Name: LeRoy Washington
City, State: Kamuela, Hawaii
I believe our church mission has two major responsibilities of equal importance: 1) Evangelism; sharing and spreading the good news; 2) Nurture and Retention. It is of equal responsibility to meet the needs of our established members and the needs of our converts who have joined us. For me that means we honor our traditions, doctrines; those ideologies that make us who we are. At the same time the implementation and application must be relevant in a diverse, ever changing world. Principles remain; human nature changes little; but societal, generational customs, lifestyles, and cultural influences, language, adapt and change with growing innovation. What was the norm in the 17th, 18th, 19th, 20th centuries may not be the same today in the 21st century and just because you may be a 4th or 5th generation, conservative, fundamentalist, or liberal, post-modern Adventist of significant maturity, one must be increasingly careful to uphold Christ’s principles of love; in psychological terms; tolerance of ambiguity in the cognitive dissonance a multi-cultural society presents. These principals apply on the individual, church, and even more so institutional level.
Someone said it well, the larger an institution gets the more accommodating it must become too difference, not compromising principle, and not confuse the two, if it is to remain healthy. Principles are timeless, but the interpretation of these principles is time and culture sensitive, allowing for diversity and difference. One’s tolerance of ambiguity must increase as the cognitive dissonance increases. As our world grows smaller by automation and technology the more it must adapt and flex. We live in the present, with historical knowledge, and future hope, (Romans 8). God speaks to all of his people, individually and collectively who are open to hear him. He (God) is open to diversity and has a sense of humor. Look at the differences. The responsibility of leadership is to be wise enough to realize when this is happening and validate it. This is not ‘creeping compromise’ as we like to postulate in Adventist lingo, but can be closed minded rigidity if allowed, rather than a liberated, open, creative minds.