Adventist Church 'not immune to change'

Challenge of transition comes with elections

Commentary | John Smith

Challenge of transition comes with elections

Having finished my supper, I paid the bill at a downtown diner late last night and my passing words to the waiter were "keep the change." On the walk back to my hotel I wondered whether anybody ever responds by saying, "I don't want the change."

Some people embrace change eagerly and effectively, others are wary and at times resistant. The leading politicians of the world are currently meeting at the G20 Summit in Toronto, attempting to ease the problems relating to the global financial slump. Lobbyists staged a mock wedding, two characters portraying the German Chancellor Angela Merkle and Nicolas Sarkozy, the French president whose united stance is worrying some. Their view of change is not universally accepted and in some cases vigorously opposed.

As economic and political power swings from the West to the East, further tensions develop, and the changing world is not a comfortable place for everyone.

The changing world exposes and challenges our attitude to change and affects every aspect of human life -- politics, commerce, agriculture -- and, of course, faith.

Change within the Adventist Church manifests itself in many ways and the debates and issues currently swimming around this Georgia World Congress Center are evidence of that.

This 59th Session has already touched many lives. Some have been elevated to exciting new positions by the Nominating Committee and the delegates on the floor. For others, life has not necessarily changed for the better. Some have lost responsibilities that were their life and joy and, for others, God's call that draws senior Adventists from their home regions to the church's headquarters near Washington, D.C. is not necessarily a change that everyone embraces enthusiastically.

But, that is life, and there are always winners and losers. The Seventh-day Adventist Church is not immune to that, although the caring nature of its ministry makes it better able to deal with the issues sensitively.

The new officers may blaze a new trail for the world church. Many will embrace the changes; others will doubt, question and oppose. Some, like the recipient of my gratuity in the diner, will welcome the change. Others will say, "I don't want the change."

That is the sweet and sour delicacy we call democracy.