Recently a friend (who, like me, grew up in an extremely Seventh-day Adventist family) and I were talking about the legalization of marijuana in Washington State, where both of us have lived. Something that was presented to us as instantly life-destroying can now be purchased in a store! The way our parents and teachers had taught us, marijuana wasn’t just something to avoid, but something that if used once would destroy you forever.
To point out instances where we human beings don’t practice consistent values is easy. Things that should be important aren’t, and things that aren’t important get elevated to the status of “central to life”.
Los acontecimientos que han tenido lugar en la reunión del Concilio Anual como reacción a que varias uniones hayan dado inicio a la ordenación de la mujer, no deberían sorprender a nadie. Las organizaciones jerárquicas siempre se aseguran de que la cúspide de la jerarquía tenga la última palabra. Pero eso es normal, y no entiendo por qué algunos esperaban otra cosa.
On the day the Waco standoff came to a climax, I was on my way to a class with a dozen other pastors of various denominations for my doctoral program at the San Francisco Theological Seminary. Naturally, everyone was talking about it when I arrived. I remember the teacher turning to me as I walked in and saying, “Loren can tell us about these Waco people. They’re Seventh-day Adventists.”
The events at the recent Annual Council meeting in response to a few unions initiating women’s ordination shouldn’t have surprised anyone. Hierarchical organizations will always make sure the top of the hierarchy gets the last word. But that’s normal, and I’m not sure why anyone would have expected anything else. Neither should we be surprised at the steady magnetic draw that these leaders feel toward the least adventurous option, nor their reluctance to trust fully a democratic system. We must expect that, too.
A few months back I wrote here, as evidence of the dynamic nature of Adventist theology, of the apparent disappearance from our teachings of Turkey as the country represented by Daniel 11’s King of the North.
Not long ago my brother sent me a link to a site about abandoned places in North Dakota. The abandoned place we were interested in was Sheyenne River Academy, the Seventh-day Adventist boarding school where I and thousands of other midwestern Adventist teens got our diplomas. The background story is that after 3/4 of a century of operation, the old campus several miles outside Harvey was run down. Though it was in the center of the state, it wasn’t in the center of Adventist population.
With a couple of union conferences gathering for special constituency meetings (which are expensive, and not convened lightly) to discuss and vote on women’s ordination, there is an electric anticipation in the Adventist air right now. We may be on the verge of realizing a long-anticipated goal.
I hope, like many of you, that these constituents vote to ordain women pastors. But there’s something that could happen that might be almost as bad as losing the vote. It would be to win the vote, but not achieve what we won it for.