Dispatch from the future of Adventism


(system) #1

By Chelle Webster

"I am 23-years old. I have been an Adventist my whole life; in fact, the daughter of an Adventist theologian, and so have grown up with inspirational discussions about God, theodicy, Adventism, and church. I was a Philosophy and Religion major, and spent my time in college thinking about our place in the world, our understandings of the world, and what it meant to be Adventist. In college, I believed that my friends and I were a transformational force to be reckoned with; just wait, world, until we graduate!

It's been almost three years since graduation, and I am currently working as a public high school teacher, teaching freshmen and sophomores to stop answering their phones in class, to avoid using the electric sharpener in the middle of my daily instructions, and to tone down their cross-the-classroom conversations while I am teaching. I rarely discuss Adventist theology in my daily life – the public school system is not exactly conducive to the discussion of faith – and find myself feeling more and more disconnected from the sense of excitement, possibility, and transformation that infused my childhood.

\u003cbr\>What happened? In my case, entering the "real world" of a job\noutside Adventism meant I became disconnected to what used to be a\nmajor source of inspiration; discussions of what it means to be\nAdventist, and how to authentically live out our faith. Now, I am an\nAdventist young professional in a for-all-intents-and-purposes secular\nworld. I can continue my faith by personal devotions, but find it hard\nto be inspired without a community. I can go to church once a week,\nbut at church merely hear a sermon repeat the same theme of salvation\nby grace – although this time with illustration #42 – and afterwards\nmeet with friends I have known since college or before to talk about\nour weeks or jobs or where to eat lunch. Things have become mundane,\nand I have lost the sense that God is moving quickly in this world, and\nthat I am a part of that movement. \n\u003cbr\>\u003cbr\>What\ncan be done? For those of you reading this, perhaps the Spectrum blog\nhas become that "Adventist community" for you where you can once again\ndiscuss your faith, and in that discussion learn more about who you\nare, what you believe, and how to be Adventist in your daily life.\nPerhaps the peace and justice issues discussed here are easily\ntranslated into the praxis of your life, in whichever world you\ninhabit. \n\u003cbr\>\u003cbr\>But perhaps in the Spectrum cyberspace there are some of you\nthat late at night (or in the middle of the day) think that something\nis lacking in your life. That we should never lose the sense of\ntransformational possibility, that our daily lives should still feel\nintimately connected to what we believe to be most important in life. \nThose of you out there: what are you doing to keep that sense of\nmovement, that sense of hope, that sense of possibility? \n\u003cbr\>\u003cbr\>I started this blog in order to let you know of something\n(imperfect, definitely) that I am working on as my partial answer to\nthat question; unfortunately, now that I've reached the end of this\nentry, I cannot add it. I've typed myself into a situation where any\nendorsement now would be too commercial, too much a product of Southern\nCal. So instead I'll leave you to post your answers, and leave mine\nfor the next blog. How do you keep your sense of Adventism alive?" ",1] );

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What happened? In my case, entering the "real world" of a job outside Adventism meant I became disconnected to what used to be a major source of inspiration; discussions of what it means to be Adventist, and how to authentically live out our faith. Now, I am an Adventist young professional in a for-all-intents-and-purposes secular world. I can continue my faith by personal devotions, but find it hard to be inspired without a community. I can go to church once a week, but at church merely hear a sermon repeat the same theme of salvation by grace – although this time with illustration #42 – and afterwards meet with friends I have known since college or before to talk about our weeks or jobs or where to eat lunch. Things have become mundane, and I have lost the sense that God is moving quickly in this world, and that I am a part of that movement.

What can be done? For those of you reading this, perhaps the Spectrum blog has become that "Adventist community" for you where you can once again discuss your faith, and in that discussion learn more about who you are, what you believe, and how to be Adventist in your daily life. Perhaps the peace and justice issues discussed here are easily translated into the praxis of your life.

But perhaps in the Spectrum cyberspace there are some of you that late at night (or in the middle of the day) think that something is lacking in your life. That we should never lose the sense of transformational possibility, that our daily lives should still feel intimately connected to what we believe to be most important in life. Those of you out there: what are you doing to keep that sense of movement, that sense of hope, that sense of possibility?

I started this blog post in order to let you know of something (imperfect, definitely) that I am working on as my partial answer to that question; unfortunately, now that I've reached the end of this entry, I cannot add it. I've typed myself into a situation where any endorsement now would be too commercial, too much a product of Southern Cal. So instead I'll leave you to post your answers, and leave mine for the next blog. How do you keep your sense of Adventism alive?"


This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at http://spectrummagazine.org/node/4292