Friday, September 7, 2012

Making It Easy to Leave Adventism

You know, I have been thinking.... Not that this is a new thought, but a renewed conviction.

We need to make leaving Adventism easy, in fact, wonderful--like suddenly being healed of blindness!

I have been involved with a Former Adventist ministry for years now. I don't try and get Adventists to leave, but once they have made the decision, I want them to feel surrounded with love and light. They are not alone and the pain they may feel at leaving is deeply understood by many who had been raised in the same church.

It is embarrassing leaving Adventism. You feel foolish, like you were stupid to be so throughly duped for so long. The older you are the more duped you feel and often feel betrayed by God.

Some former Adventists get into these bitter discussions and debates with Adventists and the conversation turns sour. Often former Adventists think those who cling to Adventism are in a cult and they (with the BEST of intensions) think they must blast them out with the truth. I really do understand that position. They feel like fire-fighters going into a burning building and finding people hiding under their beds. The rescue team doesn't worry about the person's feelings and protests that they think they are safe from the fire under the bed but they grab the victims and rescue them even if it is against their wills! They assume those saved will thank their rescuers when they are safely out in the light and REALIZE how life-threatening their situation was. The former SDA are being heroes... even if the Adventists don't know it...

Some look at Adventists as willing dupes, stubborn in their opposition to light and truth. They fight for Adventists with glaring, in-your-face facts, like a slap in the face when someone is drifting off at the wheel.

Okay, whatever works. I'm pragmatic and frankly as much as it hurt-- those calm, forceful, confrontative methods broke through my naiveté. Since that is not my ministry, I don't try and judge the methods of those trying to get their family and friends out.

However, Adventists also need to see outside Adventism a huge group of Christians awaiting them like the Prodigal Son. They need to know that it is SAFE leaving Adventism. When they leave they will find-not embarrassment, not condemnation, not scary boogie people of SDA prophecy--but people who truly understand and care for them. They need a celebration of their courage and obedience to God by leaving. This is a big deal and we need to be Christ to those who leave.

We formers need to make it easy for Adventists to leave. (Talking more to myself than anyone.... )

So anyone SDA reading this, glancing over their shoulders for fear of an Adventist discovering what they are looking at, perhaps it is at night, or at work where you feel safe: Don't fear. It is lovely out here. You will hear the birds sing and discover how blue the sky is. You will breathe in a freedom and peace you cannot imagine. Living in the presence of Jesus there is joy... Not that Adventism didn't bring you a closeness and happiness... but you will never know until you try it out here how GOOD God is. How life changes and surprises and deepens.

Please, formers, let us BE Christ for our Adventist family and friends, so that they will not ever have the excuse  that leaving was too hard because of the humiliation they feel (rightly or wrongly) by us.

God bless.