This week, a change occured in the Adventist Church’s Council for Inter-Faith Relations. Yes, we have one of those. And apparently, now they want to extend the reach to non-christians as well, thus exchanging the word faith with religion. Read the story at ANN. I’m not sure I get the point of the semantic change, but that’s not really important.
What caught my attention was Director John Graz’ statement: “If you don’t talk, they don’t know what you may believe and may even think you’re dangerous or are pushing a threatening political agenda.” This is, of course, true – and as a matter of communications, he’s playing for his home audience and the focus is expected. But nothing is said about the other side of the road: What about us thinking or believing they’re dangerous?
Graz goes on to say that “engaging in dialogue does not mean we are pursuing an ecumenical agenda.” Ok. Fine. I probably wouldn’t want you to either. And inter-faith relations are a positive step. But think of this: if other denominations’ views of Adventism are tainted, maybe it’s because our view of them is the same. Think of the Catholics. And to be blunt, if you’re tired of people not wanting to play with you, maybe it’s because you don’t want to play with them.
Fortunately, there are good examples of meaningful dialogue. The Re-Inventing the Adventist Wheel blog had a link today to the website Dies Domini which features well-informed Catholic views on Adventism. And if you haven’t heard about it already, Faith House Manhattan is definitely worth checking out. A very interesting project with an aim to promote coexistence between religions – and best of all, with a strong Adventist endorsement.