Can We At Least Do This?

I changed it up a little.

My point is to use these two fictional scenarios to try and address the relationship between unions with women and homosexual pastors and unions banning women and homosexual pastors within Adventism. My experience has been that the conversation between Conferences has been too much like dating option #1 above and not enough like option #2. Over the years there has been occasional talk regarding allowing women and homosexual pastors within Adventist. But that is like talking about marriage on a first date.

In marriage, the idea of a wedding is out of the question before there is a lengthy period of simply getting to know each other, understanding each other, and trusting one another. Likewise, any talk of allowing women and homosexual pastors worldwide is incredibly frightening because they do not really know each other well. Such talk causes people to run for the exits.

I am a white, Anglo-Saxon, heterosexual, aging, male who has no idea what it is like to be a homosexual in North America. But I am also a Christian Seventh-day Adventist who believes we can be friends. We can enrich each other’s lives, do interesting things together, and support one another.

In the past, Homosexual Seventh-day Adventists suffered terrible prejudice and abuse from their heterosexual brethren in the church. “Sexual discrimination is rife at SDA institutions.”

Today, administrators from unions with women and homosexual pastors and those banning them, are certainly cordial and get along at meetings. But, generally speaking, that’s about as far as it goes. Have they spent time in each other’s offices? Have they ministered side by side? Have they had dinner together? Have they ever traveled together? Have they ever played golf together? Have they ever been invited to each other’s homes? Have they ever gone on a long walk together? Without building that basic friendship and trust, how can we possibly talk about something as momentous as merger?

One possible way to remove the elephant is for conference officers from each side to sign a “Pledge of Friendship and Goodwill” that might go something like this:

I pledge to only focus on being close Christian friends and ministering together.

I pledge to not take your land, buildings, equipment, or workers.

I pledge to not take away or diminish any of your power and authority.

I pledge to have no secret agendas.

I pledge to not manipulate you in any way.

I pledge to treat you like I wish to be treated.

If Union conference officers could take this pledge in front of their pastors and teachers it could go a long way toward opening up interactions between local congregations and schools. Maybe it could create an atmosphere where genuine, in-depth relationships will take root and grow. Maybe it could initiate a New Era of Cooperation free from the fear of people losing their jobs and losing control of resources and leadership opportunities.

For purists and ideologs who see such an approach as anathema, as a surrender of God’s ideals, as a sellout of Christian principles, I ask you, “How is the current situation working for you?”

Who knows where a decade or two of friendship and trust building will take us? At least it gives the Holy Spirit something to work with and no one can fully anticipate what amazing possibilities He might bring about.

*For the sake of helping our children and young people know how to value and navigate diversity.

*For the sake of our children who will grow up in a pluralistic society.

*For the sake of young people who are deciding whether or not their denomination has enough credibility regarding issues of justice and equality for them to support it and stay.

*For the sake of enriching church members’ lives by building new friendships with people in another SDA congregation nearby.

*For the sake of each congregation ministering to the spiritual and emotional needs of the other. Complimenting the weaknesses of one with the strengths of the other.

*For the sake of opening up new avenues of thought and understanding.

*For the sake of the community who would benefit greatly from coordinated ministry.

*For the sake of Christ.

Thankfully, some cooperative engagements are already occurring. In addition to those important initiatives, what church members, what pastors, what churches, what teachers, what conference presidents, what department heads, will step up and help move us forward even further?


this is certainly an interesting twist…personally, i see no real nexus between WO and LGBT outside of conservative fears and imaginations, but let’s talk about homosexuality, which certainly represents a barrier within adventism possibly greater than black-white race relations…

my own experience, and therefore belief, is that homosexuality is biologically mediated perversion that certainly is perversion, and therefore sinful, despite that biological mediation…but having said this, i don’t believe homosexuality, in its behavioural form, can be dealt with in our church like other behaviours that the bible testifies against…this is actually because of its biological, and highly personal, dimension, but also because of our social context, in which sexual orientation, and therefore expression, is widely perceived to be a civil right…while i think our official church must maintain our anti-LGBT position, simply because our calling is to maintain the bible regardless of where the chips fall, i don’t think this particular issue should be made a test of fellowship, baptism or ordination…in fact i believe the LGBT situation is precisely what jude meant when he taught “and of some have compassion, making a difference”, Jude 22, even when that position comes across as contradictory to purists…LGBT resolution has to be a personal quest and decision, and every point on that journey should be respected by the church, if and where it is known…

outside of sda kinship international, i don’t believe we have organizations, certainly not on the union or even conference level, that openly advocate for LGBT sexual expression…but i certainly support efforts by glendale city church, chico adventist church, and others, to fully accept and integrate LGBT members even while they keep those efforts under wraps…perhaps this is the most effective way to handle this issue…my own feeling is that open confrontation, where LGBT acceptance is forced or even urged onto the church, can only lead to polarization, disunity, upheaval and a certain split, and ultimately be counterproductive…even clamouring for “conversation”, and greater understanding, as if the impasse over homosexuality in our church is the mere result of unfamiliarity with the issues or persons involved, isn’t likely to succeed in my view…the situation with LGBT, unlike WO, involves clear biblical texts that cannot be controverted, even though it also involves a highly personal, biological experience within a culture that now recognizes sexual orientation and expression as a civil right…sledge hammer tactics, from either side, cannot be fruitful in such a situation…certainly finely chiseled sensitivity, thought and erring on the side of love and acceptance is the only approach that can harmonize with a full reading of scripture, which includes egw, in my view…

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Hi! To The New Martin Luther.
All I can say is this – What GREAT insight and challenge!
Other Denominations have been blessed by putting your posted
Ideas into action.
Many of their Local Congregations have been Blessed by putting
your Ideas into action, even though Headquarters was not ready.
To be able to post a sign in HUGE LETTERING. “All are welcome.
ALL means ALL.”
And when it comes time to elect Church Officers, selections are
selected from ALL of the membership.
PS – Baptisms are based on accepting the Lord Jesus Christ as
their Savior. THIS is the ONLY criteria for full Membership.


"Can we at least do this?"

One could only hope that as professing “Christians” that this would be the case. However, as long as the emphasis is upon the title of “Seventh Day Adventist”- there can only be division and self-seeking. Let’s pray that spiritual maturity will make greater awarenesses and inroads.



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Thanks for your essay, Kim Johnson.

I like the way that @drdrjcc puts it: I expect that the conferences which resulted from American Adventist apartheid will remain as “a public eyesore” until Christ returns.

I see this unifying call as similar to the one for healing that Paul made, only to be met with God’s retort: “My grace is sufficient for thee.” (2 Corinthians 12:9, KJV) The healing did not come, and, in this case, it won’t, either, because racism is a seductive and, thus, permanent part of white culture.

That “Black Protestant sermons are four times as long as those in US Catholic churches,” as The Guardian dryly noted, recently, is not even really the major obstacle. The major obstacle is that, if so-called state conferences wanted unity, and the regional conferences said, “Great! Dissolve your corporations. Then you, your members, and your property come into ours,” those white church members, like the rich young ruler, would go away sorrowful, for they have great possessions. (Matt. 19:22)

Finally, @DarrelL, you are correct: The “pervasive and insidious generational overlaying that fuels…implicit biases,” and of which @drdrjcc spoke, belong to every and any people group of any and every color.

However, it is only among white people that these tools are wielded by the power of white supremacy. Because racism dominates all relations between people, in the hands of racists, these cognitions acquire a surgical cutting edge.


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Drdr, I’m curious if in this quote you are speaking to the author or universally to all white Adventists.

Your comment carries the tone that you do not ascribe any insight, honesty, sincerity or goodwill to any white Adventists. Am I reading that right?

I don’t pose these questions out of any antagonism. I desire insight and understanding.

What in the hell is that?? Where do you live my brother?

I should clarify that I am not questioning the “white Supremacy” exists. Just like anti Semitism and a thousand other stupid people or groups who have sick beliefs.

But what are we talking about exactly? Are you talking about “Institutional Racism,” if that still exists somewhere please let me know I will come and support you in whatever way I can. But please don’t talk to me about “mico aggressions” “subliminal” whatever.

I have promoted integrating all the conferences in our region and no one on either side seems to want that because of cultural differences relating to worship style and so on. I think the white churches need our black brothers and sisters because they might revive some of our lethargy.

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Thanks, @DarrelL.

I said:

You said:

In response:

White Supremacy =

(1) The direct or indirect subjugation of all “non-white” people by white people, for the basic purpose of “pleasing” and/or serving any or all “white” persons, at all times, in all places, in all areas of activity, including Economics, Education, Entertainment, Labor, Law, Politics, Religion, Sex, and War.

(2) The only functional Racism, in existence, among the people of the known universe, that is based on “color” and/or “anti-color” in the physical make-up or physical appearance of persons.

(3) Racism “for the sake of” Racism.

You said:

In response:

I live where white people dominate: Throughout the known universe.


Thanks, @DarrelL.

You said:

In response:

I hold that white supremacy (racism) dominates relations between people throughout the known universe. So, of course, anything, that dominates, exists.

You said:

In response:

I agree that the White Supremacists have “sick beliefs.” But I am not talking about “anti Semitism,” or anything else, here.

You said:

In response:

See my response, above.

You said:

In response:

I don’t use the term, “Institutional Racism.”

“Institutions” are a) racists + b) their stuff; e.g., staplers, doors frames, file cabinets, chairs, tables, by-laws, membership rolls, artwork, etc.

“Stuff” cannot practice racism (white supremacy). Only white people can do that.

So, to say “institutional racism,” to me, is merely to engage in superfluities.

You said:

In response:


You can support me by eliminating the system of race (aka White Supremacy) throughout the known universe.

You said:

In response:


Why not?

That sounds like an exterminator who says, “I’ll exterminate your brown rats, but not your Norway rats.”

I’d think that either a) he has no expertise exterminating Norway rats, and/or, b) he benefits from the continued existence of Norway rats.

You said:

In response:

As I stated, above, that is probably the cosmetic issue, but not the dominant one.

You said:

In response:

Glad to be of service.


that’s a bit rich, don’t you think, harry…i didn’t get the impression that darrel was asking for, or even thinking about, your servitude…


Quite some years ago a White Evangelist was telling our white
group the difference between
White congregations
Black congregations
This has to do when the congregation REALLY gets into what
the speaker is saying and paying attention.
He reported –
White congregations get Really Quiet.

A lot of Black Entertainers got their start in church. Singing in
the choir or groups. Playing the piano [Little Richard an SDA],
or another instrument.
Jazz is a black musical venue. Can be either on Stage or in Church.
Depending on the words.
Black congregations get “noisy” with verbal cues of “AMEN Brother”
“Preach It!” and ETC.
It can really “bug” a black preacher in a white congregation because
they respond Emotionally with Extreme Quiet.

Thanks, @vandieman.

@DarrelL said:

I said:

You said:

In response:


In his response, what do you see “Black brothers and sisters” getting out of the prescribed arrangement?

Like, what’s noted there, in the text, that I missed, beyond the experience of reviving white people out of their lethargy? What else did he say is in it for us?


well, assuming darrel is correct, that white churches are lethargic, and blacks hold the answer, what blacks would get out of providing that answer is the satisfaction that they fixed something that was broken…

but personally, i don’t think darrel is quite correct…in my view, black churches are as lethargic as white churches…the main difference i see is that black churches operate on a much more intense, overt level of emotionality…but emotionality and spirituality aren’t synonymous…i actually think emotionality can effectively hide spiritual deficiency…the reality is that whites aren’t genetically programmed for the type of emotional effusiveness that comes naturally for many blacks, and so trying to bring more emotionality into white churches runs the risk of being a turn-off…

there isn’t anything else that you’ve missed…

but keep in mind that darrel was originally responding to drdrjcc’s characterization that white racism is essentially hopeless…i think darrel is spelling out where he thinks blacks can help whites, rather than the other way round, because he isn’t sensing, at all, that drdrjcc is open to the notion that whites have anything to offer blacks…because of this closed position articulated by drdrjcc, darrel is prevented from offering a more balanced picture…he can only talk about what an apparently aggrieved person on the receiving end of racism is able to hear…

I don’t think that the racism issue is as detrimental and problematic, and neither is the issue of sexism.

The most problematic issue that structures all of these is the issue of “agism”, since the newer generations who can approach the world with a new paradigm in mind don’t have much access to modify the existing structure to correct the self-perpetuating problems of the past.

So, the dominant paradigm of power in the church is with 50++ year olds who are very reluctant to share it.


look around…70+ yr-olds are running the house, the senate and the white house…three of the leading dems with any kind of shot for the nomination are practically 80…

assuming good health, which is likely in the case of people who have followed egw their whole life, which includes many adventists who aspire to work for the church, there are advantages in advancing age…these include settled finances, beliefs, and family lives…older people are less likely to veer from principles they believe in as a response to outward pressures…and guess what…god thought the same thing thousands of yrs ago when he chose moses and his older brother aaron to lead millions of slaves out of egypt…

younger people just have to bide their time…it’s isn’t as if the people in power now were in power when they were young…they also bided their time…

being young is a special, wonderful time: it’s the time to prepare and improve, without saddling any responsibility for failure…the last thing we need is for the church to be run by a bunch of 25 yr-olds who barely know what side is up, and what side is down; who have limited or no equity; who may barely understand where they want to go in terms of any kind of family; and who really don’t know what they believe on a non-negotiable level…some of these young people may very well have leadership talent, but why rush things…they should perfect their gift while they have the opportunity to do so, and in the context of the wisdom that general living brings…their time will come soon enough…

Are you pointing to the cultural status quo as the norm I should accept :slight_smile: ?

Don’t get me wrong, I respect the experience and age. Being old is not the problem of itself. I hope you can see that’s not what I’m addressing. The problem is that the 60-70-80 generation grew up in rather inflexible era, and the new generation of 20-30-40s re-invented the world in the past 30 years. Hence, it’s a world they understand. A world with different sets of rules that the previous generation doesn’t get.

They are not going to do that. They will leave, which they already done so, and they will not be back because the cultural context gives them more opportunity to express their talents in environment that’s more interactive and collaborative.

These 25 year olds invented the very platform that you are communicating these things on now :). It’s a different world with different rules, where one can develop as fast as they want with information to do that on the palm of their hands. Sure, life experience matters, but there’s a whole scope of the “life experience” of the older generations, which is utterly irrelevant today. They are still living in “radio world” where the future is interactive. And that’s how the church is structured… as a radio you sing along with, and not interactive entity you can contribute in structuring.

Older generation in charge today doesn’t generally get that. There are always good exceptions, but these are few in number.


“Arkdrey” –
Wonderful insight between how different Generations grew up and HOW
each Generation interacts with the world around them.
As I interact with the older group of my age, I find them pretty much
intolerant of “Change”.
{{I find them tiring and wearysome at times. I much prefer the present
culture, and the Generation who are enjoying it. I guess I have always
been “adventurous” and so enjoy those types of persons.}}
Having the “old days” reactions to things. And I believe we see this SAME
intolerance in the older persons who are on Church Committees at various
levels. From the Local church through the World Church Divisions and
the General Conference.
There are MANY Issues one will NOT FIND in the Index To Ellen White’s
Writings because she wrote in context of 1800’s and ONLY ONE DECADE
after that. I won’t go into HOW life was lived during those times, but NOT
like ours!!!

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i’m just saying that older people running our church isn’t out of step with what we see all around us…

perfect…we’re in agreement…

i think you’re over-stating the case…every younger generation believes they’re being stifled, and that they, and only they, have the answers to the problems they see around them…nothing’s new under the sun…didn’t we just see an article here on Spectrum about rehoboam listening to younger instead of older councillors…how did that work out for him…

i can tell you that when i was 20, i truly believed i knew more than my parents and all my teachers combined…this is one reason i left the church as a young adult…it’s only after i’d lived in the world outside the church for a time that i began to see that there was wisdom in what my parents and teachers had stood for…

mind you, i don’t regret leaving the church when i did, or living the life i lived at the time…i think that time has given nuance and depth to the religion i have now…so if you say to me that young people should be allowed to run the church, or else they’ll leave, i’ll say to you, let them leave…let them learn lessons in life through their own experience…there’s nothing more valuable than this…if they’ve had a quality upbringing, they’ll be back…they’ll be able to see the value of real religion, having seen for themselves what life without it means…