Spectrum Booth Accepted, Rejected by the NAD

Very early in 2022, Spectrum received word that its application to have a booth at the North American Division CALLED convention was approved. This year’s NAD pastors’ family convention in Lexington, Kentucky, runs from June 19-22. Several months after Spectrum’s booth approval, a sense of growing NAD agita began to leak out. This initiated several amicable Spectrum-NAD conversations aimed at better understanding. 


This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at http://spectrummagazine.org/node/11848
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Looking from afar, it is said to see NAD seeming to regress. Spectrum more than any other Adventist aligned media is balanced and open to conversation. “Penalizing” Spectrum in this way only hurts the NAD in particular, and Adventism in general.

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@GeorgeTichy I wonder whether Spectrum offered NAD “season’s greetings” one too many times.

Another compelling evidence that belonging to a denomination on earth is nothing but jousting in politics and has nothing to do with personal salvation.

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The mission of Adventist Forum is to create space for conversation toward Seventh-day Adventist renewal. Spectrum affirms both our movement’s calling and its (imperfect) humanity. True renewal, we believe, involves both honest self-correction and fresh imagination.

After a meandering saga, Spectrum ends up excluded, and outside the camp. Cultural anthropologists know that groups have stories that inform action and create reality. A vilified-other-narrative builds a case for exclusion and intensifies group cohesion by emphasizing elements of disgust that seemingly justify demonization of an out-group. Spectrum has always highlighted stories and facts that are ignored by official church communication platforms. Stories nourish empathy and give tools to break out of one’s favored narratives. A courageous Christianity with a radical love infrastructure, is based on the Sermon on the Mount with a Beatitudinal Constitution, and it has a path of blessing for unlikely people.

Naturally, powerful folks, vested in reification of earthly stratification structures, perceive such religion as dangerous; this would be an untamed religion that worships a God, who like Narnia’s Aslan, is dangerous, but good.

Anyone who reads what is published on this website would get an idea of Spectrum’s values which include the notion of growth, not stagnation. Imagination, not fearful clinging. Embodied discipleship, not rigid orthodoxy. A broadly interwoven life, not cloistered existence.

Personally, I value a seventh day Sabbath as a signifier of God’s commitment to humanity put in place from the beginning. So, it goes to the heart of God’s character which is unconditional love for all people. For me, Sabbath-keeping also stands for non-coercive worship, liberation, equality, and assurance. I view Adventism as a way to live in an “almost, not yet,” expectation of Christ’s coming. Meanwhile, as a disciple, one lives the Kingdom, individually, in community, and within society in such a way to promote abundant life and respect for all. To me, this is Adventism’s unique synthesis.

I am a Seventh-day Adventist, led by a fearless God who tenderly nurtures each step of the journey. This time, I end up outside the camp.

Getting ready for church now----peace.

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Well said, Carmen! I appreciate your central value of sabbath and sabbath observance, but would gently challenge that with a shift to the person of Christ himself. Christ and the identifying seal of his dynamic Spirit are the signifiers of God’s eternal commitment to humanity. Christ is the outshining of God’s character and heart of universal love for all peoples, just as the NT says. The crucified and risen Christ is the one who brings liberation, assurance, and equality, as Galatians 3:28 says:

“In the messiah Jesus there is neither Jew nor Greek, neither slave nor free, no male or female, but all are one.”

This is equally available to all of faith, regardless of worship day observance. I would appreciate an Adventism that would acknowledge this central NT and indeed biblical narrative, beyond sabbath emphasis. Now, that would be radical for this denomination, and would probably ensure Spectrum being denied a booth in the future!

Frank

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Not surprising as Spectrum has really supported a much-needed reformation of Adventism and indeed Christianity through the Imago Gei podcast. The name itself is a rebuke to paternal concepts of Imago Dei and replaces our preconceived notions of deity with what she is telling us now. The circles of Spectrum and the Church will begin to diverge as Spectrum seeks a separate orbit of peace, light, and understanding. We have seen how the church defines “god” but we can remake this as a new realisation.

I admit that the gravitational orbit of “church” is hard to break, but Spectrum has been given a gift through exclusion. You have grown too much to turn back and be limited by the structures that do nothing but bind you. Be free to explore and be Imago Gei or what you dream and create and are.

This is painful, to be sure, but is a much needed step toward growth. The denomination has its place but so many of us have advanced beyond it to recognize our emerging place in Universe. Be blessed.

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While I don’t agree with a reversal/denial of a booth at this particular meeting for Spectrum it is not hard to understand why the NAD would not want to engage in what they may view as a “political hot button issue” i.e.
LBTGQ issues. I agree this is a short sighted view but they have a right to set the agenda whether I personally agree or not. I do agree that those issues warrant discussion in a broader setting than just in Spectrum. Unfortunately they have a fairly narrow view of what constitutes “sharing the gospel” in todays world.
There are big political issues in play currently at many levels so I suspect they don’t want to be sidetracked by "controversy " and lose focus on their priorities.

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HaHa, Elmer! It seems that Spectrum went somewhat “off topic” with the NAD, uh? Thus, getting not a booth, but rather the BOOT!!! :wink: :wink:
It’s unfortunate because it only reveal that the NAD is obstructing free press, and despite my hard feelings toward Spectrum for the past two years or so, I still believe that the NAD is wrong.
I wonder if Adventist Today got a booth, or also a boot? Will check it out!

Well, in the midst of this booth, boot, etc, I guess the NAD deserves nothing but a “BOO” …

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Well, what’s new? 30+ years ago the GC was providing a portion of the financial support for the Seventh-day Adventist Periodical Index. (I was a member of the Index board). The Index board was informed that if they indexed Spectrum all financial support would be withdrawn.

Since the recent GC I my perception has become that the denomination is retrenching and moving backward. What future is there for progressive Adventism?

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.We need dissenters. The church can learn much from them. We need people who will not toe the party line but will question authority and the status quo. Even if these dissenters can sometimes be difficult individuals with axes and miscellaneous other implements to grind and with various chips on either shoulder. And the reason we need these people is that dissenters make it easier for others to speak their mind. Dissenters legitimise dissent.Does this really matter?: It seems that it does . In a business context, studies have shown that 85% of workers felt unable to raise an issue or concern to their bosses, even though they felt the issue was important So serious is this problem in fact, that a manager has made it a habit to have a ‘plant’ during meetings, a confederate whose sole job is to raise awkward questions; this ‘pops the cork’ and shows the others it is safe to disagree. Excellent! (Heath & Heath 2017 – p. 191) The NAD has shown it’s ignorance and it’s vulnerability.

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Progressives who dare to ask questions, or question certain maneuvers by the Church, will be gradually denied space in the Adventist Church. The GC is radicalizing itself, and since TW was now tri-elected, one can only expect toxicity on steroids ahead.

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I am on, count on me!!! :wink:

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I deplore the politics of exclusion, especially on this case. Both the author and @Carmen have stated the case well. Thanks for that.

On the other hand, just as Spectrum has publicly and unkindly excoriated one of their long-time commenters in good standing eighteen months ago, and then excluded them “outside the camp,” Now Spectrum finds themselves also “outside the camp.” It seems a fitting turn of events all things considered. How is it usually stated? “What goes around comes around?”

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Myself also, friend George. I was raised to believe that SDA-ism was the only path to Heaven, but now that I am an enlightened thinking human being I have put away such childish things. Praise God!

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Oh Patti, good “seeing” you again. It’s been a while. I miss the good old days when we had very dynamic conversations here. Someone sent me the link to this news, though it was already mentioned this morning in the “Faith & Reason” SS at Sligo. Booted-out Spectrum is making news everywhere! LOL . :wink: :wink:

Regarding the “path to Heaven,” well… for me what is happening in the SDAC .suggests that, during the flight…, it was announced that, “This flight has been cancelled due to mechanical problems; brace for impact” … :scream::roll_eyes: :joy:

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Thank-you, Fred. I agree that excluding Spectrum is a problem, but excoriating a single person isn’t really fair. Bryant has to answer to colleagues and his “superiors.” (Although supposedly in a representative governing structure, the laypeople are the superiors.) Some subjects make division presidents very uncomfortable, especially since they are also GC vice-presidents. It’s easier to advocate for incremental change from within the system if you don’t appear to advocate for sudden change.

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At the convention, there are four time slots for seminars and each time slot offers about 20 different seminars to choose from. During the Monday afternoon time slot, there is a seminar on Evangelistic Potential of LGBTQ People (Panel) lead by Steve Leddy, Alex Barrientos, and Dilys Brooks. During that same time slot, there is another seminar on LGBTQ-Focus on Theology, Science, Ethics & Relationship lead by Leslie Pollard and panelists. During the Tuesday morning time slot, there is a seminar on Making Communities of Faith and Families Safe for LGBT+ Loved Ones lead by Bill Henson.

I looked for a list of the organizations that have booths but could not find one.

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In my thinking, we have to many denominational administrators who have been to long apart from congregational ministry. As such they little to no understanding of what it is like to be a congregational pastor in these times. They typically are limited in their understanding of the issues prevalent in our society today. They do not understand the issues faced by our congregational families.

I do not know the background of our present NAD President. So, my comments may not apply to him.

However, in general, I think that we should have a more rapid turnovers of our administrators with their return to actual congregational ministry.

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Unfortunately, it seems, these are all things that conservative leaders of the NAD fear and loathe. After all, they have the truth. Ideas such as these suggest the truth can be improved, which implies that their nostalgic truth is not perfect.

My experience is that the intricate system of doctrines that drive Adventist teachings has become a fragile house of cards. And that that fragility has only increased in recent years as the church retrenches and clarifies the 28 in an effort to increase the height of the walls it has built to keep out what it sees as heresy. For example it clarified the belief in a literal creation, by adding “recent” to the wording, just to make sure no one thinks it could possibly allow for anything else.

And as the article points out, church leadership appears to have an irrational fear of homosexuals and everyone else in the LGBTQ+ community. And they base this on one or two texts in the bible, which co-exist among many others that warn against things we accept out of hand in our society, or at the very least they don’t have the same visceral reaction to. If anything, as the LGBTQ+ community has become more understood by society they have reacted even most strongly against it.

My Grandfather, who was a career Adventist preacher from about 1940, was a true believer. He and my father never really got along, especially after my father left the church. But even my father recognized with admiration that the man could sure preach! He built churches, both figuratively and literally. He was a missionary. My grandmother was also a life-long church employee, working as a teacher - for drastically reduced wages because she was the wife of a minister. He did this even though he was black-listed by the NAD early in his career for removing a church president’s daughter from the books - on her request. But eventually, in his retirement, he read. He read a lot about natural history, and about Christian church history. One day when he was about 85 he told me that, you know, he didn’t really think the Pope was the Antichrist anymore. That man, he said, seems to do a lot of good. Oh, and also, he was starting to think that all those fascinating-to-him dinosaur bones and the many other fossils sure did seem very, very old. He never renounced his faith, but the church did what they could to weaken it.

Here’s some food-for-thought from Bart Ehrman regarding the topic of this Spectrum article. I find it far more informative than anything the SDA church as produced.

It’s a short post. Click the link near the end, “Does the bible condemn homosexuality?”, to load a video.

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Based on my experience, I don’t believe those presentations can be or will be anything but sanitized, party-line patronizing. None of the pastors or churches who have been active in ministering to LGBT Adventists were allowed any place in the presentations and were denied a booth. Thus you will find their outreach in a park near the convention center - an area for the “Samaritans”. The church is unwilling to listen to those with first-hand experience and training in this area that does not agree with what they want to hear!

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