Engaging the Other: Do we want a more inclusive faith?

Speaker: Categories: Jan 12, 2008


[1hr, 13min, 41sec / 29min, 42sec]


This first SDAF presentation of 2008 is likely to question much of what SDAs have thought, or at least verbalized, about the other. Though Forum members tend to appreciate their open-mindedness, some issues to be presented by Dr. Carr will challenge even the Forum-type mindset. What kinds of issues might have the potential for doing that? Are these issues generally acknowledged in the contemporary milieu? If so, when When and how? If not, why?

Unlike many Forum topics which focus on Adventist theological issues. the January 12 discussion will focus on practice rather than on theological conviction and belief. Taking a look back to September 8, 2001, when Mark Carr joined-with Anthony Zuccarelli in presenting:Playing God? Genes, Stem Cells, and/or Immortal Cultures, one gains a sense of the kinds of topics which engage Dr. Carr's attention and interest. This month's discussion will expand on this interest. By the way, he has had a series of provocative one-pagers featured in the Pacific Union monthlyRecorder.

In providing an overview for January 12, Mark Carr notes:"Recently, William Johnsson accepted a position as Assistant to the President of the General Conference for Interfaith relations. Both he and Elder Paulsen recently wrote of our relationship particularly with Muslims, in the Adventist World. Among other things stated, Elder Johnsson said:'Let us reach out in love to our brothers and sisters, the spiritual children of Abraham - Muslims. Paulsen called for us to'move beyond caricatures toward mutual understanding.'We should, in his estimation, have a Willingness to'look for points of agreement and have a readiness to engage with one another, first and foremost, as fellow children of God ... .'

For years Jerald Whitehouse has labored to help us understand and move in a more inclusive direction when it comes to our Muslim (Abrahamic) brothers and sisters. And, for as many years, he has faced stiff opposition. Many still carry an attitude of suspicion toward Muslims, regardless of where they are from or what they say and do in their life of faith. Many Seventh-day Adventists simply could not bring themselves to sit next to a Muslim in a worship service, for instance. Or worse yet, pray with a Muslim at a mosque! Just what would we think of a person who calls himself/herself a Seventh-day AdventistMuslim?"

"Recently MINISTRY magazine"continues Dr. Carr,"published an article by Jon Dybdahl in which he set out three'tentative suggestions:'that Adventism be seen as a'pan-religious movement drawing a remnant from all religions,'that it be considered a'movement that is more than a denomination,'and finally that Adventism be seen as a'world religion.'Reader response was mixed as you might imagine. One editorial commented that Dybdahl's approach would'involve drastic changes in our way of promoting, organizing. financing. and doing mission.'Perhaps that is part of the point. But I wonder if we are really ready for such a drastic change. How open are you to calling your Muslim neighbor a'brother/sister in the faith?'"

How ready do you think Adventists might be in being comfortable with the notion that theremnantofRevelationcould be derived from all religions?


As an"Army Brat,"according to Mark, he and his family lived in several different states until his father -- veteran of three wars -- retired in Alaska. Emerging from public high school in 1978 with an interest in biology, Mark enrolled in college at the University of Montana, Missoula. However, after failing Organic Chemistry, he considered other career options. Returning home to Anchorage, Alaska, Mark became a commercial pilot and fisherman.

Experiencing conviction as an attendee of a"Revelation Seminar,"Mark returned to a life of faith and began attending Walla Walla College. Graduating with a BA in Theology in 1987, he went directly to Andrews University to prepare for pastoral ministry in Alaska. Several years later, still longing for a more rigorous academic experience, Mark moved his family across the continent to Virginia where he was accepted into the PhD program in Religious Ethics at Thomas Jefferson's University. There he was enrolled a rich program in both religion and bioethics.

Returning to the West in the summer of 1998, Mark took up the task of teaching for the faculty of religion at Loma Linda University. In the fall of 2000 Mark was named the Director of the MA program in biomedical and clinical ethics for the faculty of religion. In July of 2001 he took on the responsibility of Theological Co-Director for the Loma Linda University Center for Christian Bioethics.

His two children attend Academy and College in the beautiful state of Washington and he and his wife, Colette Gauthier, are looking forward to spending some time in France with her family while on Sabbatical in 2009-2010.

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