Online Magazine: Edition 77
Spring (Sep-Nov) 2023
Welcome to the Seventy-seventh Edition of the Online Magazine of the Thornleigh Seventh-day Adventist Church.
- Pastor's Piece - Marvellous Creation
- Blessings, Blessed, Bless (by Neroli Josey)
- Growth Happens when Prayer Happens (by Stenoy (Steve) Stephenson)
- Suicide: Dispelling the myths (by Vania Chew)
- Book Review - Stories That Feed The Soul, by Tony Campolo
- Recipe - Mediterranean Style White Beans on Toast (by Erica Green)
- Recipe - Home Kitchen Baked Beans (by Erica Green)
- Recipe - Bircher Muesli (by Erica Green)
- Recipe - Shakshuka (by Erica Green)
Editorial - Freedom of Speech - Gay Conversion Practices
Welcome to the Spring edition of our online magazine.
The Mediterranean country of Malta was one of the first in the world to outlaw gay conversion practices. (The belief that homosexuality can be "cured" through prayer and spiritual healing)
Matthew Grech, whose case has been brought to court in Malta is facing the possibility of 5 months imprisonment for sharing his experience of no longer being gay because he found God. The allegation being that, by telling his own story on air, he is deemed to be promoting such a practice.
His case has attracted some unlikely defenders, including UK criminologist Professor Jo Phoenix of Reading University (She is an atheist and lesbian woman fighting her own free speech battle) and Peter Tatchell (Britain's most famous gay rights activist). Whilst supporting the ban on conversion therapy, and being personally offended by Matthew's comments, Jo believes that he should be entitled to have his say without prosecution. She states that, it would be wrong to ban people from sharing their own personal experiences.
Jo goes on to warn us that freedom of speech does not amount to "I can say anything that I like". You don't have the right to say anything you want without consequence (Hate speech and incitement to violence). Nor does it mean that "you can't say anything that offends". You are entitled to express what some may consider a deeply offensive view. She also reminds us that we can't just protect the beliefs that we like. The tool that we use to bind someone else can be turned very easily against us with a shift of the political wind. 
In an official statement (approved June 2010) the Seventh-day Adventist Church declares its strong support of freedom of speech in general, and freedom of religious speech, in particular, along with the concept that this freedom comes with the responsibility to be constrained by Christ's law of love in the way that it is expressed. 
I find it remarkable that people with such diverse belief systems can converge, with ostensibly the same philosophy, when it comes to the free expression of their beliefs. It is one thing to take this stance in theory, but I hope that we as Christians, can be as generous with our support of those with differing beliefs, as Jo Phoenix and Peter Tatchell have been with Matthew Grech.
The Bible tells us to be like Christ and speak the truth in love. (Ephesians 4:15). This text does not talk about exhibiting a balance between the two concepts. It talks about speaking both simultaneously. From a practical perspective, what might this admonition mean?
- May I go as far to suggest that unless our speech exhibits both truth and love that maybe we should not even open our mouths.
- Truth without love is just self-righteousness and there is no place for it in speaking truth with love.
- There is a time and a place. There are times when we should not keep quiet (Eg: situations of injustice, child abuse) and there are times when the situation is none of our business.
- There is no place for hate speech. The words that come out of our mouth should be helpful for building others up not for tearing them down. (Ephesians 4:29)
- In the dynamics of a post Christian world, the Bible admonishes us to be as wise as serpents, and as harmless as doves. (Matthew 10:16)
I am really just scratching the surface of how I feel about these concepts. So, thank you for joining me on my journey and I encourage you to think on what the concept of speaking in truth and love means for you.
In this Edition
In this edition, Pr. Andy, from personal experience, reminds us how unique and valuable every child is and how important it is to make sure that they know how significant their life is.
We are pleased to introduce to you Neroli Josey who has been kind enough to share with us her thoughts from a sermon that she recently presented at our church in which she draws for us the connections between the concepts of blessings, blessed and bless.
Steve writes on behalf of the Sydney Adventist Hospital about their recent "Day of Prayer at SAN" (24 hours Praise, Pray and Fasting), uniting the community in gratitude and faith for God's continued guidance and blessings
Suicide: Dispelling the myths - Vania Chew (Writing for Sings of the Times)
Vania Chew, writing for "The Signs of the Times", tackles the difficult subject of suicide, dispelling the myth that Christians don't-or shouldn't-have these struggles.
Tony Campolo is known as an accomplished storyteller and our resident book reviewer gives us a glimpse into a book of his short stories themed around Romans 8.
Vegetarian and Vegan Recipes - Erica Green
Our recipe column for this edition includes a selection of breakfast/brunch recipes.
Copyright © 2023 Thornleigh Seventh-day Adventist Church