Monday, August 3 2020 - 11:56 AM

The Seventh-day Adventist Church in the Pacific Southwest

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Blogs About Life

Four writers and five blogs serve up an endless variety of delightful reading adventures.

A collection of five short, yet insightful blogs created to help readers face everyday life with grace, compassion and integrity is available online.

Sponsored by the Pacific Union Conference of Seventh-day Adventists, the blogs are written by Jael Amador, PhD, Rich DuBose, MA, Madeleine Lowe, BA, Karen Spruill, MA, and Pamela A. Williams, MPH, RD. All four authors are involved in the healing professions, and three of them hail from large urban areas.

Amador is a licensed psychologist in New York City, Spruill is a retired mental health counselor who writes from Orlando, Florida, and Williams is a nutrition educator from Costa Mesa, California. DuBose, a pastor and church administrator, is unique for two reasons: first, he’s the only male among the four scribes, and second, he lives in a rural hamlet in northern California.

Since 2008 when the collection was established, thousands of readers have helped themselves to its helpful content on family life, health, spiritual growth, and more. Some of the content is also available on SpiritRenew, a FREE iPhone, iPad and Android app.

Each blog resonates with the voice of its respective author. Amador and Williams bring the specialized expertise and energy of young professionals, while DuBose and Spruill write from the perspective of decades spent wrestling with issues forged at the intersection of faith and culture.  We will consider each alphabetically by blog title.

Anchor Points tops the page and represents the writings of DuBose. In addition to a penchant for bringing theological issues into clear, down-to-earth focus, DuBose is also a skilled wordsmith who distills deep lessons on the subtle turn of a word. Titles like “Wise Men from the West,” “Mad at Death” and “A Demon-Possessed Messiah” arrest the curiosity of readers and draw them in to short, captivating discussions that reveal the simplicity and beauty of eternal truths as seen through the fractured lenses of the everyday. Nowhere is that more on display than in “How to Know God,” a piece that reduces what is often considered an abstract theoretical equation to a commonsense analogy that can easily be sensed and applied in daily living.

Crossings, by Madeleine Temple Lowe, is a blog about moving life from theoretical to tangible realities. How can we bridge over to reality when we focus on spiritual truth that sometimes seem distant and removed from the real world? Madeleine’s authentic, probing thoughts

In her blog, In Between, Amador blends equal parts whimsy and spirituality. One article, “The Agitator,” asks if readers know the names of three common items: the dot over the letter “i,” the metal eraser holder at the end of a pencil, or the tiny groove running from the bottom of their noses to the tops of their lips. After naming them, Amador reveals that the large column inside a washing machine is called an agitator, and that without one a washing machine is useless. Its function is to jostle wet clothes against other clothing to dislodge dirt and grime. She adds that agitators can’t withstand the weight of a four-year-old child attempting to recreate the Magic Kingdom teacup ride, and ends with a statement that God often agitates our lives to achieve His purpose.

Life Notes, by Karen Spruill, supports her stated purpose in writing it. She observes that there is always good, solid wisdom to be discovered by wading through the mundane and ordinary. “Profound is usually smiling just below the surface of daily ritual,” she says, “waiting for those three seconds of wholehearted awareness we’re capable of. This is where God often speaks uninterrupted. And this is where I like most to listen, and on a good day, take notes.” In articles like “Show us the Father,” “Asking Why?” and “Prejudice,” Spruill opens the pages of her notes and lets readers peer into her own struggles for authentic faith and openness as a child of God. Unlike her three fellow authors, she often ends her reflections with a brief, life-application section.

In her blog, Second Thoughts blog, Pamela Williams, a nutritionist, often focuses on health topics like “Beating the Common Cold” and “Glaucoma.” Other times, however, she tackles deep spiritual lessons with jocularity and a considerable imagination. A good example is her article, “Born Again,” in which she humorously postulates how a newborn baby might describe the experience of birth had she the words: “I used to have it easy,” Williams imagines her tiny narrator saying. “I had all of the amenities a baby could have. Then when the time came, the walls of my living quarters began to shrink. The liquid drained, and suddenly I was pushed through a narrow passage.” She then zings in with an analogy: when we give our lives to God, our hearts undergo a similar transition.

Williams is transitioning to a blog titled, Beyond Words, that couple’s some of her unique photographic images with inspirational biblical passages.

Some readers may have a preference or affinity for one author over the others.  Conversely, they may find that each different viewpoint offers something valuable.

Taken together, the 240-plus articles and vignettes is something like a jar full of tasty and practical spiritual vitamins.

Or better yet, a box of delicious chocolates that are also very good for you.

James Ponder writes from Southern California.

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About James Ponder

James Ponder

writes from Southern California.

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