The following has been adapted, with permission, from the blog of Sigve Tonstad (originally posted October 5, 2012). Churches of all kinds across the nation are currently engaged in a month-long "journey of prayer" for America, and Dr. Tonstad has chosen to participate in this way. We will be sharing a handful of his prayer blog posts throughout the month of October.
Where I live near the Rio Grande, ecosystems of desert, river, mountains, and urban mixes of concrete and lawn meet together—portraits of conflict, coordination, creativity and change.
Change, life’s only constant, is stirring and shaking our churches. And not just Seventh-day Adventist congregations. Denominations across the Christian faith (and perhaps also across Judaism and other religious traditions) are undergoing a more than the “normal” dose of disruption.
This guide is one of a column series that invites Adventist readers to reflect on important classics of the Christian spiritual tradition. Each guide provides a brief biography of the classic’s author, a section on historical context, a short outline of the classic under discussion, reflection and analysis, and questions for personal spiritual reflection.
Biography of Julian
One day in January my husband Peter and I drive to the top of the Sandia Mountains near our home, 10,500 feet close to sky. Albuquerque is a warm 58 degrees Fahrenheit, but 5,000 feet higher the snow is deep in and out of shadows. Our snowshoes leave claw marks on the icy, crusted path where other hikers have walked, but sink in the woods where only squirrels and other light-footed creatures scamper. It is impossible to lose Peter in the firs and spruce trees. His neon yellow snow-pants (reversible to neon pink) shine between straight trunks and thick evergreen boughs.
I belong to a secret fellowship called The Friends of Saint Thomas. We have to be a secret society because in the church—not just the Adventist Church but in the larger Christian Church—Thomas' faith is regarded as defective. Nevertheless, Thomas is our patron saint, or to be more precise, our inspiration and model.
Thomas' defect is well known: he would not believe unless he saw the evidence for himself. This putative defect was rooted in his twin virtues of loyalty and hardheadedness.