Discussing Sabbath School qua Sabbath. School


(system) #1

By Alexander Carpenter

Several discussions erupted over at Johnny's Justice post. Let's let ethics stay there and open up a discussion below about improving Sabbath School.

Cliff, what exactly is the purpose of the quarterly?

At least here's the Church Manual on Sabbath School in general: The Sabbath School is the primary religious education system of the Seventh-day Adventist Church and has four purposes: study of the Scripture, fellowship, community outreach, and world mission emphasis.Wouldn't it be interesting if a new SS guide incorporated all of these, say, connecting scripture to taking care of God's "global warming" creation? And then helping people realize that how we treat our environment impacts our witness around the world. And doing it as a community creates fellowship.In cooperation with world divisions, the specific mission of the General Conference Sabbath School Department is to distribute the Sabbath School Bible Study Guide for all age levels, provide designs for Sabbath School programming within the context of the various world division cultures, provide resources and training systems for Sabbath School teachers, and promote world mission Sabbath School offerings.I wonder what "provide designs for Sabbath School programming within the context of the various world division cultures" means.

Does it include a culture of affluence, culture of epistemological uncertainty, a culture of apathy toward the suffering of other, a culture that increasingly misunderstands what "religious liberty" means, a culture at war, perhaps even creating peace in the so-called "culture wars".

I'd love to see a SS lesson that compared research and analysis from Adventist literature, sociology, religion profs, et al and the head of ADRA, BRI. Why not compare our various viewpoints on contemporary issues.

There are a couple of churches that do denomination-wide bible studies on the issues of the day and it seems to really get people engaged. Especially in this age of cheap video and YouTube, the NAD could send out teams of young two person camera teams from SAU and PUC media program to local churches interviewing real live people on their views and then at the beginning of SS each week, everyone could check in to see what other average, lay, church-and-SS-attending Adventists think. (Just another radically liberal idea from Spectrum.)

The SS time is slipping away from our church culture and it has so much potential to increase the sense of Adventist community and commitment to discovering present/eternal truth.

I wonder if separation of church and state is an eternal truth, what about civil rights, caring for creation, helping the least of these, Jan Paulsen recently brought up AIDS in Africa, issues of spirituality. Could we have a church-wide study on the issue of women's ordination?

As the Church Manual says, this is our community's primary religious education system. It appears that many Adventists feel that we're more kindergarten than primary these days. . .who has ideas about changing that?


This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at http://spectrummagazine.org/node/4247