Several weeks ago my wife and I attended The One Project (T1P) event, in San Diego. It was my first time and, among other things, it was an opportunity to gain a first-hand opinion. I am aware, being on the Spectrum web team, that there is controversy about T1P in some people’s minds. But I hadn’t done any sort of deep dive into the various complaints. I also got the assignment to report on Day 2 for the website, which interested readers can find here.
Read the report from the first day of the San Diego One Project gathering here.
Monday morning at the One Project in San Diego, session speakers concluded the sequential examination of Jesus' "Manifesto on the Mount." There were four presentations (Reflections) in all, with two half-hour discussions around the attendees' tables (Recalibrations) – after every two Reflections.
Life is complicated and we cannot handle too much – especially complexity that is not essential in our day-to-day activities. Thus we quickly and often subconsciously search for the minimum complexity necessary to navigate daily life so we are not paralyzed in decision making. In so doing, we remember and catalogue past evaluations so we don’t have to repeat the laborious process each time we encounter sufficiently similar situations.
When I was eight, sitting in church during the sermon one Sabbath, I had an epiphany (although at the time I spelled it “Wow”). I looked up from my etch-a-sketch (early prototype for the iPad) and realized that our pastor was doing exactly what I always wanted to do. Be standing in front of a group of people who had been willing to get out of bed on the weekend and travel for miles just to sit on hard benches and listen to him talk! It was just plain wonderful, and I wanted in on the action.
I read somewhere that about 8/9 of an iceberg is below the surface. That, I guess, is what makes it so potentially dangerous for ships at sea. I find this iceberg image to be a fitting metaphor for so much of what underlies human choice. Our actions and reactions, the conclusions we draw from a situation, the words we choose to speak – are consequences driven from a complex mixture of the immediate situation and our prior experiences. We are not WYSIWYG (What You See Is What You Get) creatures. Much is hidden below the acts or words.
There is a lot of argumentation in the religious arena. I don’t mean heated shouting matches, although I suppose that happens too. I mean debate-style dialogs where one party states a position and provides support followed by the disagreeing party attempting rebuttal. Then, like innings in a baseball game, the roles reverse until resolution or some arbitrary limit is reached. There is certainly nothing wrong with this process. True religion is not all sermons and prayer meetings. Paul wrote “Let every man be fully persuaded in his own mind” (Rom. 14:5 KJV).
I’ve been an Adventist most of my life and the years are adding up. In that lengthy exposure to the SDA subculture there are many things I like and many I don’t. One of the least attractive has been those church members who seem to have an excessive need to be right. Whether it is in Sabbath School, hallway conversation or online, some Adventists exhibit a low tolerance for what they see as aberrant viewpoints. Often, in my experience, the pushback occurs toward someone who is expressing some sort of “new” idea.
I recently watched the French film L’Equipier. It tells the story of a young man who, in 1963, arrives on the small island of Ouessant, off the coast of Brittany, a province in western France. He is newly hired by the Maritime Commission to work on a lighthouse offshore. It is staffed in 24/7 rotation by a small team of light keepers, all locals.
Several months back a website commenter asked: “why do the "non-traditionalists" think the church should exist. … those calling for change in our beliefs should at least have a clear idea of why the church should exist. If one doesn't know why an institution should even exist, it's hard to take them seriously on how it ought to be changed.” I suppose I would be classified by many readers here as a “non-traditionalist” but I don’t, of course, speak for anyone but myself.