What’s Stopping You?
Regarding Carlos Medley’s editorial, “Let’s Get Started”
(Oct. 25, 2007): As a 31-year old young adult wanting to be active in the church sharing God’s message, it’s tough to get involved or have a say in church activities. The younger generation feels as if they’re not listened to, so why even attend or try to get involved in the first place?
One reason seems that the pastoral staff is more concerned with the older generation, or with those in the church who are more popular. They believe they need to keep these people happy because they make their church operate/stay afloat more than do young adults.
Another issue is that the pastoral staff feels threatened by the younger generation. Apparently some pastors believe they will be overshadowed by the younger people or ridiculed for what young people do in the church, leading to the pastors’ popularity shrinking.
Two things need to happen instead of committees formed and discussions prolonging the action. First, the local conferences need to look at their churches to verify there are chances for involvement for young adults. If there aren’t, then conference officers need to necessitate the young adults’ involvement. If there’s no room for us, room needs to be made; room should be made before there’s no church left. Second, church members need to let go of their reigns/positions in the church. Let the board consist of a few young adults, let leadership positions (i.e. elders, deaconesses, A/V assistants) be made up of the younger generation. Let young adults be involved with church services (prayers, leading music, homilies, sermons).
I would love to get involved (i.e. guest speaking for church, bringing technology into our churches) but people stand in the way saying, “No, that’s my position”; or, “You don’t know what the church needs.” Rarely does anyone like change. If that’s the case then a lot of young adults may leave the church. Talk about an unwanted change!
“Let’s Get Started” is a thoughtful, reasonable, well-written editorial. However, I’m troubled by the premise on which the author focuses his views. The next to the last paragraph states: “After all, the church’s future, humanly speaking, is in their hands.”
If he is referring to the Christian church in general, and not the Seventh-day Adventist Church in particular, his reasoning is applicable. As a Seventh-day Adventist, believing that this church is called out for the only purpose of being heralds of the soon return of our Lord and Savior, we cannot consider or plan anything “humanly.”
The disciple Peter was sternly rebuked for taking that approach when Jesus spoke of His suffering and death (Mark 8:31-35). Many times Jesus had to remind his hearers, “My kingdom is not of this world.”
The author continues: “The time has come to prepare lay young adult professionals to assist in setting the church’s agenda.” First of all, I ask, What should be the church’s agenda? Based upon the Word of God, we have only one agenda, and that is found in Matthew 28:18-20.
If we are referring to the structural operation of a corporation, may I quote Harold Ivan Smith, in his book Tear Catchers: “Somehow, too many servants become lost in the politics of the church-and no denomination or independent work is immune; some simply have less sophisticated or informal bureaucracies. Increasingly, success in the ordained ministry is determined by the non-priestly functions. Management principles from the cutthroat world of business have been grafted into the life stream of today’s church. This process began harmlessly as businessmen on church governing boards began encouraging the consideration of business principles in church decision-making.”
I don’t see in what ways young professionals are being hampered or kept from using their God-given talents for the furtherance of the gospel commission. The field is wide open for each one to use his or her God-given talents in ministries of all kinds. But if we are in the business of building and enlarging the Church for this present world, may we not be falling into the trap of the disciples when planning for a worldly kingdom, engulfed in a struggle for position? Or, like Peter on the Mount of Transfiguration suggesting to Jesus, “It is good for us to be here: let us make us three tabernacles.”
I pray that the burden and all the planning of this church be, “Come quickly, Lord Jesus.” All our efforts, individually and collectively, should be for the purpose of ushering in God’s kingdom of peace.
Wendell T. Osborne
Takoma Park, Maryland
Hats Off for the editorial, “Let’s Get Started.” The more inclusive we are in the decision-making process, the more understanding the included classes will be of how we work and plan.
The old American ideal of “no taxation without representation” expresses this idea, if not exactly duplicating the idiom. People who have no part in the planning or decision-making process will not be as responsive (if at all) as they would be had they been included in the discussion and decisions. This is true even though the discussion and vote is through a representative. We are used to representative decisions.
It might cost a little, but we might even include some teenagers in our committees. Their votes would probably not sway any major decision, but the mere(?) fact they are there and take part would go far toward making our young people feel as though they really are important to us.
What Will Others Think?
I’m writing to express my dismay at some of the negative and misleading headlines on the cover of the Review regarding the Seventh-day Adventist Church.
I think I know why this is being done--to get readers inquisitive enough to read the article inside. But those of us who live in small towns and are well known as members of the Adventist Church, respected for the way we live and what we believe are painfully aware that people who handle the mail (my neighbor being one) are not reading the articles inside to see that sometimes they are not even about what the headline on the cover suggests. Some of these misleading headlines are going to weaken our witness and what we’re trying to do in our communities.
I wrote in the past regarding a cover that said, “Why Do Adventists Lie?” The article inside related to when we are asked how we are, we often say “fine,” even when we’re not, and how that constitutes a lie. But how does someone know that by reading only the front cover? It could suggest that we can’t be trusted with the truth.
Then came the October 11, 2007 issue, with the title “Abuse in the Adventist Church?”
on the front cover. I don’t believe for a moment that the church is completely exempt in the abuse department, but why is it necessary to air our dirty laundry before the public?
I thought I had recovered sufficiently from that and wouldn’t write again. But, lo and behold, the October 25, 2007 issue’s cover reads “Adventists Join the Mob.”
To emphasize what is meant by the word “mob,” there is a picture of a man with dark glasses--the image that most people have of a mobster. Of course inside the article refers to Missionaries of the Blind.
It would be appropriate to ask those involved with layout to take another look at the Review’s mission statement inside the front cover. After all, this is the official paper of the Seventh-day Adventist Church, not the National Enquirer.
Do You Trust Us?
I have to comment on a couple recent articles by Drs. Handysides and Landless. While I have great respect for these men regarding their medical knowledge and how it may apply to the Advent message, it seems that recently a couple of their answers to questions have missed the bigger picture.
First, regarding male infant circumcision (Adventist World, Sept. 2007), I happened to read their article the day before we had our newborn son circumcised in a traditional Hebraic ceremony. The spiritual experience was for me beyond any health benefits. Although the literature has just begun to swing to a recommendation of circumcision (barely), and the health benefits may be negligible, I was sad the good doctors did not address the spiritual implications of this ritual. For me, I saw the love of God, and the lengths He is willing to go in order to remove sin from my heart and to circumcise me [spiritually].
Second, in a recent column, “The Truth About Chocolate”
(Oct. 18. 2007), the issue of caffeine was addressed. But if I understand Ellen White’s writings, I understand her to say that we should avoid all stimulants. Certainly chocolate has stimulants other that just caffeine. Maybe we are missing the point when we only speak of caffeine. I’m not trying to be legalistic; but since my wife and I gave up chocolate, we have had an incredible decrease in migraine headaches, cravings for other sweets, and numerous other benefits. I felt that the headline of the article was misleading and that more information would have made this clearer.
I would like to see Drs. Landless and Handysides trust the intelligence and commitment of their readers more. We can handle deeper and more in-depth information about the bigger picture.
This Fascination with Fiction
Unlike the author of the letter, we feel more articles such as “Something Wicca This Way Comes”
(Aug. 23, 2007) by Mark A. Kellner should be printed in the Review
. We strongly feel that the comments made [in the letter] do not recognize the importance of the study that Steve Wohlberg, G. Edward Reid, Ken Wade, Will Baron, and Roger Morneau have done about the subtle battle that Satan is waging to make “even the very elect” feel comfortable with the occult.
Too many parents and others do not fear or recognize the harm that fairy tales, bad and good witches (an oxymoron, really), spiders, bats, and other Halloween “fun” have on children and others as they should.
Though there is ample warning against reading fiction, myths, and fairy tales in Ellen White’s counsels, one short statement found in The Adventist Home tells who is behind such reading (which certainly includes the Potter series): “Through the agency of novels and story magazines, Satan is working to fill with unreal and trivial thoughts minds that should be diligently studying the world of God” (p. 411). And Mrs. White wrote: “None but those who have fortified the mind with the truths of the Bible will stand through the last great conflict” (The Great Controversy, p. 593, 594.
So Pottermania is really part of the battle between Christ and Satan for our allegiance and worship. May God help us choose His Word.
Charles and Grace Tollerton
In the Week of Prayer issue of Adventist Review
(Sept. 27, 2007), author, Lourdes E. Morales-Gudmundsson seems to have gotten carried away with her imagination in the article, “I Am Going There to Prepare a Place for You.”
She wrote: “But if we look at it from the disciples’ point of view, we can imagine their sense of fear and loss as they saw themselves left behind, like orphans.”
I refer to The Desire of Ages, pp. 831-833. The passage tells of the angels assuring the disciples that the same Jesus they saw go into heaven would come again. “When the disciples went back to Jerusalem, the people looked upon them with amazement. After the trial and crucifixion of Christ, it had been thought that they would appear downcast and ashamed. . . . Instead of this there was only gladness and triumph. . . . They did not mourn over disappointed hopes, but were full of praise and thanksgiving to God. . . . They knew that Jesus was in heaven, and that His sympathies were with them still” (The Desire of Ages, pp. 832, 833).
Now We Know
Bravo to Beatrice Neal for her article, “Who Was Jesus?”
(Aug. 16, 2007). What a concise account of His life. She’s right up there with The Desire of Ages
. I was blessed beyond measure. Now I have something to recall if anyone should want to know the real Jesus. Thank you for your biblical research.