Can Adventist Pastors Actually Speak to their Communities?


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By Alexander Carpenter Jim Coffin, a Florida Adventist pastor, joined with his community faith leaders to push for peace.

As they write in the Orlando Sentinel:

Despite a rapid increase in knowledge and astounding advances in technology, humans are already engaged in or teeter on the brink of all-out war in various regions throughout the world. Taking or threatening human life and destruction of property are used routinely as a means to achieve the goals of nations and other groups.

While our weapons have become increasingly sophisticated, our moral sensitivity concerning the sacredness of human life has lagged appallingly. Therefore, the Interfaith Council of Central Florida calls upon spiritual people of all persuasions to refocus attention and strengthen efforts to work for peace.

Although the sacred writings of the world's great religions are not typically pacifistic, they consistently call for a higher level of moral responsibility in the resolution of conflict. Further, these writings point to peace as the ideal. Peace is portrayed as the prime characteristic of "paradise."

Johnny likes it, too. Now, I'm only in my twenties so I know my place in church decision-making - near the bottom - just barely above women. But I've got an idea: wouldn't it be great if all NAD pastors had the opportunity to sign onto a statement calling for "a higher level of moral responsibility in the resolution of conflict?" Both the US-backed IDF and Hezbollah seem more concerned with the rightness of their fight than the morality of their methods. And since both sides are dominated by their religious right, the larger faith community could put aside their sectarian differences and unite over a larger shared concern - not politics, but God-given life.

This isn't a right/left issue, it's about progress toward peace versus continuing cycles of violence. Adventists in Lebanon are suffering, or as Dr. Kjell Aune, the leader of the Adventist church in the Middle East, says:

. . .church members "are fearful with anxiety, experiencing the reality of shortages, have limited freedom of movement, and first and foremost, are coming to terms with the paralyzing realization that the hope which they had built up for their future has now gradually shattered."

It's an interfaith war - Jews, Christians and Muslims support it and are causalities - interfaith pressure against both Israel and Hezbollah can only save lives.

If our faith communities acted strongly - maybe the thousands of times the phrase "a personal relationship with Jesus" will be repeated this Sabbath might not sound so solipsistic.


This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at http://spectrummagazine.org/node/4513