Clifford Goldstein brings years of Adventist writing experience to Southern students

Professor Cifford Goldstein teaches his creative writing class. Thursday, September 16, 2021.
(Photo by: Xander Ordinola)
Professor Cifford Goldstein teaches his creative writing class. Thursday, September 16, 2021. (Photo by: Xander Ordinola)

Former Liberty Magazine editor Clifford Goldstein is instructing a creative writing course this semester at Southern Adventist University. Goldstein, who currently serves as editor of the adult Sabbath School Bible Study Guide, said he has been writing and publishing for the Adventist church since the early ’80s. He has published 25 books, written a column for the Adventist Review for 25 years and has been editing the adult Sabbath School quarterly for 20 years.

“I just do a lot of writing,” Goldstein said. “… I have a lot of experience.” 

Goldstein loves writing and talking about writing, so he thought it would be interesting to teach a class, he said. He wanted a course with serious writing students, he explained further, and he enjoys interacting with students and helping them improve their writing skills. 

“You can’t teach anybody how to write,” Goldstein said. “What you can do is help them find their own voice, and you can teach them some of the mechanics, some of the principles. And then, they take it, and they’ll run with it.” 

A student in his class, junior mass communication major Madison Reinschmidt, described his class as “unique, engaging, entertaining, insightful and inspiring.” 

According to Reinschmidt, Goldstein’s class focuses on prudence and editing with great precision that fall under the ethical guidelines of journalism and research. 

Although he is teaching a course, Goldstein continues to edit the Sabbath School quarterly. His first opportunity to be an editor came shortly after he joined the church.

“I got hired in 1983,” Goldstein said. “I had only been in the church for three years.  I came from a Jewish background, but I had an amazing conversion experience. And, it just turned out that they needed people. 

“They had a little publication to reach Jewish people, and they had an old, old man who was like 84,” he continued. “And he wanted to retire, and they needed somebody to do it. They didn’t really have a budget, but they had heard about me. So they hired me in 1983. I didn’t do this for the money, but they gave me a stipend.”

Goldstein said his advice to young writers is to recognize that every writer and artist struggles no matter how much experience he or she has. 

“The nature of something like writing … it’s an art, it’s a craft,” Goldstein said. “Writing is using your judgment. Take chances. Don’t be afraid to fail. Don’t be afraid to make mistakes. But push yourself, push yourself, push yourself. And you never waste your time writing. Even if you never publish it, even if you take it and throw it in the garbage can, or delete it… it’s never a waste.”

He added, “I wanted to title [the writing course] ‘Blood, Sweat and Tears’ because sometimes it takes blood, sweat and tears to do it.”

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