Some of us are old enough to remember the late 1960s, when here in the United States billboards and bumper stickers began appearing with the challenge: “America—Love it or leave it!”
The historical context necessary to understand such an either/or imperative included a war raging in Vietnam; anti-war protests roiling university campuses; race relations at a boiling point. Women in short skirts and men with long hair, along with birth control and the sexual revolution, made many wish for simpler times when men were breadwinners and women were homemakers.
Whichever marketing genius came up with the “America—Love it or leave it” campaign couldn’t grasp the reality that those who protested the war, racial prejudice, and gender stereotypes did so because they loved their country. They didn’t want to leave it; they wanted it to be better.
Some may have noticed a similar sentiment recently expressed in the Adventist Church: “If you don’t like the church, if you don’t subscribe to its traditional dogmas, just leave.” The implication: “We’re better off without you.”
Martin Luther, William Tyndale, John Wesley, and others never intended to start new religious movements. They only wanted to create spaces in which the outrageous claims of the gospel were honored and practiced.
It’s the same today. Those who care about the church don’t see any contradiction between its allegiance to the life and ministry of Jesus and caring for the environment; working for racial, gender, and economic equality; practicing an inclusive theology; and living out Jesus’ mandate to “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and strength. . . . And love your neighbor as yourself” (Mark. 12:30, 31).
Adventist Today dreams of a church in which its faithfulness to Jesus means that everyone has a voice and a place to belong. A place where loyalty is measured by its commitment to right the wrongs of the past and plot a better, more generous, more inclusive future for all. Your support for our year-end fundraiser will help make that dream a reality.