:28 am

        I did not read the comments that were removed, and  it is possible that the response was justified by those comments.  But what remains seems to indicate he was basically blaming the girl for being in Pipim's room and therefore in some way excusing his actions.  It would have been better if that issue had not been dragged into this discussion.  There is no way Pipim will be employed by any SDA university, so bringing up his name, even in jest, was unnecessary..

        • Stephen Ferguson
          17 July 2012 @ 2:15 pm

          Yes agree – and it all got very much Voltaire for a moment, about notions of procedural versus susbtantive morality.

      • Elaine Nelson
        17 July 2012 @ 3:43 pm

        This has become so consistent that I will ask those who continue to say the left and  ex-Adventists are trying to encourage leaving the SDA church and why we  continue to post here.


        Name one commenter who has encouraged or tried to  convince an SDA to leave the church.  If questions are disturbing that goes either way.  Adventists are traditionally taught to convert but when have exes ever tried to get someone to leave the church??

        How dull this forum would be if everyone agreed exactly on everything.  No one would feel it worthwhile but simply  read the Review or the Red Books for all their information.  The very fact that there are questions raised by good SDAs shows that this forum serves a wide audience.  Those who are convinced they have all the truth aren't interested in these discussions.       

        • Stephen Ferguson
          18 July 2012 @ 2:47 am

          Elaine, compare the way you and other ex-Adventists are given respect and free reign here.  Then compare how conservatives such as Seminary Student are treated – there are calls for censorship.  

          Go to Kendra's previous post on homosexuality.  Look at the personal attacks and language used on conservatives who even suggest, even if politely, that homosexuality is a sin in the Bible.  Then look at how the ex-Adventist contributors are accomodated in every way.

          I am neither an ex-Adventist nor a conservative.  Yet I have notice that double standard.  Why do you think that double-standard exists?  One of my favourite texts in the Bible is Ex. 23:3:

          'Do not help a poor man in a law suit.'

          As a lawyer I try to live by this.  The ends don't justify the means.  Because this is a liberal SDA website doesn't excuse applying different rules against conservatives an ex-Adventists (who are aguably ultra-liberals). Fair is fair; otherwise it is hypocricy. 

          • Elaine Nelson
            18 July 2012 @ 4:03 am

            Do you realize you're making my point: 

            compare how conservatives such as Seminary Student are treated–there are calls for censorship"

            It is not ex-SDAs or liberals who call for censorship.  They are the ones who seem to believe it's "my way or the highway" while exes ask questions but do not call for such tactics.  My believe about membership or ostracism:  who cares?  If it seems hypocritical to apply different rules, who is making the rules which  you   feel are hypocritical?  It is simply individuals operating differently, that is what humans do.

          • Stephen Ferguson
            18 July 2012 @ 7:20 am

            It is not ex-SDAs or liberals who call for censorship.

            Not sure if I follow.  Jack Hoen, who I am pretty sure if a liberal and not a conservative, wrote in relation to comments by Seminary Student (see above, and for the avoidance of doubt I didn't personally agree with Seminary Student's comments):

            It was so upsetting I couldn't type straight:

            Editors, please remove the Seminary Student comments from this post.  This is so scandalous that it discredits any real conservatives and it begins to make me believe it is a tasteless attempt at humor.  It it is NOT then it is pathology.  In either case please edit this out of here, it is trashing a serious discussion.

            How were Seminary Student treated – was he accomodated or simply ignored (as some like Keven have argued is the appropriate response to dealing with comments we personally find offensive or irrelevant)? No, he was metaphorically lynched.  Then the moderator later did edit our his comments!  

            My question is, one could argue that when an ex-Adventist addresses an issue, saying homosexuality and Christianity, by claiming God doesn't exist, or that Jesus wasn't a historically figure, or that Bible is not authority, one could argue that those comments are similarly 'trashing a serious discussion'.

            I should really just clarify, I am sure you and the other exes aren't calling for censorship and really my concern is not with you at all.  My concern is with the 'liberals' who dominate this site and who do appear to apply different standards for different classes of people.  The question is:

            What is it about the 'liberals' who dominate AToday, both officially and unofficially, that they seem to be more confortable with ex-Adventists than they do with their own conservative brethren?  

            Why are conservative comments that Dr Pipim be an SDA President comments that 'trash a serious discussion', but advocating against God, Jesus or the Bible not 'trash' but rather views that should be accomodated?

            No doubt there will be self-serving responses back.  Again, for the avoidance of doubt, I am not a conservative, just trying to examine if 'we liberals' are more willing to engage 'liberal' ideas, even hetrodox ones denying God, yet appear necessary to censor othordox opinions? 

          • Stephen Ferguson
            18 July 2012 @ 7:35 am

            And to be so arrogant as to answer my own questions, which largely makes it rhetorically, are 'we liberals' affraid that we too may one day also be ex-Adventists, and in many cases, already fast on that road, with one foot out the door?  To that extent, do ex-Adventists become our intellectual kindred spirits?  Are the 'conservatives' then seen as our 'opponents', rather than our brothers and sisters in Christ?  

          • Elaine Nelson
            18 July 2012 @ 4:36 pm

            "It was so upsetting I couldn't type straight"

            This forum is not for the timid or sensitive types.  This statement reveals a great deal of insecurity over one person's remarks that were not directed to you but about another individual. 


            This bears repeating:
            "If you can't stand the heat, what are you doing in the kitchen"?

          • Stephen Ferguson
            20 July 2012 @ 4:26 am

            Elaine, with respect, one could argue that the person claiming I was 'bullying' or 'crossing the line' was not standing the 'heat' of my comments?  Why if I say something and people get offended it is 'bullying', but when someone else says something and I object suddenly I am being 'timid and senstive'?  How can I purportedly be both a bully and timid?  In this instance, I tried to be the bigger person and be the first to appologise, but would you rather I have not been so 'timid' and stuck to my own 'bullying'?

  25. Seminary student
    16 July 2012 @ 4:43 pm

    Friends , what is the idea that you have of a seminary student , that we have to reach a level of perfection before coming to seminary ?

    • Stephen Ferguson
      17 July 2012 @ 11:15 am

      I am probably not a qualified stone thrower.

    • Kevin Riley
      17 July 2012 @ 11:24 am

      Christian behaviour and coherent thought would be enough for me.

      • Stephen Ferguson
        18 July 2012 @ 7:23 am

        What does 'Christian behaviour' mean exactly?  I am not sure if 'coherent thought' is much of a chastisement, otherwise we are all pretty guilty of that at times.

        • Kevin Riley
          18 July 2012 @ 12:31 pm

          Seminary student was asking what we expect of seminary students.  My reply was Christian behaviour – by which I meant respect for others more than anything else, but also treating others as we would like to be treated – and coherent thought would do.  I thought some of his comments failed in both areas.  To suggest a person stripped of his credentials for immorality would make a good university president was not exactly the result of coherent thought – especially if it were meant as a joke.  Neither was it, in my mind, particulalry Christian towards anyone involved.  I certainly didn't mean to imply that Seminary Student was the only one who commits 'sins' here, and it was really meant as a reply only to his question, not the wider issue.  Having studied for a degree in theology I am the last one who would suggest perfection of any sort was a pre-requisite (or an achievable goal). 

          I haven't really entered into the discussion of bias and what should and should not be allowed.  Apart from a couple of SDA forums, most forums I frequent are professional academic ones where such discussion is strictly forbidden.  It is also rarely warranted, which is where there may be a difference. 

          All I will say is that the main reason I find it hard to identify with any group in Adventism is behaviour rather than beliefs.  I find myself in the same position as Chris did re evolution: the arguments and behaviour of the defenders of certain positions do far more to persuade me to take another position than any positive arguments from their opponents.  What I struggle with most is not the logic of SDA beliefs, but the fact that those beliefs seem to have so little positive impact on those who hold them.  And that is not a swipe at a particular section of Adventism, as I see little difference anywhere (even in the mirror).  When I look at my SDA fellow church members I see nice people, but no nicer than my 'apostate Protestant' or RC neighbours, or even than my atheist neighbours.  And the way that SDAs treat each other sometimes approaches a level of nastiness that, to (mis)quote Paul 'is not found even among the pagans'.  I can understand an occasional lapse – I am guilty of that myself now and then –  but it happens to often to be excused in that way.

          • Stephen Ferguson
            20 July 2012 @ 4:50 am

            Thanks Kevin, yes I understand what you are saying.  Isn't that really the whole meaning of Jesus' parable about the Good Samaritan?  How many Adventist (or RC) jerks would drive past someone with a flat tire because they were late for Church?  How may non-Adventists, perhaps on the way to a time on the town, might stop and help that person on the side of the road?

            As hard as is, I try not to judge God or a religion by its worst but by its best.  I don't blame Islam by Osama bin Laden and I hope I don't judge the SDA Church by its own sinful members.  I hope not too many judge the SDA Church by my actions – scary thought! 

            You know better than me that we are all intrinsically biased.  The first step in utilizing our sociological imagination to somewhat mitigate it is to admit it is there.  If someone wants justice and to argue the moral high ground they must come to it with 'clean hands'.

            Conservatives might be closed minded, but at least we all somewhat know that.  It is liberals who think they are open minded but often can be just as biased and hypocritical.  South Park laments this societal fact probably more than any other group.  Their spin off the Film Actors Guild (FAG) in the Team America Movie explains it perfectly in a very modern parable.

  26. Elaine Nelson
    16 July 2012 @ 5:48 pm

    If those were the conditions there would be no students.

  27. Richard & Doris Williams
    17 July 2012 @ 1:37 pm

    It appears that this whole sordid issue has gone viral. Is it really worth all this time and thought? Don't we have better things to do?

    • Elaine Nelson
      18 July 2012 @ 4:07 am

      "Don't we have better things to do?"

      Don't know.  Maybe you don't.

  28. Elaine Nelson
    17 July 2012 @ 3:46 pm

    Was everyone aware that Seminary Student was playing a joke?  Not a good one, but he confessed to that.

  29. Edwin A. Schwisow
    17 July 2012 @ 6:47 pm

    I am reminded of my good mentor, the late editor Morten Juberg, a verbally gifted fellow with eyeglasses as thick as the Hubble telescope, and humor as focused as the stars in his eyes. He constantly marveled at Adventists' slowness to accept humor as a valid communication strategy for the end-time church (I kid you not!). He became so wrought up at one point, he inserted parenthetical instructions in some of his copy, "Humor intentional, please laugh here!" and other colorful reposts. His point was well made.

    Our seminaries should indeed take up the challenge of helping our students master the art of Adventist humor—a very difficult one among our membership, a good share of whom still believe the unpardonable sin consists of being caught laughing after the door of probation slams shut on its industrial-grade Case-hardened, titanium-impregnated, purgatorial hinges….(exaggeration intended, cringing encouraged). Misuse of humor by pastors in the pulpit and even by a seminary student can apparently cause untold harm….(please smile, but don't laugh!).

    Have a good one….

  30. Truth Seeker
    17 July 2012 @ 7:20 pm

    "He (Juberg) constantly marveled at Adventists' slowness to accept humor as a valid communication strategy for the end-time church (I kid you not!)."

    Obviously an observation without substance insofar as my experience has been. There is crude humor and then humor that is repeatable in society. Each person has his own perception of what constitutes humor and when it is appropriate. When a Pastor is engaged in talking about a very serious matter it can be construed as inappropriate when he strains to introduce humor that diminishes the importance of the topic.

  31. Edwin A. Schwisow
    17 July 2012 @ 9:50 pm

    At the risk of leaving the primary topic of discussion (the vote not to accept the Search Committee's recommended nominee for president of WWU), the tremendous range of thought regarding humor in the Adventist Church may be a serious stumbling block in any quest to talk through various issues that annoy us about our pew-mates, right and left. We do have in the writings of Sister White admonitions against "vain" words (as in the Third Commandment) which I interpret as meaning use of the Lord's name, or any other speech, for purposes of "self-aggrandizement". Others, however, see in those words a general admonition against frivolity (which Sister White also mentions as undesirable), and light conversation, certainly including humor. In my reading of the Bible, surely we can see touches of humor in the parables of Jesus and in Christ's interaction with the Scribes and Pharisees. Frankly, I can see the crowds stamping their feet and pounding their knees when Jesus said he would reveal the authority of his own ministry, if they were willing to tell him if John the Baptist was sent by God, or not. It was a "gotch-ah" moment of great wit and perspicacity, and I'm sure that was exactly the way Jesus intended it!

    • Ervin Taylor
      18 July 2012 @ 4:27 am

      I have been told that "real Adventist conservatives" have no sense of humor.  How might we test whether this is true.  How about the following?  Say "Dr. Pipem would make a good President of an Adventist University" to some Adventist convervative and see if he or she starts to at least giggle.  

      • Kevin Riley
        18 July 2012 @ 12:35 pm

        Crying might be a better response, IMO.  What we lack, I believe, is not so much a sense of humour as a sense of irony, as that would allow us to laugh at ourselves more than at others.  It's probably an old-fashioned concept (but, in my defense, I was brought up on heroic literature of various sorts) but perhaps a sense of honour might make tears and laughter less necessary.

  32. Elaine Nelson
    18 July 2012 @ 4:58 am

    Based on the support Pipim continued to have after his confession, it would not seem worthy of note.  There would be probably be supporters amont those folks.

  33. Richard & Doris Williams
    18 July 2012 @ 5:42 am

    Would that we could value and engage in random acts of kindness with no motive of recompense as much as we value dialogue that, in the long run, isn't worth a hill of beans! Enough already!