The Brothers Yancey and the Curse

Hardly ever have I finished reading a good book and immediately wanted to take it up again. Nor have I actually done so.


This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at http://spectrummagazine.org/node/11705
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Any approachable pastor who enjoys young people has heard versions of Yancey’s journey. Nightmares about the time of trouble, super-righteous fathers (some in ministry) who confuse obedience with affection, and LGBTQ SDA children who live with parents revolted by what they know they truly are; hence, no honesty and a crushing fear they may be discovered. In all of this, a spiritual flourishing is trampled, and a fear of divine judgment terrorizes. God’s love for them, absent in the church and sometimes family, hides behind a wall of shame. Yet, like all those in the time of Jesus who were rejected by their society, it is they he most seeks to find and embrace. How can the community created to bring God’s glory to all people, be so certain they can single out those who do not deserve compassion and love and acceptance for who they are?

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Bill Johnsson here writes a fine review of a fine book. It is not my favorite Yancey book, not even in the top five, but it speaks to Adventism perhaps like no other, and this is Bill’s primary point. He has witnessed over the decades the rigid, rancid, deceptive, coercive machinations of Adventists–including, perhaps especially, administrators–and the resulting wreckage in scarred human lives, the seething bitterness, the lost potential, the flowers cut to the cold ground. The Adventist Church lost up to half its pastors in his native Australia over the debacle that was Glacier View. The church hierarchy on occasion effectively closed doors to women, youth, Muslims, academics, artists, LGBTQ, and dissenters.

Yet Bill remains a faithful believer, as does Yancey, both churning out excellent books elucidating and challenging a life of faith, hope, and love in Jesus Christ. The glass is half full. The cause of Jesus is just. The battle to uphold flexibility, flavor, integrity, and freedom endures.

God, bless them both.

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