Speaking Out About Abuse
I was intrigued by the article about Domestic Violence, “Abuse in the Adventist Church?"
(Oct. 11, 2007). I am a survivor of domestic violence. I am also Women’s Ministry leader for Grace Temple Seventh-day Adventist church in Ft. Worth, Texas. My ex-husband wasn’t an Adventist, but the results of the abuse and damage followed a pattern of abusive spouses. Our ministry just had a program a few months ago where we had a physiotherapist and abuse survivor give her testimony about her life and the solution, which is letting God lead.
I suggest there be a 800 number set up where women can talk to experienced individuals in time of need and give suggestions for help and solutions for them to take advantage of, or just to have someone who knows how to listen. When you’re going through such an ordeal, it’s good to have fellow Christians who have gone through the same thing listen and be concerned.
Ft. Worth, Texas
Thank you for publishing the outstanding article by Rene Drumm, with Marciana Popescu, Gary Hopkins, and Linda Spady.
Survivors of abuse need to hear our church acknowledge the problem and know that we, as a church, are dealing with it. The problem of domestic abuse has filtered into our church and caused havoc with the lives of its victims.
Since Women and Men Against Sexual Harrassment and Other Abuses (WASH) began in 1992, many other organizations within the church are helping to deal with the problem of abuse. Here is a list of ministries I am aware of; if there are others, I would appreciate knowing who they are.
Peggy Harris, WASH Board chair
Let’s Keep Talking
The conversations have been rich, as they were when Robert Folkenberg was in office in the 1990s, back when I could still claim young adult status. Several months back, I was with a Baby Boomer colleague who mused that these same issues of exclusion of young adults from church life were prevalent in the 1970s and 1980s. Lots of conversations typified those days as well.
The points are poignant, the discussion relevant. I have high hopes that before 2014, when my daughter will enter her young adult years, we will have progressed to where all levels of our beloved church would embrace new generations and be dissatisfied with the fact that half of them leave the Adventist church. Flipping a coin is not how I would wish to forecast my daughter’s future with our faith.
In the 1990s, Myron Widmer, then Adventist Review associate editor, wrote a lovely editorial entitled, “I’m All Ears,” citing his anticipation of the results of conversations held as a result of the General Conference president’s “Youth Evangelism Taskforce” and “kitchen cabinets” between young adults and church leadership. Widmer noted how important that dialogue was to him, given the age of his children and their soon emergence into young adulthood.
I stand here in the twenty-first century, just as Widmer did more than a decade ago. Like him, you have my ears—you have my heart and my hands as well--to help transform the fate of new generations within Adventism. Further, know that what I have in my pockets I willingly offer to the cause of young adult ministry.
Lead. Love. Live!
A. Allan Martin
Associate Professor of Discipleship and Family Ministry
Seventh-day Adventist Theological Seminary
As a professional and pastor’s wife in my late twenties, I am happy to hear the increasing dialogue about putting our younger members to work within the church. I would add to the dialogue by saying that it’s not just young adults who are being left out of training for leadership—it’s teenagers, too. Keeping young people busy, through more than just entertainment, is vital for maintaining their interest in both church and spiritual things.
In our churches, my pastor-husband and I work together to give even young teens some kind of job--allowing them to rotate Sabbaths as teachers’ aids in younger Sabbath school classes, supervising as they organize socials and church functions, letting them plan a quarterly worship service, and raising money for mission trips.
You can’t expect young professional adults to show an interest in church leadership when they’ve been shoved to the back seat throughout their teen years. Giving them age-appropriate jobs throughout their youth keeps them connected.
Adults shouldn’t wait for the younger generation to volunteer. Instead, ask them how they’d like to help. Offer them a job and give them room to either succeed or fail without dire consequences.
And to young people: Don’t wait to be asked--work up some courage and let somebody know you’re willing to get your hands dirty. It has to go both ways.
Sarah K. Asaftei
I am an ordained Adventist pastor in Atlanta, Georgia. My primary role is working with young adults and postmodern evangelism.
It’s funny that Jan Paulsen said he could talk for the entire hour on the need to include young adults in church, while the article says the pastors represented the North American church. But ironically, there were no young adult pastors or pastors of young adults present. There were female pastors present, but no pastors who are actually young adults themselves.
Part of me is glad to hear our General Conference president speaking about including young adults in church and enabling women in ministry; but church leadership isn’t the authority, church culture is. Maybe the culture can be influenced. That would be nice.
In our worship today at Marietta almost every person leading out was a young adult. It made me think about this article. Perhaps the problem isn’t in letting young adults be “in church,” as the title of the article suggests, as much as intentionally supporting young adults to “be the church” now.
This means letting them plant new churches (among other things) with the mission of reaching their postmodern, secular counterparts in society; not just letting them sing up front, pray, or call for the offering. I’m not saying to separate the ages but to support teams/groups of young adults with other generations and finances to target young adults as a mission.
The young adults I work with say they want to be the church, not just do church. I feel the same way. I’m a young adult and a young adult pastor. I’m fortunate to work at a church that allows me to do what we do. I know that same opportunity does not exist in many places.
When Is It Political?
I think Fredrick Russell conflates his religion with his politics in his column, “Going to the Dogs”
(Oct. 18, 2007). Why shouldn’t the church “speak prophetically” about the mess after Hurricane Katrina, about global warming, the war in Iraq, or any other significant public issue?
Well, if it did, what should the prophet’s voice say? I think Katrina was the result of local irresponsibility; global warming is mostly hysteria; and the war in Iraq is necessary. I’m not alone in that, but I know that others in our church disagree. Whose opinions should the church’s voice reflect?
Issues like these are more political than religious. One’s motivation to address them may spring from a feeling of Christian mission, but what to do is a political decision, and even religiously motivated Christians will disagree.
Therefore, it’s best that our church avoid proclamations or other lobbying about issues that are primarily political, and limit itself to issues clearly within its biblical mission.
Russell’s church ministries in his local community may be a good example. If it makes you feel better, you can hit the streets and march with signs saying you’re opposed to human suffering--as if others aren’t.
Morgantown, West Virginia
Help When Needed
I was pleased to see the “time of trouble” addressed in the October, 2007 KidsView. I am now in my seventies, but I clearly remember feeling afraid of the time of trouble when I was a little girl. When I was 29 I had to go through an experience I felt I simply could not go through. But I did--and with a feeling of triumph! I have always felt that the strength God gave me then is a token of the strength He will give if/when I am called to go through the time of trouble. All kids need to be made aware of the strength God gives just when we need it. We have nothing to fear for the future.
In Corrie Ten Boom’s book, The Hiding Place, she tells how she felt fearful about something, and how she expressed that fear to her father. It was her father’s practice to take little Corrie with him on the train to Amsterdam from time to time when he went there to obtain the material needed in his watch-making business. This wise father asked Corrie, “When do I give you your ticket for the train ride to Amsterdam?” “Just as I board the train,” she responded. He explained that is what God does; He gives us the strength, in just the amount we need, for any trial just when we need it, not before.
That thought comforts me still. God will give me whatever strength I need, for whatever trials I face—large or small--just when I need it. I need not fear.
They Do It Right!
The cover article, “The Invisible Majority”
(Sept. 20, 2007), caught my attention, as we are particularly grateful to the church in our daughter’s small college town. My husband and I have been extremely grateful to the church people there who have made her feel part of their community from her first visit.
I read the article first to see if the author had hit on all the wonderful things that her church has done to encourage student participation from the nearby state university. I was pleased to see that not only did the author hit all the things we’ve appreciated about our daughter’s church, the example he used was her church.
I cannot imagine any church group doing a better job than Pastor Steven and Pastor Bret, as well as the entire church family in San Luis Obispo. They have given our daughter a place to feel at home, inviting her to participate in and be a contributing member to their church, a place where students feel comfortable bringing non-Adventist friends (who rarely turn down an invitation when free food is involved). Any church in an area with a lot of young adults could do no better than to follow their example.
Connie and Myren Severin