One problem Adventists always had (have) is the worshiping of EGW and of the Denomination. These two come way before Jesus, they are like two statues that are the central pillars of a cult. I am glad that 40 years ago I turned my periscope 180 degrees, and focused on the local church and on the Gospel since. So far so good, no longer feelings part of the crowd that bows down to the two statues. I have been always very careful to pick congregations that do not venerate those two statues.
Amen to that! God alone is worthy of worship.
And he is with all his people everywhere, in denominations or outside denominations. And he is even very close to all else: “For in him, we live and move and have our being.” (Acts 17:28; spoken to Gentiles!) Denominations can be a helpful tool, not an end in themselves. And prophetically gifted people are in so many denominations or outside denominations today and throughout history. Many of us western people are just ignorant of this fact.
Be blessed, George, at LSUC!
I wanted to write exuberantly Georgie, but I was told last year that it’s kind of mocking in some parts of the world, strangely enough, so I don’t do that anymore
Thank you for sharing your experience. You describe beautifully how you felt and it is quite similar to the way I felt the first few times I attended. I was overwhelmed with emotion. The irony is that if I had been raised with it I doubt it would have felt so special. Finding it when I needed it was a gift. God found me and spoke to me in the episcopal church in a way he never did in the sda church.
You are fortunate to have been in a position to take your positive experience with you back to your sda congregation. I will admit I also hoped to do this. At first I thought maybe I could. I stayed in my sda community for six years, and got more involved, hoping that maybe I could share some of what I had experienced. It did not work out. Of course it’s more complicated than short posts can explain.
You must attend an extraordinary Adventist church, Kate, But I think it is probably you who are extraordinary!
I wouldn’t say angry, as much as elated
My personal take on it that it should be some “serious fun” as it should revolve around display of talents in a congregational setting.
If you know what a “Hackathon” is in a software development environment… That’s what I think church should be in a communal setting. It should be more collaborative and functional outlet for its members rather than what it is… a form of indoctrination and fund-collection and channeling facility.
The layout of my Sunday church plant forces persons to be social
and visit with each other. We have an 8:30 service and an 11:15
service. The coffee pots and hot water pot is plugged in around 7.
Persons begin arriving around 7:30 to 8. There are a few snacks on
a table. They find a place at a table in the fellowship hall. Visit.
Sunday school is 10-11. A leader, but with much discussion with each
other. A number visit around tables other than going to S.S. After the
next service many visit in the fellowship hall for another 30 min or so
for more drinks and to see what snacks brought from homes they missed
It has been important to have these times through the years. It is around
the tables that most of the church programs came to be. One person makes
an observation that something should be done, or a community need is
mentioned. A lot of committees have been formed around the tables and
major outreach activities begun in this way. Most activities in the community
do not have their ideas come from the Leadership. Member idea, member
promotion, member action.
I miss this in my SDA community. Most things are Leadership promoted asking
members to become involved. Socialization is at potluck one Sabbath a month
with very little meaningful conversation taking place.
However, the Sunday program is labor intensive. It does take about 25-30 persons
to put the Sunday program together and to have it run smoothly. So most members
have “their Sunday” for doing something either before [Saturday or on Sunday AM],
or during, or after services. [I count money after service and share cantor at the 8:30 and sing in the choir].during the month.
In my opinion…
People expect too much from their churches. Entertainment? Fun? Hmmm…
It became much easier for me years ago when I understood that, for me, the church in itself was totally irrelevant in terms of either being an entertainer or being my connection with God. The church indoor-experience became more relevant when I started seeing the church as a mere place (building) where people of not equal but rather similar beliefs congregate at a certain time to worship God.
The only requirement I have from my church is, 1. Good, inspirational music (kinda rare these days…) that is soothing for the soul, and, 2. An intelligent, well prepared sermon (or SS lesson), that feeds the brain.
If sometimes the music is just a nonsensical repetition of the same short sentence for 17 times, plus 5 after that, I just get my phone and read some Scripture related to the incoming sermon. And forget keeping me standing up while those unending repetitions take place.
Regarding the sermon, well, I no longer take a simple collection of BS (Beautiful Statements) as being a sermon. If that happens, I am out of the building on my way home. Sure, the socialization is important, but it is a sub-product of the church experience, not the main dish.
Maybe sometimes people get frustrated with their church because they have the wrong expectation. The church is a place where we go to worship God, and replenish our soul with spiritual food. It’s my relationship with God that is the center of the attention, not the people around me.
My way may not work for other people, but it works well for me and this is what matters at this point in time.
I agree with you about the “.seven eleven” music —- seven words repeated eleven times ! — a take off on the 7-11 convenience stores !
This monstrosity is meant to attract the younger crowd, but alienates the older group, who lets face it, are the financial supporters of the congregation !!
I like a “ high “ church service myself, with top level choral, instrumental, operatic soloists and virtuoso pipe organist!
One SDA church I sometimes attend, does have exclusive 7-11 music ,
but their instrumentalists — guitar, banjo ukulele players and drummers are absolutely top level — so that makes it more palatable.
Plus my Alzheimer’s partner likes the rhythm and sways to the music — he feels energized by it, and that is why we go !
I have been attending both Adventist and Episcopal services for many years. And I’m attending both now via the Web. Friends at my Episcopal church call me an “Episcoventist” - and I don’t mind at all. Actually, there are many more Adventists and former Adventists who attend Episcopal services than people might realize. I am not the only Adventist who attends the Episcopal church that I currently attend.
And, NO, commenters. Don’t condemn us or consign us to hell. Jesus said “other sheep have I which are not of this fold”. Jesus was referring to those who believe in Him when he said that, not to any single denomination. And I don’t believe his statement was prophetic of Adventism.
BTW, Robin. Not all Methodist or Episcopal churches have traditional music (though that’s what I prefer). Nor are the services only 60 minutes. At the Episcopal church I attend, the service (including communion) always lasts at least 75 minutes.
some I have attended have lasted 90 minutes. Depending on what is
all in the service.
HOWEVER – If one does just a barebones service from the Book of
Common Prayer with JUST reading the book, the 4 Scriptures, do
the Communion, IT can get finished in around 30-35 minutes.
Been to one of those services also.
We sing a chorus [from the old books] every time our English Language
School meets at 1st Baptist. Part of our 10:30 break time. Yes. With
12 words one can get 4 verses to sing. We have the blessing then have
a snack and conversation time around the tables. Then back to “school”
for another 45 minutes.
Isn’t it interesting how God uses the unfamiliar and the unknown to meet us?
I am very sorry to hear that it didn’t work out at your local SDA church. You mentioned it before. Maybe this is a way to see things: We believers are on a path with and to God, and sometimes our human travel companions change. It is sad and at the same time the journey of organic faith. Your former church members will see different things on their way than you, maybe they concentrate on certain “plants” and you more on “animals”, and you choose your travel companions accordingly. It’s a loss and a chance, mourning and hope, both. But you are still on the same path. Jesus is the path and the goal of the path. He connects you and them.
Now, with internet church, there is something missing. It’s good for a short period of time, but it isn’t enough for a holistic understanding of worship. I’m grateful, though: We pray together, just a lot more space between us.
Thank you so much for your kind and very warm words, Anne! But it’s not me: my local church is just extraordinary. I’m blessed by my extraordinary brethren. And blessed by my extraordinary brethren in and outside other denominations. We are family. Take care, especially in these days!
I do like the Episcopal Church, North America, and the Anglican Church in England, where I have a daughter and grandchildren residing in London.
I applaud the Episcopalians for having a clergywomen as their primate bishop ( head of church ) from 2006 to 2015 —Bishop Katherine Jefferts Schori —- makes Adventism look positively medieval with our entrenched misogyny.
The Episcopal Church along with the Unitarian Universalists, has been the most inclusive of all denominations in their outreach to the LGBT community —- although the Anglican Church’s prior homophobia is still responsible for the pervasive anti gay politics in East Africa, whose anti gay legislation still dates from Colonial times. ( Malawi, Kenya, Uganda )
Also India, just last year, removed homosexuality from their criminal code statutes.
Hinduism has never had any homophobic elements —- these anti gay laws were a throw back to when India was under British colonial rule and Anglicanism dictated this anti gay stance!
The only element I do not like in Episcopalianism is that they include Communion in every service. Adventism has programmed me, regrettably, that one should not participate in the Lord"s Supper “ unworthily “ and since I consider myself perpetually unworthy, I refrain from attending most Episcopal services for that reason — it makes me conspicuous when I do not participate and remain in my pew.
Methodism, like the Adventists, only has occasional communion services. Also I like a concise, compact, service, and adding communion to thé liturgy just prolongs the agony !
So currently I attend a Methodist church when in one of my homes and a Congregational church when in my other US home.
Amazingly, when in my home in France, there is an Anglican Church with a service in English in the very next French village ( because of all the British expatriates who live there ). However for the afore mentioned reasons, I do not attend that Anglican church when in France. Also I find that British congregation to be rather cold and unfriendly — not warm people !
Oh, what have we done to you? We screwed up. This is so sad. The Lord’s Supper is another way that our stone cold hearts melt: The gospel in the sermon is spoken to our ears and heart, the bread and wine are given to our eyes, mouth and heart. Many senses involved and many senses infected by love. The Lord’s Supper is especially for all of us sinfully ill people. It’s like a visual sermon. You can always come to this visual sermon if you sense you need healing, Robin. You will be given a gift.
Btw, this is what an online church meeting can’t do.
Oh my gosh. Unworthy participation was directed at those affluent church members in Corinth, who were eating all the food at the “potlucks,” the love feasts in which they celebrated the supper, and leaving little to nothing for the poorer members who came later. It could also apply to those who were lording it over others because of their charisma/ spiritual gifting, rather than serving one another in love.
To examine oneself was to see that one wasn’t acting in a destructive manner to the other members of the body of Christ, and its unity and love. Not some kind of morbidly introspective trip or exercise, in which we are made to feel unworthy to even show up! If that’s what Paul meant, no one would have ever participated, including him. This, I fear, is what has been done to so many in the church (including and maybe especially Adventist) today.
Indeed. The Lord’s Supper is a beautiful sign of the kingdom of the believers: We are all at one table, the table of the Lord. All of us need healing, all of us are connected through Christ, all of us at his table.
Participate with us: @ezbord
Handling the Bible in its context, and reading what’s there, can diffuse some really destructive distortions that can negatively impact our lives. Ideas certainly have consequences!
Actually, Jesus said everytime you sit down to a meal and have bread.
One is to remember “This is my body broken for you.”
It wouldn’t hurt to have some small bottles of grape juice so one could
pour several ounces and remember “This is my blood shed for you.”
And say, “Behold who I am. Become what I receive.”
This can be done at home. Not necessarily just at church weekly,
monthly, every 3 months.
Paul has a great Communion service in Corinthians that can be followed.
And one can include the whole family. Baptized or not.
Actually – according to Jesus, an “Ordained” Preacher does not have to be
the ONLY one who can baptize. Jesus authorized, according to the Gospels
and Acts, all believers to do just that.
Deprogramming can be hard. I forgot that communion at every service is probably the most off-putting part of the service to Adventists, including myself in the beginning. It took several years before I became comfortable with it. But you have stronger feelings which are evidently harder to overcome.
Robin, do you ever attend Anglican or Episcopalian Evensong? It is a beautiful service that does not contain communion.
Wondering if the way our young are forced to wash some strangers feet (how does that “teach humility” asked no one ever) is the offending communion repulsion…I do not find my friends not raised in my faith SDA community as having any similar negative feelings regarding communion.
I sense we, typically, much much hay about nadda…and then scheduled it quarterly, replete with patriarchal pageantry.