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.
Lately I have been fascinated by questions about Christianity that are foundational but that very few ever seem to address in any substantive manner. When these questions do get discussed I generally find that we talk about them in ways that are not helpful to people that have just discovered faith in Jesus, and they reinforce misguided ideas amongst those of us who have been in the faith for a long time. Many Evangelical Protestants (including Adventism) consider themselves people of the book. The cry since the Reformation has been sola scriptura!
When I was about 12 years old I accompanied my mother one evening to midweek prayer meeting—a rarity in our church, since farm people don’t generally come out to evening meetings because of chores—but our pastor was conscientious and determined to try. There were only six of us there, all women, and me. We each received a copy of a newly-released book called Preparation for the Final Crisis, with Pacific Press book editor Fernando Chaij’s name on the cover.
Fast-moving political events have altered the script for President Obama’s nationally televised speech about Syria. He is now in a position of having to argue for both war and diplomacy in the same address. This speech on international Politics becomes this way an additional event in an unpredictable process that has shifted repeatedly over the past two weeks. No one appears in control of anything in an embrangled political situation. But while the U.S.A.
I am often asked why a person born in England to Caribbean parents has such a deep interest in African-American affairs. Those who pose this question demonstrate their ignorance of Black history. Although my immediate ancestors hail from the Caribbean, their presence on this side of the world is due to a complex capitalist endeavor where millions of Africans were ripped from their families and forced to fatten the coffers of their European overlords.
Recently I have been thinking about some of the most basic questions about Christianity that we often gloss over. For example, “What does it mean to be like Jesus?” We talk about this a lot, and rightly so. As disciples of Christ, it is of the most important questions that we should answer. For over 20 years the questioning phrase “What Would Jesus Do?” has been used and overused in Christian circles. But what does it really mean to be like Jesus?
You have heard by now that the committee set up to merge Pacific Press and Review & Herald has decided not to. In the short term this is good news for employees of both organizations. Undoubtedly such a combination would have meant lost jobs, moves, and (the committee must have thought) difficulties that outweighed efficiencies.
I hope it is also good news for the work of God, although I’m unqualified to evaluate that. I know as little as the rest of you about the economics of publishing, although I can make some observations.
The way this title articulates the question on Creation evidences an apparently ungenerous doubt toward Adventism. Adventism has been, in contemporary religious history, the community that may have, more intensively and creatively than others, called back the attention, by theological perspective as much as by religious practice (see for instance the Adventist protological, soteriological, eschatological, anthropological or ethical reflection on the Sabbath), toward Creation as a key point in theological construction.
I wonder how many people believed President Clinton when he looked into the camera and with a steeled face and a semblance of righteous indignation declared to the American people, “I did not have sexual relations with that woman.” Just in case people did not know “which” of his accusers he was referencing, he was clear to specify “Miss Lewinsky.” Or maybe he didn’t really intend to be specific—there are thousands of “Miss Lewinskys” out there who never even knew him. I’m surprised he never used this line of logic when being questioned by the grand jury.
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.
It still surprises me when reading history to be reminded that communist theory permeated the intellectual and literary world in the first half of the 20th century. It’s difficult at this distance to understand why a system that was known even then to be failing spectacularly in practice continued to find adherents to its theory among the intellectual elite of Europe and America well into the 1960’s—among people who lived in anything but egalitarian solidarity with the workers. A quartet of writers—Stephen Spender, W.H.
Three somehow unexpected related events, occurred the last days of June, push and give us, as Adventist community, the opportunity to make a pause, to think and to reflect on a particular topic. God doesn’t speak only through the Holy Bible. He does speak as well through the events we daily live together with people who may be don’t believe and he also does through the new awareness these events provoke in us as individuals and as a Christian church.
Argentinean born psychiatrist and philosopher Miguel Benasayag, now living and working in Paris, published, few years ago, a little book (“Les passions tristes: Souffrance psychique et crise sociale”) on what could be called “cultural sadness”. Picking up and applying Spinoza’s category of “sad passions” he describes the diffuse psychological pessimism, particularly present today in European young people, but tries to read it on a socio-cultural level.
This year, the prestigious Morehouse College was among the fortunate few to be afforded the privilege of having a sitting president deliver the graduation address. Thousands sat reverently in the open arena as the stubborn drizzle soaked their newly acquired garments. The gray skies and persistent precipitation were not enough to damp the spirits of the graduates and celebrants who were transfixed on the one whose presence transformed a routine event into an unforgettable moment.
Comments on this website frequently involve traditionalist and non-traditionalist Adventists sparring in disagreement over various topics Adventisty. And, on occasion, I’ve noticed a few conservative commenters asking their more liberal counterparts – those who are church members – why they remain Adventists at all? It seems to these enquirers that the views expressed by those liberals are sufficiently heterodox that they have effectively ceased to be SDA. And, if so, why remain members?
In the sports world over the last month, one of the biggest stories in the world of sports was NBA center Jason Collins coming out of the closet and revealing that he is gay. As I reflect on his revelation, and some of the criticism he received, I am reminded of the beginning of the Adventist Church. The SDA Church began as an outgrowth of what is now called The Great Disappointment.