Ten Commandments for Adventist Communicators

1. Always speak the truth in love. Truth welcomes fearless examination. Love is the one motivation that matters, the only legacy that lasts. While truth is precious nobody is helped by honesty that is brutal.

2. Prioritize your pursuits. If you answer every call you’ll be like a stray dog at a whistlers’ convention. Don’t try to change the world. Change your world. Then witness the ripples widening.

3. Cherish stories. Pay attention to the presence of paradox. Travel and read widely. Focus less on telling and more on listening. As Gracie Allen pointed out, “Never place a period where God has placed a comma.”

4. Challenge the narrative. With integrity confront your privilege and confirmation bias. Cultivate an active crap detector. Represent people who are on the margins. Remember that when you’re following the masses the m is often silent.

5. Guard your joy flame. Enjoy the journey. When you lose your joy you’re no good to anyone, including Jesus. Keep the fun in the fundamentals — otherwise we’re left with “damentals.”

6. Strive for excellence. Continue learning your craft. If you’re older don’t let technology intimidate. If you’re younger don’t let technology dominate. And don’t just do your best — do your balanced best. Seek to be balanced mentally, socially, physically, emotionally, and spiritually. When we’re out of balance our lives become as barren as a bachelor’s refrigerator.

7. Write for people who are not Adventist. Avoid godtalk. Knock down fences. Open the blessed doors.

8. Stand up for communicator colleagues. Communication is the key to life. We carry a noble calling, so go forth with courage especially when a truth-teller colleague comes under attack.

9. Bring it fresh. An artist is someone who looks a little longer. Breathe authentically. Make your audience care. Do not settle for the single story. Be succinct. Ask the hard questions. Consider the unconsidered.

10. Never work one second for the church. You may be employed by the church, but work for your God. Embrace the bigger picture. In so doing you will also become a better church employee, because even when no one else is looking you are working for the ultimate Boss.

Chris Blake is an associate professor of English and communication at Union College and the author of many books and hundreds of articles.

Image Credit: Ralph Hammann - Wikimedia Commons

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This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at http://spectrummagazine.org/node/7932
2 Likes

Thank you Professor. Even though I am a retiree and my “platform” is diminished, still I appreciate the very thoughtfully developed points regarding communications. I love the different “catch phrases” in several of the 10 points that act as “hooks” to hang on to something meaningful.

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Thank you, Chris, for these helpful tips and rules for communication. You inspired me to offer a few thoughts . . . .

Graeme’s Four Rules for writing well:

  1. Only write what you can say better than anyone else. Otherwise, just provide a link and let others take the credit. Remember that people already have opinions on most things, so be fresh or don’t bother.
  2. Take the time (and words) to provide context. If readers understand the background or backstory, they will probably accept whatever you say. As movie makers and novel writers know so well, you need to paint the scene and then place the characters, then add light where you want audience to focus.
  3. Throw in a vivid verb in every sentence, an unusual adjective in each paragraph, and a powerful metaphor in every essay or chapter. Readers want to be woken up to whatever new reality you are offering, not put to sleep.
  4. Read great writers until you understand and can imitate their style. Try Nabokov until you understand how his scientific interest in butterflies shows up in his fiction and essays. If you cocoon regularly, fresh, beautiful and winged words will emerge and fly from your pages.
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The first one is the tough one. please cite the sources in Great Controversy that demonstrate anything but self love for a final generation. Everyone else is a beast of one sort or another. is apostate a loving word? Salvation is not found in Adventism. It is found only in Christ and Him crucified . Paul is very clear on that. Redeemed how I love to proclaim it. Redeemed by the blood of the Lamb. Amazing Grace is much more than a hymn. So of course softly and tenderly is the Christian witness.

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Who is the intended audience of this article? Everyone from Ted Wilson…all the way down to a rookie SDA? Can anyone have assurance of salvation after reading this list? There is so much room for improvement/sanctification. Who is fit to live for eternity with relational/personality rough spots like this article addresses? After one conquers this list of 10, will someone bring out their list of 21?

TThomas.

Have you replaced EG White with Max Lucado?

Earthlings will perish forever whether they err in legalism or on the flip side with fictional fantasy, vicarious, substitutionary, warped grace, soteriology. Adventists have wimped out from other denominations/evangelicals accusing them of legalism so much that they have been peer pressured into warped soteriology. SDA can have the Sabbath, state of dead and eschatology correct/biblical, yet if they err on the basics of soteriology, they are doomed.
Salvation is not just accepting the blood and confessing sin every nanosecond.

Jesus’ finished work is useless if one does not know how to implement it.

He who has begun a work in you will finish …
As you have received Christ Jesus, so walk…
Jesus is the author & finisher of our faith
Sanctification is a work of a lifetime…
He who endures to the end will be saved…
Take every thought into captivity…
Let the wicked forsake their way and the unrighteous their thoughts
Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable…

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Sure, there will be more. Someone has already offered four more points. But reflecting on this list of ten and as one who grew up in a “salvation by works” mind set I found the following thoughts by another great writer encouraging:

"Religious rule keeping can sap your strength. It’s endless! No prison is as endless as the prison of perfection. Her inmates never know when they are finished. Christ, however, gifts you with a finished work. He fulfilled the law for you at the Cross. Gone is the fear that having done everything, you might not have done enough. You climb the stairs, not by your strength, but his.

God pledges to help those who stop trying to help themselves."
Max Lucado, “Next Door Savior”

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The Key to communication, is LISTENING. Can’t you what I’m saying , Can’t you hear what I’m not saying , Can’t you hear what I’m trying to say ? He that had an ear , let him hear what the Spirit says to the church.

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Failing journalists have disgraced the world. They are producing FAKE NEWS like never before. Sad! Commandment number 11: appleagize. Arnold Schwarzenegger does not “strive for excellence” or “bring it fresh.” Sad!

(Nice job, Chris! If only more people would take to heart these commandments, as they really should apply far beyond our church’s sphere of influence.)

1 Like