When a friend sent me David Corn’s column for Mother Jones a few weeks ago, it was like getting hit with bad news I already knew. Sooner or later, someone was going to peek behind the first serious Seventh-day Adventist presidential candidate, and begin to scrutinize the Seventh-day Adventist Church.
Some time ago I was sitting in what quite possibly was the most boring church service I have ever been in. (No, I won’t tell you where I was.) There couldn’t have been more than 50 people in the sanctuary, and I’m being generous. We sang no less than 5 hymns. All hymns were sung in a dry, slow manner. The sermon seemed uninspired, barely prepared, and was presented with no sense of conviction. It felt like we were in church for three hours. We were in church for about 70 minutes.
The last General Conference meeting and presidential election in San Antonio clearly showed that, for institutional Adventism, the Bible doesn't represent a problem, because we consider Adventism as the natural extension of the Bible and the Bible as the natural source of Adventism. But that's precisely the problem! Not, paradoxically, women’s ordination, evolution or homosexuality – but the Bible itself, with the related hermeneutical question at the center.
Much ado has been made about the Mars "discovery" of liquid water. Of course, it can't be confirmed yet because of our fear of contaminating any sources of water with life from Earth. Knowing that any observed life is actually native to Mars is very important because, well... It'd be a major discovery--life on other planets!
Over the past month, the story of Kim Davis has taken up a fair amount of the news cycle. The story of the Rowan County clerk who refused to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples and spent time in jail for contempt of court dominated the headlines for more than a week. For those who study and comment on religious liberty in this country, Kim Davis seems like the perfect storm.
Through most of my ministry, the conventional wisdom, shared by people from all across the Adventist spectrum, was that we’d outgrown the union conferences. Union conferences had been established at a time when there were no telephones, no airplanes, no internet. At a time when it was believed that pastors needed bosses, who needed bosses, who needed bosses, who needed bosses at the very top—a whole chain of control.
Oliver Sacks, “In memoriam” (1933-2015)
“For this is what the LORD says: "To the “homosexuals” (eunuchs) who keep my Sabbaths, who choose what pleases me and hold fast to my covenant, to them I will give within my temple and its walls a memorial and a name better than sons and daughters; I will give them an everlasting name that will not be cut off.” Isaiah 56: 4,5.
Three of the most disturbing words to have to utter. "I don't know." We have an aversion to uncertainty and especially to admitting it to others. The advice is often given that young professionals should "fake it til you make it" and "never let them see you sweat". Essentially, even if there is uncertainty, act as if it doesn't exist.