Yearning For Home And Adventist Living

A friend of mine asked me about the Negro Spiritual “Deep River” and its connection to Adventist living. This was a very interesting question that I began to think about. The singer of the Spiritual said:

Deep River
My Home Is Over Jordan
Deep River, Lord
I Want To Cross Over Into Campground

The singer of this spiritual has a deep yearning for home that you can feel even in the words as well as the music that accompanied it. But there is something that is standing in the way of home. That is this deep chasm. There is a barrier to going home. We know that the singer of this spiritual was someone who was either removed from home, or never saw home in that the singer was one who was born in an alien land that every day reminded her that she was not home.

Whether it was the daily indignities of slavery or the threat of violence and even having family forcibly removed, there was no home for the slave. I definitely do not wish to minimize that alienation that was felt by the slave in making this comparison, but in some sense all of us who are pilgrims passing through this land deal with this alienation. We realize that we are not home.

The early Advent people must have felt a close kinship with the singer of this song on that October 23, 1844 when the day had past and Christ had not returned. They must have felt this “yearning” for home. They must have felt that there was this deep chasm between them and “home” and they just simply wanted to cross over into camp ground.

This yearning has been kept alive amongst the Second Advent people through the years. Listen to some of the old saints talk and you can still catch a glimsp of this “deep river feeling.” They speak of being in the “Last Days.” They speak of “wanting to go home.” They speak of “last day events.” Yes the still sing “Lift up the trumpet and loud let it ring, Jesus is coming again.” They still have that yearning for home that was a part of this movement.

I wonder if this “yearning for home” is something that is deep within the psyche of Adventists. Some have theological issues with this mindset. They say it promotes an otherworldly religion that does not deal with real issues of here and now. There probably is some truth to that. We have not always been at the forefront of calls for justice in this world. But, I wonder what will become of an Adventism that has lost this “yearning for home?” The slave who loses that yearning either loses “home” or has to change the definition of “home” to a place that does not look like “home.” I wonder if the movement is at that crossroads now. Certainly it has been a long time. Certainly it is difficult to hold on to the hope of the coming. But at the end of the day, just like the slave, this yearning is what makes us who we are, and more than that, it keeps us from being comfortable with any “home” that is not really “home.”

Faithful People More Likely To Be Obese

Photo by Alina Zienowicz
So I’m checking out USA Today’s faith and reason, and they have an article up on obesity among people who regularly attend religious events. According to the article which can be found here:

Young adults who go to a religious event such as worship or Bible study at least once a week are 50 percent more likely to become obese by middle age as young adults with no religious involvement, according to new Northwestern Medicine research based on tracking 3,433 men and women for 18 years.

The researchers are not sure why this is, but it is certainly an interesting finding.

What About Adventists?

Turning the page, I would be interested in seeing some research on obesity in the Adventist church. I know Adventists live longer. I have seen some research, but really need to look more deeply into it. I wonder if we have done any research regarding obesity specifically and Adventism. It is a very interesting phenomenon.

You know just anecdotally, it really seems as though that vegetarianism and obesity can come together in Adventism. I mean if you see a fat vegetarian, I would bet you that one is an Adventist. I will admit that I have a small sample size, but I cannot remember meeting any fat vegetarians who were not Adventist.

What About The Health Message?

What does that mean? Is the health message really about health or just about not eating meat, pork, crab, shellfish, etc? I mean Adventists will tell you that they don’t eat whatever because it ain’t healthy, and then will go months without exercising. Isn’t that a disconnect? Going back to the original story, why are so many devout Christians fat? I guess the answer to that question will probably help us answer the question of Adventist obesity whether vegetarian or not.

Why do They Make it So Complex? – The Presentation of Adventist Fundamentals

I was talking to a friend about the presentation of Adventist fundamentals by some. It appears that often these teachings are ignored by many pastors and preachers, but when they actually do preach or teach them, the sermon turns into a theological lecture to enlighten the mind but not inspire the soul.

This is an interesting phenomenon. You will hear a preacher preach a powerful sermon about God being with us in our pain and our heartache and yet when it is time to preach the Sanctuary they turn it into a lecture about celestial geography or a mathematical calculation. Thus leaving the hearers with the question: “How is this helpful to me in my situation?” I think this lack of connection to our lives is one of the reasons why people think it is too complex.

This actually reminds me of my college days. I had a math minor in college. Math is a powerful tool to help us understand and solve problems. But I did learn some pertinent things from my time there that can be helpful to the hearers.

There is an Application to Real Life

Yes the calculus, geometry, and algebra had practical applications. I have found out over and over the truth of this. In my computer work, I have used all of them to help me solve real problems of the real world.

And just like math, our core beliefs have real application to the real world. Yes the State of the Dead doctrine helps us understand the current revival of the demonic in the culture. It also helps us understand why Satan will push you to destroy your body if he can’t get you to destroy the soul. Because the doctrine reminds us that both body and soul are inextricably bound together in an indisolvable union. Yes the Sanctuary doctrine helps us understand God’s guidance of the world towards final culmination. God is at the wheel purifying and protecting God’s people from the “throne-room.” Yes the core beliefs have application to real life.

Some Teachers Made Application Some Didn’t

Another point is that there are some teachers who make applications, while others didn’t. It was amazing to me how some teachers would tell you “how to use the tool is up to you, I just give you the tool.” This leaves you in the dark about the relevance and power of the tool. It was much later after completing my calculus training that I began to realize how to use the tool. If I didn’t realize how to use the tool, I would be in the dark about its effectiveness and how the tool is actually indispensable.

Likewise there are preachers who simply throw the fundamentals out there and then stop. You don’t know why it matters, you don’t know what it is good for. Because of this, you might just let the teaching lie dormant, just as I let calculus lie dormant.

You May Have to Find Your Own Applications

Finally, as with calculus where I had to find a reason for the existence of the tool, you will have to do the same thing in many cases. I praise God that there are some who attempt to teach the fundamentals with strength, but we as listeners must recognize that some of these preachers will not and/or cannot make it practical. In those cases we have to cultivate the trait of finding it for ourselves. Please don’t blame Calculus becuase a teacher didn’t give you an application. And don’t blame the core of Adventism either.