Plural Pathways: The New Diversity of Faiths in North America and in Southern California

Speaker: Categories: Nov 09, 2002


[1hr, 19min, 53sec / 41min, 53sec]


The Chosen!

God's Elect!

His People!

The Remnant!

His Church!

Are such terms familiar to you? Are they commonly used in your daily - or at least on Sabbath -- conversation(s)?

Do you hear such terms from the pulpit? Do you see them in SDA publications? How about in your SS class, are such terms rather regularly heard there?

How about a mid-week prayer meeting? And are these terms to be expected as part of an evangelistic series or a seminar or a camp meeting?

What does the use of such terms imply? What meaning(s) do they have for the typical SDA member? How about the neighbor down the street - or the person actively involved in the Methodist, or Lutheran, or Presbyterian, or Catholic Church? How about the non-Christian?

The next AAFSD meeting may help put the above questions into a new context. And the answers may provide some unexpected perspectives on the meanings of such terms in today's North American culture, especially North AmericanSDAculture.

Dr. John Jones observes:'When our planet was larger and contacts among its various peoples were less immediate, we humans could push our awareness of one another's cultures and faiths onto the back burners of our minds. Over the horizon dwelt people whom we were content to leave to missionaries and our respective Departments of State-and of Defense."

He continues:"[But] no more. The events of September 11, 2001, have brought home the immediacy of the new tensions among cultures and faiths today. These tensions arise from the facts that (1) globally, we are all rubbing elbows with one another much more closely around the world as travel, commerce and communication juxtapose our disparate ways of seeing and being, and (2) domestically, a marked upswing in immigration over the past three decades has increased the likelihood that our neighbors are non-Christian. This is especially true in Southern California, with its influx of people whose values have been shaped in traditions quite different from those of the dominant culture."

He then contends that these realities pose new challenges for us both as citizens of the United States and as thoughtful Seventh-day Adventists.

Based on what he has stated, would you agree? Would your own personal experience attest to his conclusion?



Dean Jones is uniquely qualified to lead our thoughts in the November AAFSD meeting. He has spent much of his life in Asia. During his childhood years in the Philippines, he saw the violence of clashes between Christians andMuslimsin that country. While teaching at Hong Kong Adventist College, he sought out opportunities for searching conversations with religious leaders of other faiths. His doctoral studies at Vanderbilt University concentrated on New Testament theology and on Asian religions - particularlyBuddhistandConfucianthought. While on the faculty of the Far Eastern Division SDA Theological Seminary, Dr. John Jones worked with Adventist and other pastors to help contextualize the gospel to a variety of Asian settings.

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