Journaling GC: Part Two

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Sabbath at the Georgia Dome was a big deal last week. I could barely move through the crush of people on the sidewalks outside. But over at FUSION Church, the tone was more intimate. Several months ago I posted an interview with FUSION Church plant pastor Chris Bullock here at the Spectrum website. So I was delighted when I learned that the IMPACT crowd planned to visit Chris’ church on Sabbath morning.

FUSION rents out the DeFoor Center each weekend, a unique local art gallery with a rounded wood ceiling and curvy walls. Outfitted with rich oil paintings and suspended orange lanterns, the space made me feel spiritually creative, drawn to reverence. It so rarely happens that all the senses are engaged during our low-Protestant worship services, and I relished my initial moments at FUSION Church.

The music was nicely done, but it was the sermon and communion service that spoke to me most deeply. Preaching from Matthew 8:18-22/Luke 9:57-62 out of the lectionary, Chris wrestled honestly and vulnerably with what it means to live fully committed Christian lives on a human terrain filled with disappointment and mediocrity. Because of the incarnation, he said, “The glory of God is in the ordinary.” We closed with communion, remembering that Christ himself inferred on ordinary emblems extraordinary meaning—a reflection of what our Christian lives can be. FUSION Church celebrates the Lord’s Supper on a monthly basis, a pattern I long to see replicated in other Adventist Churches (perhaps we could even share the supper weekly?) And rather than having the bread and juice distributed in an outward fashion, we were invited forward to receive.

Yes, Sabbath was a good tonic after the week’s work at GC. We at Spectrum put our writing aside and fellowshipped together, meeting friends and talking at length with one another about the implications of Friday’s presidential election.

Except for a few hours on Sabbath afternoon. At 3:00 I set off for the ADRA room to receive instructions so I could help with “End It Now,” a global campaign sponsored jointly by ADRA and the General Conference Women’s Ministries Department to raise our collective Adventist voice against violence directed at women and girls.

The campaign was introduced on stage, with newly elected GC president Ted Wilson publically signing one of ADRA’s giant "End it Now" banners. Immediately after we collected signatures in the hallways and explained the campaign to as many people as possible. I found myself in a rather embarrassing situation when in my eagerness I urged the wife of ADRA president Charles Sandefur to contribute her signature to the petition. “Oh yes, I can support this,” she said, beaming. Hopefully next time I’ll be better at facial recognition.

Today IMPACT began a two-part “Discipleship Adventure” under the leadership of Laurence Burn (International Field Director for Adventist Frontier Missions) and Yami Bazan (Vice President for Student Life at La Sierra University)—an event that was of particular interest to me given the scope of this particular column at Spectrum. Burn and Bazan spent most of the morning discussing what discipleship means and how one becomes a disciple of Christ, though special instruction was given to a form of Bible reading/journaling that reflected aspects of the classical Lectio Devina model. Burn lead us through an exercise in reading Matthew 28’s great commission (which became the theme for our morning), followed by observation and listening to the specific words of the text, personal application and prayer. Speaking later on the value of quietude, Burn reminded us of the oft’ quoted observation by Ellen White that, “The Silence of the soul makes more distinct the voice of God.”

Silence is not a copious gift of GC, but occasionally one can catch glimpses of it.

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Sat, 09/13/2014 | San Diego Adventist Forum
Terrie Dopp Aamodt, PhD

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