By Alexander Carpenter
I’m spending my Sunday catching up on the current New Yorker. I just enjoyed this paragraph in an article, “The Mission,” on GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney.
The application to emerging acculturated Adventism will be clear, for it gets at the deep identity connection in those who love a Christian community for more than its past disappointments and hope.
Many commentators have suggested that Romney will need to make a speech
akin to the one that John F. Kennedy gave in 1960 to the Greater
Houston Ministerial Association, in which he promised to resign if
there was ever a collision between his beliefs as a Catholic and the
national interest. Jan Shipps [a leading non-Mormon scholar of Mormonism] is skeptical of the idea that Romney
could do something similar. “Mormonism was a cult, just as Christianity
was a cult in the beginning,” she told me. “But a cult, when it grows
up, becomes a culture, and the people who are a part of it take on an
ethnic identity, a peoplehood. Romney is not Mormon the way, say, Ted
Kennedy is Catholic. Romney is Mormon the way Ted Kennedy is Irish.
That’s the difference. And, when it’s that much a part of who you are,
it’s very hard to explain it to other people, because you can’t figure
out why they can’t see it. [emphasis supplied]
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I had a dream last night, a dream of General Conference Sessions past and future. I stood in the center of a stadium, packed with people, all captivated by the music and stagecraft in front of them. I looked around and felt a sadness that kept growing inside of me until it was overwhelming.
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.