Columns

Covenant

December 18, 2015 / Steve Vistaunet

When the Creator stepped over the edge of space into our little world, He initiated a rescue operation. In the clutches of fate, we needed a covenant of faith.

This divine Christmas overture is an example of covenants so critical to our world and our church. Sir Jonathan Sacks illustrated this at a conference several years ago.

Belong

November 07, 2015 / Steve Vistaunet

The bell rings, books slam shut, doors burst open and a flood of little feet hit the pavement. It’s recess time.

I remember it well — a release from boredom, the outdoor exuberance, team sports and the sheer joy of running. There on the ball field, long before ABC’s Wide World of Sports made it popular, we experienced the thrill of victory and agony of defeat.

Antibiotics

October 10, 2015 / Steve Vistaunet

Moderation in all things sounds like a reasonable goal to me. Give me a plate full of eggplant or okra, and I’ll follow that advice to a fault. But I’m liable to renege when brought face to face with my pet weaknesses. Slide a block of cheddar cheese or a scoop or three of dark chocolate ice cream in front of my face and watch me struggle. 

Little

September 22, 2015 / Steve Vistaunet

We like big things. Big names, big paychecks, big promises. But the little things, often overlooked, are really what matter.

A scant week before I was to leave for this summer’s General Conference Session in San Antonio, I tried place kicking the laundry room door. I did so neither on purpose nor with any semblance of accuracy. Only my little toe met the mark, and therein lay the problem.

Fermata

July 24, 2015 / Steve Vistaunet

“The right word may be effective, but no word was ever as effective as a rightly timed pause.” — Mark Twain

Since my earliest days, music has gone straight to my heart. Operatic tenors and Scandinavian polkas, symphonies and synthesizers are thoroughly blended there with the decades-old Sabbath sounds of Del Delker, King’s Heralds and Take Three.

Best

June 12, 2015 / Steve Vistaunet

Imagine if you will a portrait of Paradise, with a white cottage in the midst of a green garden. A young boy plays outside in the sunshine. He is wearing pajamas.

Noise

May 23, 2015 / Steve Vistaunet

The long drive was over. At a verdant campsite by the rushing water of central Oregon’s McKenzie River we pitched our tent, unfolded the camp stove and chairs, and prepared to enjoy a couple days of wilderness bliss.

Response

April 23, 2015 / Steve Vistaunet

During a warm snap back in February, I had a talk with a of clump daffodils stubbornly pushing up through the dirt in our front yard. “What are you doing?” I exclaimed. “It’s the middle of winter. You shouldn’t be up yet.” 

“What do you know,” their spokesflower retorted. “You’ve never been a flower.”

“Touché,” I replied. “But I know what happens every year. You guys come shooting up only to get bitten off again by freezing weather. You’ve got two months until spring! Save your energy for later.”

“No worries,” came the response. “We’re good.”

Tribes

March 26, 2015 / Steve Vistaunet

I was more than shocked. I was grieved. But I shouldn’t have been surprised. There on Facebook was a forwarded post from a church member that featured a racially charged message about our nation’s president. The words were biased, bigoted, disrespectful and patently untrue.

Regardless of your political persuasion, respect is a glue that holds the thin veneer of society and, yes, even our churches, together. No true community, no resolution of conflict, no lasting agreement, can survive without it.

Community

February 26, 2015 / Steve Vistaunet

I remember it all so well: the smells, the sounds, the anticipation.

Once upon a time, hard though it may be for some to imagine, salt-of-the-earth Adventists occasionally gathered in dark, cavernous rooms to watch movies. In those halcyon days, we took Ellen White’s cautions about theaters to heart. Instead of sneaking downtown, we organized our own entertainment in a sanitized if not sanctified location — the local church school gymnasium.