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Bravus

A Sneak Peak at Forthcoming Papers from Ronald Lawson

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Bravus

There was a post here a while ago mentioning the web site operated by Professor Ronald Lawson, an Adventist historian and sociologist who spent many years at the City University of New York. He takes a keen interest in the history and future of Adventism, and conducted a large study including more than 3000 interviews with Adventists all around the world.

The web site is at http://RonaldLawson.net and is a place to share both academic papers and less formal discussion pieces from Professor Lawson's long career studying Adventism. A number of people have helped him with the site, and recently I've been helping out with converting the papers into an appropriate form for the web site.

The uploads are themed, month by month. For January, the theme was comparisons between Seventh-day Adventists, Mormons (The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints) and Jehovah's Witnesses. These three movements all arose in 19th century America, and have taken quite different trajectories nationally and internationally in a number of ways. It's a fascinating series and those papers have all been published on the site.

My insider knowledge allows me to preview the future a little bit - I'm sure Professor Lawson won't mind, since his main goal is to share his work and spark conversations.

For February, the focus is on the ways in which Seventh-day Adventism and Seventh-day Adventists have interacted with the state in the United States. There are a range of issues, including military service, Sabbath worship (and Sunday work) and union membership that had the potential to lead to conflict, and the church also sued or was sued by various people around things like protecting the 'brand' and discrimination in the workplace. Adventism's role in defending religious freedom for others as well as themselves is also discussed.

And in March, the focus moves to the ways in which the church has dealt, or failed to deal, with its homosexual members.

I've been finding the papers fascinating as I've been preparing them, and I think all Adventists will learn useful things from reading some of this work in their areas of interest.

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Bravus

Pleasant surprise to see the name of our very own Tom Wetmore pop up in one of the papers.

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phkrause

Well that was interesting to see Tom's name, but it seemed almost as an interjection! 😁

The only thing I really agreed with, is the church should not be taking SDAs to court, but than that could all depend??

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The Wanderer
1 hour ago, phkrause said:

Well that was interesting to see Tom's name, but it seemed almost as an interjection! 😁

The only thing I really agreed with, is the church should not be taking SDAs to court, but than that could all depend??

Well, seems like a lot of fanfare surrounding the use of the word "academic" in referring to all these "papers." Not sure thats the word I would use.

On 3/13/2019 at 5:42 PM, Bravus said:

Hi All

One of the moments I teased has arrived: here's the paper that mentions Tom: http://ronaldlawson.net/2019/03/11/when-the-general-conference-sued-sda-kinship-kinship-goes-to-trial/

I wonder if there will be any "academic" papers on "the other side's" opinion and experience?

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phkrause
20 hours ago, The Wanderer said:

Well, seems like a lot of fanfare surrounding the use of the word "academic" in referring to all these "papers." Not sure thats the word I would use.

I wonder if there will be any "academic" papers on "the other side's" opinion and experience?

It also seems he's more defensive than anything else??

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The Wanderer
1 hour ago, phkrause said:

It also seems he's more defensive than anything else??

Yes, I would agree, the "author" is obviously on the take for a "cause."

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Bravus

Ronald Lawson is a gay Adventist who has nonetheless been a very active Adventist all his life (he's in his late 70s now).

He loves the SDA church and the gospel, and has studied the church extensively.

Some of the pieces are academic papers, published in peer reviewed journals (some recently, some as long ago as the 80s), which he is re-sharing here because the journals often charge for access.

Others are short opinion pieces, summaries or letters, originally prepared for presentation at conferences or meetings.

It should be very clear which are which: after the first paragraph of each piece there is usually a couple of lines in a different font outlining its origins. (At least, this is the case since I took over webmaster duties in November.)

Ron is not 'fighting' for a particular 'side'. He is seeking to accurately portray the church he loves. Yes, as Cromwell purportedly insisted, an accurate portrait includes 'warts and all'. It's not an airbrushed cover of Vogue.

There are plenty of other sites on the web with other perspectives on Adventism, and I'm sure you know them. The kind of false equivalence that claims both/all 'sides' must be represented on any site doesn't make sense in the real world... and the very conservative sites certainly are not painstaking to represent all views.

Feel free to read or not read: the papers are shared for those to whom they are useful or interesting. If they are neither for you, then they are not *for* you.

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Bravus

As for being 'on the take': do you see any advertising on the site? It's not monetized and there's nothing to take. Ron is retired, and I put in a couple of hours every few weeks to format and upload the papers because I find them interesting. It's not anything that serves me in my career or in any other way. It's purely a 'we think this has some value, if you think so too then please have it freely'.

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Gregory Matthews

I have a great deal of respect for Dr Lawson whom I have followed for years.  He has literaly fought a good fight to stay in Adventism.  I consider the papers he has written on Adventism to be of value even when subject to criticism.  As I do not always agree with everything that he has written.  On occasion I have thought that he has not had the depth of research that was needed.  But on other times I have been thankfull that he has gone well beyond what had previously been done.

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The Wanderer
4 hours ago, Bravus said:

Ronald Lawson is a gay Adventist who has nonetheless been a very active Adventist all his life (he's in his late 70s now).

He loves the SDA church and the gospel, and has studied the church extensively.

I didnt know any of this, nor is it really important in terms of what I am talking about. I was strictly commenting on the papers themselves. Yes, it is very obvious of what calibre they are. I dont see any "academia" in anecdotal criticisms. I am hearing people say they "have value," well what on earth does that mean? I have papers on my desk too. They are also "of value."

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The Wanderer
5 hours ago, Bravus said:

There are plenty of other sites on the web with other perspectives on Adventism, and I'm sure you know them. The kind of false equivalence that claims both/all 'sides' must be represented on any site doesn't make sense in the real world... and the very conservative sites certainly are not painstaking to represent all views.

You know, I actually dont question this kind of stuff when you say it. I am still at a loss as to how one could call these "academic." If these were called something like a journal or a Biography, that would have been more like it.

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The Wanderer
5 hours ago, Bravus said:

As for being 'on the take': do you see any advertising on the site? It's not monetized and there's nothing to take.

I forgot, you are not from Canada but sometimes here, we use "on the take" as meaning supporting some cause. Doesnt have to be financial. It seems apparent from what I have read that there is an axe to grind. And thats not wrong. Im just saying I dont see anything "academic" going on here; inspite of the impressive degrees and education. It reads more like a journal

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The Wanderer
5 hours ago, Bravus said:

Ron is not 'fighting' for a particular 'side'. He is seeking to accurately portray the church he loves. Yes, as Cromwell purportedly insisted, an accurate portrait includes 'warts and all'. It's not an airbrushed cover of Vogue.

As I said earlier "accurate" would mean more than one sided.

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Bravus

In this context, 'academic' simply means that they (some of them, as I noted) have been published in peer reviewed academic journals. That means that at least two reviewers plus an editor, who are experts in that particular field (in this case, sociology of religion) have judged that the papers meet the academic standards of that discipline. Peer review doesn't even mean the reviewers agree with the conclusions of the paper, only that the paper has been written clearly and carefully and the evidence adduced to support the knowledge claims is appropriate and has been collected appropriately.

Hope that's helpful. You're completely entitled to disagree with the conclusions in the papers, or indeed, to disagree that they are 'academic'. But if the term means anything in relation to published papers, peer review is what it means.

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The Wanderer

For me; its not a matter of "agreement" or "disagreement" with the content. Its just a matter of being disappointed that it seems like a one-sided beef with the church, and hearing it called "academic" doesnt sit right, regardless of agreement or not. But thanks for the clarification, that does help. It just doesnt seem very "academic." If the term "academic" is used in any ways to lend "crediblity" to the document, Id certainly question that. And I did download the pdf document linked to. The charges that are made in that document, are not "academic" by any stretch. Simply an opinion piece.

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Bravus

Yep, that's one of the ones that is just a note, not a published paper. There are a range of things posted, but the majority are published papers. There are, I believe, about 55 papers in total to be shared, and we're about halfway through that process now.

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phkrause
13 hours ago, Bravus said:

Ronald Lawson is a gay Adventist who has nonetheless been a very active Adventist all his life (he's in his late 70s now).

I didn't know that, but kinda got that from some of the articles I've read!!

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The Wanderer
1 hour ago, Bravus said:

Yep, that's one of the ones that is just a note, not a published paper. There are a range of things posted, but the majority are published papers. There are, I believe, about 55 papers in total to be shared, and we're about halfway through that process now.

well; I think I can see why he is writing these papers, and if I have learned anything its that we have to go with whatever a person says their story is. Its pointless to argue about what a person honestly thinks their experience is, and what it means. So I can see clear enough to do that. I have to wonder; and I say this very sincerely, if he is actually helping his cause with these  "papers?" It seems like he may be working against himself and the people he wants to help?

One thing I can definitely accept and understand is that it would be really tough to walk in his shoes. "Church" is NOT kind to people who do not "conform," and yet the very gospel we preach keeps talking about being "transformed."  And I am not saying that I have been "transformed" but I think EVERYONE on the forum can agree I certainly do not "conform." lol

I have been seeing the "transformation" in individual people but not really in the Church as a whole. Non-Conformists, (for lack on my part of a better word) will always be the friend of the state but an enemy of the church. And all this time I thought it was supposed to be the other way around.

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The Wanderer
9 hours ago, The Wanderer said:

I am hearing people say they "have value," well what on earth does that mean?

I think I just answered my own question in the above post! :)

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