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.
As I’m teaching a Sabbath School class one day, I refer in passing to the Three Angels Message. A young woman raises her hand. “I’m embarrassed to admit this,” she says. “All my life I’ve seen three angels associated with our church. I know they have something to do with the time of the end. But I don’t know what makes them important.” Some of the oldsters in the class claimed they had at least a basic grasp of the Three Angels’ Message. Most of the younger ones admitted they were in the same boat as the questioner: they knew it was eschatological, but not what the significance was.
The Sabbath and the Second Advent of Christ are God's gifts to all humanity, not only to the SDA Church. This is the reason why SDA mission shouldn't be that of defending an exclusively ecclesiocentric interpretation of both, as this presidential address does. We should never think in terms of “possessing” these truths or maniacally trying to keep them “pure”. Otherwise, as in Matthew's eschatological parable of the talents, the SDA Church would assume the role of the hoarding and obsessive-compulsive servant rather than the open-minded faithfulness of the praised servants.
I’m not really big on Christmas. I wasn’t always that way. Some of my most precious childhood memories are centered around Christmas in our small family home in South Norwood, London. Hundreds of greeting cards were neatly hung on strings that stretched from corner to corner in the living and dining rooms. These were accompanied with colorful decorations and balloons. As we got closer to Christmas day, we would be comforted each evening with the smell of roasted sweet chestnuts and other baked treats.
I'm not sure how many witnessed Rev. Jesse Jackson patiently giving CNN's Don Lemon a lesson on the Civil Rights Movement. In his comments on the riots in Ferguson, the poorly trained journalist was trying to push a revisionist narrative about the absence of violence in the Civil Rights struggle. Thinking he was posing a “deep” question, he asked the former Director of Operation Breadbasket why today’s African-Americans were not as peaceful in their protests as the Coloreds of yesteryear.
I have been a Spectrum Blog columnist for 2 years. Through a random occurrence, I am charged with writing the post that will be featured on Thanksgiving. For the past two years, I have tried to stay away from anything contentious on this holiday. However, to put forward that front in the face of so much unrest in our society would be intellectually and emotionally dishonest.
We got everything ready. Cleaned up the church. Had all our leaders and presenters lined up. The big expense was sending out handbills to the community. Pretty, full-color brochures that announced a series of Bible lessons filled with hope and reassurance. We backed up our efforts with prayer.
The big night came. But no visitors showed up. Not one.