by Becky De Oliveira— My family has a long-standing New Year’s Day tradition: We climb something. It used to be Mount Si, just outside the town of North Bend, Washington, near where both my parents grew up. When I lived in Michigan, we’d climb Tower Hill—the largest of the sand dunes at Warren Dunes State Park—and, if it happened to be a clear day, gaze at the faint skyline of Chicago on the other side of Lake Michigan. The last couple of years we’ve deviated from tradition somewhat and have simply walked rather than climbed. This New Year’s Day, my [...]
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So far Lauren Smith has created 63 blog entries.
by Becky De Oliveira— Seven months pregnant with my first child, I found myself cornered in a shopping center in Watford, England, by an elderly woman who wanted to talk. “Do you know whether it’s a girl or a boy?” the woman asked, reaching out to pat my tummy. “Boy!” I said. “At least that’s what they tell me. The sonographer said she was ninety-nine percentsure.” “I have four girls,” the woman said. She was small, stooped, with glasses on the end of her nose and big green button earrings. “Didn’t have much luck with boys. My first pregnancy was [...]
by Becky De Oliveira— A few years ago, I went out for coffee with a couple I knew from back in England. We talked about all kinds of things—generally catching up on the years we hadn’t seen each other—but one subject they were both very keen to question me about was the One project. I tried to demur—I’m uncomfortable as a spokesperson under most circumstances, and regardless of what anyone might think, Japhet (my husband and the co-founder of the One project) and I are technically two different people. I don’t usually do his talking for him and as far [...]
by Becky De Oliveira— My husband Japhet and I host a podcast called Daily Walk. It’s a pretty simple format: we read the portion of Scripture we’re focusing on for the week in one of several translations and then discuss a question related to the text. We’ve been slowly making our way through the book of Romans, and there have been some interesting discussions along the way. Romans 13 was a recent focus. This is the chapter in which Paul discusses submitting to authority. People have very different ideas about how to interpret this counsel—and these appear to correlate to how they [...]
by Megan Elmendorf— For the past six weeks or so, I have been in a near-constant “go” state—between conducting mission trips to Maui, serving as sponsor on a senior class trip, and participating in another mission trip to Kauai. There have been many ups and blessings from these trips and the preparation time preceding them, but there have also been nearly as many lows, times when my soul felt so thin that I feared it would snap. (And feared even more that it would happen in the middle of a class with students who were acting like, well, high school [...]
by Connie Vandeman Jeffery and Ray Tetz— As this most generous of all the holidays comes to us this year, we find ourselves thinking about Job. Job was a man pushed to his limits. His story is meant to help us think about life in difficult and extreme circumstances. Job’s story is one of great distress. But relevant to Thanksgiving in particular is a verse in the book of Job that seems to be as full of gratitude and hope as any in the Scriptures. “How great is God—beyond our understanding!” (Job 36:26, NIV). We love the “How great [...]
by Becky De Oliveira— Just before Christmas a few years back, as I was struggling to keep about a thousand balls in the air, my brother phoned in a panic. His company required all employees to complete eight hours of volunteer work each year. It was nearly the end of the year and he had nothing. “I need you to find some volunteer work for us,” he said. “Us?” I asked. “Funny, I didn’t realize I worked for your company.” “You have to do it with me. Obviously!” Obviously. My brother is an extrovert and a youngest child. He doesn’t [...]
by Megan Elmendorf — The universal question “Why do bad things happen to good people?” came up as I was teaching my senior religion class. It was expressed by a second generation Adventist and not (as one might expect) from one of the international students. A follow-up question was then asked by a born-again Christian, “And why do good things happen to bad people?” In response, we discussed once more the great controversy, and then the discussion turned to such biblical truths as those found in Matthew 5:44-46 and 2 Peter 3:9, homing in on the fact that the God we [...]
by Ray Tetz — Every year, October 22 marks a teachable moment for those of us who have lived in hope of something that hasn’t yet happened—and that we may have begun to doubt ever will. The day is, of course, the anniversary of what we Adventists call “The Great Disappointment.” According to their interpretation of prophecy, early Adventists were fully expecting Jesus to return on this date in 1844. To call His failure to appear as expected a “disappointment” is perhaps a grave understatement. More accurate names might be “The Great Annihilation of Hope” or “The Great Theological Mistake Big [...]
by William G. Johnsson — Sunday afternoon, delegates to the 2018 Annual Council cast their votes on the proposal to discipline “non-compliant” units of the Seventh-day Adventist Church. Despite all the words in the proposal and speeches on the floor, the real target was the ordination of women ministers, with the Pacific Union and Columbia Union in the crosshairs for punitive action. The General Conference was and remains determined to bring these two unions to heel. Look at the trajectory of the past three Annual Councils: 2016: The GC introduced a proposal focused on punishing non-compliant unions. It failed to [...]