“Adventism is outside the mainstream of Christianity. It’s different. It’s misunderstood. It’s not socially respectable. Adventists live with a different rhythm than most people: we’re at church while others are shopping; we’re shopping while others are going to church. We make sure we get to Cracker Barrel early on Sunday mornings, before the ‘Sunday Christians’ get out. Adventist employees are sometimes fired for not working on Sabbath. Adventist soldiers are sometimes called cowards for refusing to kill.
What I think all of us desperately want is a life where our beliefs have a harmonious relationship with our social, economic, and political contexts. It’s stressful to be different. We don’t want to have to choose between church and football. As a teenager, it was intimidating to ask to take the ACT on Sunday. I inconvenienced a lot of people and had to drive to another state. Adventism introduces tension into our lives which we would rather live without. It strains some of the important connections we have to society. Basically, Adventism is a religious minority group.
That ‘Adventism rhythm’ is just a different way of living. It’s a huge thing to ask of people. Adventists pursue social justice and yet have zero faith that mankind can ultimately fix this mess. We plan our careers while thinking Jesus is going to come soon. Sabbath is this day around which the week is planned. Sabbath asks us to stop pursuing economic security and just enjoy what God has already given you. The way we view death and creation and education is just different. Adventism isn’t just a church, it’s a lifestyle; it’s a worldview. When you invite someone to be Adventist, you’re asking them to turn their life upside down and try living with a different rhythm. Instead of work, work, work, the new beat is work, work, rest. Your dance is going to be out of sync with the music everyone else hears.
That’s why I love Adventism, by the way. I’m genuinely worried that I’m too comfortable. Being different isn’t a virtue, but I think Adventism asks some really good questions about our often unquestioned commitments to this world.”
Matthew Lucio is a pastor and operates the Adventist History Podcast, a monthly exploration of the history of the Seventh-day Adventist church.