Somewhere in my youth, or maybe in a memory that is imagined, I remember loving the Seventh-day Adventist Church. It was a place I could go to see people who were like me, who believed like me, and who cared for and loved me. They didn’t even have to know me. They were Adventist, and that was enough for me.

I was a child.

This is not to say I don’t now love the church–only that then it was the innocent, unconditional love of a child, and now it is the worn-out love of an old married couple. Now that I’m older, I can see that church can be like time-out. It can be like walking on egg shells, and it can be as painful to attend as a dysfunctional family get-together. There are topics you don’t discuss at potluck–like taboo talk at the dinner table. Women’s ordination, compliance committees–topics that are whispered about, eyebrows raised, hushed chatter in closed-door meetings. The sanctuary can be a battle-ground, and no one sees it except those under fire, like a kid who knows their parents are unhappy, but they seem themselves to be oblivious.

A House Divided

Just like America in many recent years, the church is divided. Just like Abraham Lincoln quoted the well-worn scripture to discuss division in the pre-civil war America, I will do so here:

Every kingdom divided against itself is brought to desolation, and every city or house divided against itself will not stand. (Matthew 12: 25)

The tide has changed in the church. Platforms are being used to throw rocks as if it’s an election year and it’s a lose-lose situation. Children are being used to further divisive messages online and for opposing forces. Where is the compromise when both sides see Biblical reasoning? Where is the compromise when both sides have the same message, but neither agree on the method? Where is the compromise when it becomes more about power, and less about Jesus?

Maybe I’m confused about what’s happening in the church because I was too young to realize it had issues before. Maybe I’m confused about what’s happening in the church because I’m still a child and I’m watching Mom and Dad on a slippery slope that ends with the D word. Maybe I’m confused because the two options that I see from where I sit is a loveless marriage, patching up black bruises for the sake of the children (unity), or a messy divorce, with both sides barely surviving.

The argument which sparked this debate is in the past. The problem now is not women’s ordination or compliance committees. Now the problem at our church doorstep is much bigger. Just like many Americans still blame the Civil War on slavery, future generations may look back on this time and assume the rift in the Adventist Church was caused by women’s ordination. But it’s about a lot of things. What does it mean for you? Do you know where you fall? Do you know what is happening in this church that we’ve grown up with? What can you do about it?

Make Adventism great again.

Less business, more church.

Less power, more brokenness.

Less profit, more prayer.

Less policy, more Jesus.