I don’t know where to begin. I’m an Adventist. I went through a stage where I wasn’t willing to say that. I didn’t want to say that. Despite growing up an Adventist and being a preacher’s kid’s kid, I got to a point where I wasn’t so sure about my adventistness. Yet after trying to be something else and denying what I knew, I realized I’m more Adventist than ever. I don’t know how to be anything else. And the problem myself and many Adventists today have is that we no longer see a future in the Adventist Church as a denomination.
Today Adventists all over North America are confused, disappointed, and frustrated. They don’t understand the recent decisions of the General Conference regarding homosexuality. Why a group of theologians who claim to share the loving gospel of Jesus, would tell us that our brothers, daughters, cousins, and friends are not allowed to come to church. We don’t understand why the GC press release shutting down the most innovative, exciting, and creative work the church has ever done would say they look forward to innovative and creative ventures in the future.
I watched the Record Keeper with my family, with my 6 and 8 year old sons, who stopped talking about Star Wars and started asking questions about the battle between good and evil. They wanted to know the story of God and Satan and Salvation more than Darth Maul and Anakin Skywalker. I watched the series with my youth group, and after each episode our conversations went on for hours. They wanted to know what we believe about the judgment and why all of this is the way it is. I’ve never felt more alive or more empowered by the church to bring students into a deeper understanding of our faith and salvation like with this film.
And with one fell swoop it’s over. With no explanation showing what the issues really were, it’s over. And I ask with these decisions “Is the General Conference intentionally trying to kill the church? What’s the point?” I don’t think they understand the harm they’ve done with the recent decisions they’ve made. That people like me who have devoted their life to helping young people understand what they believe and to stay in the church is now that much harder. Every week I talk with a high school student who tells me their faith is strong, but they see no future for themselves in this church. And today I can’t argue with them because I see no future for my own children here.
I see friends asking the question “what do I do now”. I see disappointment and disillusionment all around me as Adventists from all parts of North America try to make sense of what to do. But I know what I will do. I will not be undone by individuals so out of touch with reality; individuals who offer no explanation to their decisions and expect blind adherence without discourse. The world is a much different place from when Ellen White helped found the church.
I’m writing today not to anyone employed by a church or conference office. I’m writing as a member of the Seventh – day Adventist church who is sad, disappointed, and angry. I have spent my life in this denomination. I believe in the fundamental truths of the Seventh-Day Adventist church. I have devoted my life, often to the detriment of my professional career, to the ministry of helping young people discover and own their beliefs within the Adventist church. For my own selfishness I will not allow that work to be thrown away.
My decision is not to give up and walk away with my head hung low. It is to fight back. It is to take my church back from the hands of those who are intentionally trying to tear it apart. Selfish, politically motivated individuals, who at the end of the day are simply sinful human beings in need of a savior just like me.
I have seen the future face of our church and there is a bright light buried in the lives of the next generation. A generation that isn’t afraid to ask questions and go after their faith in a manner no previous generation has. A generation who looks to love, acceptance, and tolerance as the cornerstone to their beliefs. A generation whose creativity and authenticity will bring a renaissance to not only Adventism, but Christianity as a whole.
It is time for those of us who don’t agree with the methods laid out before us to respond. To come together and show our leaders how much we care and why we care. And to take ministry into our hands, the way that it’s meant to be The great commission was given to all of us to share the power of Jesus with those around us as only individuals using our talents for filmmaking, music, writing, yoga, counseling, teaching, kindness, love, patience… can do.
These decisions should not cause you to be disillusioned or to turn your back on the church. If so, I would beg of you to please contact me. These decisions by the official church are the call to members to wake from the habits they have formed over their life and take notice. It’s a time for all of us to truly ask ourselves what we believe and stand up for it. This isn’t a show that the church doesn’t want you. It’s a show that the church needs you more now than ever.