A record number of senior level U.S. State Department career staff are leaving. Additionally, nearly 1,000 employees in that department signed a memo through the department dissent channel. All of them expressed displeasure with recent actions by the current administration (for comparison, the previous record number for dissent signatories was around 50). In response, U.S. Press Secretary Sean Spicer commented that the employees should either “get with the program or go.” It seems like the first group were of that mind; whereas, the second group appears to have decided to stay and dissent from the inside. Who is right? Throughout the government, employees who have dedicated their hearts and lives to their work are weighing these options. A recently aired interview with 2 Department of Energy employees talked through both choices. Each had decided to take a different tack. I could empathize with each rationale. Stay: Change will not happen if no one is “inside the system” to implement change. Go: Why frustrate yourself and why potentially compromise your values by working for an inept and wrongheaded regime?
Yes Courtney, many people are finding themselves in a space between Paul’s admonition not to “forsake the assembly” and Revelation’s call to “come out of her, my people, so that you will not share in her sins”.
I like the “post authoritarian” tone of this piece. Maybe a full committment to freedom of concience will emerge from all the dissonance and we will shed one more layer of our religious arrogance without sacrificing the organizational structures that have taken so long to form. Is it too much for us to think that “we” means every one of God’s children, including our enemies, ideological or otherwise?
If one no longer believes the church doctrine and or structure then one should have the decency to leave. It is not fair to the other members to have one in their midst who is constantly at odds with the church doctrine or structure.When I no longer believed in the church message I left and my relationship with those who stayed is cordial much better than when I was in church and questioning the doctrine.
Being on the roles of any particular denomination has nothing to do with an individuals salvation and it is much better to dwell in peace with oneself and ones neighbour then to be constantly at odds with ones fellow travelers.
Believe me there is life outside the SDA church or any church for that matter.
Is your loyalty to the Adventist church or to God who will eventually be your judge? What part does your conscience play in such a decision?
You, alone, must decide. Either choice will be damned or praised.
Some in leadership positions with the church have realized, like many US. government workers, that they cannot support an institution that operates contrary to the principles they believe. In the history of the church, employees and members have chosen to leave when this has happened.
An ordained pastor saying: "Who is right? I can’t say. Each path has its merit. This is also true for members who contemplate their own future relationships with the denomination."
Courtney, The thoughts that you are sharing in this article are honest and from your heart. I commend you for opening up and sharing your hearts feelings. But reading your words is very disturbing to me as a member of God’s last day movement. I see no light in what you say to illuminate the darkness that is constantly trying to enshroud us. Pastors are to shepherd the sheep which entails loving them, protecting them from danger, leading them to the still waters that give life and keeping a watchful eye on them as they feed among the many unseen dangers awaiting to destroy them.
If you are this unhappy and not sure of whether your ministry should be within the Adventist Church, I think you would be much happier ministering in some other capacity outside of denominational employment. As a thankful member who loves this message and church (which is the the apple of God’s eye), I and other members prayerfully return tithe and entrust that it will be used to further the mission of the Seventh-day Adventist Church, not to pay for discouraging words of doubt and fear. Out of the heart the mouth speaks and the tenor of what you shared seems to be very negative toward the denomination. If one truly loves this church, they realize it does indeed have imperfections that need to be changed and that real change does come from within not without. Please remember that there is a shaking going on and we all need to only speak encouraging words and not sow seeds that may grow up and choke the very last spiritual life out of our weaker brethren.
The title of your article is Should I Stay Or Should I Go Now. I think in your conscience you know the answer to that question. From what I read, I think you should go. Not that you should go and leave the church. But go from denominational employment. Go and seek help from Godly people that know without a doubt that this IS God’s Church and there is no where else to go. Go and repent for sharing words of discouragement. Go and find the blessed hope that will minister to your hurting heart. Go and find the beauty of this remnant church. Go and humble yourself and pray for the Holy Spirit to give you words to share that will point people that have no hope to the Seventh-day Adventist Church and to the wonderful, powerful truth as it is in Jesus as only found in this movement. I’m thankful and blessed for the privilege of membership in this church and humbled by the responsibility that I have as an unpaid lay leader (an elder). I wouldn’t dare complain about the church to anyone and I expect you as a paid pastor to be held to an even higher standard.
Mark 16:15 says: Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature. The Gospel is GOOD NEWS!! Go look for it. Look for the good!!
The problem with this piece is its rank judgmentalism. Look at the following sentences and think of how one would feel who has the other opinion:
The church is divided on this matter. There is no clear Biblical mandate for WO. Show me such a command or at least give an example of someone in the Bible doing it. There aren’t any, so this is all opinion. But Courtney sees herself as morally superior to those who disagree with her, and they are akin to megalomaniacs.
Paul disagreed with some in the Philippian church. Here is what he said to them:
Philippians 3:15, 16 All of us who are mature (like Courtney) should take such a view of things. And if on some point you think differently, that too God will make clear to you. Only let us live up to what we have already attained.
I don’t see any mention of megalomania in Paul’s admonition.
If WO supporters cannot do better than this essay, as far as persuading others of their side’s Christ-likeness, there is really no other choice but shake the dust from their feet and decamp.
if i were an adventist pastor, given what i’ve taken the time to study and have come to believe, there’s no chance i’d leave, no matter what…even i worked in a strong headship church, like my home church, i’d stay and pray that my influence could bring change over time…the church cannot be influenced from without…it’s only by staying and being active in it that we can possibly make a difference…
and if, as an employee, i had a problem with, say, TW, i’d find a way to cross paths with him and talk to him directly about my concerns…this is probably easier for me to say, since i’m definitely not a background type of person…i do have a shy side, but i ultimately tend to take charge of the people around me and the situations i find myself in…in my case, there probably is a possibility that i could be fired, as i generally don’t tone anything down simply because i’m talking to some kind of VIP…but if a were fired, i’d make sure my firing was over something i believe in…this way i could sleep with a clean conscience at night, and move onto something else, knowing that i hadn’t let myself down…i think employees who are silent because they’re afraid of being fired probably need more faith…after-all, if god is leading in our lives, why wouldn’t being fired for conscience’ sake be part of his plan for us…
but i have to say that i see very little parallel between TW and donald trump…TW is a man of rare substance and integrity…yes, he’s off on WO and the importance of church policy, but who doesn’t have his faults…i don’t think anyone can truthfully say that TW doesn’t get out of bed each morning and do his very best for what he believes is good for the church…but in the case of trump, i see nothing but a thoroughly selfish fixation with his own inclinations, biases and views…i think the man is so into himself, he can’t possibly be expected to think or care about anyone else…this is definitely not TW…
The local community of believers and non-believers.
I have seen where some pastors have helped to create within their community of believers the ability to be
ALL WELCOMING to ALL. To allow ALL to be a part of the community of believers whether baptized or not.To participate in all facets of the worship of God. To baptize ALL into membership who have accepted Christ.
The pastor creating the ability of the community of believers to see that the community outside of the
church building is ALSO part of their Parish. The desire to embrace their community for Christ.
It is true that recently we have seen the ability of many of the Bureaucrats in our Unions and Conferences to see the VALUE of every member, regardless of Gender in the eyes of God. And have been perceptive enough to allow God to choose whomever HE/SHE will to lead His/Her flocks.
I think we are in the middle of a movement where more are recognizing that God Calls, God provides the skills to whomever He/She wants regardless of Gender. We are seeing where both Men and Women are being allowed to answer the Call of God within the framework of the local communion of churches in Unions.
Since the Bureaucratic Community of the SDA church is made up of members from all corners of the earth I dont see where these persons will, as a body, recognize that God calls all regardless of Gender.
BUT, those leaders who are perceptive and receptive to God’s leading WILL allow pastoral shepherds AND pastoral shepherdesses to lead His Flock.
Since the Southern Union was apparently one of those signers, I am more hopeful that the Southern Union and the Ga-Cumberland conference will be requesting applications from women to lead out in our local churches, or to found new worshiping communities.
The summer of 1981 I worked at a construction site in Florida among the heat, drought, sinkholes and smokes of palmetto wildfires. I decided to give college a try.
As I said goodbye to a Jamaican friend and co-worker, he said, “Good luck in the ministry.” I had no intention of becoming a minister, but he had heard me say I was going to attend ‘Southern Missionary College’, thus the ‘mistake’.
As I began classes in winter 1982, ‘SMC’ decided that its students needed a boost getting jobs in ‘corporate America’, and changed its name to ‘Southern College of Seventh-day Adventists’. This was supposed to let the corporate world know that they weren’t looking at the resume of a ‘minister’, or ‘missionary’, when its students went job-searching . . . and now the ‘college’ has attained that higher status of ‘university’.
But this move away from a church-centered, to a corporate-centered focus by SDAs did not happen in a vacuum. In 1981 Ronald Reagan was the first U.S. President to take the oath of office on the west side of the U.S. Capital Building, facing the ‘obelisk’. Many SDAs might groan at those who insist this was an ‘occult’ sign that the Jesuits had taken over the U.S. Gov’t and U.S. religions, as being ‘conspiracy theorists’, but the rapid rise in the power of ‘corporations’ at the expense of ‘labor’ in both the U.S. and England was very real. Reagan broke up the ‘AT&T’ monopoly, only so it could metastasize into a plague of new start-up ‘corporations’. And the SDA GC was right in there, gladly exercising its ‘corporate’ power through persecution of fellow Christians who dared infringe on its ‘name’ and ‘trademark’. http://totalrestitution.com/articles/SDATRADEMARK.html
Protestants such as the SDA church claims to be, have always focused on the threat of the Church and State uniting. Just as the U.S. was born, the ‘pope’ was taken captive by Napoleon and died, and the Jesuit order was reinstated within 2 decades. A French diplomat, Alexis de Tocqueville, toured the new U.S. and wrote that the only threat he saw to ‘Democracy in America’ was that of a rise of the oppressive power of corporations to replace that of monarchs.
Make your own connections. I have. While Protestants in America readily attacked anything smelling of ‘church and state’, they eagerly invested in the union of the new industrialized economy with science, ‘religion’s’ opponent in ‘philosophy’.
Three things are necessary in any society not a ‘Theocracy’:
An economy, a philosophy, and a government . . . and discussing any one of these topics kills a ‘party’.
So, in the end, our current SDA church – by choosing the ‘corporate’ form as its model, or ‘paradigm’ as I learned in college – has participated in the restitution, also of the abuses of church & state. There is no SDA ‘church’ to either leave, or to stay in. The purpose of coming out of ‘Babylon’ was always to rebuild Jerusalem’s Wall and Temple – ‘the Law and the Gospel hand-in-hand’, as Ellen put it. But, as Nehemiah discovered, God’s people are obsessed with ‘marketing’ and making money, regardless of which day of the week they are kept from doing so. This worth-ship of the ‘corporate’ power and wealth has been the ‘Trojan Horse’ ‘idol’ that has ‘countered’ the ‘Reformation’ in America, and brought the SDA GC to its knees:
“. . . And there shall no longer be a trader in the house of the LORD of hosts on that day.” Zechariah 14:21 RSV
Before we try to cleanse the GC ‘temple’ by either going or staying, we each need to be sure there are no ‘corporate’ idols in our own.
Does the ‘Father’ really have untold riches to share with us ?
Does the Spirit really ‘love’ to teach the ‘truth’ of science and religion in harmony, as Jesus did ?
Is Jesus truly the ‘Prince of Peace’ and ‘King of the Praisers’ ?
Or do I prefer ‘Babylon’s’ self-centered ‘economy’, debating ‘philosophy’, and warlike dictatorial ‘government’ ?
I like this article. Short and to the point.(I usually don’t read those that one has to press the “page down” key 10 times… )
Every person, employee or not, has to make their own decision about “staying or leaving.” And nobody should ever be criticized for choosing either way. Sometimes here at Spectrum we have people saying to others, “So, if you don’t agree, why don’t you leave?” - This is an offensive question that only reveals a false feeling of entitlement as if they were the Church’s owners. (See an example above, where @oldabe says, “…then one should have the decency to leave.” ) And @ageis711Oxyain has it right again, " You, alone, must decide. Either choice will be damned or praised."
Every person, employee or not, can always focus on their own relationship with God, and with the LOCAL CHURCH. Life taught me that the Denomination’s structure and those black suited people upstairs mean absolutely NOTHING to our spiritual experience on this planet. Nothing! They are mere human being who often behave as if they belonged to the “club of universal gods” - and firmly believing that they are indeed gods! Sometimes they believe they are the linking rings between God and “the rest of us,” the representatives of God on earth to whom we should report. Now, how sicker can this be?
Every person, employee or not, will have all those challenges the author described. What about trying to ignore what goes on “upstairs” and just taking one day at a time focusing on what you do for living, or as a call to ministry? Yes, we discuss what happens upstairs, but does it really affect our lives? If it does, it is time to change the approach and make a resolute effort to ignore it all. Just focus on your work if you are an employee; and if you are just a member, focus on your local church only. Don’t just leave because some lunatics are fighting in favor of discrimination of women, or other nonsensical ideas.
Stay where you are, if you can and want to. Do your job, if you can and want to. Attend you local church, if you can and want to. And try not to be bothered by the politics and abuses that happen upstairs, if you can and want to. And if you are bothered by those things, come here to Spectrum and vent your frustrations! You need to be !!!
And regarding the link @DogTail provided above, it’s a real tragedy for all Americans: It was coming, and…
Here it is, they call it FREEDOM OF RELIGION - just to disguise the legalization of religious and social and racial discrimination.
Thanks again, REPUBLICANS, for the “gift” of Trump!
Oh yes, the well known “purifiers” are always engaged in… purifying what is not as “pure” as they are…
I think perhaps there is at least as much reason to thank Democrats for the present administration (if not a whole lot more). National politics aside, the author’s views (direct as they are) resonate with this believer. I cringe at the responses of the “purifiers” above, and hope they speak for a rather small contingency made up of those lacking the resources or inclination to obtain and maintain a balanced perspective (i.e. too much “drinking the coolaid” and too little thoughtful reading and reflection). God’s Remnant for earth’s final days, or the dregs left after chasing off His best and brightest, or…
Excellent question, Courtney. Keep the faith that burns so strongly within you and stay. We need you in the Church. As one writer said, there is very little impact on the movement from outside it. That is just the reality.
Thank you for helping deal with the widespread frustration over male headship beliefs and blocking women’s ordination, as well as the arrival of such an ungodly man in the White House! There is one other thing you referred to that is just crucially important is not even responded to in this thread: that is the rampant nepotism that has infected our church administration. It is disheartening and demoralizing to our people everywhere. We need to make it an open issue with our leadership! With love and kindness, let’s encourage our church to fix this unacceptable employment structure.
While I renounced my belief in Adventism and organized religion for a much deeper reason, it’s attitudes like Jeremy’s that continually reconvince me that I made the right call.
That is, he and people who share his mind set, would never leave the organization, no matter how thoroughly debunked its founding principles and parentage have been. Their ilk would have kept shoveling coal into the boiler of the Titanic when they should have been looking for a less moribund form of transportation.
But that said, I’d encourage his type to keep working from within as I’d rather not share my lifeboat with anyone eone who’s pining for a hulk of detritus that’s MIGHT be on its way to heaven but seems more likely headed for the bottom of the sea.
@ajshep: It is true that “The church is divided on this matter,” and that "There is no clear Biblical mandate for Women’s Ordination. It is also true that Neither is there any “clear Biblical mandate” Against Women’s Ordination.
It is generally accepted that one does not make valid arguments when presenting only one side of an issue, especially when employing pejoratives such as “Courtney sees herself as morally superior to those who disagree with her…”
Perhaps you might want to take this opportunity to reflect upon the contrast between a Christ-like response and the words you employ that seem to exemplify precisely such a spirit of “rank judgmentalism.”