October 9, 2014
A Life Well Lived
Regarding “William Loveless, Trend-setting Pastor, Dead at 86” (Oct. 16, 2014): As I struggle with feelings of grief while reading of the death of Bill Loveless, better memories of times in Takoma Park come pressing through, causing me to smile.
I was there during Loveless’ Sligo Church pastorate, serving as servicemen’s chaplain for the Columbia Union Conference, working with Ed Peterson, youth director for the Union. At that time Wynton Beavon was president of Columbia Union College. Bill and Wynton were blessed with gifted intellects. They were drawn together in deep friendship.
Together they came up with numerous creative ideas, one of which was to open up the college gym and pool at noon on weekdays, at no charge, to people in the community who were interested in fitness. A number of men responded, including pastors, teachers, doctors, and occasionally leaders from the nearby General Conference headquarters.
The routine included running in the gym followed by a variety of watersports, including games invented on the spot, such as deep water tag, water football, and eventually an ongoing game of water volleyball in the shallow end of the pool. Bill and Wynton were both enthusiastic participants. At Bill’s suggestion the group came to be known as the “Clean Livers Club.”
Ed Peterson and I became regulars. Busy schedules were carefully adjusted to include the Clean Livers Club. All were equals in the club. Professional titles fell away and the inner child in each of us came out to play. Joy and hilarity prevailed during the hour we shared each week.
I am a few months older than Bill. As I look back on my life, while remembering Bill’s profound sermons I take special joy in our fellowship as part of the Clean Livers Club. As maybe the only surviving member of the club, I pass on this memory in honor of Bill and in hopes that others will start a tradition in new forms.
Loveless was the band director at Takoma Academy in the mid-sixties when I was a student there. I knew I wanted to be in the band, but I didn’t play a band instrument. However, I could count, so I signed up to play the bass drum and cymbals. I’m sure my slight build caused Loveless some anxious moments whenever it was time for a loud crash of the cymbals.
Many times he would begin a song by saying to me, “Cymbals, did you have your Cheerios this morning?” Being in his band was a highlight of my high school years!
Battle Creek, Michigan
Cliff’s Edge is always a treasured point of my Review experience, but in “Brute Facts” (Oct. 16, 2014) his answer to atheists’ question about what is behind God only repeats their philosophical speculation that the universe just “is.”
I find much more satisfying the history of how God has worked in the world, and in the lives of men and women, especially in the earthly mission of Jesus Christ. Speculation and unbelief will always be with us, but we have better evidence and arguments to meet it.
Thank you for the report about the fourth NAD Camporee in Oshkosh, Wisconsin, where 44,000 Pathfinders from North America and more than 2,000 from overseas got together under the theme “Forever Faithful” (Sept. 11, 2014).
As a former Pathfinder leader for the church, I thank God for this agency, inspired by the Lord to lead juniors to Christ. It was my privilege to be in Oshkosh and work In the Youth/Pathfinder Discovery Learning Center. I’ve also attended the fourth South American Camporee in the city of Barretos, São Paulo, Brazil, in January, where 35,000 came together from all over the division.
In both camporees more than 1,000 were baptized. The evening messages made it real to the youth the lives and challenges of Daniel, Enoch, Elijah, and Moses.
We must pay homage to leaders such as John Hancock, who, even under opposition, started the first conference Pathfinder Club in Riverside, California, in 1946; or lay member Lawrence Paulson who had a Pathfinder Club in Glendale, California, with 150 club members. Hancock considered Paulson one of the greatest Pathfinder directors in our church. The General Conference approved the Pathfinder Club officially in 1950. Today we have more than 2 million Pathfinders all over the world.
We have to say thanks to the faithful leaders and staff who volunteer and give their precious time to work with these young people. Events like this make an indelible mark on the lives of our youth, and the inspiration received will help them to commit their lives to the Lord.
Camporee director Ron Whitehead summarized it well: “We really care about and value our young people.”
—Leo Ranzolin Sr.
You’ll never find a more loyal subscriber to the Adventist Review than me. I wish every member could read every single issue.
The story “What Goes Around” by Hiram Rester (Sept. 11, 2014) was a winner. Thanks for sharing it.
On the Other Hand
The article “What Do You Mean: Seventh-day Adventist?” (July 17, 2014) has plenty of truths, as well as some misleading assumptions.
Yes, we should be proud of the name, as it identifies the cardinal beliefs that set us apart. Yes, we need a bond of unity in our fundamental beliefs and hope. However, the author fails to recognize some basic problems we face in getting our message out.
The first is that we live in a pluralistic society. Pluralism is a result of affluence. People have discriminating tastes about how things are done and what atmosphere they prefer to receive nourishment. In the 1940’s and 50’s, our culture was more basic. If you wanted to go out to eat, there was a Mom and Pop’s restaurant on the corner downtown. As long as the items on the menu included something you liked, everything was fine.
In today’s affluent culture, we have refined our tastes to include the atmosphere where food is served. Some like Italian, others like peanut shells all over the floor. Some like it loud, while others prefer a cozy quiet corner with soft mood music. Some places get customers by recreating the 1950’s in décor, music, service, etc. Each place has its clientele. To say that we have to return to one restaurant and simply put more things on the menu would be to live in denial.
That is what people often do with church as nostalgia kicks in for the “good old days” when we were “one.” Atmosphere should vary from one Adventist church to another in cities where there are multiple churches. More people would respond to our message if we targeted certain people groups without compromising the fundamental beliefs we hold in common. Music, architecture, décor, and dress are the largest contributors to atmosphere. Our churches should vary in their approach to delivering the same nourishing “food.”
Paul said in 1 Corinthians 9, “To the Jews I became like a Jew. . . . To those not having the law I became like one not having the law. . . . I do all this for the sake of the gospel” (verses 20, 21, 23). I am sure Paul never changed or compromised his basic beliefs to accommodate those he was trying to reach. However, his methods varied. If Paul pastored a multi-church district, in which one of his churches consisted primarily of converted Greeks endeavoring to reach people like themselves, and another church was made up of converted Jews who had a burden for their families, I am sure those churches would look very different while teaching the same gospel.
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