Columns

Why Don’t You Just Leave?

Comments on this website frequently involve traditionalist and non-traditionalist[1] 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?  

Some examples:

The Great Disappointment

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.

The Church is a Big Fat Business

When I was just a child

My life was, oh, so simple

And the ways of the great world

Seemed strange and funny.

Then when I was a young man

I learned of that machine

That turns out all those bales of precious money.

—James Taylor, “Money Machine”

Is the "Good Shepherd" Necessarily a "Good God"?

Everything can be an object of theological trial and theological assessment except God. God is, by definition and after a widespread religious understanding, beyond any rational experimental attempt. Everybody who breaks this basic religious rule would immediately incur in a kind of unforgivable theological temerity, into a rough religious insolence and finally into pure blasphemy. Yet, seen from another perspective, trying to think God is the first task of any theology and of any healthy religious experience.

Saving Face

In the spring of 2005, my attention was curiously piqued by two major train wrecks in Asia. The first occurred during rush-hour in Tokyo on Monday, April 25, when an intercity train derailed with such force that it became embedded in the ground floor garage of an apartment complex. Investigators concluded that the crash occurred when the driver attempted to manoeuver a curve at 100km/h at a point on the track when the maximum speed was 70km/h.

The Knight of Faith

170 years ago, Soren Kierkegaard wrote Fear and Trembling. Ten years ago, I read it for the first time and it changed my life. In it Kierkegaard outlines principles for living the life of faith by looking at Abraham, who he deems the knight of faith. Kierkegaard identifies five requirements to be a knight of faith. I do not consider these requirements to be hard and fast rules (in fact I will challenge at least one of them), but I do think that these are good things to think about if we are going to live a life of faith.

The Trouble with Famous Adventists

I suspect you’ve participated in this game, especially if you grew up in the Seventh-day Adventist church, for it’s a favorite of Adventist adolescents. It’s the “what famous person used to be a Seventh-day Adventist?” game.

Is the "Theology of Liberation" Only for Latin-Americans?

This year occurs the 40th anniversary of Gustavo Gutierrez’s English edition ofTeologia de la liberacion. Perspectivas (“A Theology of Liberation: History, Politics and Salvation, 1973).Although the “Theology of Liberation” has grown into an international and inter-denominational movement, it began as such within the Catholic Church in Latin-America in the 1960s–1970s. The term, coined in 1971 by Gutierrez himself and in dialogue with L. Boff, J. Sobrino, O. Romero, J.L.

“Marriage Equality” and other Terms in the “Newspeak” Lexicon

George Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty-Four encompasses powerful social commentary that eerily portrays the reality of contemporary American society. The invisible Big Brother makes his presence felt through the totalitarian Party that is committed to the enforcement of mind control and is quick to criminalize independent thinkers for their thoughtcrimes. In the modern American context, Big Brother’s Party enjoys the support of both donkey and elephant and feels equally at home in a red or blue environment.

What We Learned in Court This Week

Over the last couple of days many around the country have been focused on the arguments on the constitutionality of Proposition 8 (Prop 8) and the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), taking place in the Supreme Court. It doesn’t make sense in this forum to give a summary or even a major analysis. There are good analyses out there. (I found Mother Jones and SCOTUSblog helpful), but there are some things that I want to highlight in reference to the arguments we have seen this week.





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Sat, 02/07/2015 | San Diego Adventist Forum
Richard Rice, PhD, Professor of Theological Studies, Loma Linda University

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