Monday, March 28, 2011

Book: “The Principle of the Path” by Andy Stanley

I have appreciated previous Andy Stanley books, so I was looking forward to reading this one. Also, this topic is one that resonates with many, for the question it addresses is a common one. How do I get to where I want to go? This question applies to all areas of life: relational, financial, career, and spiritual. What I read caught my attention. Stanley writes that the principle of the path governs the way that our lives progress, whether we're aware of it or not…and that certain actions and decisions always have the same results. In other words, the principle of the path is like the principle of the harvest, we reap what we sow.

One quote that summarizes the book is this: "Today's decisions create tomorrow's experiences." It is easy enough to identify when someone else seems to be on the wrong path - one of disappointment or regret. But, this is not as easy to see in our own lives. We can look back and see this after the fact, but while we are in the midst, we are blind to it. One of the most helpful things about the book is that it gives us questions for self-examination or self assessment. These questions help us identify the areas which we need to address.

Stanley also stresses that it is direction not intention that sets our destination. He writes that by acknowledging and acting on this cause and effect principle, we can avoid the regret that might come on many levels. But, beware, this book does not try to provide a solution or fix, what it offers is a guide to better self awareness.
As for the author’s style, it’s typical Andy Stanley. The writing is anecdotal, clear, and an easy read. I found the book interesting and helpful and would recommend it to those who are looking for a tool to examine their own life.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Moving towards extinction?

Is the Adventist church in North America becoming extinct? In a recent copy of the Adventist Review, Jeffrey Rosario said, “There’s a 50 percent chance that a teenager who gets baptized in his or her mid-teens will leave the Adventist Church completely by the time he or she is 25.

And, hear is a painful stat to see, “One in every five Adventist churches in North America doesn’t have a single child, teenager, or young adult. In fact, the median age in our churches is nearly 60—20 years older than the average American."

Something to consider...

Friday, March 4, 2011

Violence at SDA President Wilson's California Speech

The last thing you’d expect to see at a large meeting of Adventist seniors, most of them retired church workers, is someone throwing a sucker punch to the mouth. But that’s what happened recently in Redlands, California.

It was February 21 (Presidents Day), and General Conference President Ted Wilson addressed the retirees at the Redlands Adventist Church, telling them of his vision for the church, reporting on his recent travels and taking questions. For a conservative leader, it was a tailor-made audience—receptive to his presentation, supportive and approving for the most part, with only a few questions from the fringes of la-la land. And even those he handled as much with a pastor’s comforting hand as with an administrator’s care for the institution he represents.

One of those questions came from a man who was much younger than the average attendee. Short, with salt-and-pepper gray-blond hair, the man complained to Wilson that some pastors and church employees in Southern California were conducting themselves in ways that did not comport with Adventist doctrine and practice. He suggested that Wilson and the General Conference use the enforcement of the trademarked name “Seventh-day Adventist” to crack down on what he perceived to be this abuse. He also railed against “apostasy” in Southern California, citing women’s ordination, political involvement, and social justice as examples.

Wilson, who had just competently fielded several other unusual questions (one man claiming to have “new light” on a passage from Ellen White’s writings, for instance) listened to the younger man and said he’d be glad to look into the question and to receive more information from him after the meeting, if the man could provide it.

The event ended, and many people crowded around Wilson in the front of the sanctuary as others left. At the rear, Southeastern California Conference pastor Jared Wright, who writes for Spectrum Magazine, approached the questioner to ask more about his specific complaints. (Wright says that the man has been identified as Yucaipa resident Warren Stevens.)

Wright identified himself as representing Spectrum, and Stevens raised his voice and said, “You’re part of the problem.” He poked Wright in the chest with his finger and kept escalating his voice.

Then after making verbal threats, Stevens allegedly shot a right jab to Wright’s face, punching him in the mouth. Wright staggered and moved away with his laptop computer and phone, which he was using to record the man’s answers (the phone caught the entire confrontation). Others circled Stevens and began urging him to calm down, and ushered him out of the sanctuary and into the church foyer.

You can hear a recording of the altercation at