The second post by Barry Bussey, associate director of Public Affairs and Religious Liberty, General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists:
One of the great things about attending an international conference is the different people you meet. For those of us who are on the extroverted side it is an absolute blast. “It is like a box of chocolates you never know what you are going to get.” I heard that somewhere before. Well it is much the same at a conference.
This conference is that way for me. Each person I have met are up to something new and different. Or it may not be different but new. Like today I met a physician from Germany and his wife who see the practice of medicine not as simply a matter of clinical work but rather as a ministry to those in need – he specialized in some cancer work and also palliative care. His philosophical approach to medicine is that he treats his patients as family. As soon as the patient comes to his clinic it is not simply a job it is a ministry. He spends time getting to know the people on a first name basis and personally cares for them as they undergo treatment. If they ultimately have to go to the palliative ward he is with them to the end. He had to excuse himself as he and his wife were off to purchase post cards for his patients back home. It is no wonder that this Christian couple are here at a conference for world peace. We could learn a lot about the Great Physician and the Great Peacemaker if we were to follow this dear Doctor around for a day or two.
Then there was the Minister from Germany who was longing for a mango – as he walked under a tree suddenly a mango fell to the ground – he was blessed. While we were talking mangoes we were introduced to a young religious professor from Ithaca State College in New York who is doing outstanding research on religion and video games. Her research is showing some very startling findings on the effects of violent games on young people today and their conditioning for war. She will be presenting tomorrow afternoon. She shared with us the manipulation that is going on and the collusion between video game makers and military establishments that are using such media for recruitment purposes. She has a new book coming out in the coming months entitled: Godwired: Religion, Ritual and Virtual Reality. Routledge Press. Media, Religion and Culture Series. You can find more about her and her work at: http://www.ithaca.edu/profiles/cv/cv_rwagner.pdf I confirmed with her that I will be at her presentation to find out more – she has piqued my interest. Given the many young people in our midst who are caught up in such activities it behooves us all to look closer into what and who is conditioning our children.
As I am taking in these seminars and plenary sessions and meeting new people I cannot but think that we as Seventh-day Adventists need to become part of the conversation for peace. Our faith tradition and our theological understanding is rich with stories and depth to contribute. I pray that we all take up the challenge to do more in the cause of peace.