1. To be seen as different, strange or foreign
This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at https://spectrummagazine.org/arts-essays/2019/am-i-my-others-keeper
1. To be seen as different, strange or foreign
A plea and a call for openness is certainly welcome in a day in which uniformity and conformity are the marks of the current Adventist headship. Salvation is offered to individuals not groups. Faith is a trust in the efficacy of The Finished work of Christ. That trust is a pledge of allegiance to The Gospel which engenders gratitude and generosity as a lifestyle of the Redeemed. The Holy Spirit offers a growth in grace.
Thank-you, Don, for describing so much of my childhood so articulately. I had several culture shocks. My big-city academy classmates seemed to be as (or more) “worldly” as my small-town public school classmates had been. Working in a local restaurant the summer after academy graduation taught me that other Christians were often nicer than many of the Adventists I had known. Other culture shocks have followed, but those were the two biggest ones. Yet, I’ve spent my life in the church and won’t be forced out by those who might not like my thinking.
When I was a Navy nurse in Guam during 1968, at the hospital annex there
was a chapel area with a Hammond organ. I would go there when no one was
there and practice. Early on the Chaplain asked if I would play for Sunday
services. [His “service music” was provided by vinyl records which did NOT
contribute to a good service. OK but NOT Good!]
There were mostly hospitalized Marines from VietNam there. We usually had
20-25 that would show up on Sunday for services. By playing “Live” music it
allowed us all to sing hymns and to have a semblance of “normal” church
I was blessed by being the Chaplain’s “assistant” on Sundays.
On the Sunday Mornings when I was nurse on duty on my ward, one of the
other nurses agreed to be “on call” if the Corpsmen needed the services of
a nurse during Church Time.
In order for me to provide this service, I had my own set of helpers so that the
Chaplain could have a meaningful Worship service for the men.
I had a lot of shocks…lots. Only mine were from the opposite direction, coming from the normal world to the SDA world.
This is the whole issue in Acts 15, Galatians, and Romans. RBF revolves around who is an insider and on what basis. Paul concluded it was by faith in Jesus alone, regardless of works of Law, and the outward identification badges of a bygone covenant. It’s why RBF truly confounds and undoes Adventist claims of exclusivity. It is why Galatians and Romans are mauled in SS quarterlies. The message of the gospel in those letters, that proclaims unity by simple faith in Christ, just doesn’t fit within the walls that Adventism throws up between itself and other Christian groups, based largely on its own version of the deeds of the Law. If truly listened to, the gospel tears those walls down!
A denomination bent on trumpeting its own endtime uniqueness doesn’t know what to do with this. It can’t contain this. Ultimately, the gospel, and who belongs, was never meant to be contained by such claims.
Continuing the discussion from Am I My Other’s Keeper?:
That was an excellent article Don, thanks. I believe part of the problem is that we live in an entirely different world than the world of the Middle Ages. That world was a world where your religious beliefs could indeed be the cause of your imprisonment or death. I know for myself, when I read about that world and even the world of the early church I ask, “why are things so different today?” Philosophers have been trying to answer that question since the days of the 17th century. The term “Middle Ages” carries with it the implicit idea that before it was the ancient world and after it, the modern. Some historians even refer to it as the Christian millennium. I think we as Adventists have a secret desire to be numbered with the martyrs for Christ and so we tend to want to keep alive the idea that one day when the mark of the beast law is enacted we will finally have our turn to stand for Christ as a martyr (I personally don’t accept this narrative of EGW).
Christ referred to the Middle Ages when He said in Luke 21:9-12,16-17 But when you hear of wars and commotions, do not be terrified; for these things must come to pass first, but the end will not come immediately. Then He said to them, “Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. And there will be great earthquakes in various places, and famines and pestilences; and there will be fearful sights and great signs from heaven. "But before all these things, they will lay their hands on you and persecute you, delivering you up to the Synagogues and prisons, and you be brought before kings and rulers for My sake…You will be betrayed even by parents and brothers, relatives and friends; and they will send some of you to your death. And you will be hated by all for My sake.”
This actually took place in Europe during the Middle Ages and peaked in the 17th century. Then it suddenly and mysteriously subsided. Why? Were the people that were hated suddenly raptured away from their enemies? The fathers of the people of European ancestry were guilty of the horrendous crimes committed against the followers of Christ in the Middle Ages. The question we must ask ourselves is, “Would we have done the same thing as our fathers if we had lived in their time”? Christ charged the Jews with the same thing when He called them hypocrites for saying they wouldn’t have killed the prophets like their fathers did. The Europeans are the ten kings of Revelation. It behooves us who are of European descent to make sure we are not found complicit in the guilt of our fathers IMO.
I appreciate your article Don. How are we to tell of Christ the “other.” How does He/Christ differ from Judaism, Buddha, Mohammed, Vishnu, secular humanism?
Anything unique about Christ that needs to be heard? Not important? Is it simply by example and acceptance that we are the “others keeper?”
These are simply questions that come to my mind as in today’s society things are so much bigger than an Adventist perspective among denomination’s.
My answer: The difference is the personal Touch and Relationship. In Divine-Human Encounter, Emil Brunner speaks of what happens “when God meets man, the personal encounter between the Creator and the human creature.”
When a Christian culture/religion is predicated upon knowing and having “The Truth”…would it be possible for any other group or individual to be anything but “The Other”? Of course not. Self-proclaimed “Uniqueness” is a barrier not a door. It functions to proclaim that here are those that share the same name, memories, and history, much like a family.
Unlike a family, however, there may not be organic growth or maturation in the different members of the family. This is a huge issue when the individuation process is interrupted and the siblings fight endlessly amongst themselves. They are the proud members of “The Family” but cannot help others because they cannot help themselves. A current snapshot of Adventism.
Kim, I am talking about world religions not Adventism. Jesus said He was the way, truth and life. No one cones to the Father except by me. Jn. 14:6. Not, “a way” to the Father.
The “other” Jesus is unique. He is the Son of God sent to save us from our sins by dying on the cross. Such an offense and foolishness to human thinking.
I was not responding to you. My statement is a “stand alone”.
How does He/Christ differ from Judaism, Buddha, Mohammed, Vishnu, secular<
Your answer. The difference is the personal Touch and Relationship. In Divine-Human Encounter, Emil Brunner speaks of what happens “when God meets man, the personal encounter between the Creator and the human creature. .”
Just noticed you sent me this reply to my question. Encounter theology is very weak on biblical content/spoken words and centers on experience. Now we need BOTH content and experience.
Christ said in Lk.4: 42-44 He came to Preach the gospel of the Kingdom. The Kingdom has a content message as well as “service/experience.”
Now when it was day, He departed and went into a deserted place. And the crowd sought Him and came to Him, and tried to keep Him from leaving them; 43 but He said to them, “I must preach the kingdom of God to the other cities also, because for this purpose I have been sent.” 44 And He was preaching in the synagogues of Galilee.
This is what I am referring to…to all audiences and traditions.
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