November 01, 2010

Belated Reflections on an Editorial

I was just reading Max Torkelsen's editorial in the August 2009 issue of the GLEANER.

I sense [a] focus on the outward appearance throughout much of Adventism. It is almost as if it is more important to look good than to be good. The energy that goes into maintaining this façade is what prevents us from using the primary tool of transformation — repentance. In Jesus' stories it is the wayward son, the marginalized, and the sinners who are at the feast. And it is the hard-working sons and well-behaved religious leaders who miss out. It is a radical reversal theology that seems to have been lost on Adventist older brothers.

When our lives are in such order that we cannot think of anything for which we need to repent, how much do we appreciate God's scandalous grace?

Robert Stafford, Portland, Ore.

Anonymous Women?

I've delayed writing this for several months, but will now put my two cents' worth down. The November 2009 GLEANER contained a photograph from the Oregon Conference constituency session. The photo shows eight individuals, however only four are listed and they are all men. I can assume the women standing on the platform are their wives, but I think it's a terrible oversight to list the men only. My belief is, wives stand right alongside their husbands in Christian service and deserve recognition for being there.

Carol Ledford, Gresham, Ore.

GLEANER responds: We agree that husbands and wives stand together in service. In this instance, however, we have perhaps at least narrowly avoided the dreaded "sexist" tag. Max Torkelsen, NPUC president, is also pictured on the platform, but remains anonymous in the caption along with the wives, Beth Reimche, Eloise Gatchet, Shirley Allen and Cheri Corder.

EFT Instead of Credit for Online Giving

Our church was grateful when Adventist Giving recently introduced a second option for churches who want to offer online giving to their members. Previously, the only option was to offer the use of credit cards, debit cards or electronic funds transfer. Churches who don't want to offer a credit/debt instrument can now set their church up to offer only EFT.

When our local church board first discussed offering online giving, Adventist Giving had only one option. Our board members did not want to include credit cards as a method of returning tithes and offerings, so we voted not to go with Adventist Giving. We found other possible online options, but hadn't yet signed up with them because it would cost our church more than Adventist Giving (NAD and local conferences absorb the costs if you use their services). Also, using another company would have required considerable set-up effort.

We communicated with North American Division treasury and stewardship departments, telling them of our convictions, and requested an EFT-only option. Thankfully, they listened, and the change was made effective sometime in August. Churches may now sign on, indicating that their board has requested the EFT-only option. Our church is now using it, and it is working well.

Not only are we thankful that the EFT-only option exists, but we're grateful the NAD officers listened and changes were made as a result of grassroots efforts.

Ruth Harms, Richland, Wash.