Frisson Spotlight (1.7) The old categories of right/left in Adventism are over

Published:
September 5, 2006

This is part seven of the conversation with Timothy Puko. To read them in sequence, click here. ____________________________________________________
Mr. Puko,
I hope that your Sunday will treat you well. Just read a good Slate article on the origin of the Sunday brunch, apparently it started around your old Upper West Side 'hood.
Well, now back to your cheery post from yesterday . . .this
conversation along with my reading and conversations of late and
attending this Global Internet Evangelism Network forum confirms a
growing suspicion: The old categories of right/left in Adventism are over.
I'd
say that the any definitions that persist come between those who see
and talk about coming changes and those who don't. And I'm not talking
primarily about doctrine. Traditionally that has been the largest
conflict point, but your report on Costa Rica shows that there are
struggles over other things. Yesterday I received two emails - sparked
by your article - about the conference/mission shift in other parts of
the developing world.
Online communication is radically shifting the power bases
within the church. Last night I sat through a very impressive
demo/sales talk by the sharp folks at NetAdventist
. In two oversimplified sentences: in the very near future - a couple
of years - every local Adventist church will have its own completely
integrated web hub. Paying tithe, church directory, prayer requests,
watching and reading church media is already happening all online in
some churches.  But what is really radical about this is that it is a
horizontal connection. Combined with some type of tagging technology, $100 crank laptops
hitting the developing world this year (thank you MIT) and increased
contextualization, the reality is that Adventism as we know it will
change exponentially (that's not hyperbole) becoming increasingly
local, cross-geographical, and independent.
I ate lunch with your pal Ray Dabrowski yesterday and he
talked of whole villages in Andra Pradesh, India joining the church
because the village leader did - flooding the churches by tens of
thousands in weeks this year. Let's face it, those folks aren't joining
because they really dig the 2300-day prophecy.
Although I, too, don't have the degrees, I'd say that
community and cellular organizational strategies will be the talk of
the town. I don't know if Monte Sahlin
is reading this, but I'd love to hear a little forecasting from
him. The Anglican Communion is experiencing this jumping of territorial
boundaries and from your reporting on Costa Rica, (
translated to Spanish
),
it sounds like folks are starting to think like that within Adventism.
One of the biggest complaints by the net evangelical folks is that
their bible study leads aren't being followed up due to territorial
concerns. 
It will be interesting to observe what happens in the future.  But no longer are the
terms conservative or liberal relevant - the laity and leadership can
care about the changing church or not, period.  (How's that for a
tenuous dichotomy?) The dead binary was "critics of the church" vs. "the
loyal," but now most leaders of note are loyal critics.  We're
all conservatives in that we want to preserve something of the past and
all liberals in that we know that the new contexts will shift what our
past means.
And so I see your "semi-wholesale changes" and raise you a "what the hell will they be?"
Thanks for this conversation and, now, you get the last word.
Peace,
Alexander

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