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Onward in Love


I’m getting married! My bride-to-be is Doris Tetz Garcia. Our wedding will be on August 25 in Los Angeles. See you in September.

So that I can take the next two months off, Robert Jacobson and Jared Wright will be editing the blog in July and August, respectively. (I’ll still check my email and can forward articles to them.)

Although I didn’t plan it, half way through 2012 seems like a good time to take stock of Spectrum’s online presence. As has been the case since we started the blog, our traffic numbers continue to rise. Comparing the first six months of 2011 to this year, we’re up 16% in Pageviews (1.2 million in 2012), up 25% in Visits, and up 28% in Unique Visitors. In addition to all the fine work in regular features on the website, we have several series: original short stories, on community organizing, a new one on science and a brilliant summer book club series. Essays from our readership pour in regularly. This year I have really tried to focus on reporting the news. More than any organization in Adventism, Spectrum has reported the news of the church quickly, directly, and accurately. As the recent events surrounding ADRA and Samuel Pipim, it has even contributed to creating positive change. That’s to your credit as well. As the church faces a huge showdown over women’s ordination, one of the best things the laity can do is be informed and tell people what we think. Being a community through conversation is power. Because lots of people knew and talked about it, church leaders in Michigan couldn’t ignore a few women and quietly rebaptize an unrepentant rapist on a Sabbath afternoon.

Now the General Conference (or just forty unnamed administrators there) just attempted to squelch the equaity of women in Adventist ministry. Take some time to let the more local leaders in the Columbia and the Pacific Unions know that you support equality. (Because they make these email addresses available online, I have included them here.) They need your prayers and public support. Let them know that you care about the equality of women as they prepare for significant constituency sessions on the subject in the next few months. Ask them questions. Share your support. 

Elder Ricardo Graham,
Elder Dave Weigley,

As I get close to starting a new Adventist home, I find myself reflecting on the theologies and traditions that root institutions. In several weeks I will publicly pledge my love and service to my wife and unite to create our own small community based on truth, beauty, and justice. Our church leaders have also promised to serve the church with God as their witness. When some at the General Conference talk about unity they seem to miss that calling for togetherness to continue to exclude women from equality is logically incoherent. And thus, theologically repellent.

The final metaphors of the Bible treat the church as the bride of Christ. That relationship is rooted in love. It is the theological glue for unity. Those church leaders who actively work to fight the growing will of the church to treat women pastors equally are working for a much deeper separation than the hermeneutical differences we see around the world. They try to use the power of the church to enforce an unequal relationship toward women. That’s actually un-Christlike. Leaders who try to enforce gender inequality do not love the church as Christ loves it—wholly. When leaders treat the Bible’s language of marriage more hierarchical structure than human connection, they reveal that they care less about love and most about power. Thus, the unity they want is not about us, it is to solidify their authority. On the other hand, love risks control, increases conversation, and as Christian we have this hope that it wins in the end. 

Here’s to love! And big changes ahead. . .

Image: Arthur Tress, Untitled (Bride and Groom), 1970.

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