Chapter 9: Days of Conflict

January 27, 2007

“The requirements of society and the requirements of god were in constant collision. Men were departing from the word of God, and exalting theories of their own invention.” DA77

“These walls of partition He overthrew. In His contact with men He did not ask, What is your creed? To what church to you belong? He exercised His helping power in behalf of all who needed help.” DA79

Essentially, Jesus continually bucked religious society in favor of Biblical truth, and He suffered pressure from His family and from religious leaders to conform to ideas they had made up. The Pharisees incited his mother and brothers to gang up on Him. What ideas have we made up as Adventists that Jesus would buck today? As Christians? As Americans? As a member of all three groups, I’m stunned to realize that I might resent Jesus as well if I had been His brother in today’s world. His goodness and my lack of goodness could have made a wedge between us. Or it may be bringing us together forever? Luckily, it is apparent that James and some of the other brothers did come around, so I think there is hope me thanks to the patience and unwavering love of Jesus.

So then, what ideas have we made up? I’m not talking about the 27 (or is it 28) fundamental beliefs? But a few ideas that come to mind that I would like to hold to the light shining from the Bible for examination are:

1. Only associating with people in “the church.”

2. Going to church for emotional self-satisfaction (feel good music/or a feel good messages indicate that the Holy Spirit is at work).

3. God loves us less when we sin and more when we are good. Worse yet, that we are lost when we sin and saved when we are good.

4. God will overlook sinning habits because of His grace, and that somehow we may achieve heaven without sacrificing self.

5. That God doesn’t have what it takes to do what he promises. Worse yet, that God chooses not to do as promised.

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6 Responses to “Chapter 9: Days of Conflict”

  1. Steve said

    me again….

    my particular favorite of the Adventist church is it’s attitudes to Non-Adventists..

    In particular how so many Adventists truly believe they are the only ones who hold the truth. They obviously don’t follow the adage “It’s who you know not what you know!”.

    Sin and sinners – so often we forget that we are all equally doomed – none of us can save ourselves – even the worship team! (detect a heavy tone of synicism here).
    In particular – homosexuals are a group particularly “sinful” according to adventists – yet how are the rest of us any less sinful?

    I could rant and rave for pages – but hopefully you get the gist of what I’m trying to say.

  2. wallygoots said

    I’m telling you Steve, it’s hard not to become cynical. Always a danger when focusing on people (even ourselves I suppose). It’s cathartic to realize we are all rotten, and that because of this we tend to forget it. Yes, I didn’t know how much of a wall I had against non-adventists until I worked on Orcas Island and made friends with seriously committed Christians of other “brands.” But recently, I became interested in a woman who adores Jesus as much as I do, and who is not Adventist. Finding someone who has taken the Jesus jump is always exciting. But I realized through the relationship that Adventist culture runs very deep, and it goes far beyond spirituality. It really is a culture all to it’s own. I think this was a factor in the relationship not working out, but I also realize that I want to find someone who accepts how deeply Adventist I am, and understands the culture. Not mandatory, but it would be nice. So, how to be Adventist in all the good ways, while sifting off the bad is the challenge.

    So then, homosexuals. I love them. My uncle is, and I wish I knew him better. I have compassion for them, not because they are worse sinners than I, but because they have been so mistreated by Christians. I know God died for them, and I just want to apologize for how we as Christians have hated. There is an Adventist Homosexual Organization called Kinship. I seem to remember that at one time (not currently) they had the motto displayed: “If you’re not going to accept us, please stop trying so hard to hurt us.” Hopefully we can learn to love like Jesus did someday.

  3. Jan said

    My greatest problem with the ‘list’ that you made Seth; is that it is so true; and it embarrasses and makes me ashamed to admit my roots…not only for Adventism; but for Christianiaty as a whole. In many quarters; Christianity is laughed at; and there is good reason for that laughter! We have disgraced the name of Jesus; I suppose that brings us to the entry on top of this..

    Our desperate need for a Savior is obvious; but I want to be brazen and forthright in my admission of my love for Jesus. Too often I am not.

    I work for hospice..how proud I am to tell of it, How quickly people admire the work that I do…it is not the same as a Christian. When I say “I work for hospice..people are so positive. NOt necessarily so for the other roles I play!

    Yet; is some of it my own perception? And should it matter what people think?

  4. Jan said

    One last thought;

    I am struck, as I read these chapters, how difficult and stressful Christ’s life was. Constantly bombarded with challenges..and it was no charade.

    It makes me understand on a deeper level that He does truly understand my struggles.

  5. Renee said

    A ponder: While I do not disagree, Jan, that Jesus had stresses and difficulties in His life–probably immense, I can’t help but think about the previous post to this one. Could it be that He had a much higher “tolerance” for the challenges He faced every day because of His exceptional connection with His Greatest Power?

    I guess I wonder how I would handle life/people/decisions/Christian conflicts/etc. differently if I was more thoroughly connected to the thoughts and desires of God. Perhaps then I wouldn’t find it so difficult and confusing and frustrating to really live out a true Christianity.

  6. wallygoots said

    Can we be as thoroughly connected to the thoughts and desires of God as Jesus was?

    This is a tricky one because if we say, well “no” then we have to question many of the promises and the extent of the metaphors (vine/branches, baptism , marriage/sex, eating his flesh and drinking his blood).

    But if “yes,” then why aren’t we more connected?

    Or maybe connection is more like splicing a cut telephone main line (hundreds of tiny wires) then it is plugging in a 3 prong extension cord.

    And maybe Jesus had the splicing down, and therefor will spice things together for us as we give him time.

    Good ponder.

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