Several Spectrum readers have contacted us about the recent Family Guy episode that mentioned Seventh-day Adventists. I suspect that some of our community may have missed the most recent episode or may not even know that this show exists.
In the brief clip from Family Guy, there's a short cameo of an Adventist and the reaction of the Methodist in this clip apparently has some Seventh-day Adventists feeling like we were mocked. But I disagree. I think it's the other guy who is the butt of the joke—if you want to call what Seth MacFarlane does "funny." According to the scene set up, Seventh-day Adventists are clearly Christians who just worship on a different day. What's actually funny is what some people think of us.
As far as animated television goes, there are other shows that I prefer. But I do find it interesting to see how Adventism is represented in pop culture. All too often we dismiss the popular and then act surprised that our mission and message seems so irrelevant.
Recently Adventist leaders have turned inward, and even tried to limit the contact that Adventists have with other Christians. The most recent example is Adventist Church president Ted Wilson attacking Oakwood University's invitation to J. D. Jakes.
But what the Revival and Reformation crowd apparently misses is that peculiarity for its own sake breeds insularity. Now, they are right to be concerned. Adventist identity is in flux. After all, thanks to forces like globalization, all cultures and religions are changing. What Wilson and his acolytes do apparently miss is that we cannot conserve a past identity because that identity was itself formed vis-a-vis a wider culture. It worked in the past precisely because it was formed in conversation with culture then. Adventist pioneers were people of their times. Now those who are going to successfully be (and lead) Adventists in the twenty-first century will also be the pioneering kind of thinkers and doers who understand our current cultural currents. And that awareness includes realizing that more humans watched this Adventist cameo on TV—and on computers and mobile devices—then will read the The Great Controversy books some Seventh-day Atavists want to give away. And there's nothing funny about that.
This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at http://spectrummagazine.org/node/3776