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Granny Reads: Reviewing *Adventist Tomorrow: Fresh Ideas While Waiting For Jesus* by Jack Hoehn

Adventist Tomorrow: Fresh Ideas While Waiting for JesusAdventist Tomorrow: Fresh Ideas While Waiting for Jesus by Jack Hoehn
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

As you can tell from the title, this book is written for Seventh-day Adventist readers. The author is generously donating the financial proceeds from book sales to Adventist Today magazine.

Adventist Today magazine is a "progressive Christian" publication. Each Sabbath/Saturday over the last couple of years, a number of "progressive" believers meet online (usually around 130 of us) to take part in a seminar presented on a spiritual/Biblical/cultural/political subject that has stimulated controversy within the denomination, or that has been written about in Adventist Today and sparked interest among the "progressives" reading the magazine.

I came into Adventism as someone married for several years to an Adventist, a man who never pressed me to "give up" my Catholic influences or feminist views. I was wooed by his love and desire to be a supportive husband and father.

I eventually studied the Bible with some lovely souls and joined the faith community in 1993. My husband and I were quite involved in local Church leadership roles and so, I think, had opportunities to be a part of changes that were more "progressive" than had existed in our particular church community prior to my joining.

I was a social worker working with women and children who had experienced abuse from their partners, so when "Women's Ministries" became a 'thing' I was poised to share my knowledge and resources for women who often didn't realize there was help and a safe place to go, that they had not 'caused' the abuse, and that Jesus did not expect them to put up with the violence and degradation 'until death do us part'. And, of course, I had progressive views on Women's Ordination, LGBTQ 'issues', and gender/sexual equality, etc.

For the most part, I was high on the lovely people I met and the strong Christian friends we made within the Church. I was very appreciative of the "health ministry" and for having support and guidance in giving up bad habits that had created health problems for me and my allergic son. Of course, there were times when the basic liberal-me was unable to contain my snarky opposition to what I saw as fundamentalist viewpoints. But, in general I was happy to belong and got a lot of positive feedback from my colleagues at work, some even joining me for various religious events.

As the sparkle of the "honeymoon" dulled a little, I realized that there were people struggling with all kinds of social issues within the Church. Many of my Church friends were people like me-- university educated, professionals, generally 'egalitarian' in their relationships. I also glimpsed racism, sexism, and homophobia. I heard about childhood sexual abuse and gays who married to attempt to keep their families (and God?) happy.

We moved when I had been Adventist for about ten years. Our new Church contained a number of kind, pretty 'progressive' folks as well as some who were healing from various situations that made it difficult to trust change. We ran into a situation that we had not anticipated at any point in our harmonious and engaged Church life. Because we stood firm in defending someone who blew the whistle on abuse, we were targeted (my husband more than I) as well as the person we supported. We were disturbed by the situation that ensued-- not my story to tell, but I will say that it included something very similar to the Spanish Inquisition with a "more culpable" verdict (??) and follow-up shunning.

Long story short, we left that particular Church, COVID happened, and we discovered ZOOM Church and also the weekly Sabbath Seminar community. We also discovered compassionate Church members like Sarah McDugal who go to bat against abuse by reaching out to women trapped in religiously violent marriages, and a group called "The Hope of Survivors" that provides support and information to adults who have been sexually violated by clergy.

Jack Hoehn was born into an Adventist doctor's family and he attended Loma Linda University to become a physician himself. He and his family spent 13 years in Adventist medical missionary work in Lesotho and Zambia. He returned with his family to the United States to become a physician at Walla Walla, retiring in 2017.

Well-positioned to ponder the collision of science and theology throughout his life, Jack also was also present to experience the Adventist "Movement" in different cultural milieux (his education took place in the US, Canada, and Europe, and he directed a large Adventist hospital in Africa). Twice he was a voting delegate at a General Conference. The questions so many of us Adventists are now asking, such as, "What could attract more young families to our denomination?" and "Did I just hear an Adventist say they believed in marching for abortion rights?" or "Will I "deconstruct" myself right into the Lake of Fire?" have likely occurred to Jack Hoehn.

Read this book and find many of the questions you, as an Adventist or an ex-Adventist, have asked yourself, others, God. You will be fascinated and I do not doubt that some of your anxieties will lessen when you read Hoehn's reviews of the many sage authors he has turned to in looking for "fresh ideas while waiting for Jesus". No spoilers here. I just want you to know that he doesn't throw the baby out with the bath water.

The last chapter includes a giant reading list, relating to all the fascinating reading of leading "progressive" scholars -- Adventist and non-Adventist-- in the pursuit of answers to the questions he, you and I have been asking.

View all my reviews at Good Reads


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