By Tony Hunter … The ability to think is horribly inconvenient.
And, while it’s bad enough that I possess this uncomfortable ability, other people can apparently do it as well. This is both unfortunate and problematic. How are we, as a people, supposed to maintain a perfectly identical and uniform set of beliefs and practices if just anyone can have ideas and inspiration and original thought? How can we all be the same and be comfortable in our homogeny if someone else somewhere else thinks better and differently than the person responsible for the thinking that led to our uniform traditions and practices that allow us the luxury of conducting ourselves without the burden of thought and consideration?
Don’t the newer thinkers, with their more complete palate of information and subsequent alternative perspective, understand that our forefathers already figured everything out? I mean, really. Those original pre-Adventists who became Adventists already went through the trouble of coming from different backgrounds with different ideas and shared them together so that everyone could learn from each other and gain a perspective of God and reality that they didn’t already possess. They already took the extra time to fellowship together, but then encourage each other to continue fellowshipping with their original groups so that they could learn from both sides and maybe come to even greater and better understandings, and maybe help those around them do the same.
As we all now know, they figured it all out so that we didn’t have to put any real thought into our faith and beliefs and God and reality and health and science and love and anything, and then they predicted the end of the world with accuracy so stunning that they sold everything and left their fields unplowed and succeeded in going to heaven.
Well, okay, they got that part wrong, but they gave it a good think, figured it all out again and moved forward through shared ideas about health and the Sabbath and revised it all more than a few times so that we don’t have to. They even took the time to make sure they never formulated a creedal statement or organized a formal religion because to formalize an organized religion would be akin to becoming Babylon because focus would shift from
real progressive thought and continued present truth, to simply doing whatever to maintain the organization at the expense of the true mission. And they never made a creedal statement because they knew we would keep learning and thinking and discovering and if they cemented stuff, new thought couldn’t really take place.
Okay, okay, that’s my bad again. It took them less than 20 years to decide to formalize their organization for the sake of finances and expansion of ministry, and then another 25 or so before the very organization that they started, against their own judgment, started ostracizing the very people who formed it for the high crime of thinking better thoughts and valuing love over tradition. At least they had the clarity of thinking to ship off their primary thought leader, who they believed had an inspired and prophetic gift, to a country far, far away so she couldn’t promote uncomfortable ideas and encourage people to think more.
Whew, right? They totally dodged that bullet.
But at least they never formalized any sort of creed like they said they wouldn’t. At no point did they create a list of fundamental beliefs that in many, and even most, circles became the criteria for baptism instead of the cross of Christ and Him crucified.
I mean, okay, I guess they sort of did that too. But thank goodness, right?! At least then they had this document written down so that people could officially not have to think anymore. Well, sure, they could think, obviously,
as long as what they thought was even better ways of coming to the exact same conclusions they had already come to. Because that’s what thinking is for. It’s for thinking the same thing they thought before and discovering new things, as long as they were the same things they
already knew. Because to come to a different conclusion meant they might fire you and ship you off to another country again.
And really, who can af-FORD that kind of inconvenience?
It’s just really fortunate that we figured out that to use the minds that God gave us and the ability to think with them was a terrible idea. What was God thinking? I certainly don’t know, but He clearly wasn’t thinking it as good as we were. Otherwise, He wouldn’t have let us do it.
God should have known, as we do, that difference and diversity are bad. How can we be all the same with that kind of mess? If someone else starts thinking, they will come to a conclusion that may be different, and then we will have to tell them they are wrong and bad. If people just weren’t allowed to think, then no one would ever be wrong and bad!
See how simple and blissful thoughtlessness can be? It’s such a peaceful, beautiful thing.
If we can just keep thought and thinking away, we can keep everything the way we like it and everyone in their place—all the men where they are supposed to be, all the women where THEY need to be, and all the not-white people in their place too. Because if we think about it
too much and do it with any sort of integrity, another problem to be avoided, we might find that none of us is better than the other and that God doesn’t hate the differences in any of us, and we’d have to treat each other with equality and love.
It’s a good thing we already showed that God doesn’t really know what’s up.
What we really need is to randomly be that one thing Jesus named us, and do it out of context, and just be like sheep. And then just follow whichever fluffy white one is in
front, and if we can all do it, it will be okay. Because when whichever mostly blind sheep in front walks off the cliff, all the rest of us can go down with him.
Okay, now I’m going to step off my soapbox of sarcasm.
Everyone is different. This was an intentional design by our Creator. We look different, sound different, act different, and think different. This is as it should be. It was God’s will and desire and that has not changed. We are finite beings with finite knowledge who know very little. If we want to know more, we have to pray, study, and think. If we want to grow, we have to think.
Muscles only grow when they are placed in tension with themselves and their environment. That is also how we grow. We place our minds in tension with ourselves and the thoughts around us. We don’t already know it all. We haven’t thought all the thoughts.
Adventists don’t know everything. We haven’t thought everything. We don’t have all the facts. And the ramifications of that are huge.
Perhaps that’s something worth thinking about.
–Tony Hunter is a Seventh-day Adventist pastor and a hospice chaplain working for Elevation Hospice in Northern Colorado. Tony and his wife Nirma live in Firestone, Colorado. Email him at: [email protected]