Unity of Division

How-to guide

The Scratch’s weekly Brief is broken down into two sections. First, “The Need to Know” covers this week’s main story—one story, several paragraphs, and opinions separated at the end. The second section, “The Ought to Know,” covers other stories—each paragraph is a separate story entirely. Lastly, while our content is serious, our headings are not. We like to spice up our headings with a little personality. :)

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Samples from various briefs

In case your family didn’t have enough politics to talk about at Thanksgiving...

On Tuesday, November 20, 2018, Adventist News Network released the Unity #GCAC18 video on their official YouTube page. In the video, lay members of varying ages/ethnicities appeal to those in disagreement with the GC/World Church’s decisions to change their minds. According to GC President Ted Wilson, the idea came from concerned members, not GC administration. Wilson tweeted: “This Unity #GCAC18 video was created by lay members of the Seventh-day Adventist Church in partnership with the General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists.”

Some believe this video may be in response to Andrews University Chaplain, Michael Polite’s, two-part #AdventistRevolution released on October 30. In contrast with Michael’s words of revolutionary action in front of a black background, ANN’s video featured various individuals’ (including women) reminder of compliance in front of a white background (Southern Adventist University’s cyc wall).

Is this the North vs the South?

While one was filmed at Andrews and the other at Southern, both were made by individuals - not either University. In fact, both Universities have taken an official stand against the GC’s decisions. In addition, SAU’s film department rents its equipment/space out independently to the public.

“Unity” was initiated by the spouse of a GC employee. While we won’t name names here, some of the folks onscreen are involved in ministry or are studying to be in ministry professionally. So, while Ted calls them “lay members,” it’s not a really a wholly lay-led effort. Beyond this, those in the video had to sign a release form in order to be involved.

Southern’s forced people to remove other videos filmed at that wall; will this one get the boot too?

There have been conversations among viewers hoping that Southern would seek to have this video removed, but there is also the worry that by removing this video, Southern would be posturing itself against the GC by perception.  Although Southern hasn't posted an official response, it has been their policy to try and allow the independent works of its students to exist without interference, except when those works go against the mission and values of the institution.  

Word on the street is...

Since the video presently has three times as many “Thumbs Down” as “Thumbs Up” on YouTube...it’s safe to say it’s been mostly negative. Per the comments, many feel this is an act of emotional propaganda with manipulative intent, and are concerned with the usage of children. In addition, some are uncomfortable with the placement of several women to convey the idea that women as a whole are okay with this outcome. Bottom line, since (based on the concerns expressed at the recent NAD meetings) most of “the family” disagrees that this was a “family decision,” they’ve now written ANN off as a propaganda network.

Others are grateful as those in favor of recent GC actions feel they are in the minority in the NAD and are glad there is something that they feel finally represents their voice. Plus, they are happy to show that it’s not only men who agree with the decision of supporting not-ordaining women - there are also women on board too. With the average age of the church rising, they are also happy to see so many young voices represented in the video.

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Make it a supreme

The Supreme Court may decide to hear a religious liberty case early next year involving a Seventh-day Adventist and Sabbath rights. Darrell Patterson is an Adventist who worked as a trainer in Walgreens’ call center. He argues that he was fired in 2011 without reasonable accommodation for refusing to work on Saturday, in accordance with his religious beliefs. Since the firing, Patterson has brought his case through the lower courts with mixed results. Among the nine courts that gave opinions, there was a three-way split. Walgreens claims that it met its obligation to Patterson for reasonable accommodation, his firing was avoidable, and it was his own fault since he only asked one other employee to cover the Saturday shift for him before refusing to work. Several other religious organizations have filed amicus briefs supporting Patterson. In March, the Solicitor General was invited to file a brief expressing the US government’s view on the matter.

New conference, who dis?

Elders from the Nairobi Central SDA Church have registered a new conference after a conflict over the selection of church officials and accusations of misconduct by two pastors resulted in factional splits. While the church is a part of the Central Kenya Conference (CKC), this new conference, called the Nairobi Cosmopolitan Conference (NCC), was registered on March 15, 2019. They have also opened bank accounts and have begun calling for people to direct their tithe to the NCC instead of the CKC. The CKC has fired back by disowning the NCC and claiming it is not recognized by the worldwide Adventist Church.