How fitting, Erv Taylor’s rhapsody, even if meant as a …

Comment on Dr. Ervin Taylor: ‘A truly heroic crusade’ by wesley kime.

How fitting, Erv Taylor’s rhapsody, even if meant as a lampoon, to Sean’s heroism. Sounded more like an old Dean Martin Roast.

But if Sean is heroic, as indeed he is, and his undertaking heroic, as indeed it is, and timely, as indeed indeed it is — it’s about time! — the award presenter himself, Dr. Taylor, merits an Award for Disruption/Enlightenment on a Biblical scale, fittingly of the Bible itself, and of denominational identity. Under his inspiration, the Bible is to be seen as allegorical, not inspired. Thus Dr. Taylor stands among the heroes of Adventism, along with James White and Hiram Edson (cornfield fame), Canright and Kellogg (not of corn-flake fame). Applause-applause, as nowadays is heard bursting forth beneath the Klieg lights, from our churches, for an especially great performance.

As any gracious awardee would say, “Thank you thank you! But there are so many others who also deserve this award!” Gracious words, and true, for Taylor’s Heroes have pretty much taken over our Stalag 13, as they see it. Ceded to them are just about all SDA scholarly circles, in the bigger churches and bigger medical institutions and bigger educational centers. I know, I can attest. I’m not making this up.

I can with the authority of experience speak to and of those circles, for by fluke of profession and my scholar-admiration, those are the circles I have found myself in, for nearly fifty years. The only circles I’ve known, they enclose my best friends, really my only friends, my most admired mentors. Even if, in those circles, I was an alien, fearing to speak up, and put in my place when I did (“I feel sorry for you”).

I can but trust that outside such enclaves other kinds of Adventists do exist. Thanks again, then, to EduTruth, for opening the door to those other Adventist voices, unfamiliar to me ensconced in my higher circles, and for opening the closet, from whence I feel it is time to emerge, however sweatingly, anxiously, guardedly.

That it is that way inside our edu-ghettos, is, again (I find myself saying “again” a lot), thanks to the pioneering and untiring work of our Dr. Taylor especially. Nearly fifty years, that’s a long time. (By the way, his and my tenures started in the same little church, and are synchronous if not, in the end, tandem. I’ve seen him at work for a long time. A Lifetime Achievement award?)

Honestly, I’m a little sweaty and nervous about naming names, but, well, Dr. Taylor has – again – set precedent. Do unto others as…pretty good ethics, still.

That’s not the end of it. Another award is due, again fitting if unsought. For as Dr. Pitman says in the preface to this thread, if Dr. Taylor is the archetype of the Postmodernist Adventist (Postadventist) thought-leader, he is by the same token responsible for jarring awake and perking up another, if minority, segment of educated Adventists. I can certify such cases. Like, long ago, when Dr. Pitman was in high school and more concerned with girls than genomes, this Adventist, lulled and lethargic (once known as Laodicean), went into a Taylor seminar taking Creation and Genesis 1 for granted (Creation is true, of course, so what else is new?), and came out whacked and reeling, staggering back to Genesis 1, this time seriously. And being educated and scientific, saw evidence, and believed, this time staunchly and actively. “Thanks, Erv, I needed that,” as some old movie line goes.

And there was this other Adventist who likewise for years and years was whacked and whacked at large SDA Medical Center Sabbath Schools, of all places, as taught by a string of our PhDs. There, whew! I’ve come out of the closet. Not easy, among friends.

Now, I must muster the audacity to insert this I-was-there witness among all the other postings insisting that the evidence and documentations presented herein are all boat-rocking, insensitive, biased and baseless and base distortions and outright lies and invasions of privacy and incursions against academic freedom; and anyway so what – it’s progress, it’s freedom, it’s liberation. It’s science. (Meanwhile, over at Adventist Today…better left in ellipsis.) Well, sigh, if I felt constrained to hold my peace for all those years at Sabbath School, my own church, by the same token I shan’t here. And I’ll do it on Thanksgiving, while waiting for the feast, when nobody will notice and it’ll all soon lost to the archives. This isn’t heroism; it’s merely, at my age, anticlimax. Happy thanksgiving, all.

wesley kime Also Commented

Dr. Ervin Taylor: ‘A truly heroic crusade’

“Gratefully under the tent”? No, GRACIOUSLY under the tent, Ken, popcorn and all. Umm—good! May I have some more?

The big tent I’m talking about, of course, is this here roomy tent, this site, under our needfully single-minded but preternaturally tolerant ringmasters.

The SDA tent itself has always been really big, especially our evangelical “Effort” tents, complete with sawdust floors. I remember when I was 10 years old, and a huge tent, a real tent, sawdust and all (maybe popcorn too; I think I remember the smell), biggest one I’d ever seen, came to our town. North Hollywood, of all places. Pitched right across from the Public Library for a whole year, always with a full house eager to hear about Daniel 2, it was that big tent I was baptized in, me and maybe 50 others, further swelling the tent.

That big tent was 70 years ago. But now our tent isn’t big enough. Kleig lights in banks can’t be hung from tent poles. Not enough room for the clowns and the juggling, tumbling, dancing acts, special effects and extreme makeover crews, and Daniel 2 too. Daniel will have to go. Watch out! The seams are splitting – cra-a-a-a-k!

Dr. Ervin Taylor: ‘A truly heroic crusade’
Personally, and for the moment, I like this thread best – heroic crusaders and crusades, awarded and wannabes. So I shall indulge (pending editorial indulgence) an essay.

This thread is not just a thread but a fabric, not always of the most skillfully extruded acrylic, sometimes twisted, but all the more priceless the garment: see-through and teasing like a peignoir, yet heavy, scratchy wool suitable for field uniforms in a civil war (such as we are in – duck! Where’s the closest bomb shelter!), yet satiny and elegant enough for academic robes.

Personally, and to offer my unsought but master-class critique, I think any blog, regardless of it’s domain, whether secular or religious, is successful to the degree that it tolerates jaw-droppingly divergent and even hostile opinions. Thus, this one is a howling success. It must be a texture of styles from heavy-handed to delicate, from in-your-face to nuanced, from charming to grungy edgy; evocative of reasoned unrushed responses and provocative of the blurted usually regretted kind — xo@X!-you-called-me-a-lier-let-me-at-my-keyboard-whack!-let-him-have-it! And of moods, from serious to light, from dread of the cosmic to flipping it off, to shrinking from it; and protocols, from obsession with fact and detail to untethered metaphor and bravura brush strokes; from the deadly prosaic to the dreamily poetic. A tent big enough for all.

But hopefully not over-crowded with allegory. Our church is overdosed on that stuff right now, choking on it. If once we were overdosed on proof texts, now we’re overdosed, almost fatally, on allegory. If my generation was too legalistic, this new one is too liberated.

I further venture – “I submit,” as we say in committee – that the two awarded and archetypal heroes herein, Dr.s Pitman and Taylor, are especially and exceptionally intelligent and educated and well-read; both give a plethora of discursive detail, equally relevant, equally authoritative, equally credible, being mostly from the same sources. I don’t see Irked Erv offering the better. In accordance with his allegorical take on issues, it may be said that Erv’s presentations are not a flood of Noachian proportions flooding the debating floor, but patchy, not global, cloudbursts, heavy to be sure, but survivable. As to style – maybe what fascinates me most, and where I lose credibility – while both are even-toned and certifiably formal, both bang the table, but somehow Evo Erv reminds me of Khrushchev and his shoe. Erv, the old pro at it, seems just slightly more rattled. And I add, as my amen but not as benediction against feedback — rightly so.

Popcorn, anyone? Ken and I will share with you. His is buttered, mine salted.

Dr. Ervin Taylor: ‘A truly heroic crusade’
@ken: @ken: (re. yours to me of Dec 11):

Ken, You’ll rescue us yet, if you’re the Moderator of our latest Big Genesis 1 Debate. So now my own Quixotic-Heroic Crusade is to promote your candidacy. Listen, everybody: Ken’s just the right man for it, the most qualified.

Once the very idea of Adventists debating Adventists over Genesis 1 simply would not have occurred to anybody. Now it’s impossible for even Adventists not to debate Genesis 1, again, (plus why we are even debating it), for as a class our most educated, self-styled “thought leaders” [sic] (as opposed to church leaders, hopefully) doubt Genesis 1. Basically, generically; historically from pre-antiquity on; by etymological, technical, academic, by any definition, to doubt is to agnosticize. If we now have theistic evolutionists, we have theistic agnostics. I’ll call them vegetarian agnostics. So who better to moderate than a professional, full, real, unbiased, not-on-our-payroll agnostic?

But seriously, Ken, I’m taking up your time with whimsy when you could be talking to Inge. What a lovely exchange you’re having, your freest, most useful, serious one yet, I think. I’m following it eagerly, right now to see how you respond to Inge’s referring to you as a postmodernist. But isn’t Postmodernism the best domain name yet, in the whole WWW of agnosticism? Seriously.

Here, my friend, have some popcorn.

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